Tag Archives: love

The secret lives of people you thought you knew

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Do you know your friends? Really?

I thought I did. Maybe it’s because I am pretty much an open book. What you see is what you get and all that. Not that I air every piece of dirty laundry I have, or, upon meeting a new person blurt out every dark and dirty event I have ever been through, but if I have been around you for any amount of time, you’d have a pretty good idea about who I am. What I’m like.

So you can imagine my utter astonishment when the husband of one of the couples in my home group (which is a small group of people from my church who meet together once a week to study the Bible and build a deeper connection with than you might find when you go to a church like mine that has over 1500 members) anyhow – we got a call that he was in jail because he battered his wife. His wife being a woman I thought I knew pretty well. Someone I considered my friend. Shoot, I thought I knew him pretty well… he put on a really good front. And I’m pissed.

So, why am I so pissed off? Maybe it’s because I feel like I was lied to. I mean, our group has met every week for a couple of years. We have asked each other to pray for issues we’re having, opened up about hard stuff in our lives… well – some of us have. Obviously not everyone.

See, we’ve been through a lot with this family. Our kids hang out together. In fact these kids always acted like they were this happy little family when the truth is they have been hurt by and upset and disappointed with their dad pretty much their entire lives… at this point they say they never want to speak with him again, they are so tired of his manipulation and lies and hurt.

The husband has had lots of serious health issues, and we prayed and we took them meals and we kept their girls when they had to travel to hospitals out of state and our husbands drove this guy to the doctor visits out of state when the mom needed to be home with her children for special events… and never, ever, did it come up that this man was an abusive addict. We knew he had once had addiction issues… and were led to believe this was the past; dealt with. He was even a leader in our church’s addiction recovery program! Sheesh. Then he went nutso one more time and she’d finally had enough. The attack was witnessed by their kids, by two pastors who came by because one of the girls got really scared and called her youth pastor, and the arresting officers. So even though this man has denied the event (!) we all know what happened.

I don’t blame my friend for leaving her husband, even tho they’ve been married over 20 years. I don’t know why she didn’t leave him earlier, except she is this sweet Christian woman who I know was trying to do the best by her kids and I am sure in her dysfunctional way she thought if she hung in there and prayed enough she could rescue this man. I get that. What I don’t get is in all the time we’ve been friends that she never felt like she could have, at the very least, said “hey, we’re having some problems in our marriage – could  you pray for us?”  I mean, maybe she didn’t want to drag her husband through the mud, or maybe she was embarrassed about – whatever parts of it – but we other gals sure asked for help and prayers about a whole bunch of crap… so it kinda makes me mad, I guess. Hurts my feelings maybe. Like she didn’t feel I was a trustworthy friend.  I love this woman, I really do. She’s one of my best friends. I am sorry she is hurting right now.

I am also pissed that I was so misled by this man. I mean, he presented himself as this quiet, softspoken, very very wise man of God. He knew all the Scripture, had the right answers… When in fact he’s a crazy addict. And I seriously mean crazy. Some of the stuff he has said and done since the arrest and subsequent no-contact order, separation and divorce has been absolutely bat-poop-insanity. For reals.

I am not judging these people. We all mess up. We are all crazy, sin-filled people. I have had probably more than my fair share of stupidity and screw-ups.  But, I don’t know. It just makes me mad. Why do we get together as a small group of Christian friends to support one another if we aren’t going to be honest with one another? Why don’t we just play Poker then?

Which all just makes me wonder… do I really know any of the people I think I know? How many of my friends are hiding some dark secret that they think I am not able to be trusted with? Do they think I’m hiding something? Do you? Are you?

Trusting God with your kids… and other stuff that’s hard. Like loving pets.

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managua-nicaraguaMy daughter, who is not quite 16 years old, is in Nicaragua this week on a mission trip with her youth group. On the one hand I am totally excited for her; she is going to have a whole new outlook on life when she gets back. I am so proud of her for being brave, being open to what the Lord wants her to do in her life, for simply being willing. On the other hand, it’s kind of… well, it’s not freaking me out; I know God can take care of her better than I can. Even when she talks about the gross stuff that splashed on her while they were cleaning trash in the park, or while crossing the mega-polluted lake – Oh, Lord, protect this child!! I just… really miss her! It’s lonely and quiet here. Okay, the quiet part is kind of nice! We have been able to video chat with her a couple of the nights, so that was fantastic – to touch base, hear how her day went… it’s only been 5 days, and she has 5 days to go… it seems like it’s been a month! It’s cool, though. Especially cool to see how she is beginning to understand the world from a different perspective. As in, she doesn’t really have it as bad as she sometimes thinks!

