Monday, December 24, 2012

Pomegrante

My kids love fruit. ('K. So do I).

I've always heard it said that the Baumans love fruit.  I always thought it was a joke because of the orchard. 

It's not.

We would rather have fruit than candy.

Well, most of the time.

Anyhow, after our experiece with THE COCONUT I thought it would be fun to occasionally try exotic fruits.  We don't do much for fun, so I thought it would be a cheap way to have fun entertainment.

Aldi had pomegrante on sale for 99 cents.  Seemed like a good deal.  Seemed like an even better deal for a family fun night.
My camera somehow was set on something weird.  We didn't have 16 pieces of fruit.  Although we probably could eat that many they are so yummy!

We had a blast cutting it open and eating the seeds.  They are de.lish.ous!  And excitingly messy.
 


 
 
I have no idea how to 'properly' open a pomegrante.  We just cut it in fourths and started tearing into it naking a mess that was worth it. 
 
 While we were eating them, I told the kids that Jesus probably snacked on these as a boy because they grow in Israel.  We had fun imagining Jesus as a little boy with red stained lips from the juice.
 
 




I hate to admit this, but there was one little section left.  I quickly grabbed it and hid it from the kids so I could eat it later.  This fruit is so, so, very good.

I might splurge and grab us one tomorrow while we are out and about for our Christmas Eve together. 

Who knows what exotic fruit we will try next time!





Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Pillows

I can't remember the exact year. 

It was either 1998 or 1999 I received the Christmas Pillows. 

The date doesn't really matter.  What matters is what these pillows represent. 

They represent friendship, laughter, memories, but most of all love.

I met my friend Colette while working at a family physician's office.  It was quite the place to be, and we needed each other to work through our days. 

We soon became great friends.  The type of friend that you can give that certain look and she knows exactly what you are thinking.  The type of friend you can giggle with.  The type of friend who will do anything for you.  The type of friend who you somehow lost contact with but  when you found her ten years later and it was like a moment never passed. 

Colette made me Christmas pillows for Christmas one year.  Ever since, they have always been a part of my Christmas'.

This year fall they were packed away, tucked into storage to be moved safely.

I wasn't going to decorate at all for Christmas.  Too much work and not enough time.  But the kids convinced me to do a little bit of festivities.  Up went a teeny tiny tree and up went a bit of garland. 

I thought that would be enough; but something was missing.  It took me a moment, but then I realized: The Christmas pillows. 

I haven't celebrated a Christmas in  14 years without my pillows out for display.  I knew that I needed to dig through my storage unit and find the pillows.  I had no idea where I was going to put them.  We are in a teeny apartment without much space to put our necessities, but I wanted my pillows.

I went to the storage unit with Reagan and we dug through boxes for quite sometime.  Short of emptying the entire unit, I had to give up.  I know they are there.  I know what the box even looks like; I just think its buried. 

This Christmas feels a little bit lonely without my pillows. 

Next year they will be displayed beautfully in my New England home.  And Christmas will seem like Christmas again.

Picture from last year. 
I just love my Christmas pillows and who made them for me!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Molly and My Surprise

I found something on Pinterest (how many sentences do we start with those words?!?!). 

I thought it looked like a fun activity to do at Christmas. 

We spend almost the entire day at my moms and it looked liked something the cousins could do together throughout the day.

I asked my niece, Molly, to help me plan my surprise.

We spent a few hours shopping for our supplies (final project will be posted after Christmas!!)

Large quantities of candy always promises to bring good fun!

Leaving the store with our stash of candy.


Ran into Hobby Lobby for supplies for another project. 
Found a rose in Molly Rose's favorite color to pose with.
Had fun looking at all the different colors and types of flowers, ooing and ahhing!



Eating on at a fun table on a fun chair at Chik-Fil-A.
 
Tomorrow morning I have a 'Cousins Christmas Craft Party' planned for tomorrow morning.  It involves paint and dyes. (7 kids ages 10-2...should be interesting). 
 
Molly knows about my candy craft surprise and my painting and dye surprise.  What I think is most precious is she has kept these secrets and hasn't even told her mom!  What a sweet little honey bear!
 
 


Friday, December 14, 2012

Oglebay

I wanted to make this Christmas special in its own way. 

After moving into a small apartment, I soon realized we didn't need everything I thought we needed.  Most of the toys the kids thought they liked were soon forgotten, boxed up. 

I wasn't overly excited about buying new toys to bring in.  They soon get shoved aside and forgotten.  So this Christmas is going to be a bit slim in the gift department. 

I don't want the kids to feel that they were jipped in some sort of way, so I decided to make memories this year instead of gifts.

Last week we went to Oglebay to the Winter Festival of Lights.  I asked my friend Norma, from work, to go along and she was excited I asked her.  She has come along with me on many of my crazy adventures!

Oglebay is in Wheeling, WV.  It is about 2-2 1/2 hours from here.  Yep.  I drove 2+ hours each way in one night to see Christmas lights.

But oh my. Was it worth it.

We left around 4:30 stopping at Mickey D's for dinner (part of the fun night out).  We made it to Oglebay around 7:30 after stopping multiple times for potty breaks.  (I don't get it.  We have to stop twice for potty breaks on a 2 hour drive.  We have to stop twice for potty breaks on our 9 hour drives.  Must be some rule about stopping twice).

