Friday, February 26, 2010
Okay, okay, okay.....so MAYBE he's my dog. But this is not just ANY dog, people. This is like the greatest dog EVER. My little side-kick, bad-A, Jen OBSESSED, feels like a shammy, pees like a Race Horse, eats like an Elephant, snuggles like a teddy bear, tries to suffocate Mark with his face, makes love to innocent objects such as pillows, Julia's teddy bear or a stranger's leg, 7 lbs of yummy wonderfulness type of dog.
Mark is going to roll his eyes as soon as he sees this post, but I don't care! Huck makes me happy when I'm having really poopy days....unless he poops on me and that's never fun. I love you Hucky-bear. Thanks for always being "my huckleberry".
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Was I afraid they would judge me? Yes, but why?
Would they think.....
Gold digger? Boobs too big? 1 inch black roots poking out of the top of my bleach blond hair means I was born a (gasp) brunette? maybe. Bible she's carrying too new looking? "You know they say a battered and broken bible means an unfettered and unbroken life." Divorced unbiblically (another huge gasp)? Wedding ring too big? Wedding ring too small? Mark too old? Jenn too young?
The list could go on and on and on......
You may think this is ridiculous, but I've been dealing with MAJOR church hang-ups during my "post-traumatic divorce disorder". Though all of the above may seem ridiculous insecurities, this has unfortunately become the underlying thoughts I've had towards the body of believers called "The Church".
Now those who are hoping for a blog about my trip to the potty, my thoughts on "The Bachelor" or my love for Britney Spears....this isn't the blog for you. Just stop reading and come back tomorrow. I'm sure I will have something rude, crude and socially unacceptable for you then.
This blog isn't to bash the church I use to be a member of and because of that I'm not going to mention it's name. Although I am aware many of you know me personally and know the church I use to be a part of, even for you it's not meant for this purpose. Before, I get hate mail telling me to kiss off, ask how my brother and I are related (I still don't get it, so DON'T ASK) and tell me to embrace my feminist side (oh, wait that was another blog), let me explain:I do not have any ill-will towards the church as a whole, the individuals who are in leadership or the people who lovingly call this their church home.
It fact, before I start let me state the hard truth: I wasn't the ultimate dynamite, slap your mother she's that GREAT member of the church to begin with. To be honest, I kinda sucked at it.
Due to some fault of my own, during and after the divorce I was, in my own words, burned by the church. To give some of you a little history behind this story: Mark and I both went to the same church with our 1st spouses. Mark and I divorced about 8 months apart from each other. We did not know each other during our divorce, but had very similar experiences to the reaction we received from the church.
It is not my place to tell you Mark's personal experience in this, but I will tell you mine. Not to gossip, not to slander, but to sort out and explain the bitterness, mostly self-inflicted, that I allowed to build up towards church as a whole over the past two years. The bitterness, that God is slowly chipping away by showing me truth in the beauty, joy and commandment of belonging to a church body. What happened in my life two years ago....SUCKED. I mean, like, REALLY Sucked. It was soooo stinky icky that I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy (which happens to be Kevin Federline, but that's for another day). I became a huge disappointment to the people I loved... my family, my friends....my church. Some of the disappointment just, some not so just.
But, you go through something that it hard, you learn from it and maybe in your story, you can either a.) help others in a similar situations b.) helps others steer clear from it as if it were the bubonic plague c.) helps others grow in compassion towards those in these certain hard situations. I'm writing about this, because although I am blissfully, joyfully, ecstatically married to a wonderful man who has kissed all my bruises and scars, some of my wounds still exist and still show. My wound towards the church is sadly, one of the visible ones. And on really good days, I say to myself, "I've got this....I ain't wounded no more" (well maybe, not like that, but you catch my drift?) but on days like today, when I'm faced with taking a step forward and moving on in forgiveness not only in myself but in others, I trip over this stumbling block because of the lack of compassion that was shown towards me, when I was, as in the bible, the adulteress who fell in front of the well at the mercy of the Pharisees who were ready to cast their stones.
