Friday, December 26, 2008

Apparently Another Volume

Sweetheart and I have finally managed to have that appears we're both feeling the same way. Basically that when it is meant to be, it almost always is.

I do have to say almost always because, with that free agency thing God has given us, sometimes, whether we realize it or not, we jack His plans ALL the way up...thankfully though we've been given the ability to repent and make it right.

Anyway so Sweetheart and I have decided that we're open to writing another volume. He has some things that he needs to take care of first in order to make him more suited to do his part in a relationship and, as you all know (or can find out by scrolling down and reading previous posts) after things with Ex Knight and Charming Lad, I am more than willing to put on my brakes and let the loving of a good man come to me when God decides it's my turn. Now, if that man comes in the shape and form of Sweetheart, whom I've loved since I was very young, well that will be an added bonus I think!

Either way, even if Sweetheart and I don't write another volume together, it is equally good because as Noah says in my favorite love story, The Notebook:

"I am nothing special; just a common girl (he said man) with common thoughts, and I've led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who's ever lived: I've loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Still sweet I think

The last few days I've found what's left of my mind full of thoughts and feelings about my high school sweetheart. Crazy I know! I mean that was like "in a land far far away" kind of stuff but it is what it is I guess right?

Five years ago he traveled to my location to meet our daughter for the first time. Ex Knight was ummmmmmmm maybe in Iraq at the time I dunno, anyway Ex Knight was gone and Sweetheart was meeting Baby Girl for the first time. It was a very interesting sort of emotions all at the same time. I was frustrated it had taken Sweetheart so long to FINALLY meet our girl and I was a lil miffed with Sweetheart's parents for not telling me he was with them till after I said sure come meet her we'd love to see you. And then, there was the depth of emotion and feeling I realized I still had for Sweetheart when I opened my door and saw him standing there.

I need to back up a lil bit though...Sweetheart and I have known each other a very long time. When Baby Girl was three weeks old, I broke up with Sweetheart. Not because I wanted to, but because I kind of had to. At the time of our break up, he was irresponsible and immature. Getting pregnant required us both to grow up and sadly only one of us did.

Often over the years, even after marrying Ex Knight, I wondered about Sweetheart. What if I'd have stayed in his location, what if I'd have never called it off...what if "IF" here he was again in my home, in my presence, and suddenly I realized that NOTHING had changed. OK well nothing about how I felt about him had changed anyway. I was still as in love with him as I ever had been.

I deliberately kept my distance, wouldn't get close enough to touch him. When I saw him tuck Baby Girl in and prepare to say good bye my heart blew up and I invited him to stay the night with her. When he accepted, I slept in my room with the door closed and LOCKED. Not because I feared him coming in, but because I feared me going out. With his visit I realized how we had never had closure really and I was still desperately in love with him despite the time and space that had occurred between us, despite being married to Ex Knight, despite leaving, despite his failed attempts at gainful employment and doing the right thing by our Baby Girl. Basically, despite everything I was still in love.

So now we fast forward to present day...I am single and so is Sweetheart. He is now establishing a relationship with Baby Girl and he's told both of us repeatedly that I, Masked Marauder, am the only woman he's ever loved and that he still loves me. Baby Girl states he told her just a few days ago that he loves me to death and in one of our recent conversations, Sweetheart says he's wondered "what if" every day since that fateful day long ago when I left and took Baby Girl with me. Sweetheart says he realizes that my options were scarce and understands why I made the choices I did, but that he's not been the same since.

That got me thinking for a while and then the chaos of a move and Ex Knight's court case and all this other drama served as a thick fog making thoughts of Sweetheart difficult to return to. Now though, as life has settled into or down to normal, I find myself thinking of Sweetheart daily.

I think I'm honestly still sweet on Sweetheart. In the movie Casper, spirits cannot fully cross over to the other side when they've got "un-finished business" on this side. To say Sweetheart and I have some unfinished business is putting it quite mildly. We didn't break up long ago because we wanted to, because our parents made us, or even because I moved back home (we were good at the long distance relationship thing).

