The 7-year Itch

THE FOLLOWING IS A REPOST IN HONOR OF MY 7th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY, WHICH IS TODAY.

“We’ve heard tell of the 7 Year Itch, and its nasty effects on unsuspecting marriages everywhere.  But honestly, unsuspecting?  Really?  You’re telling me that when half of marriages end in divorce today, you didn’t EXPECT it to be difficult?  Husbands, wives, expect it.  It’s going to happen.  You’ll be tempted.  You might even indulge.  You’ll get bored.  You’ll get hurt.  You’ll inflict pain.  (And if you disagree with that last one, you’re in deeper doo doo than you think.)

Itching

People, it happened to me.  I’ll spare you the horrid details, but the general outline is this: I’m a sinful person, married to a sinful person.  We both sinned.  It was epic.  We shattered what we had.  It was in a million little tiny shards all over the floor, and now digging into our bare feet.  And at the time, I was shattered along with it.  But now, years later, I see that it was a part of the plan.  God’s plan.  He allowed us to shatter what we had, knowing that if it had only been broken in a few places, we would have tried to fix it ourselves.  Someone get the Krazy glue.  Anyone who has ever been in any relationship with anyone, KNOWS that you can’t fix it.  WE CAN’T FIX IT.  People have been trying for eons.  There are countless books, movies, blogs, and entire religions based on the frustrations of trying to fix it.  I should have received a medal for how hard I tried.

But you can’t fix something that wasn’t designed to be fixed.  We are sinners, married to sinners, children of sinners, shuffling about, bumping elbows with other sinners.  And this makes it oh-so-clear how much we need the wonderful, beautiful Grace of God.  Hear that?  You can stop trying now.  The great hamster wheel.  You’ve haven’t even been going anywhere.

In my marriage, this lesson was YEARS in the making.  It’s still in the making.  But, it’s much more habitual now than it was right after the epic shattering.  Then God created something completely different for us. Isn’t it funny how we were trying to put this thing back together, as if it was the end-all.  But HIS plan was so much better than what we could dream up for our own marriage.

So, back to the 7 Year Itch.  It exists.  The rumors are true.  Be prepared for it.  And you know, there might even be an itch at year one, or two, or three.  Or anytime really.  But instead of allowing the magnetic pull to break something in your marriage (even if it seems harmless, it will break trust) turn the end of that magnet towards your spouse.

My 7 Year Itch has given me a new passion for getting to know my husband.  Something IS unsettled in me.  Something IS bored.  Something IS wondering if there’s more.

THERE IS.  And it’s right in front of me.  Drinking a beer on the couch. There are millions of questions I haven’t ask him yet.  There are millions of things he doesn’t know about me yet.  We’ve never played Truth or Dare in a crowded restaurant.  We’ve never made out in a movie theater.  We’ve never been to the circus together.  There are places we haven’t been, positions we haven’t tried, and things that we still can’t read in each other’s minds. There are spiritual breakthroughs yet to be had, prayers yet to leave our lips for one another, worship songs yet to be sung.  Knowledge of God’s faithfulness yet to be demonstrated through this man.  Through me.  Further evidence to be discovered that God’s ability to love us perfectly is mind-boggling.

There’s so much more.  More intimacy to be found.  And I’m going hunting for it.  My husband is in for it, Lord help him.”

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WORDS – Writer’s Block edition

Writer's block

Insomnia.

Must create.

Out of bed.

Shower.

Coffee shop.

Computer.

Ready to type.

Nothing.

Nothing.

Nothing.

Something?

Nothing.

Nothing.

Squirrel!

Nothing.

Nothing.

Coffee.

Still nothing.

Something!

Finally.

Re-word.

Hmmm…

Dissatisfaction.

Delete, delete, delete.

Nothing.

Nothing.

Phone call.

Check Facebook.

Still nothing.

Read interesting blog post.

Hmm, good idea.

Already taken.