When I made the decision to leave my marriage, I was not contacted by anyone in the church. Now to clarify, I have a few friends that I made there and have maintained a friendship with; although it's somewhat different now. You know who you are, you read my blog and you few are one of the greatest gifts God gave me through the church. But, I was not contact by any leadership, previous leaders etc. I had NO problem with this. I was getting a divorce and didn't really want to hear from them (sidenote: this is usually the attitude of someone who KNOWS what they are doing is NOT the right thing).
Fast forward to 6 months later: I meet a man. He's tall, handsome, really smart, makes me laugh until I cry and doesn't judge me for my past yuckiness. I like him. I think he kinda likes me too. We learn we use to go to the same church, talk about it a little and move on. We have been dating 3 wks. He gets a call...it's one of the main pastors of the church we both use to attend. He wants to talk to him about....ME. Jennifer Robinson? He ask. Yes, I'm dating her. Is his reply.
Unbiblically divorced! Church discipline must be enforced! Shouldn't date that kind of girl. Do you know what she did to her husband? No? Well, let me tell you.I was humiliated. hurt. discouraged. weary. My dirty laundry...PLUS some, was aired out to a man I barely knew by a man who did not have the right. Who didn't know me; he didn't know my heart. All he knew was who's Daughter-In-Law I use to be. He judged me and wanted him to judge me, too. Thankfully, this man became my husband and defended my honor even during such an early stage in our relationship.
I felt like I could never step into that church again, even if I wanted to. What should be a home for the broken and weary became the place I wanted to walk across the street to avoid. And although, living in the bible belt, there are a million church within my reach....I believed once these other churches really knew me, maybe they would feel the way he did. Maybe they wouldn't want me either. Maybe they would be ashamed of me, too.
It's taken quite a while to believe in my heart that this isn't the way the church body would see me, and I've healed in this area through:
- my hometown church, who lovingly embraced me from the moment I walked in their doors two years ago, recently divorced,broken and defeated. This is a small church, that doesn't have millions of dollars at their finger tips, a counseling center, or a hundred plus staff. They don't have the resources so many do but what they do have is enough compassion, love, understanding and prayer for someone like me who needed it so desperately.
- The new church who I believe in my heart will lovingly adopt Mark and I into their church family and will walk with us as we grow together in our relationship with Christ, with each other and with fellow believers.
- My loving husband, who has shown me through simply the gift of himself, that I serve a loving, forgiving and COMPASSIONATE god. Who loves me enough to give me another chance.
One of the biggest and greatest gifts that have come out of the heartbreak of divorce, is that is has taught me compassion. It's really hard to be compassionate when you've never been through something. You just can't relate. I believe God will use me and this experience to show compassion to someone who needs it as desperately as I once did.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Happy Monday everyone!
I hope you enjoyed hearing from my loving husband, Buckethead. Yes, he's a bit long winded but his humor is one of the things I fell in love with. And, I'm not sure if you could tell or not but, he kinda of loves me....like A LOT. And if you couldn't tell, just let me know and I'll make him get on here and type I LOVE MY WIFE - In all caps-a zillion times. And that will be this weeks post. Side note, I don't mind that he makes fun of my love for "Full house", or the fact that I get mad for weird and crazy reasons because I'll just make fun of his love for leather-bound books or hot green tea! Just teasing. You know I love you, Buckethead! And I love our age difference. You take care of me now, I'll take care of you when you ninety OR hire a really hot nurse to take care of you. Either way, you'll be old and happy and that's what counts!
So today I decided to come into work with the "right frame of mind". Not sure really what that means or entails but I decided to go with it. I signed onto the computer and got in the ZONE. Turned on my I-pod and decided to listen to my Christian Music playlist to help ease any aggression or agitation I might be feeling from a day in the office after being out of town on business for half the week before. As I listened to the first song, I felt my eyes start to swell with tears and was overcome with emotion for the love of my Lord. But then the next song came on, and it happened again. "Wow", I thought, "I must really have the spirit of the Lord working in me today". After the 4 or 5th song, I started to think, "Okay, something must be wrong". I went through the list of possibilities:
- I did something REALLY wrong and the Lord is trying to convict me.
