My Happily Ever After

I’ve known my husband since I was eleven years old and he was twelve, that’s how it is in a small town.  My family ran onto some hard times and had to move to the po’ side o’ town.  That’s the poor side of town for those who aren’t from there.  You’ve heard the joke…..we were so po we couldn’t afford the ‘or’.  Jason lived 2 blocks away to the right.  We did not have a love at first sight experience.  Actually, he was crushing on my sister instead and would bring her roses he’d stolen from somebody’s flowerbed.  They were outside sitting on the porch and I could be found next door watching Golden Girls and Cagney and Lacey with my Grannie, not giving two thoughts to boys.

We went to Middle School and High School together where he was a year older than me.  We hung out in different crowds, but said hello in passing.

I was in my early adulthood when I figured out that I knew everyone in both the police record and the wedding announcements.  Small town stuff.  Early adulthood is when society dictates that you should get married.  I wasn’t married, nor was I anywhere close.  There’s a sort of panic that sets in when you figure out that you aren’t on the same time frame as the rest of the world.

Being a single girl in a small town is not an easy thing to do.  Up until I found and married Jason, I was constantly being asked who I was dating, why wasn’t I dating, or someone was trying to fix me up.  Eventually the well meaning townsfolk decided I was probably a lesbian and left me alone.

One day in 1998 I went to the grocery store to buy Fruity Pebbles and Ramen Noodles, staples in my single-girl diet.  As I was walking out, a girl I knew stopped me in the parking lot and told me someone’s truck had just rolled into my car.   In small towns everyone knows what everyone else drives.  I rolled my eyes and groaned. This turned out to be my third wreck in a parking lot!  In my experience, you’re pretty much out of luck.  The police won’t do much because it’s considered private property.  You just have to hope the other guy has insurance and is a respectable dude who will take care of it.  When I got into eye shot, I saw this empty, avocado green,  beat up Ford pickup had knocked out of gear and rolled about fifty feet before slamming his taillights into my headlights.

It belonged to Jason.  I knew that the minute I saw it.  Small town stuff.  Neither of us were in our vehicles at the time.  It was almost as if  this old, green, beat up Ford truck  saw this fancy, new, bluish purple Mustang and said, “Hey there, wild thang with the 4 cylinder.   I think you need a better look at my rear end.”   I leaned against the side of my car and waited for him to meander out of the store.  He was all apologies, promised he’d take care of it.  And he did.  He called me up and asked me to take it to a certain body shop, the car got fixed and life went on.  And that was that.

For five more years.
Dates with crazies came and went.
Then I became a recluse.
I would never go out. People would tell me I needed to be out meeting people. But I had met people, and they turned out to be daddy’s boys or killer cops and I’d rather stay home and watch Survivor alone. If somebody wanted to date me, they were going to have to knock on my door. And that was that.

Then one day I came home from work to find Jason’s name on my caller ID.  That was curious, but I assumed it was a wrong number.  He called back two days later and asked me out.  We talked for three hours.    I was teaching school and a parent of one of my students, that happened to be a friend of his, had suggested he ask me out.  He remarked that I was too sweet for him, which is true.  But a few days later, we passed each other on the main road in town and waved, and prompted him to call.  I’d had my experiences with cowboys, not to mention their dads, and didn’t figure it would go anywhere, but I agreed.  Eating Ramen Noodles was getting pretty old by this time.

It worked out pretty good.
He wore a yellow shirt.
I ordered chicken.

We had a second date.
He took me horseback riding.

I needed a boost on the butt.

He happily obliged.
I was petrified.

We had a third date.
At a comedy club.
His truck started breaking down on the way home.

A few months later he proposed to me on bended knee.
We got married.
He still has to give me a boost on the butt.
A much bigger boost on a much larger butt.

Sometimes, when I get nostalgic, I’ll think about the wreck we had in the parking lot both in unmanned vehicles.  I learned later that of course that po’ boy didn’t have any car insurance  but knew a guy who could fix my car.  They did a little bartering and Jason broke a horse for the body shop man in exchange for payment. Small town stuff.

It’s a funny story I guess.  Maybe even a coincidence.

Perhaps it was Fate.
Or Destiny.
Or the cosmos aligning perfectly with Mercury in the Sixth House.

