**UPDATED** Well, that didn’t take long! I just heard from Papa Bear about the cabin and it appears that everything is going to be fine.

Last night was good. I texted sweet things to Papa Bear and fell asleep watching reruns of Monk on my computer. I had worked out enough to make my stomach muscles sore (one of my favorite feelings in the whole world) and the sweet smell of lavender oil (one of my favorite smells in the whole world) rocked me like a baby. Yeah, last night was pretty good.

Then, the morning came. And I was still tired. I paid a bill over the phone and then, immediately upon hanging up, received a [terrifying, startling, unsettling] call from Papa Bear. He informed me that our landlord had (possibly, not in writing) given us thirty-days to vacate. Faith. Shaken. The frustrating thing is that we haven’t done anything wrong…..ummm, lately. I’ve even taken every precaution to make sure the little cabin is safe and warm while I’m away. And I will be back home in a week. That is, if I still have a home to go back to.

So, of course, my day was ruined. Good to baaad….just like that. And it wouldn’t be good (ever again) until I talked to my landlord and convinced him to abide by our original agreement. I was, like I am so often, the savior of my own world. My circumstances determined my happiness. Not only did it not occur to me that God might be moving us before I’d planned, it also didn’t cross my mind that God might have a conversation with my landlord without using the prolific and carefully planned monologue that had been churning in my head all morning. Yeah.

“I can do it myself!” my four year old insists as he drags the heavy apple juice container from the refrigerator. I epitomize every slow motion scene from every movie I’ve ever seen and respond, “Noooooo yoooooouu caaannnnn’t,” as my body flies sideways across the room.

As children, we think we can do things that we simply cannot do. We think we can do things that we have no business doing. As grown ups, we think we have to do things; that we’re actually in charge of the fixing and the saving. We’re unwise. We’re foolish. We’re inpatient. As it turns, out we’re still kids.

Which is OK, because, as Lil Prince tells everyone when he asks them if they know about God, “God always has time for kids.”

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I Can’t Believe It Felt Like Christmas

Last year, the kids got a few presents from the grandparents and aunts and uncles. That was more than enough for us. This year, though, this year was different. Actually, this year was ridiculous.

About a week before Christmas, I took my crew to a party. When we left our house, I didn’t lock the front door. No, don’t worry, nothing was stolen. Nope, where we live people come in to leave things. And as was the case on this particular night, they left a very large pile of neatly wrapped Christmas presents. I’m using “they” because I still have no idea who did it. Though I’m starting to think Santa really might be real.

Next, came presents from blog readers and neighbors and out of town friends. Megan and Becky, you gals are amazing. I’ll have to write a separate post about the necklace Becky sent me. It’s gorgeous and it is an exact match for my wedding ring!

After that (yeah, there’s more), a donation given discretely to our church bought another large pile of presents (Thanks, Tori, I can’t believe you did all that wrapping!). Oh, and the adorable stockings in the pictures (below) were sneaked into our car on the morning we left. The whole thing has been overwhelming, but in the very best sense of the word.

By the time Christmas morning arrived, I thought the kids might just be over Christmas. Of course (yeah right), I couldn’t have been more wrong.





And they haven’t even had Christmas at Grandma’s, yet!

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Ho, Ho, Hoooold On!

Yesterday was fun, I still have Christmas pictures to share. But I want to tell you about Christmas Eve. That’s where the real story is*.

*Ummmm….I might have gone overboard with the build-up, there. Anyway.

I planned to pack up and leave around eight in the morning. My night vision is poor, at best, and I wanted to arrive in full sun. So, of course, around nine o’clock the night before it started to snow….and snow….and snow. Even though it was dumping, the storm was only supposed to last a few hours. I went to bed with full knowledge that I probably wasn’t going to leave until somewhere around eleven. But Papa Bear and I were enjoying one another’s company, and so that was just fine with me.

Did I say we were going to leave around eleven? Of course, this means that we left around noon. Then, we were be bopping down the road (to about sixty of the world’s best Sunday school songs) for almost twenty minutes before I realized I’d forgotten to pack my vitamins. Because I’m planning to be gone for a week or two, I made the painful decision to turn around.

And, so, it was really more like one when we left town. Sigh.