The kids thought I was crazy for doing this.  I went there once as a child, vaguely remembering it, but remembering it was awesome.  I hoped it was worth it. 

Memories are easy to pack and last a lifetime, a toy needs picked up, put away, and is easily broken.

We pulled in and immediately went under a long tunnel of lights.  The kids sat up and took notice.

It was incredible.  I tried to take pictures but they came out fuzzy in the dark. 

We drove around for a little over an hour, laughing and pointing at all the amazing light displays.  Some were perched up on a hillside, while others looked like they were moving. 

We headed home around 9 and made it home in 2 hours, just a little past 11. 

We woke up a little groggy the next morning for school, but it was so worth it.  I'm hoping that the kids remember this crazy trip. 

I'd recommend it to anyone!

*Here's the link to their website so you can see the amazing displays: Oglebay Winter Festival of Lights

Thursday, December 13, 2012

So you say you're Pro-Life. What are you gonna do about it?

I try not get too political on this blog.  Its just not me to do that.  But one serious concern I have for this country is the escalating rate of abortions and how common it has become.  How many don't give the thought of killing a baby a second thought.

I have to think of the Old Testament when God would pour out His rage on Judah and Israel when they would start worshiping idols and other gods.  During this time they would sacrifice their babies and children in hopes they will gain help from these false gods.  It clearly states in the Bible to not kill our babies.

Yet here we are, killing them.  It may not seem so barbaric as burning them alive, but is there much difference? 

Maybe this has more to do with the horrid economy than we think.  After all, isn't it only God who blesses a nation? 



I digress.

My point here is that so many of us are pro-life.  Yet we do nothing about it. 

Would you do something to quietly support pro-life if you could in a very simple and easy way?

I have joined hands with a friend in gathering diapers and wipes for families who recently adopted a child.  The amount of money spent on an adoption is astronomical and this would be one very simple way to support them. 

I would love to adopt.  But honestly, there are some days I can barely keep my head above water with my situation. 

For the moment, adoption is not an option. 

But creating a way to help families who have adopted is something I can do.  And we did.

We are starting to collect diapers (of all sizes, preferrably newborn-3) and will be sorting and delivering them next Thursday. 

I realize this doesn't give you much time to get your diapers and get them to me.

But I have a solution to that.

I also understand I have readers all across the globe who would love to donate a package or two of diapers but can't get them to me. 

But I have a solution for that.

I have created a registry especially for this on diapers.com  They are a fabulous website that ships diapers quickly and are extrememly reasonably priced.  You can order from there and it will be shipped to me and I will distribute to those who could use our support.  This will also allow this to be an ongoing effort in quietly supporting pro-life and the adoption process.

The registry is under (first name) Diapers For (last name) Babies
You can also call 1-800-342-7377 and order over the phone.

It is set up to directly ship me the diapers/wipes/formula.

Please share this post with anyone and everyone you know who is pro-life and/or supports adoption.  If we all give a little, we can make a big difference.

Thank you in advance and God bless.   

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

One Need


But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Phil 4:19

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink nor yet for your body…..your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. Matthew 625-32

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened….If ye then, being evil know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Matthew 7:7-11

But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me; thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God. Psalm 40:17 

I read and reread these verses.  Knowing there is a promise but still waiting on this one need to be filled. 

I need a job.  I need a job where I can support my kids.  This market is so tough. It’s a game and one  that I’m learning as I go.  I know so many people have been looking much longer than I have.   I can’t imagine how much more I can stand of this.

I spend hours every night, late into the night after schoolwork, applying and applying.   To network with people you know and try and find some ray of light.  To every day get rejection emails saying “you aren’t what we are looking for” and you start to believe that maybe you aren’t what anyone is looking for. 

Then to finally land an interview and seconds into it realize it was set up to fail, that she never looked at your resume and just needed to stack the numbers of interviews so she could hire the person she already had in mind. 

There were three things standing in the way of us moving to Connecticut.  One is the final court hearing.  Maybe I should be more concerned, but I’m not at all.  In fact, I often forget it even needs to happen.  Just waiting on final word of the date set.  Should be soon.  Hoping it’s very soon.

There was another obstacle that was there.  When I would stare it down I didn’t see how it could be removed.  But with events that took over 4 days the wall was toppled to the ground.  That is gone too.

The final complication is finding a job.  I am too afraid to take that leap of moving without a job secured. 

The job market is next to impossible.  I have heard it said that finding a job is a full-time job and I am starting to believe it. 

There is a tiny ray of hope.  I’ve had a referral into a hospital.  But there is the realization that it will be a miracle if I get it.  Someone has to talk to someone who has to connect with someone in hopes they accept the referral and look over the resume.  Even then they could trash it and move on to the next. 

I’m getting really discouraged. 

I beg God to provide a job.  I don’t need a high-ranking job or one of importance; I just want a job that I can support my children with. 

Can you pray with me, that this will work out?  That God really will supply my need?      

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Birthdays 2012

Rhianna turned 8 in mid-September.  I meant to post about her big day and then with the move I just didn't have the time.

Riley turned 10 two and a half weeks ago.  I meant to post about his big day but I was writing essays and submitting resumes. I just didn't have the time.

Reagan just turned 7 two days ago.