But if you really want to know the truth, I believe it was God.
I believe that he intended for that collision of two unmanned vehicles to be the beginning of Jason and Angel.  A collision of love.
And we just weren’t listening.

That was a move on His part to create His will for two dumb pilgrims down here, and we missed it.  So he went to Plan B.    He works around our goofs.
Because He’s cool like that.

This entry is #15 on a list of 30 things.  How I fell in love.

Lions, Tigers, and Bears, Oh my!

Snakes, spiders, tornadoes, heights, death, the dark, the number 13.

The fear of colors, the fear of music, the fear of wrinkles, even the fear of the belly button.

Fear, fear, fear.  Dear, dear, dear.  There are so many things to fear.

My mother is a fearless woman.  She taught us not to fear by not being afraid herself.  Her sister on the other hand, whistles when she’s in the dark.  My dad was a mighty fearless guy but  got the heck out of dodge if there was a snake around.  I’ve been told of my uncle who was so afraid to sleep outdoors one night that he kept a firm grip on a knife while in his bedroll, only to roll over and stab himself in the gut.  We all know the types:  the fearless or the afraid of their own shadow kind.

Franklin Roosevelt told us there is nothing to fear, but fear itself.  But really?  The world is full of rapists, ax murderers, and scientists attempting to recreate the dinosaurs.  I’d say there’s plenty to fear.

I am a “what if” person.  I wish I wasn’t, but something crazy will come into my head, and before I can stop myself, a whole scenario has played out.  What if I received a call that my husband had died.  What if I contracted mad cow disease.  What if Sara Lee stopped making pound cake.

My former boss once told me I had an “adversarial relationship with the fates.”

In other words, If I can imagine it, then by just imagining it will stop it from happening.  I think she nailed it.  I also think by imagining things, we can  overcome our fears.  To say I have no fears would be crazy, I have a few, but I certainly don’t dwell on them, that would be crazy.

I  do have a real fear of snakes.  At least I did.   I don’t like them.  I don’t want to watch them on the Discovery Channel striking at the camera, I don’t really mind them if they’re in a cage at the zoo, but I certainly don’t want to coil one around my arm and I definitely don’t want to be bitten.  My first real encounter with a snake was traumatic.  We lived in our little trailer house on the prairie, it was spring, and there was a snake in my dirt driveway.  I was panic-stricken.  Because it was spring, it hadn’t shaken all the cold out of it’s belly yet, and was moving slowly.  I didn’t know what to do.  Panic overtook me.  My thoughts raced.  I paced the drive.  I called my husband.  I stewed.  I fretted. Knowing I couldn’t rest until something was done, I built up the courage of David the little shepherd boy and with a shovel, I whacked that baby snake to death.  Yes, I said baby snake.  Baby bull snake at that.  Not even a danger to me.  It didn’t go as I thought.  Instead of one good whack and a lost head resulting, my shovel bounced off that snake like a game of wall ball.  I had to remove myself from within myself, and go all ax murderish on that bad boy.  I became one with an ax murderer.   It was not pleasant, but I knew I could do it.

Afterwards, my fear and the reoccurrence of snakes in the driveway and front yard caused me to learn to differentiate between good snakes and poisonous snakes. I googled pictures, I read articles, I researched what to do in case of a poisonous bite.  I learned to ignore the good snakes.   Eventually to overcome my fear, I had to play out the entire scenario of being bitten by a rattlesnake, if I were 3 miles from home on a walk, 10 miles from a hospital, without my cell phone, pushing my baby in a stroller.  I envisioned it all.  Would I run and risk the venom cursing faster through my bloodstream, would I slowly walk to preserve my life.  What if I passed out on a dirt road and nobody came by for one hour, 3 hours, 12 days?  What would become of my baby?  It sounds crazy, but if I imagine the worse case, then it’s not as frightening and I face it.

Right up there with fear of snakes is my fear of water and my fear of illness. I don’t like the deep water.  I think the ocean is a beautiful, miraculous, intriguing place, but I would be scared to death to be in it.  Give me a kiddie pool please and I’ll use my imagination.  I also fear a long, drawn out illness befalling me.  I fear losing my health.  I don’t want to be remembered as someone who was strong through the suffering.