Bummer.

Nothing.

Nothing.

Check Twitter.

Text message.

Still nothing.

Loud woman enters coffee shop.

Inspiration!

Type, type, type.

Copy.

Paste.

Hmmmm…

Delete, delete, delete.

Read old blog posts.

Terribly amusing.

Chuckle out loud.

People staring.

Still nothing.
Be here all week

New series … What would you choose?

Thinking about launching a new series.  Can’t decide on a topic.  Might have to do all of them.  But, where would you start? 
decisions

 

1. Character building  – stories and experiences that I’ve found to build character.  (First edition: needles.)

2.  Confessions.  (Sounds exciting, but I really have few good confessions.)  

3. Shoes.  My favorite pairs of shoes, and things that happened while wearing them.

4. Music celebrities, how I met them, and what it was like hanging out with __________.

5. How I fooled people into thinking that I have met alot of celebrities.

6. My favorite pranks, given and received.

7, Remember when?  My top childhood/young adult memories.

8. Best inventions no one’s invented yet.

9. Top 5 Romantic Comedies

10. [Suggest your own series topic]

ON DREAMS….and Miley Cyrus

I dream.  Alot.  Every night.  And often -a little too often- my dreams come true.  Once, I met a guy in my dream the night before I ACTUALLY met him.  Another time, I dreamed that a co-worker was going to receive flowers from her boyfriend…for the first time ever.  It totally happened.

Miley Cyrus

Miley. Freakin. Cyrus.  I’m overwhelmed by sadness for this girl.  It’s reminiscent of something I felt years ago after waking up from a dream I had about Hayley Williams.  (Lead singer for the Rock band Paramore.)

I spent some time with Hayley personally, right as the band was getting big.  She was sweet, genuine, level-headed, and eccentric. Still a teenager.  This dream occurred years before half the band left, claiming that the fun-but-quirky Christian kid they knew, had changed.  Irreconcilable differences.  I had no idea of the relational difficulties she would end up having, or that topless pictures of her would end up online.

To me, she was just the creative, Christian girl trying to make it in the big, bad world of Rock music.

So in my dream one night, I went to a party at Hayley’s house.  And I brought my dog.  You know how in dreams, things are never as they would be in real life.  Things that would be strange in reality, are normal in a dream, and vice versa.

Well, in the dream, her house was a sort of multi-level wigwam.  Strange right?  But I had my dog with me, at a party.  Not weird to my dream-consciousness.

As it became clear that people didn’t like the presence of my dog, (she’s not purse-sized) I stepped outside for some air.  On the front lawn, I saw an incredibly large, majestic, white bird flying in circles over Hayley’s house.  Curious.

Don’t know why THAT was curious, but me bringing the dog wasn’t.

Not 5 minutes later Hayley came storming out, her finger in my face.  “Get your bird away from my house.”

I was stunned, and sought desperately to clear up the misunderstanding.  “Hayley, it’s not my bird.  I swear!”

“Just get it out of here,” she insisted.  “It’s not welcome here.”  She turned and went back inside, slamming the door. (Do wigwams have doors?)

I awoke from this dream, and was immediately overcome with sadness for Hayley.  I began praying for her, without even knowing why, or what I was asking for.

In the months after, she began popping up more and more in the media.  Drugs, bad boyfriends, topless photo scandal… then: two of the band members left, stating that Hayley never saw them as equals, but viewed the band as the “Hayley show.”

Had my dream outlined the spiritually decent of a starlet?  The white bird.  Did it represent the Holy Spirit?  Why was I convicted to pray for her after waking up from this awkward-party dream?

It’s the same thing with Miley.  Although I didn’t dream about her, I feel the same type of sadness, or disturbance, if you will.  In my spirit.  This girl is hurting beyond belief.  And I find it interesting that most of Pop culture experienced sadness at her behavior as well.  People who are, for the most part, pro-”twerking” and not against public grinding during a musical performance.  We are disheartened, seeing much of ourselves in her, albeit a younger version. In our own ways, we too stripped down to our skivvies and pranced around, wearing a neon sign that said “look at me!  Love me!  Take me seriously!”