Everything went well for awhile, even though vomit was threatened about ten minutes in. I’d let my cupboards go bare, in preparation for the trip, so I stopped at a gas station and bought individual sized bags of trail mix. I swear, you’ve never seen any kids more excited over snack food.

I know how to get to my mother-in-law’s house. I’ve driven there a dozen times. It’s been a while since I’ve been the one behind the wheel, though. And because I prefer another route to the one Papa Bear usually drives, I decided to print (actually, look up and copy down) some directions. I noticed that they were not exactly the directions I was looking for (meaning they were for a route I’d never taken), but they seemed to avoid the city traffic, and that’s really all I was after.

I drove along, happily, never looking at the directions because I only needed them for the last half-hour of the trip. Then, when I did need them, I reached right for the paper like a war veteran reaching to scratch a missing limb. Of course, it wasn’t there. “Oh my gosh!!!” I yelled out loud because as much as I don’t like driving at all, I really don’t like being lost. And yes, I know that is irrational on both counts and it’s not like I was lost in the wilderness. Welcome to just another aspect of my crazy mind. My right arm began thrashing about as if it was a separate entity and, although completely misguided, was frantically trying to help. Try as it might, though, it simply could not find that damnable piece of manuscript paper with black Sharpie scribbles and some crayon for good luck. I realized that (before someone called the cops on the lunatic mother who was flipping a lid while driving) I was going to need a plan B. I began calmly reciting the exits I remembered, and I was fairly certain I’d remember the others when I saw them. I’d just make it as far as I could, and then I’d pull over and allow my entire body to look for the map.

Here’s the thing that really bugs me, city planners, and y’all feel free to chime in if you are with me on this one. But why, oh why do so many streets in the same town need to be named THE SAME THING? It’s why I think housewives should rule the world. We’d never pay $100 for something that should cost $5, and all the street names would be alphabetical and unique. But I digress. After pulling over three different times, I finally found the directions. Oh, right after the kids sang a loud and harmonious chorus of, “We wish Daddy was here. Daddy would never get lost.” Of course, I agreed with them on both counts.

About five minutes after finding the directions, we arrived in Grammie’s driveway. It was very dark, by this point, and I tried to convince the kids that we were just driving around looking at Christmas lights (they didn’t buy it). As it turns out, I had gotten us really close. I lugged our bags inside and then stood in the kitchen with my face buried in a bowl of chicken stir-fry. Then I corralled the kids (who were already knee deep in toys with their cousin) and tied them to chairs for dinner. The boys were the last at the table, both staring down their peas and carrots. And while they were there some rather fascinating [read: terrifying] conversation ensued where my four year old son may or may not have spilled the proverbial beans about the jolly fat man who would be shimmying down Grammie’s chimney in T minus six or seven hours. Thankfully, he did so quietly and his cousin wasn’t paying attention at the moment. Still, a North Pole wind blew through the dining room, and it was clear we had a big problem.

My parents will totally relate to the absolute horror of this moment, but it hadn’t even crossed my mind that some kids still believe in Santa. We’ve chosen to “play” Santa but have never attempted to convince our children of his existence. This isn’t a debate against that, but it’s such a foreign concept to me that it hadn’t even made it onto my radar screen. My mother-in-law took me aside, nicely, and explained the rioting and drive by shooting that would ensue if the bubble burst in the course of my nephew’s first Christmas Eve ever at her house. And, so, I quickly took all of my children aside and explained to them that Santa was indeed real….this year.

Crisis narrowly averted.

Then, I tucked them in their wee little beds (or the one Queen sized bed that the four big kids share width wise). And I could actually see the sugar plum’s dancing as they slept.

It turned out to be a pretty good Christmas Eve after all.

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If This Blog Post Puts You to Sleep….

It’s because I still can’t decide between writing it and taking a nap.

I’m so tired, y’all. I’ve spent the last two nights undoing Baby Bear’s massive spoiling, and it might just be the thing that kills me. Either the exhaustion or death by head butt. I was sure I’d wake up looking like I was on the loosing end of a prize fight. No such luck, though. I have absolutely no proof of my pain. Ha. Oh, and just when Baby Bear fell asleep, Cuddle Bug was woken by a sore throat. I moved her to my bed so she wouldn’t wake the other four. Little did I know that sore throats are cured only by thrashing and moaning. All night long.

Did I mention that I’m tired?