Most mothers fear something might happen to their children, but I don’t allow myself to go there.   I won’t allow myself to play out the possibilities.  They are too vast and not to be toyed with.

There’s a fine line really.  We can’t live in fear, yet we can’t be so fearless that we become foolish.

A person can drive themselves crazy with fear.  When I have the kind of experience when I’m afraid to be home alone at night and begin imagining all the episodes I’ve seen on America’s Most Wanted happening to me, I hold tight to the promise of God who says to Fear Not for He is with me.

 Sidenote:  Did you know, 365 times the Bible tells us not to fear.  One for every day of the year.  The most frequent Biblical command.  So, yeah, stop fearing!

Sidenote #2:  I’m not afraid of belly buttons, but I’m afraid of not being able to find mine real soon.

This is # 2 on a list of 30 things.  list 3 legitimate fears.

Ending My Writing Drought

It’s just a common old ice box.  Fridge on bottom, freezer on top, almond in color.  It came with the house.  Unlike other women folk who show pride in their appliances, notably the cleanliness of it, the outside of my fridge looks much like the inside.  And if you’ve been reading here long enough, you are witness to the fact that my icebox could easily appear on an episode of What Not to Eat.  And if you haven’t been reading here long, enter at your own risk.

It will not come as a big surprise to discover inspirational quotes, scriptures, and hand print art decorating the outside doors of the fridge, held in place by various magnets either given to me or picked up for free throughout the years.  There is Ashlynn’s Algebra papers with A’s stacked on top of Emma’s immunization records affixed in place with a #1 Teacher magnet.  There is a Christmas card photo halfway covered by a magnet boldly displaying Poison Control’s 1-800 number which fortunately I have yet to call since I know from previous experience that eating rat squares didn’t kill my niece Zoie, so until somebody eats at least two, I won’t worry.

A fortune from 3 years ago announcing I will inherit a large sum of money is stuck randomly next to a postcard size depiction of Jesus in a white robe and open arms that my mom brought with her on her last visit.   You can always count on your mom to worry about your soul.  Don’t worry, my soul is safe.

And hidden behind all of this is a torn piece of notebook paper from a spiral notebook.  On that paper I have scribbled 30 things that I was going to blog about.  I attached to the fridge so I would see it often and  I wouldn’t forget to blog about these particular 30 things.  Anyone else see the irony?

It’s really not that I forgot.  Okay, sometimes I did.  But also, it’s  hard.  These topics may leave me vulnerable, they force me to think, and think hard, and quite frankly some are just dull.  But I said I would, and so I will.  Starting tomorrow.

My blog is currently under a dry spell, and this is my effort to bring some life back to it.

Not to mention afterwards I can throw away the list on my fridge and replace it with a scribbled color page with coffee stains.

What about you?  What’s the oddest thing on your fridge?

And by the way, this gem right here is my 500th blog post.  Here’s to 500 more.  Cheers.

List 10 things you would tell your 16 year-old self, if you could

This is question number 4 on my list of 30 things my kids should know about me.

What 10 things would I tell my 16 year old self.  Oh my.   I wish I could visit her.  Deep down I think she was sweet, but she was flirting much too often with rebellion, sowing wild oats, trying desperately to figure out her place in the world in which she lived and using way too much hairspray.


I would sit her down if I could and somehow I would snap her out of her “I know all” attitude, and the idea that grown ups were dopes and I would tell her a thing or two.  1.  Starting off I’d tell her that doing bad things doesn’t make you look cool.  That smoking cigarettes, drinking, drugs, going to parties, breaking curfew, sneaking out, and hooking up with boys is not the way to make friends.  People don’t think good of you, and if they do, they’re not the people to be hanging around with.  Instead, it actually tarnishes you, steals from you, and makes you not like yourself either.  The people you are associating with now, you won’t be associating with in 10, 20 years, so stop trying to impress them.  Instead find a hobby.  Pick up a camera and capture the world and people around you, write a story—you have a beautiful imagination, do a good deed for your grandmother without her having to ask you.  That is what is cool.

