What is Thanksgiving?

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Lets be honest. Nobody really celebrates the real meaning of Thanksgiving. You know, the pigrims, the hats, the journey to America things. We just don’t. We celebrate family. Days off. Shopping. Having jobs. You know, we celebrate what we like.

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But what about the holidays has made it so tough for those of us who have lost? I read on a former teacher’s Facebook page the other day that “grief is what happens when you still have love for someone and nowhere else for it to go.” it’s like your heart is bubbling over for someone and there’s no where to put the goop that runs over. And it feels so true.

I feel like there is a giant hole. There is. Having lost my step dad this year has been so odd. There are times that i don’t really.. remember or think about it and that kills me when i finally say, “Guess that CAN’T happen.” Today, driving to my dad’s house, about 8 minutes from arrival my eyes welled up. The kids were all laughing and having fun in the car. my husband was talking to me. and it just hit me. I thought i was going to lose it and i just wasn’t ready to walk in and sob. But i pulled myself together and just said out loud, ” i don’t really want to cry today.” Too bad.

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I wanted to walk in and see my dear old marvin sitting in the corner seat of my dad’s purple couch, one leg tucked under his arm. Probably in a t shirt and sweat pants or a t shirt and jeans. very casual. A warm, “Hi, sweetie” would have followed as we walked in. I miss his black hair. I miss his funny moustache. I miss teasing him about what ethnicity he was because he ALWAYS said he wasn’t mexican but there is no way he wasn’t. I miss how casual he was. I miss his laugh and his smile. I miss the way he teased my dad. And i miss him a whole lot today.

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What is thanksgiving if your family has a hole in it? Is it a day where everyone tip toes around, trying not to bring up the sad reality we all know? Is it a day where we openly weep? Where we save a spot for dear old marvin and hope that somehow, his joyful heart will have a presence there? What is it?

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Sometimes it’s hard to see through the tough times and find joy. Today i’m struggling. And i’m sorry.
I have a brand new, amazing home, which is bigger than what we need and has more land than we’ve ever even dreamed of. My husband is hunting on it right now. We have two running vehicles and each have jobs. Our kids are safe, with their mom. We have love. We have good relationships. All our parents are alive and so are our siblings. We’re all relatively healthy. Our cupboards are FULL and the heat is on. I can turn the lights on (But am currently sitting by candlelight). I have happy puppies and both have a good bill of health, finally. How can I not be grateful? How can I not be full?

We were almost home and we saw a homeless man standing in shorts on the side of the road. It’s not even 40 degrees out and there is a good amount of sharp wind. It’s thanksgiving and he’s outside, begging for help. Now, i am NOT one to pass my dollars to every homeless guy i see. by no means. but he pulled at my heart strings. where are his pants? why did i empty the clothes out of the back seat, he could use that shirt i don’t want! i have a blanket, stop the car and let me get out to give it to him “calm down.” I ask my husband for all his cash and we give this man $20 and find out he’s got a friend he’s staying with. his mom had a heart attack and they lost the house shortly after. We told him to be safe. happy thanksgiving. and he told us God bless you. we pulled away and i sobbed.

my mom doesn’t own her own car. she doesn’t have a home. she’s living out of her work vehicle and drives a taxi for a living. she’s been homeless for two years and i haven’t seen her in a long time. my heart is just broken today.

i’m so sad that i’m not full of joy and thanksgiving today, and i don’t know how to share this but in here.

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Thanksgiving isn’t the same when your family isn’t near by.

It’s not the same when you blog, alone at your kitchen table.

I miss my mom and i miss my marvin.

i am so grateful for the things i mentioned a minute ago. we had a nice dinner last night and breakfast today. i saw my family and our kids. and i am so grateful for them. today i am just very, incredibly sad.

 

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[changes are coming]

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Monday has come and gone so quickly. I worked my way through lunch and left an hour and a half early to go to the closing on house #1. We met the buyers- they’re SO excited. It’s such a weird feeling because we are so ready to be done with that house. The mildew smell in the bedrooms, even after we ran a dehumidifier and my Prince crawled under the house to put visqueen around the edges of the house, to keep moisture out.
The lack of closets.
The dank smell it gets after having windows shut for one day.
Not having a kitchen table
The bathroom fan that doesn’t work well enough for our hot showers.
The pergo floors that slide from one side to another
Using the back door as the front door (I HATE THAT).

