scarred, part 2

I want to say the first time I met D was through friends a couple falls ago.  But, that’s not entirely true.  I heard of her prior: she was having an affair with a married man.  The man was married to a close friend of mine, and, to give D the benefit of the doubt, the husband and wife were separated.  However, as I recall, my friend became a Christian during their separation and felt convicted to save her marriage.  Her husband at the time promised he would reconcile, but he got two women pregnant during the separation.  He promised to both women carrying his child, divorced his wife, and married D (the second woman he got pregnant).  We all told my dear friend that she was lucky to get out of there.

Years later, our circles entwined.  A few of my friends had befriended D, and they promised me she had changed.  I was skeptical, of course.  Despite my better judgement, I befriended her through Facebook.  For all the years I hated her for the pain she caused to so many I knew, I found so many similarities with her.  I was kind and gracious and forgiving to her, and I opened my heart to her friendship.  She was appreciative to have someone show kindness to her, and she began to confide in me.  The man who cheated on my friend had begun to cheat on D.  She was devastated, and I was dismayed.  He cheated with numerous women.  I would have left, but D wanted to stay with him.  Though I didn’t agree with her resolve to stand by her man, I admired her love and determination to love him unconditionally.  She felt called to stay with him, and she was a strong force throughout that trial.

Through hours of prayers and long calls, D and I became fast friends through it all.  My husband warned me not to get too close and not to let her in: we don’t know if she’s truly changed.  I should have listened to him, and I threw caution to the wind.  I wanted to be there for her through her pain.  How can you keep someone at arm’s length when they are hurting?

Our friendship continued to grow.  Months later, my doctor had concerns for my health.  I wanted to get pregnant, and my doctor cautioned me to wait until they got all my labs back.  I had a rare condition that he was concerned would cause me problems.  U was devastated that babies would have to wait.  When I told the news to D, she was sympathetic.  For, like, five minutes.  Then she went into this… ummm… speech, I guess.  Long-winded revelry.  She said she could never be pregnant again and was sooo glad she was done having kids and glad she had them young.  Pregnancy is the worst, and she would never do it again.  On and on.  Then, her tone turned, and she started gushing about the miracle of pregnancy and birth.  Oh, what a delight!  She squealed.  “You learn so much about your baby’s personality, even while they are in the womb!” she exclaimed.  I had had enough.  “Stop,” I said.  I told her she had crossed a boundary and that I didn’t want to hear it when I was in mourning.  She apologized, and we got off the phone.  It was the first time I realized she was ignorant of others’ feelings and how her words could hurt.

While we waited on the baby front, life picked up in other ways.  My husband decided to go back to school, and I decided to start my business.  Babies would be on hold for a couple of years.  One of the things D and I shared was a love for health, wellness, and nutrition, so I was eager to have her on my team as I created my business.  I told her upfront that we didn’t have the money to pay her, but I would make up for it when/if the business took off.  She seemed content with that arrangement.  Her contentedness didn’t last long.  She started to press me more and more about finances.  She wanted to know how she would get paid, when, and how much.  She pressed me for set numbers and set percentages.  I didn’t know: I just wanted to launch, but we were still so far off.

It came to a head one night about finances.  I had been reading up on business.  I suggested the possibility of self evaluations.  Nothing strict.  Nothing fancy.  I wanted my team to be honest about how hard they were working if we added bonuses.  She began yelling at me.  “That’s ridiculous!” she fumed.  I said, “Well, I’m just brainstorming.  Nothing is set.”  She asked me incredulously if I would evaluate myself and that I should hold myself to the same standards.  “Of course, I answered, although, if the business doesn’t make money, I don’t make money.”  She continued to rant against me.  And, I held my answers.  I listened to her, and I took a verbal beating from her.  I couldn’t believe how ruthless she was with her tongue.  I kept quiet, not wanting to make the situation worse.

