Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kitchen Help Please!

My house was built in 1902.

I'm pretty sure these are the original cabinets 

which we are in the process of painting a friendly yellow.

Now that the drawers are done

I need your help.

How can I best utilize all this space for pantry use 

AND for all my dishes? 

I am going to ::attempt to:: use the philosophy of

if it doesn't fit then get it out of the house, off the property 

and to someone who needs it.

I have one of these ^

One of these ^

Three of these ^

And five of these big boys ^

The cabinets above the counter have little shelves like this.

Although the top cabinets don't.

These lower cabinets are on the right side of the kitchen only.

They also have a shelf built in on the top. 

Then there is this cute corner cabinet which I love.

There are doors for the bottom portion. 

Lastly is this... thing... a wanna be cabinet? 

Perhaps a kitchen table used to come out from inside? 

I have no idea.

But I want it to be useful because it's there and not going away. 

Do you have any help for me? 


I take any and all suggestions.

Thank you!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Finding the Source

I'm hoping that today doesn't involve a diaper full to the brim with stinky, mushy feces.

I'm not talking about baby Denai.

Marie has been wearing depends full time for over one month now because she has been having "accidents" throughout the day.  I say "accidents" because I can't believe she is having accidents.  But then again, I seem to be learning not to be surprised by anything Marie does.

She has down syndrome.  I have known her for four years and I still can't figure it out.  The down syndrome part, I mean.  And since I can't figure out the down syndrome part, I can't figure out the Marie part.

This makes for difficult care-taking/parenting moments.

Every once in a while I have been referring to myself as more of her care-taker than her parent.  While she still calls me "mom," I'm not sure I'm too happy with the title.  That might sound messed up.  I don't really get it either.

So, we are in weekly counseling. It's been really great for me.  I love the counselor.  She makes me feel validated in my feelings - even the really huge ones.  She asks probing questions to get me to think about where my feelings may come from.  She gives me homework that I can accomplish but if I don't get it done, it's no big deal.  She is firm with me in some areas, gentle with me in others.

Ciena is wearing depends today - just like yesterday.  But yesterday she had an "accident."  She pooped.  Was it on purpose?  A true accident?  I don't know.  Nobody does.  You may ask why she didn't use the bathroom?  I asked her that same question.  She didn't have an answer.

I think ever kid/person has a safe spot they like to retreat to.  Marie is like that.  In our new house, the stairs have become her safety zone.  I can't say I mind because I know where she is and she only gets in the way when she sprawls out and doesn't move when someone needs to use the stairs.  So, she sits on the stairs unless directed otherwise, and from the stairs she can see the bathroom.  Does she use it?  Well, she didn't yesterday.

I do think I am the source of the problem with Marie's behaviors.  As I work to accept that, I can start working towards fixing myself.  And that, my friends, was my conclusion from yesterday's counseling session.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Church: Is it bad or good?

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about Gossip.  I may have given the impression that church is a bad place to be.  This is not true and I hope that's not the impression I left my readers with.

As a church-goer my entire life, I have enough faith to know that it's not church that is the problem.  It's the people.  The sinners.  People like me and you.  And me.  Depending on who you talk to, the story can shift on who was in the right and who was leaning toward the wrong.  I am already able to allow thoughts of forgiveness and letting go to roll through my mind regardless of who was right or wrong.  Maybe there was no right or wrong.  It was a judgement call.  And it sucked.

While my recent wounds heal I won't be attending my home church when I visit. I still love my church family and I love my pastors.  But right now, my trust in what a church family is supposed to be is a bit broken.

Today we attended our local church for the first time in months (camping tends to take up a lot of summer weekends).  We left feeling tremendously blessed.  We attended Sunday School where I was able to be a little bit vulnerable in sharing how hard this co-parenting/marriage/parenting/care taking/Christian thing is.  And then later a friend gave me her number with the demand that I call so she can watch our kids while Mr. Sexy and I have a much needed date night.

It was a good day.

