Friday, April 23, 2010

Five Question Friday

I'm joining this blog party. The questions change every week and it's fun and easy. I'm a little late in getting to it, but it is still technically Friday, so I'm giving it a try :-)
1. What was the first car you owned? 
It was a turquoise blue 1965 Chevy Corvair. Yep, that's right, the car Ralph Nader wrote a book about it in"Unsafe at Any Speed" if you're old enough to remember that :-) I loved this little car though. It was so fun to have guys want to look at the engine, and open up the hood, only to find that it was actually the trunk. The engine was in the back, just like a VW.  This isn't mine, but it's exactly what mine looked like. I wish I still had it. I guess most people feel that way about their first car.

2. What song are you embarrassed to know the lyrics to? 
I played keyboard and sang in a little band when I was younger, so there are alot, but right now "She's a Brick House" comes to mind.

3. Have you ever had stitches?
Several times. My first experience with stitches was when I got my wisdom teeth out. I passed out when they took the stitches out. Clip, clip, and I'm waking up to smelling salts. I'm such a lightweight when it comes to that type of thing. No one would have thought I'd ever give birth to 6 kids.

4. What was your first job?
Besides babysitting, my first job was passing out flyers for a real estate agent when I was 13. My friend and I thought we needed a job so we visited a local agency and he paid us to do this. I'd forgotten all about that. I usually say that my first job was working at Pup N Taco :-)

5. Who is your favorite Sesame Street character?
It would have to be Oscar the Grouch, because I played him in a parade in high school. It was not fun walking around carrying a trash can, and no one thought to make a cardboard one and decorate it so I carried the real thing, metal and all, strapped to my shoulders with the bottom cut out. Boy, was I sore by the end of that parade :-)

If you want to join next week, be sure to visit My Little Life. It's a wonderful blog.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Missing the Seashore....

Sometimes I wish we still lived by the seashore. I miss the weather there. When you grow up near the ocean in Southern California, you do become a bit spoiled. Weather anywhere else seems extreme. Even after 21 years :-)  We are only about a 1 1/2 hour drive from the beach, but there's a BIG difference in the weather.

Saturday, this is what we were doing, getting the backyard weeded and ready for planting in our little garden. As I said in my last post, the kids were playing in the sprinklers that afternoon.
 Yesterday it was very cold and rainy all day. This morning we woke up to a light dusting of snow. By the time I went out to take a picture, it was sunny and all that was left was a little on the windshields, but  it was still chilly. That's the high desert for you. We moved up here the last week in April, 21 years ago,  and the weather was around 100 degrees. We've heard they've had snow up here as late as June, but not since we've been here. The local mountains are covered with snow and they do look beautiful today.
I'm sorry I've been a bad blogger lately. I haven't gotten around to visit, and I haven't been writing either. We are getting ready for the graduation of our oldest two sons on May 1st, and that, along with appointments, school, etc., seems to be keeping me from getting online very much the past few weeks. I'll try to do better, but things may not slow down until after their graduation.

I tend to decorate for the season, although my main living room stays kind of "beachy" most of the year. I'll do a post about it soon, but here's a photo of the wall over our loveseat.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

My Marriage Story...To Russ, With Love

 I have debated what to write on this, my marriage anniversary post. I love Russ so much. I am married to the perfect man for me, and he treats me like a queen. I could tell you all of the wonderful things about our life together, and there are many of them, but for some reason, I feel like I should share our “story” as it was, because there may be someone out there that needs to hear it.

We were married 24 years ago, on April 12, 1986 at The Silver Bells Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas. It was my husband’s 2nd marriage, and my first and only one. We had met 2 years before, at work, and I fell hard for him.  After dating for 2 years, I should’ve known better (yes, I really wrote that) but I agreed to marry this handsome but troubled young man.

My parents were opposed to the marriage. They could see what I refused to. They could see the heartache down the road. I was in love, and there was no way I would change my mind. It almost proved my undoing. I would venture to tell you now, that I made this choice, consciously, although naively too.

Within the first year of our marriage, I came to realize that Russ had an addiction problem. I was very “Nancy Reagan” about it, and I don’t mean that derogatively, but my attitude was to “just say no”.  I was unaware of the power of addiction.

Our first son was born in  Feb. of 1988. We had just separated when I found out I was pregnant with him. Of course, I wanted to make it work, and so did Russ, so he made promises and we got back together. He later told me that he stayed sober until Ryan was born. They call it “white knuckling”, which means you're doing without drugs with clinched fists. He also told me that the night our son was born, he went  home from the hospital and got high.