I decided I was going to make one big birthday post. And I better do it now.  :)

RHIANNA-8
For the past few years I have made it a tradition to cover Rhianna in balloons and then wake her up.  The boys stay up late to help me blow them all up and then we all wake up early, cover her in them, and then all sing "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" at the top of our lungs to wake her up.  She LOVES it.  It is always the best way I can think of to spend a single dollar to make her 'day' start out perfect.

We went to my moms for her little party/family get-together.  She was spoiled with so many gifts. 



Auntie Tricie and Kya

 My mom's birthday is five days before Rhianna's and my sister Tricia's is 6 days after.  We did a combined party this year.  They graciously let Rhianna pick out the  ice cream cake.
And didn't even complain that it was covered in plastic horses and green globs :-)

Molly, Rhianna, and Madalyn quick pose for a sweet picture of the three cousins.
 
 
Rhianna had a great birthday, spending it with her family and getting lots of presents.
 
RILEY-10
 
The last night that Riley was nine, he sat on my lap and we chatted for quite awhile.  It was hard to imagine that I have a child who is 10!  I took a picture of him quick, so I could remember our last chat of when he was nine. 

Riley loves 'Angry Bird's (What 10 year old boy doesn't?).  I found this simple pizza on Pinterest and decided to try it.  It is so.very.simple.  And he loved it.  

Can he manage to blow out all TEN?

Is this not the cutest thing? Ever?  Three of my little nieces sitting eating the ice cream cake; only one looked up to give me a blue-mouthed grin :)
 
Riley had a great birthday.  I can't believe my sweet little baby boy is TEN.  He has really grown in the past year; physically but emotionally too.  I am amazed at what a wonderful young man he is turning into.
 
REAGAN-7
 
My attempt at a monkey cake.  Banana cake, of course.  

 He seems to like it.
Reading 'The Magic Treehouse: THE TITANIC" that I got him.  This little guy loves the Titanic and will sit and read about it for hours.  I think it's precious. 

This balloon adventure is a great story.  Well. Kinda.  Funny, but not one I want to relive.  I found this idea on Pinterest: To tape plastic along the door trim and stuff balloons between it and the door.  The object is the person who opens the door will get covered in balloons.  Perfect for a little boy's 7th birthday morning, right? WRONG. 
 
We had it planned that Riley would stay up late and help me blow them up and get the contraption set.  Rhianna had the camera for in the morning and would wake Reagan up when I banged on the living room wall (adjacent to her bed). 
 
All went as planned until Reagan would not get up.  Rhianna was sitting in her bed (or so I assume) trying to wake Reagan up.  He was just screaming "NO. AND PUT THE CAMERA AWAY. DO NOT TAKE MY PICTURE." 
 
This went on for quite some time.  Until I started to get nervous that we would be late to school/work.  I stood on the other side of the door begging Reagan to just get up.  I usually go in and wake him up myself, but if I opened the door, it would ruin the surprise.
 
He finally got up (yelling at Rhianna about the camera the whole time) and opened the door. 
 
The balloons fell on him and he SCREAMED.  Oh.my. was he mad.  He slammed the door, yelling, and crawled back in bed.
 
At this point I was able to go in his room and finally convinced him to get up.  He did but was grumping the whole time.
 
So much for my fun idea :(  Maybe I'll wait until we have a Saturday morning birthday instead of a Monday?!
 
I'm hoping we can laugh at this someday...I'm already chuckling as I type this. 
 
What about Rhianna and the camera?  Well, I guess I didn't teach her good enough.  She couldn't get any.  I'm sure being half asleep while Reagan was screaming didn't help much either. 

 
The evening of his birthday, in a much better mood, he let me take his picture.  Isn't he a handsome, young lad?
 
***********************************************************************
 
And so goes another season of birthdays. 
 
While birthdays at our house aren't fancy with lots of expensive gifts, I try and make them special.  Even if that includes tormenting my poor little boy with a shower of balloons :-/

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Wise

He is wise beyond his years. 

Riley has been struggling with the idea of leaving Rittman and moving to CT.  He knows he has friends there and he knows it will be good; but he wanted to stay here.  And he was extrememly vocal about this.

I was getting worried at how it would go.  How he would choose to react to the change.  I know moving is the right thing for us but I still was concerned for him.

Last night on our way to Wadsworth, we passed signs for the Interstate with East and West labeled.  He pointed to the East and said "that's the way we will go when we move." 

I noticed a difference in his tone of voice.

It held anticipation and excitement. 

Something that I hadn't heard before.

I mentioned this to him and asked him how he was feeling about it.

He responded with this:

"Mom, I've come to peace about it.  I know it is the right thing to do and that it will be good for us.  I'm really excited to finally move.  I'm ready."

Wow.

I was silent in amazement.  Was this one more thing that God needed us to wait on?  For Riley to come to peace about it.

And seriously, what 10 year old says "I've come to peace about this." 

I'm so thankful for his ability to think through things, know to pray about them, and be willing to accept things and find peace in them.

That, my friends, is wisdom.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Pondering

This past week and a half has been quite eventful.

Nothing in concrete.  Nothing guaranteed.

Before it all started God showed me that I was going to be okay.  And it was going to be good. Soon.

Right now I'm still pondering it all in my heart.

Will blog soon.