But even with the good stuff, I couldn't help but wonder who was watching as I sat next to Marie and whispered in her ear.

Did I look angry? 
Did I look mean? 
Is Marie responding to me ok? 
Are we attracting attention? 
Who is watching?

All that fear is from Satan.  I know that.  But it's still there nonetheless.

Mr. Sexy and I are continuing with our weekly family counseling.  We are also continuing to explore the spiritual elements which I talked about in my recent post: Gear up: We are in War.  There will be more on that subject later this week.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Why blog?

It's been a bit since I have posted.  For one thing I have been incredibly busy with my family, slowly continuing to move in, and we have adopted some more animals.  However, no matter the chaos, I can typically find time to blog.  Lately, however, I have felt stuck.  That happens every now and again.

I'm not exactly sure why I blog.

The joy of writing?
To stand on a self made soap box?
To encourage people?
Tear them down?
To cope with life's stresses?
To learn how to share my life?
To vent?

There are so many reasons to blog.  More than my small list.

If I'm being honest, well, the above list are the reasons I blog.  Yup, I wouldn't mind a bit of popularity and I tend to think I have better ideas than other people.  I'm a flawed person and some of my reasons for blogging are flawed as well.

I wonder if lately I have been blogging and doing it wrong.  Some say, yes, I have posted inappropriate material.  Maybe those people are correct.  Or maybe I am the one in the right.  Or perhaps it is what it is.

I don't blog to please other people. My goal, in every post, is to let you, the random reader, to look inside my life and get a glimpse of how the world looks through my eyes.   I tend to be a bit blunt at times.  This usually hurts people's feelings which is ironic because I'm a sensitive person.

I don't blog to hurt people. However, it happens.  I have probably hurt people whether I am made aware of it or not. Sometimes I do feel the need to call people out.  I'm not sure if that's right or wrong.  Mr. Sexy tells me, as long as I'm writing in love, and it's a love that others can see, I'm doing okay.  I'm pretty sure I don't always write from a loving heart.

So where do I go from here?  I have had many blogs since I was a teenager.  The two before this one were highly controversial.  Is that wrong?  I think sometimes controversy is a good thing.  Although, for me, the controversy typically revolves around my family.  That's pretty personal.  The way I write about myself and my family causes me to wind up hurt, too.

So I will continue on.  The hard subjects of spirituality, parenting, feeling hurt and angry are subjects I will continue to write about.

I'm still not exactly sure what my purpose in blogging is but I think it's what I'm supposed to be doing.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Gear Up: We are in war.

I BEGAN to lose trust in my dad at a young age.  While my heart yearned for things I didn't understand, I instead received distance. Even today, a trust between father and daughter is broken.

Can the rift be mended?

Hopefully. One day. And only through the healing power of God.

Details surrounding the hurt I carry from my father are irrelevant at this point. I struggle to know how to share my story and I don't do it perfectly, if well at all.  My intent is not to blaspheme my father's name. Instead, I wish to share how God is working in my life.  It seems the relationship I have with my father is playing a significant role.

*With broken trust comes hurt. 

Hurt is typically followed closely by anger. 

Anger, when not dealt with properly, gives the devil an opportunity for footholds. 

THREE years ago I was introduced to the realities of spiritual warfare. Mr. Sexy and I had been married for three months. We were sitting in our pastor's office for our post marital counseling (he does this with all couples he marries). With five minutes left to our session, something burst inside me.  I held nothing back. I displayed the hurt and anger through a rush of tears. I openly shared the mistakes I was making. I described how I felt on the brink of losing control of my life. I felt emotionally naked and exposed, my face red from crying, as my pastor listened and my brand new husband rubbed my back.

Pastor* new exactly what was going on.

"Now, I don't want you to throw anything at me.  This is just a possibility."  He paused. "But have you considered the possibility that this is demonic?"