Six months later, we separated again. After a short period of time, Russ agreed to go into drug rehab. It was while he was there that I learned so much more about the power of addiction. My heart ached for the parents of the young adults in the program. I realized, that as a spouse, I could walk away, but as a parent, you could never walk away.

We got back together, and almost before we knew it, I was pregnant with our 2nd son.  Around the same time, I found out my husband was using again. He said he would stop, and I wanted to believe it was just a “slip” as they say, so we stayed together.  We decided to move to the desert, to get away from his friends who were using, and start anew.

I started attending a church that had a program for the families of friends or family members in recovery, and it was such a great help to me. Russ, was commuting, as he needed to keep his job and the insurance we had.  We weren’t together all of the time, and I was beginning to worry.  Our son was born in July of 89, and 2 months later, realizing that he was indeed using again, we separated once more.

I was raised in a Christian home, and had accepted Christ as a child. I had attended church all of my life. I had been wayward though, my marriage was proof of that. Now, here I was in a new town, with two young children, and few friends. My parents, who had retired to this area a few years before, were wonderful, but I didn’t want to depend on them for everything. It was during this time that I finally began to rely on God.

That’s why this isn’t a sad story. God began to work in my life, as Russ continued his downward spiral. His drug addiction was severe. The worst kind. You name it, he was using it. My biggest fear became the fact that I might someday have to tell my boys that their dad had died of a drug overdose.

God started teaching me things. One of the things he taught me was that I was arrogant, that I thought my sins were “less than” my husbands sins because mine were less obvious. I mean, he’d left his family, he was the addict. I was taking care of our children and keeping things together. God doesn't view things quite the way we do though. It was during this time that God began teaching me that in His eyes, my sins were the same as my husband’s and that I had nailed Christ to that cross just as much as Russ had.  God began to change my heart and I begin to forgive Russ. I began to believe that God could work this for good, although I had no idea how. And work He did.

It was nearly Christmas, and Russ called me to say that he was coming to visit and bring me money. I told him that I knew that God would not let him continue to live this way. There were 3 things that could happen. 1) He would turn his life around, 2) He would end up in jail, or 3) He would die of an overdose. That was it, those were the only options. He muttered something and then hung up.

Right then and there, I got down on my knees and said “God, have at him. Do whatever it takes to bring him to his knees…but please, spare his life.” This last part was selfish. I didn’t really think that we would get back together, but I still didn’t want my boys to live with the stigma of their father dying of an overdose. I also still loved Russ.

That night, I got a phone call. It was from Russ, and he was in jail. Sometimes God works quickly. He wasn’t just in jail for the night though. Because it was holiday time, he would have to spend both Christmas and New Year’s there (unless someone bailed him out) because they weren’t conducting court during that time. I fully believe God spared my husband’s life that night. If you had seen the way he looked at that time, you would know that he was at death’s door. Since no one was bailing him out, he had to stay.

While in jail, he had nothing to do, and started attending church services. Yes, they had them there for the men, twice a day in fact. He made a decision to commit his life to God. He didn’t get out until after the first of the year, and shortly afterward, we got back together. God orchestrated this, but I can tell you that it wasn’t easy. Sobriety wasn’t easy for him and trust wasn’t easy for me. Addiction manifests itself in many different ways, and forgiveness is not a "one-time" thing, especially in a marriage. We had some very difficult years after that, struggling in our marriage, but God prevailed, and we've had quite a few good years now :)

That's why this is Our Love Story, and if you or anyone you know is going through something similar, I want you to know there is hope. My husband did struggle with the problems of addiction, but his is still a success story. Success brought about by a great and glorious God who changes lives. He is the best husband I could ask for, he loves me dearly, and is a wonderful father to our children. Russ loves the Lord with all his heart now, and is teaching our children to do the same. I cannot imagine my life without him. My parents also adore him too! Of course, there is much of the story I'm not sharing here. The pain of loving an addict and all that goes with it is NOT something I'd want anyone else to experience, but please know that Jesus can prevail and change even the worse situations we can imagine into blessings for His glory!