Days later, I was still replaying her comments.  Over and over.  They sat on me like sludge.  I needed to trudge past it.  I prayed over the situation and asked for the wisdom of those around me.  One theme persisted: D had to go.  Oh, the dread set in, and I prayed some more.  Later in the week, I found a good time for her to talk, and I told her she was off the team.  I told her I sincerely wanted her on board, but my attention needed to be on things other than figuring out the money we didn’t yet have.  And, again, she attacked me.  She cried.  She screamed.  She violently attacked my character.  She accused me of acting in haste, and I told her I was prayerful about my decision.  She rejected that answer.  She accused me of lying and of not being prayerful.  She was so hateful to me and my husband (mind you, he was not involved at all).  I stayed calm, and I listened.  I apologized repeatedly for hurting her, as it was never my intent.  It was one of the worst conversations I have ever had, but, stupidly, I told her we could remain friends.

She apologized days later for what she said, and I handled it graciously.  I mentioned that I likely would have responded the same way if I hadn’t been in a new Bible study.  We started to reconcile.

In time, I did bring her back into the team.  We sent her a small, good faith payment.  I knew how much she loved cooking and health foods, so I was excited to help her fulfill her passion.  But, it started to seem her passion had changed.  Every conversation I had with her was about children.  First, she wanted to adopt.  However, their home life didn’t pass inspection.  Suddenly, all she did was try crazy internet diets to improve fertility.  She got pregnant then miscarried.  I supported her and prayed with her.  She said she had made it an idol in her life, and she was okay with waiting.  Three months later, she was telling everyone she was pregnant again.  And, a week later, she said she miscarried again (she admitted months later that she lied- there was no additional pregnancy).  As she mourned the fake miscarriage, our friendship soured.

As I tried comforting her and reaching out, she was wicked in her responses.  I sympathized with her pain, “I remember feeling like, we will never have kids.”  I lamented; sometimes the pain is so close.  She cried, “I feel like I’ll never have kids.  I feel like G-d is punishing me so I’ll never have kids.”  Hmmm.  Are you saying these words next to the three kids you already have?  I promised her the Lord’s timing is perfect, even if it feels delayed.  She spewed at me again, “It’s going to suck for you and your husband.  If you want to adopt, it will take years and be so stressful and horrible.  Or if you have your own kids, it will be a long and painful process.”  I whispered a rebuke of the words she spoke over me.  She was vengeful.  I tried to convince myself that she was just in pain, but she truly hated G-d.  She hated him to her core, and I took a step back.

She got pregnant again, and she miscarried again at the end of last year.  We bought their family dinner and sent prayers.  I didn’t even know what to say.  I just wanted her to find healing.  She was excited to focus on work, and I was glad it was an outlet for her.

She said she was focusing on work, but I never heard from her.  Oh, sorry, I heard from her, but it was days later.  Texts, calls, and e-mailed were answered two to three days later, if they were answered at all.  I found out later that she lost all of our printed database for weeks.  I wondered: how can you lose hundreds of recipes?  I wish she had told me.  I wouldn’t have been upset.  I have them all saved on my computer.  We could just reprint them.  It was such a juvenile thing to lie and hide things.  Why couldn’t she be honest?  She admitted that she was stressed and her home life was a wreck (like always, right?).  I told her I understood; just keep me in the loop.  That’s why were a team- to pick up the slack, if need be.  She told me everything was getting better and not to worry.  I contacted her a few times since then, but it wasn’t until two weeks later that I heard from her again.  I had no choice: I had to let her go again.

… to be continued…

 

 

brb

I should have known that Passover would be a crazy week.  I don’t eat bread often, but when I know I definitely can’t have it… well, it’s all I want.

Anyway, it has been a crazy two weeks, and I am popping in to tell you I will post again soon.  Hopefully, sooner than next Monday.