- I did something REALLY good and Jesus just wants to hang out with me while I type up this termination notice.
- I have a foreign object in my eye and I think I'm crying but really my eye is doing a natural cleanse and rinse for my irritated eyeball.
I'm menstrual. Yep, that's it. I figured it out by looking at the calendar and A-ha! I have a visitor coming to town this week and I think it had something to do with the cry fest at my desk this morning. Oh well. So maybe I didn't have a burning bush moment this morning, but at least it prevented me from going all karate kid on some of my co-workers.
Friday, February 19, 2010
So I’m Mark – Jennifer’s husband. Today we’ll start an experiment – Jen has asked that I occasionally be her ‘guest blogger’ and provide a man’s point of view to counter her playful, blunt, and decidedly feminine banter.
I pride myself on being rather educated – as denoted by the fact I just used “rather” in a sentence – so why is it that when I interact with Jennifer I find myself blathering like a schoolboy? (note: see the education denoted by the fact I used “blathering”?? I can do this all day baby!)
It’s funny – I am a salesman by trade. Going way back to my grade school days (Jen will hate this, but for most of her blog readers, I come from a time before microwaves, cell phones, the internet, and (GASP!!!) – episodes of “Full House”) my kindergarten teacher told my parents that I would make a living “using my mouth” – which thank the Good Lord meant sales or something sales related versus being a lip model. In high school, I was state runner-up in debate (finished 2nd to the satanic beast-master little 4 foot 2 inch homely looking girl from Marble Falls, Texas, who wiped me out – I’m convinced she had femur removal surgery to get the “gee you’re short sympathy vote"). In college, I had aspirations of being a lawyer until advisors quit laughing and told me that perhaps four years was enough for me as it pertains to higher education. My first job out of college was 100% commission selling door-to-door War Bonds (sorry – joke for those “pre Full House” readers of this blog…) – no actually not War Bonds but I did sell door-to-door. I made $18,000 a year. Today, I’m Vice President of Sales of the largest publically traded Chinese company (I love saying that because no one knows what that means!!) and God has given me a very successful run in telecommunications sales for the past 17 years (yes, that’s also dating me. I rode a donkey named “Skipbo” to work in the early years. Met Moses once – he was nice, but always complaining about his lunch being ‘boring’ and ‘redundant’ and ‘for the love of God can somebody get me something other than ‘angel food cake’ and please tell all those people wandering around in the desert to quit their griping??’).
So what Mark - what’s your point? Here’s my point. When Jen and I have ‘discussions’ (translation – I did something that even a monkey on a rock would know was wrong and we are having a fight) and I’ve organized my thoughts into an outline equipped with Roman numerals, put my thoughts into PowerPoint and a Microsoft Office Project Gantt chart (figure THAT one out pre “Full House” crew!!) – I mean I am ready for the big push, the big sell, the ‘even-that-same-monkey-on-a-rock’-can-see-my-logic (Jen uses too many commas – I’ll claim hyphens as my own because (a.) who doesn’t like to say “HYPHEN”?? and (b.) hyphens let you do that whole “run-your-words-together-for-effect” thingy) – I’m about to lay on her the most sensible, logical, amazing, “Mark-you-are-so-wise-you-great-sensei-with-your-hyphens” stuff and: WHAM!! She tear’s up. Or she pouts. Or, she shares she’s hurt (by me) in some way. Sometimes, to me at least, it seems like she’s hurting for the dumbest, most illogical, most over-the-top reason one can imagine. I mean, isn’t this the woman who went to TX state UIL drama (whilst I was in debate)?