I really shouldn’t complain, though. I slept through cereal duty and the first diaper change of the day. I need to be on my game tomorrow or I might wear out my welcome before the week is out. When I do wear out my welcome, I’ll just head down to my parents’ house and do it all over again. Hehe.

In honor of 2010, and the upcoming 2011 (which sounds way futuristic to me), I thought I’d tell you about myself by revealing my Google searches. If I continue with my tradition of honesty, this could get really embarrassing. But, at this point, what have I got to lose?


My top two searches, of this week but also of the past five years, are tummy tuck and stretch mark cures. I’ve consistently leaned toward the idea that if I had $X000 to spend it would be a sin to spend it on my own body. I mean, do you know how many Bibles could be purchased for the cost of one abdominoplasty?! It’s outrageous! In the past few weeks of self-examination, though, I’ve begun sorting through my long list of expectations and goals (for my own life). At this point, I’m trying to decide which standards are from God and which might be self-imposed. It doesn’t appear that I’m ever going to “get over” or “let go” of the severe [read: very severe] deformity that lies between my rib cage and my pubic bone. I’ve tried. And I’m positive that the large percentage of my thought life that has been dedicated to negative self-talk is a much greater sin than wasting a little money.

To be perfectly honest, I get angry over having saved my nearly perfect body for marriage (not that I would change that fact)….considering I was only able to share said body with my husband for a few [read: four] fleeting months. It’s unfair. And it definitely seems like a waste. I’m pretty sure Papa Bear doesn’t even remember what I looked like back then. I know he doesn’t remember how confident I was. I do, though. And if a two hour surgery could give me that back (diet and exercise have taken me as far as they can), I’m not saying I’ve decided, but I guess “just do it” is where I’m leaning (or slanting slightly) at the moment.

It has hit me like a ton of bricks, in the past few months especially, that Papa Bear and I are mostly likely done having children. I’d kinda like to have more someday, but I’m also really content where I am. When I look at family pictures, I no longer feel like someone is missing. I know I felt incomplete in some way before Lil Prince got his brother. I guess it’s this feeling of finality that has made me doubt whether I should have to live with this body for the rest of my life.

I wouldn’t feel good about myself in a potato sack sans makeup. I suppose, as a child of God, that is where I should be (not a potato sack but being happy with myself in one). It’s not, though. Not even close. If I did ever opt for surgery, it would be another cosmetic fix (like really expensive makeup), not a soul fix. I do know that. But, as is true in other aspects of my life, I’m usually alright with cosmetic fixes. And they do make me feel better about myself….though I’m not sure what that says about me.

Thoughts? I know you have them. Share away.

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Just When I Thought I *Wasn’t* Being Controversial

Hello from Grammie’s house!

For starters, cause anyone not raised in a barn knows that compliments and “thank-yous” should always come before unplesant business, thank you for being so supportive of either me, my decisions, or both over these past few weeks. The closing lines of last night’s post were written in a fit of haste. They’re true, but I think they were misunderstood. This blog has been for sharing every aspect of my life (the most gripping, of course, being my marriage). I don’t intend to stop blogging about any part (which reminds me that I really need to get to work on more food posts). But neither do I intend to let only one part completely take over.

Since there are no new developments in my marriage at the moment, it seems like as good a time as any to step back and reintroduce myself as, well, just me (how egotistical, I know). This separation has begun to teach me and remind me about myself. Maybe this isn’t the me time I was after. But I should probably take advantage of the self exposition while it lasts. I have no intention of altogether leaving my marriage out of even these next few posts*. But I do think the back burner might give me a much needed break.

*If that were true then I wouldn’t share that Papa Bear spent the night last night (he on the floor and I on the couch). We laid there and talked and then had a wonderful morning together. I kissed him goodbye and explained that I married him, “So I can kiss you any time I want.” He smiled. And he kissed me back.

Speaking to the negativity, I have just two things to say. There is absolutely no need for me to “defend” what I’ve heard from God (that would be the case if it was contrary to the Bible. But, as it turn out, it’s not). And I’m certainly not trying to convince anyone else that I’ve heard it. Maybe it seems like my purpose is bigger than it would appear on the surface….like I’m trying to indoctrinate the blogosphere using my adorable five* as a cover. It’s not. I’m not. I’m just telling my story, folks. In the hopes it might resonate with someone, somewhere? Sure. But I’m not trying to lead a flock or convince anyone of anything they don’t believe. Some of you feel very strongly that it’s your job to sway me from the very specific direction I have received, personally, from my Father. So, I feel it only fair to warn you that, even though they often do make me cry initially (I’ve never lied on this blog. So why start now?), comments that seek to sway me from my path (even the very sweet and well meaning ones) are only working to strengthen my resolve.