Sweet dreams, and good night.  Love, L

scarred, part one

It hit me yesterday when talking to a friend.  I felt like she was attacking me.  She was.  I felt like our conversation had taken a wrong turn.  It did.  I wanted to dissipate the tension.  So, I did.  It was a petty, stupid disagreement, and I decided to just be honest: I am scarred.  I had the same spat with the friendship that ended back in March.  I said yesterday, “I am just so scarred” from the previous friendship, and it’s true.

I have big heart.  Nothing abnormal, *chuckle* but I give, love, and bless others so quickly and wholeheartedly.  I am always surprised when people say they’ve only loved once in their life, maybe twice.  I have fallen in love many times.  I have extended my heart in love or my hand in friendship.  My heart is always open.  And, I really regret it.  I mean, yes, I have gotten hurt deeply and cried a lot.  A lot, a lot, sometimes.  I use to say I had no regrets because the choices in life had made me who I am today- and I like that person.  I remember thinking “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” was so poetic.  And, when I watched it one night in early 2008, I thought, “Why would anyone want to un-remember someone or something or some time?”  I know now.

For as many friends and boyfriends as I have had, only two have scarred me.  The first one was a man I met by the end of that 2008.  We met through that popular harmonious dating site.  Even two states away, and a computer between us, we had amazing chemistry.  It’s so rare to click with someone like I did, but I was immediately smitten with M.  He was handsome, charming, and just so (in my mind) perfect for me.  He adored me, too, and wanted me to get to know his family before he had the chance to come meet me in Colorado.  I met and befriended his sister-in-law quickly.  I was elated to be falling in love and find a great fit with a second family.

Yet, not a month later, his ex-wife came calling back.  She wanted a second chance… or was it a fifth?  Or ninth?  He felt he should.  I knew the nobleness in reconciliation- I tried reconciling with my ex over a year earlier.  It broke my heart, but we said goodbye.  It was one of the most painful break-ups.  It hurt my heart more than my divorce (which, well, says a lot since I hadn’t actually met him yet!).  I trusted the Lord had someone better despite what my (deceitful) heart believed.

Forty days later, my phone rang.  It was M.  I was thrilled.  I should have listened to my family and friends, who strongly advised I back away.  I didn’t.  I was a girl who thought she was in love.  M didn’t want to wait to meet me this time.  Nothing would get in the way.  Not even his ex, who honorably cheated on him numerous times in the last few weeks (so much for reconciliation, ha).  He bought me a plane ticket to fly to Phoenix the next weekend.  We were thrilled.  We couldn’t wait.  We talked and talked and were eager to meet.  Then, the night before my flight, he broke my heart again.  He hooked up with his ex.  Yep.

I will fast forward to me changing my beloved cell phone number (after his ex started harassing me… yes, true story, she got the man, and I got the harassment.  His family told me later they called it quits again soon later.  Too bad, I think they deserved each other- don’t you???)  And, I was heartsick again.  I still went to Phoenix, and I actually had a great time and went to see The Nutcracker with two of my girlfriends and the girls of one of them.

For awhile after that entire encounter, I couldn’t understand: why was M brought into my life?  How could something so beautiful end up so tainted?  How could he, a professed man of G-d, be such a ….  I am a believer in the cliche: everything happens for a reason.  So then, what purpose did that have?  For months, and even years later, I had abandonment issues and bad dreams.  The wound he left was so deep, I wondered if it’d ever heal (it now has *whew!*).  What did I gain from such a loss?

The trinket I found after sifting through such trash is maybe it wasn’t he that was suppose to come into my life, but, maybe, I was suppose to come into his life.  Maybe he was the one who was suppose to learn something or gain wisdom and understanding.  Maybe it’s his life that needed to be changed, not mine.  And, I am okay with that.  Que sera sera- whatever will be will be.

Although, the greatest thing I took away was an appreciation for the man I fell in love with after M- Mr. Bauer.  My husband strives to be a man of integrity, and, after dating someone who lacked it, I appreciate it more than I ever would before.  The irony of M is that he had a hesitation with me upon learning I had cheated on my first husband.  Yet, Joseph has always trusted me and always had full confidence in me.  He knows what I went through to change from the woman I was to be the woman he married.  I appreciate him, and he appreciates me.  I learned quickly how to truly love someone and be love and respected back.