Everything inside me quieted in that moment.  It felt scary to admit aloud, but speaking truth isn't always easy.  The truth was that I felt an evil.  Using harsh words to cut others down had become the same as breathing to me.  Perverse thoughts poisoned my mind all the time.  And then there was the anger.  The anger which felt overwhelming most of the time pushed me to my breaking point.

After finally speaking the truths about the person I was becoming, a lifeline dropped and I wasn't about to let it go.

Pastor sent me home with assignments to be completed before we met again.  First, I was to read a book, Spiritual Warfare by Dr. Karl Payne. The second was to study Galations 5:19-21, Mark 7:21-23 and Colossians 3:5-8. I was to spend time in these passages and make a list of the sins where the enemy may have footholds. For me, my list looked something like this: anger, hate, fear, lust, pride, selfishness.

Getting through all my homework wasn't easy. Countless doubts were hurled in my direction. As I studied, I fought against the liars disguising themselves as my own thoughts.

This is absurd. 
Demons?  Yeah right!  This is silly.
There is no way you are going through with this.  It's a little insane. 

The drive to my next appointment felt worse. My hands were warm and clammy. My stomach was topsy turvy. My fingers and toes were dancing. All I wanted to do was turn around. But Mr. Sexy wouldn't have it. Instead, he spent the entire ride combating the doubts pouring from my lips.

The enemy was running scared.

We made it to Pastor's office. We talked over my homework a bit. Then we got down to business.

Pretty quick after we got started with the ground rules, I realized I wasn't able to see or hear clearly. My vision had been blurred, as if someone changed the lens focus. Pastor's voice had become muffled.  It sounded like I was far away from him, behind a closed door or maybe underwater.

"Um, Pastor, I can't really see or hear anything right now."

Pastor firmly reminded the demons that I was in control of my body, not them. I was also under instruction to look into Pastor's eyes and not let them sway again. It sounds strange, but it worked. I didn't lose focus again.  In fact, as we moved on from the ground rules, I felt less and less afraid.

The entire process took about an hour. There was no yelling or screaming. It was more like a conversation. It was definitely the strangest conversation I had ever had. Here's how it worked:

Pastor asked questions and I answered based on what I heard in my head. 

Does that sound loony?  I get that, believe me. But isn't that what satan wants us to think?

Perhaps I made up answers.  Perhaps I made up this entire story. I can't control where your mind goes with all this.  But you can do your own research and study and come up with your own conclusions.

Each demon we spoke to named themselves. I remember being embarrassed about the one who named himself, "Boobs." And then another had an entirely normal name, "Alicia," or something like that. Although they were bound by different names, they had one objective: to destroy and kill me by using my sins against me.

After we cleaned house, the vacated rooms (an analogy from Spiritual Warfare) needed to be refilled. I praised and thanked God for what He had done for me. I asked for His Spirit to fill up the empty spaces.   And it was over.

My spirit had been renewed. I went in to battle, and I won.

There would be more fights, however.  Satan would no doubt send more of his soldiers my way. I would need to fight daily to keep my rooms filled with the Holy Spirit.

But then - soon after this victory - something happened.

Then something else happened.

Then something else.

Something else.


Something else just kept happening. Sometimes it was huge, other times it seemed rather small. I have no idea when that first dart hit me and I let it stick.

I ONLY know that I'm now back where I was three years ago. The enemy has been much more stealthy this time around. However, I am also smarter than I was. I am confident in the authority that I have in Jesus Christ. Although it took me a while to figure out I have been losing the battle, I know that I still stand on solid ground. The enemy won't be winning for much longer.

I opened this piece talking about a broken relationship.  I have blamed my dad for a lot of years for a lot of things.  I have carried hurt and resentment close to my heart.  The truth is that my dad isn't the problem.  I am.

With broken trust comes hurt. 

Hurt is typically followed closely by anger. 

Anger, when not dealt with properly, gives the devil an opportunity for footholds. 

I am the one with the bitterness of an unforgiving heart.  I am the one who, once again, opened doors and invited the enemy to come and stay.

*This concept was learned from Counter Attack.