Seriously, the hardest part has been yesterday morning. We were up getting ready to head out to the Farmer’s Market downtown, when my mom called to me that our dog had hurt her leg. Yup, I am pretty sure it’s serious.. in fact, I think she tore her other CCL… which can only be repaired surgically – and last time that cost us $1,500. Which:  A)we can’t afford and  B)now that she’s 12 and has lots of hip and joint issues I don’t think she can support herself on 3 legs anymore. It takes several weeks of that, for rehab… I don’t know that she’s got it in her.

So that totally stinks because she’s Kiki’s dog. Kiki specifically said when she left “No body and no animals can get sick or die while I’m gone.” Of course I told her there was no way I could guarantee that sort of deal; I don’t make promises I don’t have the total ability to keep… but to be honest I sure didn’t think anything would happen while she was gone! And you have to wonder – at least, I have to wonder – why now? why this week? Seriously?? Because we will take the dog to see our regular vet this week (the one we saw Saturday wasn’t sure, didn’t find anything conclusive) but no matter what, we can’t make “the decision” – if it has to be made – until our daughter gets home. And I don’t know how the dog will hold up… she can’t get up without assistance, although she can hobble about once she’s up… but pottying… well, she’s done one thing, but not the other, and I don’t know how she can when she can’t…well, she can’t squat, if you know what I mean. Sigh.

This is the hard part about loving animals, isn’t it? I guess it’s the hard part about loving any living thing. Because none of us lives forever. Not on this world anyway. Today I am feeling sad and worn and not all that thrilled about this life. I’m trying to remember that God has a plan even when it makes no sense. I’ve been there before, and lived through it.. not without pain or grief, however. Looking forward to the end of this week when my daughter will be home so I can hug on her, because that always makes me feel so much better. I suppose I also need to start thinking about, I don’t know, a hobby or pursuit or something, as this trip is only a tiny precursor to the fact that she will one day soon move away for, well, at least an extended amount of time, if not permanently. She only has 3 years of high school left, after all. Of course, I want her to move on – to college, Bible school, marriage… whatever life has in store for her! It is how it should be, no matter how desperately I will miss her. So I better figure out something interesting with which to fill my days, huh? Not sure how many pets I want….

Do you ever think God isn’t paying attention?

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I admit, I feel like this sometimes. Like God is just up there in the clouds, letting the world down here spin out of control while we flounder about in it.

Then something happens that makes me adjust my attitude. Something that reminds me that our God cares about even the little details of our lives, and we need to be paying attention to see what He has going on. Something like what happened to me this week. A silly thing, but pretty cool nonetheless.

Monday night, my family had Chinese take-out. ‘Cause you know I hate cooking. It was yummy. Then I cracked open my fortune cookie, and here is what I see:

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My first thought was “Really? REALLY?! I don’t get a fortune, I get told what to do?!” It was a little… irritating. (I guess I wanted it to tell me my ship was coming in next week or something) My husband and daughter laughed at my indignation.

Right on the heels of that thought was the thought of the one friend I knew could really use some flowers. A friend I love, who is going through a really tough time. Just as I was thinking about her, my daughter said “You know who could use some flowers?” and proceeded to mention the same friend.

Which got me thinking that maybe there was something to that silly old fortune cookie.

The next morning I got online to see what florists delivered in the area where my friend works. I called and ordered what I hoped would be a cute little arrangement. A bit later, I texted my friend, just to see how her day was going, as I hadn’t seen her in awhile and wondered how she was getting on. Turns out, that very day was the one year anniversary of – well, of a traumatic event which set off the chain of events which she is struggling through right now. I had known it had happened “last summer sometime”, but had no idea it was that very same day. Guess who knew? God. That’s right. The creator of the very universe knew it was going to be a hard day for my friend to get through, and He thought someone should let her know they – and He – were thinking of her. Loving her. So He spoke to me through a fortune cookie. Who knew?!