We’re so done. We’ve invested so much time and energy into getting that house ready to sell and when we sat in the realtor’s office waiting to sign, it was just an odd feeling to know that we have moved on from it and there are so many parts that I just hate about the house.. that this couple is incredibly excited about. They probably love that it is tiny quaint. I never have and I never will.

And after about forty minutes, we left with a check in our hands and giant smiles. It’s over. One house down.
We only own one house right now! For a few days.

We close on our new house, our farm, on Friday. We only have two nights to pack the rest of our house up and get it in the sun room, ready to go. I think we can do it. My husband is almost done with the “construction” phase of the house and if he helps me tonight, we could knock it out so quickly. Except we have kids. And they are needy. They will not help us pack, they will not help clean, they will not help with the dogs, and God forbid they have to cook something. (13 could make spaghetti or something simple). And I’m supposed to bake cookies with 9. Because he left on Sunday and was gone for 6 hours unexpectedly. Fun.

And my Prince dropped a ball on me a couple weeks ago saying we’ll get them more. And when he said it I started crying immediately.
I think i’m still overwhelmed from summer,when we had them MORE than half of the time. I am not ready for more nights with these two yet.
Yes, I love them.
No, I won’t tell my husband no.
Yes, I’m scared.
No, I won’t tell my husband no.
Yes, I’m anxious.
No, I won’t tell my husband no.
Yes, It makes me want to stay away on those nights
No, I won’t tell my husband no.

More nights. More fighting. More crying. More whining. More CLOTHES and more getting in trouble (ME) over not doing the kids’ laundry. (THEY’RE 13 AND 9 THEY CAN DO IT THEMSELVES). More angst.

I am not ready. I am not ready. I am not ready.
But the life of a step mom rule book says: You don’t have a life anymore. You have a husband and you have to do whatever you possibly can to help him see his kids more. Even if it makes you want to jump off the closest bridge.

Not because the kids are awful all the time. But because I don’t have the skills to handle them. And because I am different when they are around, as is my Prince. Life is different with kids.

I’m gonna see a counselor.

[more book reviews]

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I’m excited to say that I’ve been asked to review the She Reads Truth Bible.

It hasn’t shipped yet, I just got approved. and I. Can’t. Wait.

Genesis

As a visual learner who also needs to hear, touch, feel things before I really get it, I think this Bible is going to be amazing. I’m posting my hopes for this Bible before I even get to feel it with my own hands. Maybe you’ll get one of these first copies, too?

They’re equipped with things like devotionals- which is something that I NEED. and i can’t wait to dive in.

Who is looking forward to hearing more about it?

 

[breaking old habits]

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this is not step parent related. at all.

im an avid nail biter. like. the worst of them all.

my nails are shorter than my finger tips. my pinky nails are smaller than my 9 year olds nails.

my husband literally will grab my hands in church and hold them down if he sees me biting.
or rub my leg.
Or grab my arm
Or just scowl.
he HATES it.

and it makes him cringe.

 

so i’m on day 4 of no biting and my nails are shiny and clean and are driving me BONKERS. Lord help me.

[on teenagers]

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First off, let me just say this: I can’t deal with teenagers.

Maybe it’s because I was technically still a teenager less than a decade ago.
Maybe it’s because we seem to live on different planets.
Maybe it’s because I still have some teenager-like tendencies (queue the rolling eyes and temper tantrums that rear their head when i least expect it.)
Maybe it’s a lot of things.

I can’t deal with constant bickering and fighting. I can’t deal with being disrespected. I can’t deal with life not being good enough, while we are trying SO HARD to provide so much for them.

We are in the process of selling house 1, living in house 2 (fixing up as we stay) and purchasing house 3. My prince, 9 and I can’t wait. Prince Charming and I dream about it every single day. We smile and get giddy and I cannot hardly contain how excited I am.

13 hates it. He actually likes the house. He likes the land. He hates the thought of having to work on a farm with us. (Big surprise.)

He is a downer whenever we bring up this thing, this thing we have worked for and saved for and dreamed about and spent so much time, energy, and freaking MONEY on. And he sucks the joy out of anything we mention about it. I can’t handle being lifeless.

