when one door wants to close

I have been MIA.  Unintentionally.  I guess I have been drained.  Maybe, I have been dreading it.  Likely, it is that my head swims with ideas, thoughts, phrases, and sentences that I don’t know where to start or don’t know how to sort it out.

Today, though, I am packing up our house.  We are moving.  Although, I don’t know when and don’t yet know where, but it is coming.  Six months or twelve months, that is what is likely.  I married knowing we could move a lot.  Yet, I fight with G-d.  I want to put down roots.  I don’t want to sell our house.  I love our house.  I want to keep it in the hopes of moving back and gaining equity while we are away.  Whether we rent it or not, I want to keep it.  I am being foolish, though, and I think the Lord is leading us to sell.  As much as I fight, He knows best.  Right?

I just sorted through the baby room.  Yes, we don’t have kids yet, but we have the “baby” room.  Description purposes, I guess.  We did plan on that being the room we’d settle our children into someday.  I have a graduation Barbie from the 90’s sitting in a box.  I gently unwrap her to put her in a box of our childhood books and toys we hope to reuse for our kid(s).  There’s a mint condition Barbie version of Romeo and Juliet an ex-boyfriend gave me in 1998.  Why do I keep it?  Why do I keep it in the box?  I think a little girl will love it, though, so I unpack it, too.  If we have a little girl, she can play with the beautiful dolls.  If I don’t have daughters, my niece will, hopefully, adore it some day.  They go in the big box.

There’s a box of frames and knick knacks from my childhood room.  Oh, I loved those.  Oh, those are almost twenty years old.  How can that be?!  LOL  I debate on keeping them or getting rid of them.  My husband supports the former, but I can’t think of a time I will use them in the future.  They are reformed to the latter; they go.  I am a big believer in charity and donating things.  My grandfather lived through The Great Depression, so I know hoarding is engrained into me at a deep level.  I fight it though.  There is a home waiting for my knick knacks.  Besides, I am not a fan of dusting.  I ignore it until i hear whispers of “coup.”

As I type this blog, the hall closet stares at me, wide open and unorganized.  Okay, it’s actually organized and sparse compared to the average closet owner, I am sure.  It still mocks and beckons me at the same time.  I am closing a chapter in my life.  I am tearing up when I write that.  I didn’t realize I was such a sentimental type.  I want so much to hold on to this house, but G-d tells me to let it go.  And, I am blessed, I think.  I have months before we pack it all up and go!  I guess I miss the life we wanted to have here.  We wanted this to be the house our kids grew up in.  We wanted to grow in our relationships with neighbors.  We wanted to grow old in this house and expand onto it someday.  Our neighborhood is filled with older couples, and I wanted us to be one of them someday.

There must be something better, though.  There always is.  If this door is closing, then I need to stop trying to yank it open.  Unknowns breed anxiety.  Maybe that is my problem?  I don’t think I am anxious, but I do crave stability.  I didn’t use to be this way, and my husband and I laugh.  Think that’s why we need to move?  I cannot lose my spontaneity to a house.

I sigh as this post comes to an end, and I thank you, dear reader, for not losing hope in reading it.  Ramblings from my deep heart.  A home is so much more than what I cling to right now.  May I find the excitement of something new and nothing holding us back.  Great things come when we “let go, and let G-d.”  He is good, and He will lead the way.  I think I’m ready to finishing sorting, purging, and packing my bags now.

Happy Wednesday.  Love, L

timeless

In my effort to be a better wife, I started reading a new book last weekend.  “The Proverbs 31 Woman: A Study Aid, by E.R. Reid.”  I had been eying it for weeks on my bookshelf.  “I’ll read it soon…” I decided and even went as far as to set it aside to read… eventually.  I decided that I needed to submit to the Lord (yield to Him) then my husband.  I need to focus on my responsibility to Him (the Lord), which will aid in my blessings to him (my dear husband).

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I started reading the book and wondered: when was this written?  Oh, 1993.  Well, that wasn’t too long ago, I ponder.  I was in middle school at the time.  Okay.  What, I was in middle school at the time- over twenty years ago!  I fainted, briefly, (just kidding) and got back to reading the book.  I was shocked at how the words the author wrote over twenty years ago still applied to my life today.  Of course, they should!  I realized her words were about the Bible, which is timeless, and can speak into any situation at any time whether twenty years ago or two hundred years ago.  It can speak into our lives and hearts another ten, twenty, or two hundred years from now.  (Although, let’s be honest, two hundred years from now will be my grandchild’s life, easily).