Needless to say, I realized years ago: I’d “eternal sunshine” M right out of my mind.  Of course, we know how that goes in the movie, but I had my first regret.  First true regret that I couldn’t make amends for.  Maybe that’s what I regret- I didn’t need to atone to anyone else, only myself.  I am stronger now that I am past M.  I feel bad for the life he chose and pray he’s found happiness.

So… one scar down…  One to go….  More soon.

Happy Wednesday, love, L

preparing for Passover

Good evening!

I am finishing the final touches for the first Passover Seder and realized I needed a quick post!

This is my fifth Passover, and I must say: I am not a fan!  Yeast is in so many things I love… bread and pizza, namely.  I cried every day of my first Passover.  Discipline and self-denial is not a strong suit!

I will say, though, that I am truly learning to appreciate Passover.  It is a very rough week(ish) in my life, not only purging yeast from my home, but purging sin from my life.  The L0rd always asks me to give up something during this time.  It always brings me to tears…  And, I am reminded of  the trees in our front yard.  We had them pruned recently, and I wanted to cry.  The guy we hired cut so much- I was in shock!  Surely, you don’t prune trees that much.  Well, it turns out, you do.  Or, it is the custom.  My husband reassured me we were not bamboozled.  And, my mom encouraged me that they will be stronger going forward.  That’s what pruning in our lives and hearts does, too.  It hurts at first, of course, but it allows us to come back stronger, better, and fuller with new growth.  Maybe Passover will grow on me more, too.

More soon.  Shalom from the Bauer home, Laura

p.s. happy Passover :-)

*SNAP*

We have all been there.  That moment when things pile on and pile on and pile on, and suddenly we SNAP!  We go crazy and lose our minds and make others worry about us and our sanity.  I use to have those moments a lot, and I feel like I’ve been tempted to have them again.  It’s like I’m in a “Patience is a Virtue” training camp.

I noticed it a couple months ago.  We overslept and had to run out the door.  I was stressed about our water heater closet.  We knew the water heater was old, but we didn’t know the closet wasn’t up to code.  I sat in my car stressed over it: ugh, can it wait until our next paycheck?, shouldn’t I get a second opinion?, how much is this all gonna cost?  I got my answer pretty quickly from a contractor we had look at it.  Oh, yeah, and I was suppose to leave carpet samples for him outside before I left the house.  Oops.  The carpet’s put off.  *sigh*  The contractor called me to check in, and the pile grew.  To spare you the details, in short, he said: our closet needed updating, it was gonna cost a bunch of money, and it had to be done immediately.  The phrase: “your house is going to burn down” came out of his mouth.  Yikes.

I pressed him on it, and he just said, “Of course, your house isn’t going to burn down.  Your roof will catch on fire, and you can call 911 and have your front yard littered with fireman if you don’t have this fixed.”  His southern drawl slurred, “Honey, can’t you call your Dad and talk to him?  He’ll give you good advice on the value of maintaining your home.”  Oh.  No.  He.  Didn’t.

The pile grew.

I called my husband, who had seen what our contractor saw and reassured me that 1) our house wasn’t going to burn down while I was buying groceries, and 2) the man was trying to fear me- and we wouldn’t stand for it.

Now, I was irritated.  What a jerk that man had been!

As the day progressed, I dealt with a failing printer, a second opinion from another contractor (at just the perfect time that I missed both my workout and a long bath), a crashed internet (THREE times), and problems with a friend.  Things piled and piled and piled.  I felt like I was getting pushed from every angle.  I was disheartening.  That night, I had dinner with my husband at school, and I was thankful my day was turning around.  I couldn’t wait to go home, go to sleep, and put the day behind me.  And, that’s when my husband told me (at 9:15 p.m.) that we’d have to go to his office for a crisis clean up.  I felt defeated.  Come ten o’clock, we were headed to his office.  I was drained.