Keep praying. 'K?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Not exactly what I wanted to read...but I'll trust anyhow


This morning I sat down with my coffee to read the Bible.  I closed my eyes and prayed for many things.  One of which was His guidance in the next couple months, in helping me find a job and a place to live in CT.  I actually had the nerve to tell God that I’m at the end of my rope; I’m done fighting, I’m done struggling.  I need this to go smoothly and simply because I cannot take it anymore.  I am tired of that feeling of drowning in things to do and children to help and essays to write and resumes to submit.  It’s just too much.  I asked God to make this road easy. 

I opened to Acts 28 and it was right in the middle of the chapter.  To learn more about what was going on at that point of the chapter, my eyes fell to the bottom paragraphs of my study Bible.  These paragraphs give verse by verse explanation of what was happening.  In the explanatory verses of Acts 28: 17-20 this is what was written:

Paul wanted to preach the Gospel in Rome, and he eventually got there-in chains, through shipwreck, and after many trials.  Although he may have wished for an easier passage, he knew that God had blessed him greatly in allowing him to meet the believers in Rome and preach the message to both Jews and Gentiles in that great city.  God worked all things for good (Romans 8:28) for Paul, and you can trust God to do the same for you. God may not make you comfortable or secure, but he will provide the opportunity to do his work.

 –Life Application Bible, KJV

In all honesty, it wasn’t really what I was hoping to read. I wanted to read about flowery promises of how easy life will be, not about  chains and shipwrecks.  I know that God will take care of us, even if He doesn’t always allow things to be easy.  I need to remember I grew the most and learned the most in my greatest trials. 

Just pray that all of this doesn’t consume me.  That I have the energy to do everything I need to do, most importantly be a mom.  Some nights this seems to take back burner, when I’m dead tired and have a list a mile long to complete, I don’t give my children the attention they deserve.  Pray that a decent job will open up and that I find a place to live that the children will feel at home. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Praying Mother

Over the past few days, I've been fairly open about my situation here on my blog.  I have been amazed at how the numbers rocketed with readers.  I've also been amazed at the wonderful and prayerful responses I have had.

One response was a reminder for us to pray for our children, their futures, and their marriages.  A response I very much appreciated.  And I've thought a lot about that statement over the past few days.  I agree wholeheartedly on that statement, concept, and action.

However, I wanted to take it one step further.

When praying for our children and their future decisions, also pray for their safety.

I had/have a praying mother.  She spent countless nights awake through the night praying for me.  She prayed for me when I was a baby, colic and screaming.  She prayed for me as a toddler, an adolescent, as a teenager.  She prayed and prayed and prayed.  She told me that the only way she could sleep some nights (when I was running wild) was to mentally wrap me up in a blanket and hand me to God.

So why weren't her prayers answered? 

Why wasn't God manipulating me to make better choices?

Because He gave me free will. 

While her prayers may have seem to go unanswered, they were in fact being heard and something was being done about them.  Even though God was allowing me to make a mess of my own life~by my own choice and against His quiet pleading in my heart, He kept me safe.

I cannot begin to tell you of the situations I would find myself in.  I could have been beaten, abducted, killed, or worse.  Even though I made really bad choices, I was kept safe.  A hedge had been placed around me by the prayers of my mother.

Then through my marriage, she knew it was horribly rough.  And I believe it was her prayers that kept the abuse to a minimum.  It was also her prayers that helped me be the wife I needed to be to maintain a resemblance of peace for the children.  It was her prayers that kept the children from being abused by their father.  It was her prayers that helped keep food on the table even when 'R' wouldn't bring home money.  It was her prayers that kept me safe when I was on the run from him.  It was her prayers that helped me stay strong over the past 3 years and still.

So when you pray for your children, even if they are small, pray that God will:

1) Grant them the wisdom and courage to make wise decisions.
2) Protect them when (not if, but when) they make an unwise choice.
3) Allow them to bring beauty from the ashes of their mistakes, big and small.

We need to trust God and His goodness, but we need to be realistic and realize our children have the same free will that we do.  They will mess up.  Pray that God will help them through tough times but also that He will keep them in the hallow of His hands.

My mom may have wondered where God was and why He wasn't listening to her.  Truth was I wasn't listening to God.  Thankfully, He lovingly waited for me to listen to His call and kept me safe while He waited.

If you have a child who has strayed, don't give up hope.  God does hear your prayers...it may seem as though all hope is lost.  Just know that God is working behind the scenes of your prayers.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Alone in this.

I've been waiting for the tough emotions to come.  I'm not trying to create something that doesn't need to be; but I'm aware that they may come.  With this thought it hit me Wednesday night.  I'm doing this parenting thing all alone. 

I know I have God to help me.  And He has. And I'm thankful.  But trust me, its not the same :o).

I was sitting in the hallway reading our nightly chapter of Laura Ingalls Wilder and all three children were tucked in.  They were softly breathing, listening, and taking it all in.  When it hit me.  Its just them.And me.  From here on out.

I was waiting for the anxiety to consume me at the thought of raising these children alone.  But it didn't.  Instead a feeling of freedom, a lightness in my chest, a feeling of desire to succeed in this. 

I know I have been doing this alone for over 3 years now.  So that part shouldn't have taken me by surprise.  I do remember telling my mom, about a month into it that I feel like I should be perfect at it.  I shouldn't be making the mistakes I was making.  I shouldn't be so tired.  She told me that I was still new at it...to give myself time to figure out what works and what doesn't.  That I was still emotionally spent from the drama 'R' was causing.  And that being a single mom is the single most hardest job there is.  