When we pick him up from school, his first request is to get snacks.
No. We have some at home.
Pop?
No. You’ve had enough today.
Okay, how about we order pizza (always pizza).
Well, considering dad is in the kitchen right now, sweating over our dinner. Probably not. And probably not because we ate out last night with you. So…… definitely not two nights in a row, thanks.
Can we watch this R Rated movie as a family? Or just send 9 to his room?
……..No? You’re 13? and No.
Can I call my girlfriend at 9:30pm.
……………………..no? what? no. its Wednesday. No. Do you not know what common decency is? Don’t call anyone past 9:00pm. No.

But I’m the monster.

I gave and I gave and I poured out my everything into these kids the first two years of our marriage. And before that, when we were dating. I sacrificed hours at work, sleep- when I’d wake up at 5am to come to my Prince’s house to help him get kids on the bus so HE could work. When I took on three new person’s laundry. When I became a grandma at 26. yeah, I have given a lot of me.

The only thing I hope for in return is an occasional “glad to be here” or a “love you too” when we send them off to bed or off to their mom’s for a week. Some sort of acknowledgement of my existence.

It gets hard to feel like I’m unheard.  It gets hard to feel like I am on my own.

Feel like waving my white flag.

 

 

 

[ Loop Devotional for Women]

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You Have a Helper

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26).

My daughter, there are things you know are true—things you can’t see, things you can’t touch. You read my words in pages held together, all stacked, one by one. You read the stories of my presence in my children’s lives. You read about my promises. You see the words upon the page, listen to the sound of them expressed aloud. But what do they mean to you? Am I a God you see around you? Do you breathe Me in, this day?

You hear my name in sermons, read about Me in books. You hear my name tossed around on the lips of believers and unbelievers alike. A believer? A phrase so familiar. . .What is that? What does it mean to believe in something—in Me—as it requires so much faith?

I ask you to wait and trust Me. I tell you to not fear and look for where I am . . . Yes, even in the believing in something yet to be fully seen, you can still see Me. You can still feel Me. And I want to show you where.

There is a place, deep within you, that has eyes that see what is true. My Counselor, within you, the Holy Spirit, gives light, illuminating uncertainty, eradicating doubt, pushing forth understanding to what the world, on its own, can never understand.

This world is not meant to make sense, without the eyes and ears of my Counselor within you, guiding you to see and love and act in ways that do.

You see, it is up to you—my heart within you—to make sense in this misunderstood world. It is your task to see most clearly, from the place where my Counselor resides with you. It is your task to live, to act, from that place, from the understanding I give you about loving whom I say.

You have a Guide who knows Me and shows you the way to live. And it will not align with the ways of this world.

Listen deeply now. Pull in close to hear my whispers: Practice recognizing my voice so when you hear it, you can act. And do it with confidence, hearing Me and seeing me, even yet.

Someday there will be so much more to see, to hear, to understand. But you have enough now. I give you enough to know how to live and love now.

Trust Me.

Live that life now.

Carry Me into the world.

LOOP

little houses for sale.

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While i have been away, it has been nothing less than a whirlwind.

We drove 1400 miles to see the Total Solar Eclipse in August. Our first Family Trip that was more than 2 hours away. We spent every dollar we had. But it was SO COOL. Something I can’t even explain in words, really…

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Pure magic. It’s amazing to see God’s artistry hanging in the sky. What a mighty Creator we serve.

We then kicked our tooshies into gear and spend the entire labor day weekend fixing up our house. My Prince spent a few days before that painting, priming, taping, etc. He painted the whole house in 4 days.

And put new siding on the garage
and we powerwashed the garage door and the entire house
and we cleaned up the yard (which is a HUGE task)
He put new trim throughout the entire house.
He worked in the crawl space.
He patched holes and did drywall
He did so. much. work.
I cleaned a lot of windows. Cleaned a lot of trim work. Cleaned a lot of floors. Packed a lot of boxes (that we now don’t know where they are…)

And we got a realtor over a few days later.
She put a sign in our yard on Saturday
And on MONDAY we had FOUR OFFERS.
We accepted one on Tuesday.
We await the offer we have pending on another house.

IT’S BEEN NUTS.