Even those of us who remained fully clothed did that, in some way or another.  We’re all sad for her.  Because deep down we know that in effort to prove that she is an adult, she did nothing but act like a child.  Lost and hurt.

PUBLIC DISPLAY OF PROTECTION

“Will that be all, hon?”

Trying to blend into the floor, I hung my head and mumbled a response.

“Mmm hmm.”

The cashier grabbed the box of condoms like it was nothing more than your average gallon of milk.  But to me, she might as well have been spelling my name out with fireworks. “SHE’S BUYING CONDOMS.”

Condoms

Oooh nooo, I realized.  Wrong size.  Having just become sexually active, (with the man who would later become my husband) I didn’t know the rules.  Will he be offended if I get the wrong kind?  I’d heard that guys were very concerned with size, and I didn’t want to unwittingly emasculate my new (and inaugural) boyfriend by getting something too small.

“Um, I’m sorry, I think I got the wrong ones.”

“Oh yeah, which ones do you need?”

“Probably something a little…er, bigger.”  I couldn’t believe I was saying this.

“No problem, Al will grab them for ya.”  She swiftly fetched the walkie-talkie from her belt and barked the order.  Her deep southern drawl formed a chorus with the other walkies in the building and echoed off of every surface.  “AAAAL!!  This here young lady needs help with the CONDOMS!  Can you grab a couple boxes of larger sizes and bring them to register 2?”

Thanks.  I’m never shopping here again.  EVER.

I paid for the contraband and left the store, feeling a whole new wave of conviction about what I was about to do.  Sex with someone who I wasn’t married to was wrong, I knew it and believed it.  But it wasn’t enough of a reason to stop me, at that time in my life.  I spoke fluent “Christianese” but had not pursued a relationship with the Father.

Two years later, both my boyfriend and I began to feel the tug of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  We became convicted about our sexual activity, and became celibate during our 9-month engagement.  (Hardest thing I’ve ever done, AFTER having given this man my virginity.  But the Lord was faithful and we made it to our wedding night.)

A few weeks before the wedding, we were at the apartment that we would later share, setting up some things.  My fiance had moved in by himself a month earlier.  There was a knock on the door, and a package delivered to the doorstep.

It was addressed to him, but without thinking I sliced through the tape and pried open the cardboard flaps.  Inside the box were several other containers, about shoe-box size.  I opened one.

CONDOMS.  Hundreds of them.  More than I had ever seen in my life.  I was mortified.

My soon-to-be husband came around the corner from the bedroom and saw me, stunned, with a handful of rubber.

“Oh.”  He stammered.  “I ordered some condoms online.”

“Some?”

“Yeah.  Well, we don’t want to run out!”

“No, I guess we don’t.”

“And you know, it’s always so embarrassing when you buy them at the drugstore.”

THIS MAN.  He’s a keeper, I thought.

We had condoms coming out of our…. cabinet for years.  YEARS.  By the time we wanted to discontinue use of contraceptives, we still had two boxes left.

It was around then, our second Christmas as a married couple, that we received the invitation to our friends’ house for a “Dirty Santa” party.  It was the perfect setup.

I carefully wrapped the box of raincoats, topped it with a bow, and we left for the party.  The hosts of the shin-dig were our friends from church, who were only a few years older than us, but had 6 kids.

I placed the present under the tree.

Half-way through appetizers, I panicked.  My husband saw the look of trepidation, followed me to the Christmas tree, and caught me red-handed trying to remove the gift from beneath its branches.

“Leave it!  It’s going to be hilarious.”

I wasn’t convinced, but he assured me he would take the blame if the prank fell flat.