But Wednesday night I realized that I'm not new at this anymore.  Its become my life.  And it was a good thought.  While I have made plenty of mistakes the past three years, we did survive them and came out stronger in the end.

What felt different was I wasn't tied down anymore. 

Its still going to be tough.  Really tough.

It's like swimming the Atlantic without that 180 lb bag of weights strapped to your back.
It's still tough, but much easier without the baggage dragging you down. 

I'm going to stop waiting on the sad emotions to come.  I am going to put my energy towards giving my children the best childhood they can have, in spite of our circumstances.

I'm so excited for our future.  Its going to be so good.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Court

It went better than I expected. 

I arrived at the courthouse about 20 minutes earlier than planned.  My friend, Diane, was meeting me there and she pulled in a few minutes after I arrived.

We walked in the courthouse together, nervous, not really sure of what to expect. 

We sat in the large hall, waiting.  I spoke with my attorney for a few minutes.  He briefed me on how it would go.  It seemed fairly straight forward.  We sat down to wait our turn.

Court was scheduled at 9:30.  It was 9:10 by this time.

I knew he wouldn't show up.  But I was still nervous that he would.  I wasn't sure how I would react if he walked through the doors.   

The hearing before us ran over by 15 minutes.  Once we hit the '9:30' mark, I knew he wouldn't show, so I sat there and relaxed and chatted with Diane.

About 9:45, the courtroom opened and a woman walked out, shaking.  Her friends had been waiting in the hall for her and put their arms around her.  She immediately started crying. 

Seeing her pain was the hardest part of my day.

A minute later a man walked out, I'm assuming her ex-husband.  He glanced at her and walked on by.  I wanted to kick his shins.  But I didn't.

It made me realize the pain and hurt in divorce.  I was only feeling the relief.  I had felt that pain of betrayal so long ago.  For her, it was still fresh and painful. She glanced down at me (I had been smiling and talking to Diane).  I instantly felt remorse.  Here I was, happy to have this completed, and she has just experienced such emotional pain. She probably thought I was horrible for looking so happy.   I smiled gently at her and I hope she knows I prayed for her right then and often since then.

I walked into the courtroom with Diane following.  (They let her come in...yea!!!).  I glanced at the magistrate and noticed a digital clock on his desk.  It said 9:48 am.

We sat down and we went through the motions...promising to tell the truth...stating my name, kids' names, addresses, etc. etc. and so forth.  I did sneak in a comment about Randy not being around for 19 months.  Just wanted that on the record :o)

Then the lawyer asked me if I wanted to restore my name to any other name.

I immediately said "YES" with a grin on my face.

Then he asked me to state my name and spell it.

I quickly stated 'Bauman' and spelled it.

The magistrate smiled.

He is from Rittman.  He knows of my family :o)

Then the magistrate said a bunch of legal stuff which I was assuming was all good. 

He then dismissed me and told me 'Good luck!'

As I walked out, I glanced at the clock.

9:54 am.

6 minutes.

My wedding took longer than that. 
And I almost said it to him. 
But chose to remain silent.
Hah.

The lawyer pulled me aside to go over what was next. 

I have to wait a few days until it goes through the judge and then clerk of courts.  Then he gets the paper, then I get the paper...yadda yadda.  Basically, my divorce and name change isn't legal until it hits the clerk of courts.  Most likely Thursday or Friday. 

But to me, it had already happened.  And I felt so free from all baggage.

I told the lawyer that I wanted to file IMMEDIATELY to get the children's names changed.  He said that the paperwork is already in motion and it should go in front of the judge within 60 days. (MOST LIKELY BY THE END OF THE YEAR!!!!!)   He said that I will speak for the children.  He didn't want to put them through that.

What he said next shocked me.  He said that Randy had called in about papers I needed him to sign.  The lawyer told him about the divorce and Randy said "Yes, I know about that. I'm not contesting that."  Then the lawyer told him I was changing my name and also the children's names and he needed to sign those papers.  The line went silent for a moment and Randy said "I don't know how I feel about that." 

REALLY!!!???

He doesn't know?  He hasn't attempted to see his children in almost 2 years.  He has given them piddles in support in the past 2 years.  Why on earth would he care.

On the flip side, they are his children.  He SHOULD care.   But he says "He's not sure if he cares or not?"  What kind of father is that????

My lawyer told him: "We are filing it anyhow.  If you change your mind, feel free to come in and sign.  But it is going to court."

I stood in the court hallway speechless.  I couldn't believe he had called in.  Weird as it may sound, that is all I needed.  To know that he remembers we exist. 

I sent those two letters hoping he would sign the papers.  He didn't.  Deep down what scared me is that he wouldn't even call the lawyer.  That we were so meaningless to him and those 10 years and his kids were nothing to him at all.

Even though he didn't sign.  Even though his answer is slightly twisted for a father to say.  I found the closure I needed.  As I write this it doesn't make sense why I would feel this. Why I would even care.  But knowing he called makes all the difference.  And I have no idea why.

We closed the conversation with the lawyer saying he would be in touch.

Diane and I walked out all smiles. 

I cannot express to you how light and free I felt...and still feel. 

I felt so guilty, knowing God hates divorce.  But I can't help but believe that God hated it when I was abused, and the breaking of the marriage happened years ago.  The divorce just represented me moving on and overcoming the pain.  I felt a deep peace run through me.  I can't help but believe that God is okay with this and He knows it all.