*His name is irrelevant.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


It's such a cliche term, right?

At least, I used to think so.

However the past 3 years have shown me how costly a "cliche" term, such as gossip, can be.

I have lost best friends.  Yup.  That's plural.

A few of my best friends had some concerns for me and my family.  Instead of approaching me and my husband, they met in secret with each other.  They gave us an ultimatum: I leave my house or they call the cops.

Was something that drastic necessary?  No.  We were already neck deep in counseling and learning to be a family.  Did I mention yet that we had been a family for only 3 months?

One of my friends apologized (that same night actually) and saw how things took a turn for the worse.  However, that relationship never was the same.  And it pains me even today.

My other friend lied to me and my husband.  They called the cops even after I went to stay at my parent's house as they had demanded.

Have you ever felt such a violation?  In those moments of being driven away from my family by my brand new husband, I had nobody.  At least, that's what the big feelings told me.

When the cop showed up at my house he expressed sorrow to my husband for our predicament.  My family was eating dinner - without me - and our house was immaculately cleaned and ready for Marie's birthday party the next day.  The cop had no cause for concern and told Mr. Sexy how he often gets calls like these.  Calls that amount to nothing.

But my family was left in pieces.  Pieces we seem to still be picking up. 

Some time goes by.  I can't think how long.  This part is jumbled.

A blog I used to have became some sort of small internet sensation.  One person, a "troll" is what I think they are called, saw a few pieces I had written and wrote disgusting things on her blog about me.  She used my site address, my name and any other personal information she could find.  She had a very large readership.  Soon friends and family were getting emails calling me despicable names.  The cops were called and CPS became involved.

All this happened because of gossip.

Around that same time some people from my home church called my family pastor with concerns for me and Marie.

This was a church I called family.  I grew up there.  Many knew my family well.  Yet they still had the audacity to go behind my back.  Gossip.  

Again, there was betrayal and the feeling of being violated.

Church is supposed to be safe.  Church is supposed to reserve judgement.  Church is supposed to be about people.

Fast forward to right now.

My family moved away from that area one year ago.  It was a difficult move but the right one.  However I have missed my church tremendously.  So this past weekend we went to their family camp.

We had a wonderful time.  It was exactly what our family was needing.  Marie and I had many good moments together.  She talked to me and we played together and laughed together.  Family tensions were put at rest and I was able to practice letting go of control.  At times it was difficult.  But I had the support of my husband.  I had the support of my church family.

Or did I?

It seems someone has once again gone to the pastor to express concerns. 

Now, at this point, if I were you, I would be thinking, "There must be cause for some sort of concern if this keeps happening."

But really?

The betrayal.  The violation of my family.  Every single instance is brought back all at once.  

I can't breathe.  My heart is beating hard and fast.  I'm shaking and I feel nervous.

Trust is becoming a thing of the past for me.

 I have 4 friends that I can still trust with the realities of my life.  My husband is one of them.  The other is a strong believer and has been my rock over and over again.  The other two don't regularly attend church although I will pass no judgments on their religious standpoints. They are better friends than many of my Christian friends. This is my circle.  These four people have chosen to address concerns to me and my husband directly.  I know this because it has happened!  And you know what?  We are better friends for it!  

Gossip is no cliche.  Gossip tears relationships apart.  It rips up families and wears down a person.

I am feeling worn down.  I want to give up the fight.  And that is just where Satan wants me.  

But praise God my husband has recently been lifted from years and years of physical bondage.  He will tell that story soon.  But I have to mention it now.  He is now energized in ways I have not seen in a long time, if ever.  He is showing me compassion, withholding his judgments and loving me if only because Jesus loves me.

I cannot describe the pain I feel.  It's a pain that seems to continue to build each time I face the same battle.

I want the gossip to stop.  Even when it's hard.  I want it to stop.  Because this gossip shit is getting all of us nowhere.  In fact, it's a hot tool that Satan is using in your life, and now,  in my life.