And then it hits me. My job, as her husband, lover, best friend, and provider is to come to her rescue. To acknowledge her feelings, no matter how crazy they may seem to be. My job, to quote our pastor, is to use my strength to hold her up just as a male cheerleader holds up his partner. Strong, supportive, and taking care to never drop her. To be honest, I don’t always immediately apply that approach – sometimes I stubbornly stick to my “logical” explanation, and try to out-argue Jen with my amazingly prepared, smooth talking, ‘ask-that-monkey-on-a-rock-over-there’ point – but ultimately I’m convicted by her heart, her love for me (and dangit she’s so beautiful it kills me!!) and my love for her that I have to throw everything out the window – logic, amazing arguments, PowerPoint, Microsoft Office Projects, Gantt charts, monkey’s-on-a-rock, career, college, and grade-school experiences – all of it out the window because of this: she is my wife, and I will rush to protect her, and I will uphold her because of my love for her and her love for me. So, that means, I’m operating in uncharted waters. I often feel at a loss when I let go of my rather logical (and, as evident by the use of the word “rather”, apparently ‘educated’) approach and just love, and forgive, and apologize, and acknowledge.
And then it hits me again – this is how God loves us. We come to Him with logic, and reasons, and well thought-out points, and our accomplishments as to why He should love us and accept us and give us our hopes and dreams – and He just smiles and says, “Oh child, I love you with a love that defies logic. I have loved you for all eternity past and will love you for eternity future. Nothing you will ever do, have done, or could do, will ever affect my love for you. My love for you is supportive, strong, and I will never drop you. Let go of logic, put away your PowerPoint. Let go of your Gantt chart. Forget about your accomplishments and know that I will rush to your rescue always because my love for you is not based upon you but upon Me.”
I am so thankful for a God that loves without logic. I pray that I can continue to love Jen in this way and let go of all that I lean upon to make sense of a relationship. God is the original author of this approach – I mean He even made the monkey-on-the-rock. He made the rock too. So, I’ll let go of these things to the best of my ability and love Jen and uphold her when for the love of me I have no earthly idea why she’s upset and ‘blathering on’ about how someone stole her “Full House” VCR tapes. I let go of what I know.
Except ‘HYPHENS” – I won’t let go of them because hey?!? – who doesn’t like the word “hyphen” and the whole ‘you-can-run-on-a-sentence-in-a-rather-educated-manner-but-it-doesn’t-matter-because-of-these-dashes’ thingy? Gotta go – Jen wants some new furniture and I’ve got to get my PowerPoint presentation ready to combat her….
(Editor’s note: I don’t want to give the impression that Jennifer is some raving, emotional, lunatic that I have to ‘endure’ or ‘put-up with’ or ‘outsmart’ – on the contrary: at the end of the day, the monkey-on-the-rock (let it go Mark…) and I end-up agreeing: she’s usually right. Which means I was wr…wro….wrrrngg….what’s the word again? Oh yeah --- wrong. She’s right and she’s gorgeous – man I’m dead meat!!)
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
1.) They are really cute. Not just kinda cute, not even "cute cute", but Stinky Cute! Everyone looks at them and says, "They are sooo beautiful" and I'm like, "yeah, you WISH you were me".
2.) They are sweet. Too sweet. Like so sweet, that they give me sloppy morning breath kisses. Sweet, that they welcomed me into their lives with open arms and loved me because their Daddy loved me. Sweet, that on Mitch's Valentine's Day card to me he wrote: "I'm SO happy I have a Step-mom".
3.) They're crazy. You'd swear I birth them. So crazy that this morning for breakfast I took them to a Donut Shop before school and we played, "Who can fit the most donut holes in their mouth a once" game. Mitch won; he got 3 1/2 in.
4.) They're smart. TOO smart. So smart, that they're already asking me questions and getting the response, "Ummmmm, well,, Go ask your mom!".
5.) They Love Jesus. And that makes me happy.