Diane and I decided to go to lunch quick.  As we were walking into Panera, we walked right into that woman.  She was standing alone with two boys, about Rhianna and Reagan's age.  Her face was still puffy from the tears and her eyes looked like her soul was exhausted.  I just smiled gently and nodded..she smiled back.  I hope she knows I understand her pain.  Even though mine happened years ago.  I still haven't forgotten her face. 

This past summer I had counseled with an older wiser man.  His warning about going through a divorce (even Biblical supported) the hardest part was the emotional distress.  Even those where the marriage is long over and abuse was horrible.  He warned me to be ready to face some difficult emotions.  Thankfully, I have felt none other than relief.  Little did I know that looking at that woman's face would be the hardest part of this divorce.  Can you all lift her up in prayer?  Especially over this next week or so....I think she may have a tough road ahead of her.

It's only been a day.  And my marriage was technically over 3+ years ago.  But I feel so free..unburdened...and like I'm ready to take the challenge of the next step. 

My day would not have went as easy if I hadn't had your prayers.  I know so many of you were thinking and praying for me all morning.  I felt them.  I literally floated through the day.  Thank you for that.  Thank you for carrying me through this challenge of single parenthood. 

Next step...a job! :o) 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Ten Years

I was going to write what I am going to write today back in September on our 10th anniversary.  (Do your anniversaries still add up even though you haven't seen him in almost 2 years? :o)

Anyhow.  The 28th of September was our 10th (and last I might add) anniversary. 

Tomorrow is our divorce.

I'm not really sad over it.  I know I should be.  And I probably would be if my situation was different.  How can I mourn a marriage that was over before it started and how can I lament over his broken vows when I haven't seen him in so long. 

Anyhow.

What I wanted to write about a month ago, but never found the words, is a warning to all my young readers.

I'll tell you what I told a young teenaged girl a few years ago.

"Don't date ANYONE you wouldn't be willing to marry."

(Right 'E.S.'?...Love you and hope to see you soon!)

I'm sure this sounds ridiculous, but trust me. 

I had met 'R' shortly before my dad died, but didn't pay him much attention.  He was just a face in the crowd.  The night my dad died, he stepped out of that crowd and promised me the world.  I had no plans of dating him or other future plans.  In fact, I had no future plans of living so I just started hanging around him. He kept money on the bar and that is what I wanted at the time. Pathetic? Yep. Wrong? Yep.  But its what happened.

Days led to weeks and weeks led to months.  I was miserable...too depressed to even carry out my plan of my own suicide...I couldn't see living without my dad and had plans to eventually follow his lead.  But I just kept putting it off and kept drinking.  Not the wisest choices.

Fast forward from March '01 to September '02.  Somehow, seeming like a blink of an eye, it was the morning of my wedding.  I remember walking down the aisle thinking "What.on.earth.am.I.doing? How did I get here?"  I just didn't see anyway out.

That morning 'R' had screamed at me over wedding pictures. It was over the phone, so no one heard, and I just sweetly smiled during the conversation. I had already learned how to fake a smile.

At the altar I couldn't even look him in the eyes.  I was scanning the crowd around the gazebo in the park, looking for someone I could escape to.  No one was there.  

Once Riley was born things actually were good for awhile.  The first year was great.  I was surprised and happy.  I thought there was a slight chance we might actually make it as a family.

Then came babies 2 and 3 and I think it was just too much for him to handle.  He was not capable of faking being a good husband and father with three little ones.  He eventually started back into drugs.  Started with pills, then cocaine, and who knows what else.

From there most of you know the rest of the story.

I'm writing this post with the intent of  begging young girls (and guys) to be so very careful who you date or associate with.

I realize that my story had so many complications and issues that most of you won't face. 

But if you can't see them with you, at 80, sitting on your front porch swing holding your hand, then don't date them.

I hope this saves a thousand girls' from abusive relationships.  And if you are already in one, you CAN get out.  You can escape, you can survive without them, you can defeat their chains of abuse, and you will rise above it.  You don't need to be strong, because God will be strong for you. Just be safe.  I know that fear all too well.  

Tomorrow as I sit in divorce court, breaking that final chain off, I won't mourn my choices anymore.  I will embrace them.  Instead of hating myself for it, I will choose to tell others about it, warn young girls about how the choices they make as teens will affect them as adults.

I'll close with one thing....pray, pray, pray about who you are to be with.  Even before that first date.  God made you and God made them.  He knows you better than you do and He knows them better than they (or you:o) do.  He knows what you need and He knows what they need. 

I knew I was going against God when I married Randy and I paid the price.  I'm just thankful God is willing to help me pick up the pieces and create beauty out of ashes.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Something interesting to consider...

I heard this thought today:

"While God is capable to perform any miracle He chooses, sometimes He needs someone to give just a little."

Like the little boy who gave a little lunch of loaves and fishes.

Maybe if we all started giving just a little, the doors for more miracles could be opened.

I fight the battle of "if its not big, its not worth giving." 

I needed to hear this today.

All I need to do is to brighten the corner where I was placed.  

Sometimes God only needs us to give just a little so He can make it big and we won't doubt where it came from.

Just something to consider...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

She's That Kind of Friend


She’s that kind of friend that you know, without ever doubting, that is a direct gift from God. 

The kind of friend who will sit with you and pray with you while you both cry. 

The kind of friend who is your kindred spirit.