Presents were opened, and one “steal” was allowed.  Number 9 was called, and our box, with a big “nine” written on the top, was selected and presented to its new owner.  The only teenager at the party, whose mother was in the home group with the large family.  I nearly died as the 16-year old boy ripped the wrapping paper, and lifted the lid of the box.

Those darn fireworks seemed to go off again.  “THEY BROUGHT THE GINORMOUS BOX OF CONDOMS!”

A few people laughed awkwardly, but the real punchline was about to land.  The man of the house and father of 6, drew the number 10.  Instead of choosing a new gift from under the tree, he marched decidedly over to the teen, glaring, and snatched the box from the boy’s fingers.

The entire party erupted in laughter, as the irony of the decision sank in.

As I caught my husband’s eye, we smiled at each other.

“Public display of protection,” I whispered.

 

 

The suitcases

There’s a suitcase that exists for all of us.  To us, it’s a plain, black suitcase with nothing to draw attention to itself.  It’s un-decorated, unassuming, and uninteresting.  To US.

 

To everyone else, it’s a cross between a disco ball and a hurricane.  Impossible to ignore, and leaving a wake of destruction in its path, discriminating against no one.

 

Our baggage.  For some of us it’s little more than a carry-on piece, a backpack perhaps.  Easy to carry.  For others, a convoy of box-trunks, tied to our ankles, with a one-way ticket to the BOTTOM.

Vintage Suitcases

 

For us “normal people” who are right in between, it’s a large roller-bag.  Large, but easily transported, always strolling faithfully behind us.  When stationary, it’s easy to forget that it’s back there.  And even in motion, it seems easy at first. The wheels provide little resistance to our destination, but the weight begins to tug at our shoulders after a while.

 

When we’re in a hurry, it slows us down, like those vivid dreams where our running only happens in slow motion.

 

Some co-inhabitants of the world insist on chopping the wheels off their bags, and dragging them on the floor.  Like a 2-year old trying trying desperately to display their protest at having to carry their own bag. Others, pull out the space bags, vacuum cleaner, and try to condense theirs to fit into a fanny-pack. (Which, in case you were just born, went out of style back in the 80’s.)

 

Our baggage is annoying, but utterly necessary.  In the airport, but in life as well.  Maybe you’re a baggage hoarder.  You compartmentalize the junk, but periodically pull one small section out, examine it, react to it, over-dramatize it, then set it back in its place, and seal it securely. A baggage hoarder: you have no need for it anymore, but you still keep it in its “special spot.”

 

Or perhaps you’ve given yourself a mental lobotomy in order to make it through.  Like locking away your tools before you were done painting your living room.  “Hey, I needed those.”  Sure, painting your living room might not be the most enjoyable of tasks, but burying the paint brush doesn’t erase the need for a fresh coat.

 

I have dealt with a large chunk of my crap, but this hasn’t erased its presence in my life. My husband is beginning to deal with his, and half the time isn’t even aware that it affects him.  “It’s not manly to deal with baggage,” most men believe.

 

Couldn’t be further from the truth.  Your true masculinity is often trapped by layers of stuffage that’s been building up for years.  Baggage comes with guilt, shame, fear, and passivity…for men.

Shame

For women, it’s served well-done with a side of low self-worth, shame, depression, and dysfunctional relationships.

Woman crying

DON’T DO IT.  Don’t invite these things in.  Don’t invite them in to stay awhile.  Give them to God.  Even if you don’t know WHAT your crap is, like a dream that begins to fade into nothing more than wisps of an idea as soon as you wake up.  God knows.  He will take it, (in His time) and heal it.  He will give you a scar to remind you.  He will create forgiveness in your heart, which once bore resentment.

 

I’m living proof that this can, and will continue to happen.  And let me tell you, living life ALIVE is way better than living life mostly-dead.

How to get accepted into Black culture

White among Black

I am white.  I live in a very white part of town, (Mid-sizedtown, USA) go to a very white church, and hang out with mostly white people. Being white is okay, but it’s a little…vanilla for me. Had I gotten to choose the culture from which I sprouted, it would hands down be African-American.