I had my own apartment and was working full time but my rent was going to triple when school started and my pregnancy made my hours at work slow down (the chemicals I worked with weren't good for Baby Girl). I wasn't going to be able to afford to pay rent much longer. And Sweetheart didn't find a job or get his own place in time for me to be able to stay. By the time Baby Girl was three weeks old, he still wasn't working or living on his own and I just called it quits. I don't even remember what I said. I do remember how I felt. Those of you around me at the time reading this will likely remember too...despite as many as I know, I lack the words to describe how breaking up with Sweetheart felt.

So now in a bizarre twist of fate, Sweetheart and I are in a position where we could maybe get or have a second chance. There are still a lot of hurdles to overcome...time, distance, ummm religion...lots of things. I mean we've known each other 18 years so the list is endless but it all boils down to this:

I'm still sweet on Sweetheart.

Ok so there, I've admitted the question is, where, if anywhere, do I go from here? I mean some stories can't be told in just one volume...look at Harry Potter, The Eragon Trilogy, The Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings and the list goes on...

Maybe Sweetheart and I are just beginning the next volume, maybe our story is indeed over. Who knows, I sure don't. All I know is that I'm still sweet and can't help but wonder what if he is too....


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Grown Ups Can Play Tag Too

My friend Olivia tagged me, so now I have to let you in on 6 random factoids about myself:

1. I can type faster than a speeding locomotive. I guess 120+ wpm is fast right?!?!?

2. I am the oldest of the 5 children between my parents.

3. I can't read music, but love to sing. I've been told I'm pretty good at it too.

4. I am DEATHLY afraid of spiders...even daddy long legs.

No it wasn't funny being forced by Ex Knight to watch Arachnophobia and I've had nightmares about camel spiders too.

5. I have a psychotic obsession for the color purple. Seriously...I've bought tons of random things just cuz they are purple whether I needed them or not. Pens, paper, stationary, stickers, fabric, thread, clothes. Basically if it's purple, I'm naturally drawn to it. I almost took my can opener and iron back when I saw purple ones a month later and yes I'm thinking about buying the purple ones anyway.

6. I could have been a real life Doogie Houser. I guess back in 1st grade or something my school administrators told my mom that with her permission I could have my high school diploma by 13. She said no though dang it...

Bonus: I am a published author and photographer.

Bonus, Bonus: I am one of the rare few that are "middle-brained." The survey I took says I am open minded but not gullible about things or people. I may run into trouble making decisions sometimes, while my logical brain plays tug-of-war with my gut instinct (boy is this the truth). I enjoy the arts, but also do well in science and math. I appreciate the beauty of all things in life, and am well-rounded. Middle brain students would do well on The Apprentice, since they can have a strong mix of gut instinct and an appreciation for numbers. I could have a strong career in business, but may not go that route; I was more interested in studying the arts and sciences in college.

Now I have to tag 6 other people, but the only friends I have that I know blog are Olivia, Laura and Lynn. Olivia tagged me so Lynn and Laura I'm tagging you!

Here are the Rules:

1. Link this post to the person who tagged you: Olivia

2. Post The Rules on your blog. (see!)
3. List 6 random things about yourself.
4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Kids say the most amazing things

One of the most difficult parts of single parenting is having ALL the responsibility of both mom and dad draped beautifully across my shoulders and often weighing down my back.

Though Ex Knight has been ordered to do his part financially, there's no telling if monies are coming, let alone when and how much so now I find myself trying to balance the traditional roles of the dad, along with my preferred role as the mom. You know, bring home the bacon AND fry it up in a pan...

It's tough. More days than not go by with a long list of stuff undone, often coupled with my own inferiority complex. I know, my name is not Linda Carter and I didn't make the role of Wonder Women famous, but now find myself trying to balance it all...I don't have a choice really. I have to learn how to be Wonder Woman.

Money only matters when you don't have enough...seriously. So, it matters a LOT in my life right now. My mind is almost always busy thinking of ways to increase my income without risking Ex Knight finding me (trust me if he does it won't be pretty) and how I can balance my mom duties with my dad obligations to support my family.

Apparently I'm failing miserably at the mom part because tonight my son says "For my birthday Mommy I just want you to play with me," and then the tears began streaming down his face.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A dab of foundation and a little lipstick

With the recent holiday, I've been ever mindful of all the many things I have to be thankful for, but this morning found me even more humbled and grateful...not for the big things like you'd expect, but for the very mundane and simple teeny weenie things.