 We had decided to celebrate our anniversary today, since Russ has to work tomorrow. This morning I woke to find these:

                                                  Yes, I know I'm loved :-)

We went out to dinner at  Red Lobster. Ten years ago we went there for our 14th anniversary. I’d just had an ultrasound a few hours before, and we found out we were expecting twins. Our youngest two children. We’ve had 6 together and they’re all blessings to us. My husband also has an older son from his first marriage. A wonderful young man with a beautiful family of his own now. This is not the story of an addict. This is the story of God and the beautiful things He does.

If you’ve stayed with me until the end of this long post, thank you for reading. If you know anyone in similar circumstances, be encouraged. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Russ shares his story with anyone who needs help, and he encouraged me when I wanted to share it here.

I am so thankful for the wonderful man I’m married to, and to God for the blessings He gives …in spite of me.

I love you RussMyHoney :)


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring Cleaning

This is not my kitchen. 
Country Living photo
I live in a 1625 sq. ft. home with 7 other people. Not exactly a large house, but we're comfortable. If we were dividing up that square footage, the kitchen is the room the rest of them would give me. "Mom, what do we have to eat?" is something I hear around here often. 

 My kitchen does not look like this one. 
Country Living photo
This is beautiful, although I wouldn't want glass doors, because then you would see all the things I don't want you to see behind them. 

Cleaning is a never ending job around here, especially in the kitchen. The more we have, the more we have to clean. When there are 8 people, that makes for lots of stuff to clean. I recently stumbled onto a  wonderful site called The Christian Homekeeper that has just started an event called "5 Weeks to a Clean And Organized Home". This really caught my eye. Sylvia takes you step by step each day on what to clean and gives an abundance of tips as well. I know we all know how to clean, but sometimes I do a rush job, with an "out of sight, out of mind" attitude. The 5 week event is not this type of cleaning, but a day by day, thorough cleaning of the house. 

This week we are cleaning the kitchen. Monday we started by cleaning out the refrigerator, freezer and oven. Tuesday we cleaned under appliances and also cleaned floors. Today was the biggest job yet for me, cleaning out the cabinets and storage areas. I was actually starting to appreciate my "smaller" kitchen. If you want to jump in and give it a try, tomorrow we clean counter-tops and small appliances and Friday is woodwork and windows.

I'm also throwing out a few things. Like this. 
 I found it at the back of a cupboard, never opened. I must have bought it for a recipe I thought I'd like to try, and then didn't get around to it. I'm throwing it out because it says this:
Yes, that's Aug. 1998! In my cupboard! I'm a bit embarrassed, and I almost didn't show you. I can't even use "having twins" as an excuse, because this was two years before they were born. 

I'm also getting rid of a bunch of coffee mugs. I have way too many, and I've kept some of them because they match my plates. 

The only thing is, I don't drink coffee. I never have. I'm a tea drinker. Iced tea mostly, too. I know, some of you are shaking your heads right now. How can someone not drink coffee? I just never liked it. Sorry to all you coffee drinkers out there. My husband used to be a coffee drinker, but stopped drinking it a few years ago. Several of my kids like it, but it's not something they drink often. We live in the desert, so half of the year we only want cold drinks anyway. The mugs are going, along with a few other odds and ends I never use. 

I'm looking forward to clearing out a few spaces as I go through the next few weeks. If you want to join in, stop by and visit Sylvia, she's got some great organizing and cleaning ideas.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

My Advocate

My Advocate

I sinned. And straightway, posthaste, Satan flew
Before the presence of the most High God,
And made a railing accusation there.
He said, "This soul, this thing of clay and sod,
Has sinned. 'Tis true that he has named Thy Name,
But I demand his death, for Thou hast said,
'The soul that sinneth, it shall die." Shall not
Thy sentence be fulfilled? Is justice dead?

Send now this wretched sinner to his doom.
What other thing can righteous ruler do?"
And thus he did accuse me day and night,
And every word he spoke, O God, was true!
Then quickly One rose up from God's right hand,
Before whose glory angels veiled their eyes.
He spoke, "Each jot and tittle of the law
Must be fulfilled; the guilty sinner dies!

But wait--suppose his guilt were all transferred 
To Me, and that I paid his penalty!
Behold My hands, My side, My feet! One day
I was made sin for him, and died that he 
Might be presented faultless at Thy throne!"
And Satan fled away. Full well he knew
That he could not prevail against such love,
For every word my dear Lord spoke was true!
Martha Snell Nicholson

I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!
Revelation 1:18a

Thank you Jesus, for willingly giving up your life and dying a horrible death on a cruel Roman cross, to pay the penalty for my sins, so that I can live!