Now let’s get one thing straight right here, I am NOT racist.  It seems as though that term is launched at every other person who acknowledges that there’s a difference between being Caucasian and being Black.  I, in no way, mean any disrespect, I just don’t see the point in trying to argue that we’re all the same.  Yes, we’re all of equal value, but WE’RE NOT ALL THE SAME.  And that’s totally awesome! We must acknowledge that this world of ours is made up of a vast array of experiences, skin types, languages, hair colors, and cultural background, and there’s so much to be learned from people who had a different upbringing from ourselves.  How to fry chicken, for instance.  Among other things.

Even though I’m white (on the outside), I have lately been paying more attention to who I am on the inside: BLACK.  I’m not a buxom, middle-aged Black woman, with spiral-curly hair, who waves her index finger, arches her eyebrow, and purses her lips when she talks.  I am the tall, slender, fashionable black woman, who never wears animal prints. My kinky curls are under control.  I’m loud and boisterous only when the situation calls for it, and can manifest the appropriate amount of attitude when people need a good verbal slap across the face.

The problem?  I’m not black.  But I’ve been trying a few ways to get accepted into Black culture, and I’ve hit on some foolproof actions.  Follow these 6 steps, and you’ll be guaranteed a spot in the club.  And in this club, somebody always getting krunk.

1. DON’T ASK PERMISSION.  If you ask for permission to join the group, the answer will most likely be no.  But if you assume that you’re “one of them,” no one will ask questions.  (This usually goes for most social groups in any setting.)  Let’s say you’re at a crowded restaurant at lunch time, and all the tables are taken, except for one large “communal” style table, almost-full of African-American women.  Don’t ask “do you mind if I sit here?”  Walk right up, pretend you’ve been friends with these ladies forever, and say “you girls are so sweet for saving me a seat!  You be looking out for a sister, I appreciate that.”  And sit down.  Just sit down.

2. USE SLANG.  Without being over-the-top.  You gotta know what you can pull off.  For instance, some people can get away with “B!+@&, while we out hanging at AJ’s crib, she showed us her threads she be throwing down the Benjamins fo, and then that new playa of hers roll up, and give this sermon on keeping up wit’ all her bling…” Others of you, will have to make do with “girl, when we went to AJ’s house, she showed us her expensive clothes, then her boyfriend came in and complained about buying all of her nice jewelry,” with a nice “it was cray-cray” thrown in there.

3. DRESS A LITTLE ON THE WILD SIDE.  Black women are daring, in ways that us boring white girls would never have the imagination to be.  Now, you have to know how to work it no matter what you’re wearing, and don’t go too far off the deep end.  It will look as though you’re trying too hard.  Whatever you wear, you gotta throw in some attitude.

4. ALWAYS THANK THEM.  You’re out shopping, and a black woman says that she likes your purse.  Don’t just smile.  Make firm eye contact, cock your head and bit, and say “thanks girl.”  And if you want extra points, you can throw in a “you know I love me some leather/stripes/buckles/whatever.”

5. PUT “ASS” AFTER ANY WORD.  You might be offended.  But it’s true, and you know it. It works.  100% of the time. In fact, this is a great one to start with, since you don’t need no have developed any of the other aforementioned skills to pull this one off.  “My lazy-ass cat won’t even go in the litter box.”  “Her ugly-ass dress should never have left the store.”  “That hot-ass barista is looking at you.”  Even stuff white people like can have an urban flair when you throw this word in.

6.  BE LOUD, and LATE.  For those of you white folk who are a little too white, this one will be tough.  But the basic idea is that you want to speak loud enough to draw some attention to yourself.  And always run on CPT.  (For those who don’t know what that means, you’ll have to Google the Urban translation, because if you’re white, you’re not allowed to say it.)