Monday, February 15, 2010
We had the kids on Friday, so we were able to enjoy the pretty fluffy snow by engaging in a neighborhood snowball fight, sledding with anything we could get out our numb little hands on and making a very fashionable snowman. I hate the cold weather, especially cold/wet weather mainly because everything is "moist" and I just really hate that word. But this weekend was actually FUN! Mustering up all my strength, I threw a snow ball across the yard to my step-daughter and hit her smack dab in the middle of the face. Whilst I was doing my Macarana victory dance and shouting, "Now what?", Julia started to cry. I half-heartedly apologized, rolling my eyes and mumbling under my breath to "man up" just at Mitch pelted me with a snowball. It hit me right in the nose. It hurt. I cried. Just one tear. I wiped it away before anyone saw. And then I looked up towards Heaven and said, "Okay, you proved your point". I gave Julia an extra kiss that night.
Mark and I celebrated our first Valentine's Day as a married couple, with our two closest couple friends on Saturday night, leaving our Sunday wide open with endless Valentine Day possibilities. After enjoying a PG-13 Sermon at church about the "Joys of Marital Sex" and shouting out "Amen" and "Preach it" a little too loud, and a little too much, Mark let me choose where to go for our Valentine's Day lunch. If you know me at all, you give me a choice on restaurants and it will be one of two places: Iguana Joe's, if I'm in my hometown or LUBY'S! I had three starches and chicken fried steak and a piece of cornbread and a piece of buttermilk pie and it was really yummy so yummy in fact it totally justifies this really long run-on sentence.
After lunch and feeling quite bloated and in need of some "quality time" with my bathroom, we decided to go spend the Gift card to Neiman's that Mark bought me for Valentine's Day. Being the cheap-sake that I am, I insisted that he drive me 25 minutes up to the outlet mall, so I could spend it a Neiman Marcus last call so I could get more bang for my buck. Lucky for Mark I was filled to my nostrils with white gravy and macaroni so not much looked great on me and therefore I only went $30 over the gift card amount. This pleased my husband.
So, all in all it was a great Valentine's Day. We went home snuggled on the couch, watched a chick flick and then took our sermon notes into the bedroom.....
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
My goal was to update my Bachelor recap weekly but I got busy with the whole "getting married" thing that wasn't NEARLY as important as The Bachelor but I flubbed. Sorry folks. Now, all I can do is try to make it up to you by continuing to embarrass myself by allowing you into my sometimes awkward and inappropriate daily life, never leaving out the slightest details of my boob problems (sorry Mom), egocentric behavior or crude bathroom humor.
Okay, now back to that cheeseball Jake and his cute little winos who give the best drunk commentary whilst crying in the back of a limo.
So, this week we had the final four left in competing over the heart and affection of our beloved bachelor, Jake. Unfortunately for Corey, the girl who did a great imitation of a glacier,got booted off the show and did not get to take Jake to meet her family.
Gia, world's most insecure swimsuit model, started off the home visits by introducing Jake to her, tarot card reading mom and Guido from Jersey Shore, brother. I think Gia is super cute, but what's up the the band-aid on her finger that has been there for the past six weeks. I really want to know what it is she is hiding under there. Is it a wart? A really gross wart? Does it carry the HPV virus?
There's no point talking about Ally because she left to go "back to work" and acted like she was having to choose whether or not to take her grandma off of life support. Jake's reaction was slightly pathetic and I would have thought he had just witnessed Travis shooting Old Yeller.
Tenely, is cute and I like her but sorry.....she ain't gonna win. And her dancing to the WEDDING MARCH was a little much. My husband, (love saying that) is so dedicated to his wife that he watches the Bachelor, too! (Sorry honey for telling the world your dirty little secret). The whole time Tenely was dancing Mark couldn't watch...it made him feel really awkward.
Vienna's dad CRACKED ME UP. I swear I've seen him on Dateline NBC "To Catch a Predator". Although, Vienna isn't my favorite (Tenely is) she doesn't make me foam at the mouth and act like a rabid dog like she does to the rest of you. She reminds me of a barbie doll. You know the one you took out all your anger and aggression out on. You dismember her, cut her hair and squeeze her rubber face. Then you get sad and attempt to put her back together again. And no matter how hard you try, she looks just a little....off. That's Vienna. And I think she looks like she taste like hairspray. I just hope my hair extensions don't look that bad..Fingers crossed.