The day was filled with moments I wanted to cry, scream, or throw something.  I wanted to have a great big two-year-old’s meltdown.  But, I never did.  Not really, anyway (there was a brief, satisfying scream I had in the car, by myself, on the freeway on my way to pick up my husband).  But, I didn’t attack anyone.  I handled it with grace, and I was shocked because I had snapped at people for so little so long ago.  I was a test.  Or, exercise.

I am learning that the fruits of the Spirit are not qualities we would necessarily have on our own.  I am kind and loving, but I am not disciplined or self-controlled by nature.  We must use those characteristics like muscles, strengthening them over time.  Never going to the gym and suddenly trying to bench twice your body weight would cause a lot of hurt and pain.  So does taking on situations that you are not ready for.  I am thankful for that straining day because I was able to bite my tongue when a “friend” viciously, verbally attacked me in March.  It came in handy when my husband got short with me the other evening, and we avoided a “research and development” moment.  Plus, it worked out when we had a crazy Monday (somehow running into a dozen problems that turned a thirty minute errand into a three hour one), which caused a phone mix up, and I missed my reminder to blog.  Sorry, Monday, you get a bad, deserved rep this week.

So, now it’s Wednesday.  Tuesday was a meltdown day for me- a bit overwhelmed by the work I did Monday and the residual I was dealing with from the weekend.  Each moment, I have tried to be gracious, and that’s all we can do.  Be thoughtful of the way you handle things- let’s snap peas and not patience.  It’s the healthiest option for everyone involved!  *smile*

Happy Wednesday, love, L

La Vie En Rose

Are you one of the 12.9 million viewers of the finale of How I Met Your Mother?  I watched it the next morning, after it being spoiled by my aunt on Facebook.  All is forgiven, Debbie.  *smile*  Here’s my thoughts on the outrage of the ending(s).  So, that said: ***SPOILER ALERT***

I have mixed emotions watching the finale of HIMYM.  Dinner with my hubbie ran late on Monday, so I figured I’d watch it the next morning.  I tried finding it on cbs.com that night- maybe a girl can get lucky?  No such luck that night, but I decided to pop on over to Facebook before falling asleep when I saw a post: “Congrats to Ted and Robin!  SO happy for them!”  Hmmm…  who are Ted and Robin?  I wasn’t the only one wondering that as the question appeared below the post.  And, my aunt kindly answered that it’s from the HIMYM finale.  Ugh.  I am usually so diligent!  My guard was down because it was so late.  So I did what any sane person would do: I devoured the internet for details.

I found details upon details, so I knew what was coming the next morning when I cozied up on couch with my breakfast in hand and laptop on the coffee table.  I knew the twists and turns and knew what was coming: the creators killed off the mother and Ted ended up with Robin.  And, I admit: I’m a little disappointed, too.

I guess I’m tired of the concept of “THE ONE” on TV and in movies.  I’m tried of timing being off and life getting in the way.  I’m exhausted from drama riddled relationships that twist our thinking that life with “The One” will be complicated for years to come.  You know, the if-we-could-just-get-the-timing-right or life-will-work-out-someday-but-not-today and that we’ll-be-together-and-break-up-anytime-the-show-needs-a-ratings-boost relationship.  Yet, we start to think that’s real life.

I met someone that I thought was “The One” when I was fifteen.  We had this amazing chemistry and familiarity that is so rare to find with someone.  We were on and off for years.  If I ever cheated (yes, I use to be a bad girl), it was always with this “Christopher.”  He was the one I went to when times were tough or when life was hard.   He was the one I went to when I needed someone.  He was “The One” in my eyes for years.  Every relationship was tainted (on varying levels) because I couldn’t get Christopher out of my mind.