I know the poor Proverbs 31 woman gets a lot of push back sometimes.  She really models a life that seems unattainable, right?  Well, she’s led by the Holy Spirit, which makes her job a little easier.  Maybe not easier but more focused?  We should always be on the lookout for ways we can better ourselves, our lives, and our marriages.  My poor book is littered decorated with underlinings and tabs and notes-

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- I am about halfway through and know there is so much I need to sow into my heart and life.

It just makes me smile thinking that this book can impact my heart despite it being written when my husband was in grade school.  (That’s creepy, right?!  Yep, I married a- slightly- younger man!)

The study aid shows that G-d is good.  His word is timeless.  It can bless you, your marriage, and family today, tomorrow, and years to come.  It allows you to rethink the legacy you are leaving and start a better one to bless those you’ll some day leave behind.

Many blessings, Laura

May you be a spouse of noble character…

“A wife of noble character who can find?  For her worth is far above rubies.” Proverbs 31:10

being picked on

Last Monday (not this past Monday, but the Monday before), my husband and I got into a massive fight.  It started in the morning and grew until late that night and exploded all over our family room.  Yuck.

The next morning, my dear husband was convinced that I need counseling (oh, how I laughed, as I am certainly not the problem in this relationship!) and determined to make an appointment: that day.  I laughed, too, because when we have had ridiculous fights in the past, I have suggested the counseling.  Snotty mental remark: Look who thinks we need a third party’s opinion now!  Anyway, we met with a counselor Tuesday night, with the residual stench and tension of the fight between us.  I was grateful we weren’t so far gone that we couldn’t still laugh together though.

The counselor was good, and we planned on meeting her again soon.  I made an appointment for that week.  One or two days later?  Oh, I certainly wasn’t a fan of our second appointment.  Why is she picking on me?!  Does she think I defy my husband all the time?  That I am a thorn in his side and a leaky faucet every day of the year?!  Ridiculous.  Hands down, I deserve an A almost any day of the week.  I am a great wife.  It’s true, I am- even my husband will vouch!  But, my heart was eventually pierced: I may get “A’s” every day, but I failed the test of our fight that week.  That one fight brought down my entire grade.  That sucks.

It’s not that G-d was mad at me for not being my best, loving self to my spouse.  But, I knew He wanted more from me.  He calls me to respect my husband, and I had done a shoddy job of that this week.  The Lord certainly wasn’t going to discipline me for my unflattering outburst.  Thank goodness.  He loved me in my filth but still wanted me to get cleaned up.

I sat in her office then writing down a multitude of Bible verses and insights.  This was not fun.  And, again, why is she picking on me?!  I felt a bit of defensiveness rise within me.  “Is she going to ream my husband like this, too?  I hope she does!  He certainly could use a lesson in gentleness-”  Oh, yeah, she repeats herself, interrupting my thoughts: focus on yourself.  I felt like she was talking to a two year old.  She says though that if I focus on having a good relationship with the Lord, a good relationship with my husband will follow.  Hmphf.

I get in the car to run a few errands before going home.  I am still a wee bit irritated that she was picking on me.  I don’t handle criticism well- can you tell?  *laugh*  But, as I am driving I realize one of the biggest truths of the day: She’s not picking on me- G-d is!  What?!  I am His beloved.  I am His precious child- daughter of the King.  whining: I am His favorite!  (Something my best friend and I fight over- ha!)  It hit me that even though I may a good wife most of the time that when I behaved the way I did I was certainly a bad wife.  It’s that one bad decision, score, or grade that drops the overall value down.  Sucks.

So how do I fix myself to be a better wife?  I get into the word.  Yep, The Holy Bible.  I need to remember my first responsibility is to G-d then to my husband.  I submitting (or yielding) to the Lord though I fulfill His plan for my life.  Right now, I need to be a good wife.  Do I still disagree with my husband’s decision?  Yes, I still disagree with my husband’s decision.  And, sure, I still think he was wrong, but I need to bite my tongue and pray that G-d will take care of it.

So I am trying to be a better Mrs. Bauer.  One day at a time.  One prayer at a time.  May I push through my ignorance to be a better wife every day no matter any decision.

Happy Wednesday, L

the love of my life

I read an article today about an actress who got married recently.  She described her groom as “the love of her life.”  And, I admit I was ready to roll my eyes.  Although, I remember: I said the same thing about my groom five years ago.