*We have five kids because God hasn’t given us six

God bless us, every one. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

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Papa Bear and I were back together for four and a half years before the winds began to howl again. Well, they did their howling quite often, they just didn’t manage to knock us on our over until now.

For the past two years or so, I’ve been blogging our success story. I did that with the full support, interest and blessing of my husband. He’s even written a post or two himself. Over the course of our public journey, he’s (as was the point) garnered more “praise” than I have. We’ve had the occasional naysayer who has felt the need to haphazardly belittle his character; but, for the most part, he’s been seen only as miraculously changed (which is something we all need in our lives). And, oh, I’ve been so proud of him for bravely representing that fact.

When he left, a few weeks ago now, I did seriously consider packing up the blog. I have never felt that my marriage was over, but I have doubted that any ministry we had could be resurrected after this footnote. In my mind, I had two options: to bury my head in the sand or to tell the truth. Hitting publish on a post announcing our separation….that is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, bar-none. I certainly didn’t do it for sympathy or for blog stats. And I did in no way mean my husband disrespect. Even though he had just shattered my heart into tiny pieces, I asked his permission before continuing to blog our story.

I have respect for my husband, even now. It’s much harder to if you’ve only read a few heartbreaking posts and our sidebar. But the man I’ve lived with for four years is very much worthy of respect. Even in the moment we are weathering now, and even though I do disagree with choices he is making, I can respect the fact that his heart is not where it should be toward me and he has no desire to lie or fake his way through the rest of our marriage. He desires to come home, he’s continually expressed that. He just doesn’t feel that the problem has been solved. And I agree. But I still believe that it will be.

I also have a pretty reasonable amount of respect for myself….as a wife and a mother and a woman. I’m a good wife, a really good wife, and I’ve never said otherwise. But I’ve made big mistakes that I might not have ever seen if not through this lens. I’m more than happy to correct those issues in my heart and mind. I’m a fan of growing wise, and it’s something to be grateful for through this process.

And on that note, I’m done writing about my marriage for a little while.

I’m gonna spend some time writing about me.

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Punch Drunk

So, part of me feels pretty sorry and icky about last night’s vomit [literally] post. The rest of me feels better because even though my heart is committed to fight and my soul is sure of its direction, my mind is quite often in the state it was last night.

My husband no longer loves me….in the way a man should love his wife. He refused to sing Karaoke with me tonight proving I am much more fun than he is. Ha. Still, I’m not sure how I’m really supposed to feel good about myself when the person I’m around most is bored and cold. I mean, I’m working on it, and I do know that this is the time for me to focus (more than ever) on my identity in Christ. But I’m not gonna lie and pretend that it’s easy.

When I think of all the plans I had for our future, I feel sick. Not because I am hopeless that those things won’t happen now, but because I was waiting for them at all. Why was I so hesitant to hire a sitter? To leave my babies? To stop mothering for five minutes (or hours) to be a wife? It seems so obvious now. He doesn’t think I’m fun because we so rarely have fun together. Not the kind of fun that registers with my extroverted husband, that is. I hope I get a second chance to love him, soon. Cause I’m not going to let righteous anger or rational hurt or perfectly reasonable unforgiveness stop me. I’m gonna do it right this time.

Tonight, we went to our church’s Christmas party as a family. The food was good and the music was better. I drove home in a generously loaned car (ours is in the shop) because I’ve decided to take the kids away for Christmas. I will be coming home with a new hairstyle (and quite possibly that flat iron that supposedly curls your hair). A new hairstyle that apparently speaks volumes about my life in crisis. Kinda makes me wonder what, besides split ends, has spurred all of those past trips to the salon.

I should have taken my camera because I did sing Karaoke (albeit in a trio). I always thought alcohol was a requirement for that sort of behavior. We weren’t drunk with wine but apparently we were filled with the Holy Spirit.


Well, on that note, I’m going to finish my yucky cleanse tea and head to bed. Everyone seems well and happy and a restful night’s sleep is in order.

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