She’s the kind of friend where you think of her every.single.day but don’t get to spend much time with. 

Because both of you are fighting the same battles:

Single mom

Children

Working

College

Life
*******
But she’s that friend you can call, day or night, who will always understand.
*******
Today is that friend’s birthday. 

I wish I could get her:

A deed to a huge home
A maid to take care of it for her.

A personal caretaker

To make sure she takes care of herself
 
And who pampers her.
I want to give her:

More hours in the day.

Strength to get through her day.

But all I can give her is my friendship.

And many prayers.
******
I’ll back track to the beginning. 

In April, of 2010, I was having an extremely difficult time with life. 

Not going to get into it, but I was pretty close to either giving up or running away.

It was bad.

One evening, I really needed out of the house.  I took the children to a park.  One where I knew I could sit and read my Bible while the kids played.  
Now I know that God wanted me at that park, that night, at that time.
I was sitting on a bench, crying, and reading Philippians.  I looked over and saw a beautiful woman pushing her child on the swings.  It was as though a magnet pulled me to her.  My face was still tear stained and I wasn’t exactly in the right place emotionally to meet people.  I started to turn away and I heard God say “She has something for you. And you have something for her.” 

Little did I know how big that would one day become. 

I still think I have only tasted a glimpse of how deep that statement will someday mean.

I walked over to the swings and sat down.  I started with small talk, which was most likely ridiculous. 

She asked me about my faith and my beliefs.  She told me bits and pieces of her story and how she had become a Christian a few years back and how much she was enjoying growing in her faith.  We had so many of the same thoughts and convictions.  She asked me where I was reading in Scripture and I started to share with her what I had read, and why it meant so much.  I opened up and shared that things were really, really tough.

We exchanged numbers and that night she came over and we spent time visiting. We both agreed this was a bit odd, for her to just come over that night, but it seemed that God really was pushing us to form a deep friendship.  Soon it became our habit to meet once a week and pray together.  I miss those nights and those moments.  She became an anchor in my life and carried me through some really tough times.

Unfortunately life is rough.  And some hard, difficult and painful things have come into her life.  I haven’t been the anchor that she was for me.  I haven’t been there physically, I don’t make as many phone calls I should make, and I don’t do enough for her.  But I hope she knows that I am there, anytime at any moment and would drop and run to her.  I can give her compassion and understanding when others may not fully understand.  I can give her my friendship and my love.

This friend of mine is amazing.  I’m not going to disclose her pain and her trials. Trust that she has triumphed over so much. And she always gives the glory to God.  Please, please pray for this strong woman.  God knows her by name; He knows her struggles, disappointments and fears.  He knows her needs.   Please pray that she can remain physically and emotionally strong; to work, and go to school, and take care of her incredible children.  Being a single mom is absolutely physically and emotionally draining, in ways that others will never understand.

It’s her birthday today.  I want to hand her all her hopes and dreams on a silver platter.  I want to wipe away all the tears she has shed and the tears of her children.

 But I’m not the one who can do that. 

Instead, I’m giving her prayers.  And asking you to give her yours as well.

Happy Birthday, Nina!  I love you with all my heart. You continue to amaze me with your courage and your strength.  We both had no idea that spring evening all those years ago what God meant when He told me
She has something for you. And you have something for her.”  
And I think that we are just starting to see God’s plan for our friendship!    

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

One more paper for him to sign...

I wasn't planning on writing about this certain predicament I am in. 

But I'm going to.  Only because I seriously and most desperately need your prayers.

As you all know, the children and I are in the process of changing our last names back to my maiden name.  Everything has gone smoothly and actually faster than first anticipated.

Then the lawyer emailed me and said that if Randy shows up to court (on the 30th) and signs acknowledgement that the children's names will be changed, then we don't need that second hearing.  If he doesn't show up (or if he shows up and fights the change) then we will have the second hearing to prove that it is in the best interest of the children to change it.

I'm not worried about proving its right and good for the children.  Their dad has not attempted to see them in over 18 months. 

What I would like to avoid is the extra cost it will take to have that second hearing.  And not just monetary.  The stress and anxiety in my life is at its max and can't go much higher.

Also, I would be free to move once the hearing is completed.  I would love to let the children finish the semester here, with a sense of closure.  Then start up after taking a week off for settling in.  I would also be on a school break at that time.

However, if there is a second hearing required, it will put me further into January and yet another month would be wasted.

Randy was served papers, but has not acknowledged them.  Therefore, this first hearing will be considered uncontested (for my name change). 

About 2 weeks ago, I decided to mail him a personal letter.  I don't have his phone number (he changed it so I couldn't contact him) so I could only mail him a quick note requesting he see my attorney for papers to sign.

Of course he didn't contact the lawyer to go in and sign.

This morning I sent another letter, asking him to see my lawyer or at least show up to court. 

I'm sure it sounds ridiculous to do that, but I needed to at least attempt.

I've been praying and begging God to turn Randy's heart and have him sign the papers. 

But I feel so alone and isolated in these prayers. 

That is why I am asking you to pray.  Pray that Randy will either go sign the papers before the court (ideal so I don't have to see him face to face in court) or that he will show up on the 30th and be agreeable.

This may be personal and maybe too open; but I have been witness to so many miracles that were fruits of your prayers. 

So I'm asking again.

Please pray that Randy will sign these papers. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Where's my toaster?