I still think Mr. Bauer is the love of my life.  However, it hasn’t been as perfect and lovely as I thought.  I mean, the first big fight we had was days after our engagement.  I thought my fairy tale was over.  That’s not a really fairy tale though- despite all our trips to Disney World!

My husband has become the love of my life because his personality fits mine.  He took care of me when I had knee surgery and again when I broke my foot.  He made a full Thanksgiving dinner the first weekend, too!  Great guy.  He works hard to provide for us, and, likely, would not deny me anything I ask.  That’s not him giving in, or me being spoiled.  However, it is him willing to sacrifice for me.  That is the love of my life.  I think back on past relationships that I had wanted to be “the one” or thought they were grand loves, and, for a time, they were.  But, I was a believer that “the one” who was meant to be would want to be with me an not let anything get in the way of that.  Joseph made us happen.  He knew what he wanted: me, as his wife.

We may get swept away in the moment of new love and the freshness of new happiness.  I pray that love takes you by surprise and deepens.  I pray your spouse complements you and blesses your life.  I pray you return the favor, too.

Good night, L

twelve years

I had to get on Facebook today.  I have been MIA on it as of late, which has been a nice break actually.  A friend’s post talked of them celebrating twelve years of marriage this weekend.  Wow.  Twelve years.  That seems so crazy long to me.  I mean, for someone I know.  For someone whose wedding I attended a lifetime ago.  Really, a lifetime ago for me.  I was in my early twenties then- such a different person than I am now.  I different view on life.  A different weight!  ha  And, a different husband.  It dawns on me as I contemplate their status: I got married twelve years ago, too.

I remember meeting my first husband thirteen years ago.  Or, that was when we became a couple and started dating.  I actually knew him growing up.  Not well, but I knew him and his family.  We attended and grew up in the same church.  The weekend before I met him in my early twenties though, I was so sick of dating.  I just wanted to be married.  I wanted to find that magical “one.”  That week, I met the one I thought was the one.  He was tall, cute, and Christian- what more did I need?  Well, in hindsight, I needed myself. 

I hate to be skeptical of those marrying in their early twenties, but I just scream inside: you change SOOO much!  It is true: the twenty year old you is typically vastly different than the twenty-five year old you.  You start to find yourself and gain your footing.  You discover what makes you tick and what you are looking for.  You need a very strong foundation if you marry young, and I didn’t have that.

Sure, that first marriage shaped me.  I married a man I didn’t respect.  I married a man who disappoints me.  He disappoints me in ways I cannot express except it’s not just him specifically but that I am disappointed that I ever thought I loved him.  I am disappointed that when my dad asked me if my would be groom was worth all the family drama that came with him I, honestly, didn’t know.  That is a bad sign.  I mean, my husband now came with buku family drama but that never made me doubt my love for him and desire to marry him.  Ironically, my new in-laws have on times made me nostalgic for my old in-laws! 

So much has happened in the twelve years I first said I do.  There are rare moments that my mind wanders down the what if trail, but it’s not pretty.  I can still vividly remember sitting in my family room feeling so completely, utterly, totally alone.  I compared my marriage to a prison and dreamed of a way out.  Sure, the way out came, but there was a lot of brokenness all around.  I don’t advocate divorce.  People say “no regrets,” but I do regret my first marriage.  I regret my divorce, too.  I value what I have learned and what it’s made me.  I can appreciate the husband and life I have now because I am FREE from that hell. 

I likely would have kids now if I stayed on that path.  But, they would have been with the wrong man.  I would likely still be on the same anxiety and depression meds I had been on before.  I would have seen my counselor more often then the mailman.  I might have still be an adulteress- begging to find excitement in a life I avoided living.  I may not have been “saved.”  It was during our separation that I dated someone who reminded me of my first true love, the Lord, and he helped guide me back to Him. 

I am happy the couple is celebrating their anniversary.  Twelve happy years.  Two beautiful boys.  One great house.  One booming business.  Dozens, no, hundreds of laughs.  There are so many paths we can take in a matter of twelve years.  I am thankful theirs led to where they are today.  And, I am thankful for that path that led me to my present.  Rocky roads, and all.