When I was 21, there was a moment of loneliness I had, and I remember thinking: I want to get married.  Because, of course, life improves dramatically when you get married, right???  (Please, dear reader, sense the sarcasm.)  I didn’t marry the man I thought was the one, though.  Because, after all, “the one” wasn’t ready.  I was.  Or, so I thought.  And, I can still clearly recall the vow saying that we would “forsake all others,” and I thought to myself: can I forsake Christopher?  The answer was no when I cheated on my husband about fifteen months later.  My infidelity isn’t what broke us up though.  It was a four year tired and twisted marriage that finally came to an end, which brought with it my salvation (sometimes you come to Christ when you’re flat on your face) and the disillusion of the “one” I thought of for so many years.

Fast forward to eleven years after I met that one, and he called me.  Christopher called me.  I sat in my car on the side of the road.  I listened to him pour his heart out to me.  I was his “one.”  His words fell on deaf ears.  It is bizarre that what I had wanted to hear for so long didn’t make a difference.  The smallest part of me wanted to believe him.  But, I realized just before we spoke that there was a better one out there for me.

I believe, “the one” won’t wait eleven years to realize you are what they want in life.  The one won’t let life interfere, they will move through hell and high water to be with you.  They spent so long without you that they don’t want to waste a minute more.  That’s what it was like for Joseph and me.  He’s The One who loves me unconditionally, has truly seen me through good times and bad, and knows my truly wholly and intimately.  We still keep our vows: “To go where you go, to live where you live, your people will be my people, and your G-d my G-d.”  He’s the one I love and want to grow old with.

Or, the one, for my younger sister is a man you’re introduced to because your older sister thinks you’d make a cute couple.  And, you do- three years later- because you took the time to become friends and fell in love after building a foundation.  That’s a beautiful love story, too.

I think HIMYM had us (the audience) hoping for years it was Robin.  Hope after hope that she was really the mother and that she was the one Ted ended up with in the end.  But, we fell in love with the mother.  We fell in love with the something new that came into Ted’s life.  We realized “the one” should recognize what love is before trying to find it elsewhere.  We fell in love with the mother, Tracy McConnell, when she sat on the porch at the Far Hampton Inn playing the ukelele and signing “La Vie En Rose”- translated into “Life in Rosy Hues.”  That’s the woman we wanted to see Ted grow old with and sit on the front porch with Marshall and Lily in their golden years, their rosy years.

I guess for a moment we wanted HIMYM to be the story not of “the one we were always hung up on” or “the one that got away” but the one that we found that was better than the one we thought we’d found before.  That the one Ted- and we- ended up with was so much better than anything we’d found before and brought us more love and happiness than we had ever known.  But, that’s just TV.  And, thankfully, we have the power to write our own script to find “The One” that blows all the other ones out of the water.  That is a rosy life that is worth watching and living.

Happy Housewife Wednesday,

Laura

Insulted

My husband and I did a little road trip to Dallas this weekend. We attended the Dave Ramsey SMART conference. And, like all things Dave Ramsey, it rocked! We LOVED the speakers, the words of wisdom, and the stories that were imprinted on our hearts.

As we drove home yesterday, I shared a few of the jokes and stories with my parents over the phone, and my dad pondered, “Well, Laura’s always been drawn to self-improvement and looking inward to make herself better.” What?! What was likely an observation felt like a hurdled insult to me. A who-do-you-think-you-are moment, if you will. I became defensive, “We should all want to improve and make ourselves better… Plus, it was Joseph who found the conference and decided we should go.” What. Is. Wrong. With. Me. Really?

I don’t know why I should be insulted. The very nature of the Meyer’s Brigg’s ENFP is to be inquisitive and searching for life and its meaning and stories to fulfill it. ENFP’s are full of fun and wonder. And, is it that bad to want to improve? We should be content with our circumstances, but always want to be better people. More patient, loving, kind, and trustworthy. We should learn balance between meekness and being bold. Firm yet humbly able to be molded. Finding the good and making it better truly makes us shine at our best.

May we always be improving, ENFP or not. *wink*

L