It took a week, but I found my way out from behind all the boxes.

 (For those of you who were worried that I was stuck in a box, locked in my storage unit, or just simply fell off the moving truck...I know...I haven't posted in awhile).

We moved on a Thursday night and it went late, late, late into the night.  So much physical work and so much emotions from that night still linger.  I have much to write about, memories I want to preserve, but I am still pondering over it. 

Anyhow, once I had all my boxes and furniture moved into the apartment, I realized we had a problem.  I had a ton of work to do.

Friday night my mom kept my kiddos and my friend, Diane, came over to help.  I decided it would be fun to grill steaks and have baked potatoes.  After they were done cooking, I realized we had a problem.  All I had was paper plates, and steak on a paper plate just doesn't work.  (I am keeping my dinner plates packed).  I thought for a minute and then improvised.  Glass casserole dishes would work.  And it did.  I just wish I had a picture of it.

I was planning on unpacking most of what I kept out of storage, but after all that packing and moving I decided to re-evaluate the situation and make a new plan.  I'm using the next few months to repack for the big move; taking the time to really organize better. 

10 days of living in a much smaller place has proved to be great.  In all honesty, I was concerned how it would go.  This apartment is very nice, just very small for a mom and three active kiddos. ;o)  But it is working.  In ways I couldn't have imagined.  I came here with the attitude of  "its just a few months" to change it to "I love it here. I can totally make this work and be fun." 

The biggest problem (and not highly tragic) was that I lost my toaster. 

It wasn't the lost toaster that concerned me as much as the concern of my lost mind.

When I left N. Second St. the kitchen was totally empty. 

And I went through every single box, repacking some for storage.

This morning (after 10 days) I finally decided that I would go to a thrift store and spend $1 rather than tear apart my entire storage unit. 

Mentioning this to the friend who helped me unpack my kitchen, she said "I think you put it in your cupboard above the stove."

Sure enough, I get home and there it was. 

Now I'm even more concerned. 

Where did I pack my brain?


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Help! Can you see me? I'm right here...behind this box!

Quick update:

There are boxes.

All over my house.

Everywhere.

But that's great! 

Move out date is in 2 days.

I look around

and panic.

So much to do.

Then I think what all is completed.

And everyone who is scheduled to help.

And I relax.

'Cause I know I'll be fine.

Then I think.

In a few months

(after this legal junk)

I'll be moving again.

But. I'll be moving home.

And that brings new butterflies.

Not of anxiety.

But of excitement.

I've waited almost 20 years for this to happen.

And it finally is.

God is so amazingly.wonderfully.awesomely.good.

Now if I could just find my way out from behind these boxes :-)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Your prayers did this:

Your prayers did this:
 
 
 
 
The house 'closed' today.  I came home for a quick lunch break and found the 'Sale Pending' sign had been changed to 'SOLD'.
 
Wonderfully exciting and yet a twinge of sadness.
 
I've been ready for this moment for two years, yet I was shocked when I saw it. 
 
I'm ready for this.  It's what I've been hoping and praying for.  But the feelings of 'this isn't my home anymore' are hard to comprehend.
 
I'm packing like crazy (have to be out in a week + two days).
 

My mind is reeling with trying to process my feelings.  I am super excited for this...like 'five year old child on Christmas morning' excited. 

But I'm nervous. 

I'm getting ready to take a huge leap of faith and am trusting that God's arms are big enough to catch us.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

This is as political as I get

I’m going to jump on the bandwagon of politics. 

Just for a minute.  This is as political as I’ll get here.  
Bear with me.

America is a wonderful place to live, full of freedoms and riches beyond measure; but what frightens me is the direction we are headed.
Anyhow.

Tonight I was reading our nightly reading of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s ‘Little House Series’ to the children.  In book seven, Little Town on the Prairie, there is a chapter called ‘Fourth of July’.
When I was reading I had to stop for a moment to process what was written.

Laura hit the nail on the head.
(This excerpt comes after the reading of the Declaration of Independence in her small town the morning of the 4th.)

No one cheered.  It was more like a moment to say, “Amen.” But no one knew what to do.
Then Pa began to sing. All at once everyone was singing:

“My country, ‘tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing…
“Long may our land be bright
With Freedom’s holy light
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King!

The crowd was scattering away then, but Laura stood stock still. Suddenly she had a completely new thought. The Declaration and the song came together in her mind, and she thought: God is America’s king.
She thought: Americans won’t obey any king on earth. Americans are free. That means they have to obey their own consciences. No king bosses Pa; he has to boss himself.  Why (she thought), when I am a little older, Pa and Ma will stop telling me what to do and there isn’t anyone else who has a right to give me orders.  I will have to make myself be good.

Her whole mind seemed to be lighted up by that thought.  This is what it means to be free. It means you have to be good. “Our father’s God, author of liberty—“The laws of Nature and of Nature’s God endow you with a right to life and liberty. Then you have to keep the laws of God, for God’s law is the only thing that gives you a right to be free.

Do we think of God as our King?  Whether we are American, whether we vote or how we vote; do we think of God as the author of our liberty and the One who gives us true freedom?  Most importantly, the freedom from our sin.  Or if this is being read in another country, where freedoms are not common like in America, know that through God, He can set you free. 

Through this election season, just pray for the leader that God, our King, chooses to put in. 
Even if it isn’t who you would have picked!!
I’ll get off my political soapbox now.