Sweet dreams, L

two chairs

It is awkward being around a couple fighting, right?  Right in the middle of every one- public and intense- and no where to hide.  We saw one this weekend.  In a trip to Lowe’s for price researching, my husband and I came upon an argument in the parking lot.  Oh!  I was beyond giddy.  Not my finest moment, I assure you.  Did my husband even park the car before I spilled out?  It’s like bad reality TV- in person!  As we non-nonchalantly walked passed the couple, we knew what stage we had come upon: the silent treatment.  Oh, the Mrs. was upset!  And, we knew why, too: they purchased two (lovely) outdoor chairs… two lovely, outdoor chairs that were too big to fit in their car.  Eek.

Joseph grabbed my hand and whisked me past them.  He confided in me that he wanted to wish “the poor sap ‘good luck'”- ’cause he’s gonna need it. 

We’ve had those fights.  The screaming yet-don’t-care-who’s-looking fights.  Thankful no one wished my man luck during those!  Thankful I have, on most days, found a life preserver.  Rather, a relationship preserver.  It’s adjustable, not fun to implement, and should be well-past-use date by now!  It’s the age old classic: biting my tongue.  Adjustable: sometimes, it is quite the comment I am sitting on!  Not fun to implement: who enjoys quieting their comments for the sake of a relationship?  I wanna burst with comment!!  Use date past?  Likely, I keep using it over and over and over.  But, I want my marriage to work. 

I sound like a broken record sometimes, I am sure, but it is so important to value your marriage.  It is important to value that couple.  I sure knew what she was feeling- I have been there before!  I valued seeing her husband, though.  He was beat-up verbally by her.  We watched as he walked, emasculated, around trying to fix the situation.  I never want my husband to appear as a little boy before me because I have whittled him to sure.  Our hearts went out to him.  I wanted to give her a kind word or gentle encouragement.  Really: is a spoiled afternoon with it?

We got an estimate on the hardwood flooring we’ve been eying (to replace our ruined carpet).  It was too pricey right now… but a girl and her husband can dream!  And we found a less expensive carpet we can agree on.  Even cheaper, it will have to wait.  Oh, well.  Important isn’t always urgent…  We walked back to the car to find the couple still at odds.  As we pulled away, we decided to throw them a preserver.  We drove back around to help drive the chairs home for them, but they had someone else pull up the same time we did and began loading the chairs in a truck.  Good call.

Joseph and I remarked about their ruined afternoon, though I hope she simmered down and her husband built back up.  I smiled, and we wished this would be a story the couple would one day laugh about.  Laughter strengthens a marriage.  So, next time you’re about to fight, skip to the laughs, and you will be glad you did.

Happy Monday.  Happy Labor Day.  Love, L

going to a hukilau

It’s amazing what our brains are capable of remembering…

This weekend, I began singing a song I heard on our honeymoon- nearly five years ago.  Back then, we were in Maui and having dinner on a tour cruise.  I think I had the steak?  It was good.  And, we had a great view of the ocean over the bow.  Hmmm… the bow is the front of the boat, right?  Anyway, during the evening, one of the tour guides began playing songs and singing.  In one song, he sang, “Oh, we’re going to a hukilau [hook-ee-la-oww].  A hookie- a hookie- a hukilau…”  That was essentially the chorus.  (Oh, what is a hukilau, you ask?  Kind of an old school way of fishing, with a very large net.  A group of people would cast the net out and drag it back to shore.  Then, likely, cook up the fish and enjoy on the beach.) 

This weekend, things were crazy.  Crazy, like, I cried for half of it, we had to get a hotel room while our poor house had some much needed emergency work, adoption longings, and hormonal moments.  As the weekend drew to a close, I found my tears dried up.  I often wanted to cry due to being overwhelmed.  Yet, laughter came instead.  When Joseph and I got on the hotel elevator one morning, I found myself doing the hula to that song we heard on our honeymoon.  “Oh, we’re going to a hukilau,” I smiled at my husband, “a huki- a huki- a hukilau.  Everybody loves a hukilau.  A huki- a huki- a hukilau.”  I flirted with him and smiled.  Maui is a long ways away.  Our next vacation is too far for me to bear.  The adoption thing is draining me, and we really haven’t even started.  Our home repairs are not covered by insurance, oh joy (and why do we have insurance then???).  And, it may take a little bit to get the house to code.  Oh, yes, the joys.  And, oh, yes, a hukilau is far away… but, a girl can dream.