When people tell you “God works in mysterious ways” they aren’t just joking.

Christmas Craft ~ Big Felt Robot

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This hasn’t neccessarily been my year for crafting. I got really upset last summer – two summers ago, actually – when the medication my doctor prescribed for my pnuemonia wreaked havoc on my system, including the loss of the use of my right thumb. Everything I tried doing – crafty or otherwise – was incredibly hard and discouraging. I set aside several projects I’d been working on and have yet to restart them.

It’s been a long year and a half but I have regained most of the strength in my arms and my thumb is usable, although it doesn’t quite have the dexterity it once did. I have hope that it may come back completely, but it’s been a process for sure.

Anyway, this year I did decide to try a couple craft projects as gifts. I painted a couple things, one of which I have yet to finish (yeah, yeah, I know – Christmas was a week ago!) I sort of ran out of time. Our entire household has been battling the flu, and as “last one standing” I had way too much on my plate.

This particular project, the stuffed robot, I made for my youngest niece. Still, she’s 13, so I wasn’t sure if she’d love it or wonder “What the heck is my Auntie thinking?!” It was, of course, much more difficult and time consuming that I’d planned; I was actually going to use a blanket stitch around each of the cubes, but ended up only doing his head and sewing the rest of the cubes on the machine …  and I was thinking that if my niece didn’t love it he was going to be a huge waste of time! I am glad to report that she LOVED him!! I haven’t seen her that excited in awhile 🙂 I also had sprayed my perfume on the stuffing (she always tells me she loves how I smell, lol) and she just hugged him and sniffed him for ages. It was so worth the effort!

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Did you have a Merry Christmas?

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I can’t believe it’s over. It’s like you wait forever – like, an entire year!!  😉 – for Christmas to come, then zoooom… it has come and gone just that quick.

This year was worse than most, because the flu hit my family with a vengence this year. Kiki and both my parents were sick for a full week leading up to Christmas, so not only did we not get to do most of the “getting in the Holiday Spirit” things we do each year, but since I was the only one well I had to do all the cooking and cleaning and what-not, so it was just not my favorite time. Also I think I was fighting the flu myself, so I spent alot of time feeling woozy and nauseated, albeit never actually sick. Alan came down with the flu on Christmas Eve, so he was pretty out of it today as well.

I also didn’t bake hardly anthing this year. I always make frosted sugar cookies, fudge, coconut balls, pecan tarts, and a few other things. This year between feeling rather icky and being overwhelmed with chores and nursing the sick I just had no desire to bake… maybe because I had no real desire to eat, either. But I wish I had some now!

On top of all that, my sister’s side of the family decided they didn’t want to risk getting sick so they opted out of coming over for our traditional Christmas Eve dinner because our house was “too germy”.  I am almost wicked enough to hope they all get the flu anyway – almost, but not quite. It’s a pretty nasty flu.

All that being said, I still had a good Christmas. I love Christmas. I go completely overboard trying to make it an awesome time for my daughter, and once again I did not fail in that! She was thrilled with every gift she got, even tho I found a good bit of it on Craigslist and at the local thrift stores. I did great at thrift shopping this year! I don’t normally do that, but since we are sooo very broke, it seemed like a good idea – and it worked out well.

Of course we try to focus on the true meaning of Christmas – the birth of Christ. I feel like I was a little slack on that this year…

I am sure I try a little too hard to get all the “right” gifts for my daughter, which I am sure goes back to my own childhood (and, well, into my adulthood) in which my parents never really got me what I asked for. I mean, they asked us to make a “wish list”, and then never got me any of the things on it. Don’t get me wrong – I have good parents, and they meant well.  I can totally understand why I never got a horse, even tho it was the #1 thing on my list for – well, forever. We didn’t have a place for a horse, I get that. What was hard is that no matter what I wanted, what I got was… tweaked. Like, say I asked for a Veterinarian Barbie… I would get something close, but not that. And the thing is, it wouldn’t even be super-close. Like I wouldn’t even get “Doctor Barbie” which at least is practically the same thing… I would get some other sort of  doll. It was always because there was some sort of logical reason why they item they bought me was “better”. Maybe it was cheaper, maybe it had did more stuff or came with more accessories or whatever… so I mean, they thought it was a good thing they were doing. But, it wasn’t. I wanted, well, what I wanted. I had some reason why it was the item I wanted, but it didn’t matter I guess.