2.  Then I’d let her know that she doesn’t know a thimbleful of what she thinks she does.  And the idea of needing to be pretty is from the world, which just so happens to have it all wrong.  But that the word of God says beauty fades and charm is deceiving but a woman who fears the Lord, she is to be praised, the Bible also says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom.  So love the Lord, and gain wisdom for it is not  fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful.   No, your beauty should come from within you — the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that will never be destroyed and is very precious to God.  Work on that instead.  How awesome would it be instead of having “you’re so pretty, to a gorgeous girl, stay cool” written in your yearbook, what if instead it said, “you have a beautiful spirit, I appreciate your gentle soul”.

3.  Along with the world having it all wrong about how we look on the outside, don’t let society pressure you into the status quo.  In a couple of years, you’ll be reading the Lifestyle section of the local paper, and you’ll notice that your classmates will all be getting married, or so it will seem.  Then they will start families, and you’ll read the birth announcements.  You’ll feel jealousy.  You’ll feel disappointment.  And it doesn’t come from inside you, but only because you think that’s what the world expects from you:  to get married and have children.  But you are not in a competition with anyone.  This isn’t a race to see who can get married and have babies fastest.  Go at your own pace.  Don’t feel pressure to do what every other girl you’re age is doing.  Because, you know what?  A lot of those marriages won’t last, and so settle down about that and discover who you are and what you love to do, not who you need to be with.

4.  And while you’re out looking for a life mate, stay away from the bad boys.  I know you have a tendency to be attracted to them, but it’s merely physical.  Remember beauty fades, and charm is deceiving.  See those nerdy, geeky guys?  The ones you’ve rejected?  The ones you think aren’t “cool”?  Well, Angel baby they have their heads screwed on straight.  Find yourself a Jesus follower too.  Someone who will love you and be devoted to you in the way that Jesus loves you.  The long hair and tattoos may appeal to you now, but don’t be a fool for the long run.  Look past the outward appearance and look to the heart.  This will save you much heartbreak.

5.  You haven’t been many places away from your hometown and your daddy’s hometown.  But know this….there is a great big world out there.  Yes, it’s good to be close to family, but go explore the world while you’re young and able.  There are people to meet, cultures to experience, food to try, places to see.  Go do it.  Don’t think you need to be tied down to your hometown.  You can rise above your circumstances.  You can do all things with Christ.

6.  But while you’re out there seeing the world, don’t forget to appreciate the people in your life.  Spend time with your parents.  This time will pass quickly, and they really are remarkable people you’ll learn someday.  Write down your grandmother’s stories.  Write down your parents’ stories.  Write down your own stories.  I know you think you are young and you won’t forget, but you will.  Have your picture made with you parents and your grandmothers, your brothers and your sister.  Get to know them.  They are the ones who love you the most.  They are the ones who will help you when you need it.  They are who will support you in your dreams.  Tell them you love them, and it wouldn’t hurt to tell them thanks as well.

7.  Quit mooching and learn to do things for yourself.  You know, like your laundry!  And make your own bed!  Fix your own breakfast, stuff like that.  You aren’t a princess and you’re going to need to know how to do that kind of stuff very soon.  Quit taking advantage of other’s kindness.  Learn how to clean house.  Learn how to cook good food.  Spend some time in the kitchen, cook for others, make your grandmother’s bed instead of the other way around.  Ask people to show you things, learn from them, then you will have confidence in your abilities.   Learn from your elders and treat them right.  They know much more than you.

8.  Right now, Angel, you are young, you are pretty, you are resilient, and flexible, but you won’t always be young forever.  It will happen….your body will age.  Your knees will hurt, your joints will ache, your hair will gray, you’re going to get a real severe wrinkle right between your eyes from frowning so often.  So take care of your body while you still can and smile!  You only get one body, and it needs to last.  Treat it right.  Only put good things into it.  Give it rest, but work it hard so it doesn’t grow lazy.  Find a balance, strive to be healthy.

9.  It’s always good to have a nest egg.  Save money.  But don’t be greedy.  Again, find a balance.  No, that’s the world talking.  On second thought, be more generous.  You’re too stingy as it is.  If you see someone in need, help them.  You’ll reap what you sow.  It’s better to give than receive.  You’ll probably never be rich in wealth, but you’ll have what you need.  And it’s just money anyway.