So what's my prediction? Tenely will be the next to go only because Jake will want to spend the night in the fantasy suite with GIA....so he can discover what she is hiding under her band-aid, of course. That will leave Vienna and Gia. Winner...drum roll please....Vienna. Don't hate me because I'm beautiful, hate me because I'm right! YOU KNOW IT'S TRUE.
Monday, February 8, 2010
But, I can't help it. At least I'm bragging about HIM and not me. (Although he did marry me which means I must truly be kinda sorta freakin fantastic.
First day back working slaving away at the chain gang and look what Prince Charming sends to me?
Ahhhh....my heart kind of melted.
Still basking in the after glow of an amazing wedding surrounded by family and friends in Dallas and beautiful honeymoon in Maui, I have now returned to the real world to tell you all about it! I must say I was quite perturbed on Saturday when I returned to Dallas and restaurants did not bring me a fruity drink with an umbrella, fresh pineapple and a flower on top. I was like, "What's wrong with you freaking people? Don't you know how I like my Pina Coladas served?" and then I remembered. I'm not in paradise anymore. sigh.
I must say, besides it being like hell to change my name in the IT system at work, being Mrs. Gardner has been quite fantastic. Sure it's only been a week but I got a feeling, it's pretty much going to be this awesome always.
I'll post pics of the wedding and honeymoon as soon as I can, but in the mean time I have included the vows my precious hubby and I exchanged to each other when we committed our lives to each other.
Jennifer to Mark:
From the first moment we met your caring nature, patience, and unabashed passion for life and most importantly for me, made me not only fall in love with you but realize that you were the person I didn't want to live without. Two years ago, you were nothing but a prayer in my heart for a Godly man who would love me regardless of my flaws, my past and my imperfections. God answered my prayers with you.
Your love has freed me from the shackles of cynicism that were caused from a past I thought would never heal. You have not only captured my heart, but you have helped heal my heart. Thank you for that.
My heart is swollen with this love God has so richly blessed me with and as I stand here before our closest family and friends I promise to:
Put only my savior, Jesus Christ before you. I truly view you as a gift from God and I will thank him daily for you.
I promise to love Mitch and Julia as you love them. I will be held accountable to you and to God in helping to provide them with a loving home. I promise to Mitch and Julia that I will always listen and be a voice of reason with their father when they mess up. I promise to be slow to anger and not get mad at Mitch for eating his share and my share of the cinnamon rolls.
I promise to love you. That say it's your last love that really counts and I'm so happy it was you. In times of plenty or in few, I will love you. When you are wrinkly, old and grey and I'm still youthful and filled with botox, I will love you. When tragedy strikes and we're hanging by a thread, I will love you. When the laughs are frequent or when they are few, I will love you. I will wake up everyday and make a choice. I will choose you.
Mark to Jennifer:
In the presence of God, our family, and our friends, I, Mark Gardner, choose you, Jennifer Porter, to embark upon this great journey of marriage with me.
I know that I am a sinner saved by grace-and that you are too. I take you with your faults and strengths as I offer myself to you with my faults and strengths.
I have pursued you, Jennifer, for these past 18 months- but you are my worthy pursuit for the rest of life.
In sickness, I will nurse you back to health.
In health, I will encourage you on your path.
In sadness, I will help you to remember.
In happiness, I will be there to make memories with you.
In poverty, I will do all I can to make our love rich.
In wealth, I will never let our love grow poor.
And in all things, I will remember this: that you are a precious gift from God. I want to be your husband so that we might serve Christ together, side-by-side.
With Christ, you are everything I need, all I could ever hope for, and at this moment I know this: I am so loved by our God as evidence of the gift of you, and because my prayers have been answered in you.
I love you Jennifer, and I always will. This is my solemn vow to you.