Which is why I have this… obsession… to get my daughter exactly what she wants for Christmas. I don’t mean she gets every item on her list (I’d have to be a millionaire!) or that she even gets everything that my limited budget would consider a lot spent – I just mean, if I get her something on her list, I get her as close to exactly what she wants as I can. Like, when she was little and asked for a particular American Girl doll, she got that exact doll. Not a different American Girl doll that was on sale that holiday, and certainly not some other doll that was close but… not.  This year I spent hours looking for the exact scarf she had described to me. So, yeah, it’s nuts… but she’s never been disappointed in her Christmas. For good or bad. This year was no exception even though I had very limited funds to draw from. I was creative, so it all worked out!

It was also nice because I myself had nothing in particular I wanted. All I really, really want is a home of my own, and since no one can afford to buy me that, I didn’t anything special, so everything I got was just great!

But now it’s over. And it seems like it came and went far too fast. Tonight my niece asked Kiki to spend the night and she just called to say goodnight, and she’s having a great time. I love that she gets along so well with her cousin, and love that she’s enjoying her time. But I am feeling kind of sad and lonely, and wish she was home with me. I guess we can have fun together even if it’s not Christmas, right? But, I am totally feeling that “after-the-holiday-letdown”; you know what I mean? Plus, tomorrow is back to work for me, so it’s back to the regular old grind and I really wish I had some time off to just enjoy my family, especially since Kiki is on break from school.

Well, I hope you and yours had an amazing Christmas!!

Going to the Ball! You know, like Cinderella.

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Tomorrow night I am going to The Ball. You’d think I’d be more excited.  Maybe it’s because I’m no longer a teenager, or that, being married, I can’t really expect to meet Prince Charming.  ‘Cause, that’d be awkward and all.

Actually, my daughter has been taking a Cotillion class and this Ball is the final event. Dinner and dancing.  Kiki gets to wear a lovely formal gown, new shoes, sparkly jewelry, and beforehand we are going to my sister’s house and she’s going to give her some sort of fancy up-do.  Me, I’m just wearing the one dress I own and a worn out pair of flats. Sigh. One of the crappy parts of being poor… and yet, it doesn’t really matter. Kiki is the one who ought to feel like a princess.  And hopefully she will.

Wait…. whoa! Stop! I’m not ready for this ride!

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My daughter has a boyfriend.

Okay, well, she has a boy who really likes her. Who calls her. Texts her.

She likes him back, but I suspect (and she admits) part of the reason she likes him is because he likes her and that feels kinda nice. He’s a classmate, and they’ve been friends for awhile now (she actually prefers the boys in her class because… well, because they aren’t like the girls! Petty, judgmental, fickle… if you’ve ever been or ever known a teenage girl you know what I’m talking about.)  However, he’s not the boy she’s been crushing on for the last year… (who is a church friend; doesn’t go to her school. And who does not seem to like her back…)

But. She’s 14. In the 8th grade. Too soon for a boyfriend.

It’s not like she can date or anything, and we (her, me, her dad) have had extensive talks on protecting her heart, and staying true to her beliefs and well, to be honest, regrets, and how not to have them. Still… she’s 14. I remember how I felt at 14… in fact, in my 8th grade year I was madly in love with a boy, and he with me. We made plans for our senior prom (yes, years away) and how many kids we would have one day – as if we had a clue! But we thought we did… and we did some serious kissing!! I am pretty much telling my daughter “do as I say not as I did”.   Because I know how the other end of it feels… all these years later I am still missing a little piece of my heart.

But, part of me thinks it’s cute, and sweet… so I am really torn on just how to proceed.  Do I monitor her calls? Read her texts? Leave her be?  I trust her, and I know her desire is to do the right thing. On the other hand, she can be a bit of a follower, and the few times she’s been in serious trouble it’s been because she’s allowed a friend to talk her into doing something that she knew darn well ahead of time she was not to do.  So, its a concern.

Oh, how I miss miss miss the days of toddlerhood! Even she said to me the other day “Why can’t I still be 5 years old? Life was so much easier then.”