10.  There will be hard times in your life.  At the time, you will think they are terrible times.  But you will look back on them years down the road, and they won’t seem so hard anymore.  Time passes quickly sister, so do good in the world.  Don’t be self-centered.  Don’t always think of yourself, how you can get ahead, how situations are going to affect you.   It’s hard not to, but truth is, it’s not about you.  The world doesn’t revolve around you.  Look around, see others, see their hardships, see their pain,  love them and I mean really love them…. with actions, not merely words.  Put others before yourself.  You won’t be a door mat if you do, you’ll be Christ-like and by doing so, you’ll not only bring Glory to God, but you’ll bring others to God through your actions.  For these three remain, faith,hope, and love and the greatest of these is love.

It’s a sweet life you live, Angel.  You have great rewards ahead of you, just you wait and see.  Enjoy it.  It’s much too short not to.

My 10 pet peeves

I’m whittling away a list of 30 things to blog about.   This is a list of pet peeves.

According to Wikipedia:

Pet peeves often involve specific behaviors of someone close, such as a spouse or significant other.  These behaviors may involve disrespect, manners, personal hygiene, relationships, and family issues.

A key aspect of a pet peeve is that it may well seem acceptable to others. For example, a supervisor may have a pet peeve about people leaving the lid on the copier up and react angrily, be annoyed when others interrupt when speaking, or by messy desks of their subordinates.   That same supervisor may witness employees coming into work late, and not feel any annoyance whatsoever.

I’m not sure if I have 10 pet peeves although I’m going to do my best to give it a go.

#1.  Not using correct grammar when writing your, you’re, to, two, too, there, their, they’re.  My goodness, may I be careful to proofread from now on.  They’re will probably be at least to mistakes in this post that your going to notice.

#2.  When talking to someone on the phone and they begin to talk to someone in the room with them.  Either talk to me, or to the other person in the room, but not both of us at the same time.  I get confused.  “Are you talking to me?”  “No, I’m talking to my son.”  If it’s that important to talk to them, hang up and call me back.

#3.  Not giving me personal space.  I am not touchy-feely.  I don’t want to sit up against someone on the couch and I really hate when someone sits on the arm of the chair that I’m sitting in.  Hugging if you’re not going to see me for a while is acceptable, kissing is reserved for only a select few, and only then if I’m in a good mood.  Maybe you’re wondering how I ever had EK.  My husband wonders the same thing every day.

#4.  Leaving the lid off the milk and putting it back in the fridge.   It’s not hard to snap the lid back on.  It usually takes one motion.

#5.  Hair in the tub.  *gag*   The bad thing is, if there is hair in the tub, *gag* it’s usually my own.  *gag*  I’m such a shedder.  But it’s terrible when it’s someone else’s hair *gag* or in the sink *gag* or especially while I’m doing dishes *gag*

#6.  Noises.  Okay, this really is probably my number one pet peeve.  I am terribly annoyed by repetitive, unnecessary noises (except the clicking of a keyboard which is happening now).  Which is bad considering my former career choice as an elementary teacher.  But things like drumming fingernails, rolling a pencil across a desk continuously,  clearing your throat over and over, or smacking gum makes me want to hurt someone.  Badly.  Also, I married a drummer.  He’s constantly drumming on things so I just imagine myself hurting him and watch the clock.

#7.   Unruly pets that jump in your lap when they were not invited.  Refer to  pet peeve #3.

#8.  Channel surfing really gets on my nerves too.   Just find something to watch, already.   Same goes with radio stations.  I’d rather hear the annoying commercial jingle than the blep, blop, blip, blog, glog, glop, glip of the channels or stations being changed.

#9.  Loud yawns.  Does that make you feel less tired to let out that loud noise?

#10.  Leaving the keys to ding in the ignition or that crazy beeping when you aren’t wearing your seatbelt.   Please just close the door, remove the keys or buckle up.

So, that’s a few of my pet peeves, four which involve noises.  These are subject to change of course as my daughter grows bigger and draws my attention to others or as  I grow older and more cratchety, which is closer than you think.  I try to be patient with others, but it’s not always easy.  And I’m sure as I publish this post and go about the rest of my day, I’ll find fifteen more that I forgot to mention.

What about you?  What’s your #1 pet peeve?