I think we need to dream of far off lands or even quiet moments to restore.  I have mentioned our love of Disney before, and I have the Disney World app on my phone.  I occasionally like to view wait times and hours of operation.  You know, when you want to be “anywhere else but here.”  So, whether you can hop on the next flight out or need to work on saving up for your next getaway, find the mental one you can take to give you a sweet break from the usual- and sometimes overwhelming!- day to day.  I highly recommend a hukilau!

Good night, L

makes me laugh

I have just a couple of cute nephew stories tonight.  Sweet laughs and dreams, good night, L

My almost-three-year-old nephew has started early preschool. 

Over a snack of milk and cheesy bread, he said (while pushing it away), “I don’t eat this- this is food for dinosaurs!”  I’d like to think another little kid will go home and exclaim that he enjoyed dinosaur food at school.

When the other kids were excited to see his baby sister (about 8 months old), he became very possessive and didn’t want to share her.  “Mom, take the baby away!” he commanded.  “Mom, take the baby away.”  I get such a kick that he didn’t call C by her name, only, “the baby.”  

FaceTiming with my sister, she turned the phone on my nephew, in the tub bathing.  He was not thrilled at his decreased privacy and poured water over his head.  A shield, maybe?  His hair smoothed out in a 50’s hair fashion, and I told him, “L!  You look just like your Grandpa when he was a little boy!”  Truly, the image was uncanny.  And, that made him beam.  He loves my dad and the two of them are close.

Sure, the last story isn’t too funny, but it touches my heart.  Kids say the darnest things.  Right?  Cliche but true.  Take note of the heartfelt moments you share with the little ones in your life.  They will always make your day. 

money matters

Growing up in the church, I remember the gospel verse, “For where your treasure [money] is, your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).  As a sweet little blonde daydreamer, I had no clue what it meant.  It just didn’t make sense at all.  It continued to not fully make sense to me even growing up until recently when it fully clicked.  The light bulb went on, and I felt I had a true understanding. 

I love my Quicken software.  I updated it a couple times a week to make sure the bank’s numbers and my numbers jive.  I am able to quickly fix any error whether on their end or mine.  And, I started truly studying the “home page” of their information.  My total amount spent appears on the right of the screen, and a pie chart showing my expense categories in the second.  I noticed though that our top four categories are “mortgage/property taxes/home insurance, charity, travel, and education.”  I pondered the four things and concluded it all seemed right.  We do value our home (and making its mortgage payments timely!), our church and other charities, travel, and my husband’s masters degree.  Where our money is, our heart will be also.  Who knew our bank book and Quicken ledger would be such an insight into what matters most to us?

Of course, any one could then see I value Amazon in the day to day (ha) along with which gas station we most frequent and the last time we caught a movie.  They could find which grocery store I favor and how often we go.  Do you know where your heart is?  Do you know what you value?  Do you say you value something, but you don’t back it up?  If I said I valued my church, and I didn’t give to them, I would be bummed.  If I say I value health and my money is spent on drive thru’s, medications, and time off, I would start to adjust that I could spend more on exercise equipment, healthy foods, and maybe appliances to help me in the kitchen.

I love introspection.  I love learning more about me and the world around me.  How do I value it?  What do I value in it?  Take a look at my finances, and it will tell you a lot.  Look at your finances… what do they say about you???

Good night, L

sad

I had another entry I was going to post tonight, but it will wait. 

My husband found out today that dear friends of ours are separated.  I am so sad.  My heart just breaks for them.  And, yeah, I am a bit bummed for my husband and myself- we loved doubling with them!  I feel so confused since we saw them just weeks ago.

Okay, weeks may have been months, but it was just before our June trip.  Did the wife say something I missed?  Did I misread something she said?  Maybe there were signs?  But, they laughed together and seemed so happy together.  I remember thinking it was nice to see another couple interact with such love.  Was it an act? 

I feel bad for their kids.  Oh, and what a pain dealing with the house could be.  And their finances.  Oh, how sad to start over with someone else when they have built a beautiful life together. 

I pause.

They are only separated, I remind myself.  There is still hope!  Or, may still be hope.  Maybe absence will make the heart grow fonder.  Cliche?  Yes.  Our hope for them?  Totally. 

So, tonight I ask you keep our friends and their marriage in your marriages.  Pray the Lord’s goodness will prevail, and they will quickly reconcile.  And, pray for your marriage.  May you focus on strengthening it.  Pray for your spouse and that your bond would continue to grow.  Pray that you can be the lucky half whose marriage survives.  Pray you are even more blessed and that your marriage will thrive.

Sweet dreams and thanks, Laura