You see, a soon-to-be Eagle Scout in my ward is doing a project for or with or regarding the homeless. He has decided to put together backpacks of various essential or helpful items and donate them to a local homeless shelter for distribution to the homeless men and women in our area.

Ex Knight is nearly $1900 behind on child support and having only one income in the house makes having monies for extras a rare occasion. I'd say that maybe once in a blue moon do I find myself with EXTRA monies. Extra there really even such a thing as this? Is it kind of like extra money what's available after you've tithed, paid all the bills, set some aside for savings, bought your children everything they need, bought groceries, put gas in your car (heck these days you need extra money just to keep that up), and ummmm well yeah I have typed in error. Having one income makes having any additional monies for other totally worthy and notable, but not essential causes, almost impossible.

So back to Eagle Scout's project...he had a specific list of things he'd like included in each backpack. We were asked to donate the backpacks themselves and the items on the list. Monies being as tight as they are, I didn't think this was a project I could help with as much as I wanted to. I mean let's face it, as well as all are or may be intentioned, not everyone can help with everything...

Then what to my wondering eyes did I find (yes I'm starting to look forward to Christmas) but the PERFECT opportunity for me to help! At the bottom of the flyer was a list of some EXTRAS that would be GREAT to include and it was stuff I had lying around anyway.

Long, long ago in another life, I used to be a skin care consultant for a Texas based cosmetics company. I got caught up in the pink haze my former National Area oozed and when I finally navigated through it, I found myself on the other side with a massive amount of stuff I wouldn't use and had no interest in selling. I couldn't just trash it. I mean I paid GOOD money for that stuff dang it! So what if I knew I'd NEVER use it, throwing it away was like throwing away money to me and since we've established there's really no such thing as EXTRA money I'm not about to freely throw it away. Problem was, it was just sitting here taking up space...until this morning.

As my darling daughter and I sorted through hundreds of dollars in product removing the stickers that had my contact information on them, the most awkward feeling came over me. Instead of being grateful for finally being able to unload this junk I found myself contemplating how I'd feel if I was one of the women on the receiving end.

Then I realized how much I truly have to be thankful for.

The extras I had chosen to donate to Eagle Scout's project would likely be viewed as precious treasure in the hands of those less fortunate than myself . Now two weeks ago when I thought I'd give this junk to Eagle Scout, I felt like a kid in a candy store knowing I'd FINALLY be able to get rid of this junk. Today however, while removing the re-order labels I was almost sad thinking about the women who's faces I'd likely never see and wondering how they'd feel to receive my "junk."

I began thinking about how much better I feel when I have my face "made up" and my hair combed and "real" clothes on as opposed to being naked-faced in the comfort of my over-sized flannel pj pants. If you saw my look-good-feel-good stash you'd be amazed or sick I'm not sure which. I've got smell good soaps and lotions and sprays enough to wear a different scent every day of the week for more than one week probably; I've got so many different cosmetics (especially lipstick or gloss) the problem is often "which look do I want to wear today", and, although most of the time I just tie it up in a bun, I've got gorgeous flowing locks that a lot of women would die for
(trust me someone different tells me about it each week at church) and the flexibility to wear them pretty much however I want. The point is...I've got enough STUFF to make a small Army look, feel, and smell beautiful every day for some time. Heck I might even have enough stuff to beautify a small country...I'm kind of a hoarder.

Anyway, as I peeled labels off bottles of cleansing gel and lotion, jars of powder, tubes of foundation and the like I found myself wondering how I'd feel if I didn't even have soap. Let alone smell-good-feel-good stuff. I found myself no longer excited to be ridding myself of this junk, but feeling a measure of gratitude beyond words (and I know a LOT of words) for every little comfort I enjoy. I'm so thankful for a roof over my head keeping me safe from the elements, clean clothes whenever I choose to do laundry, the ability to leave my table after EVERY meal feeling satisfied if not stuffed, hot water, indoor plumbing, toilet paper, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, combs, gel, mousse, shampoo, hair color cuz I'm WAY too young for this gray I got, and the list goes on and on...

I'm especially thankful for foundation and lipstick...I know in my own life a dab of foundation and little lipstick goes a long way...I hope it will do the same for the women on the receiving end of the gift I now feel blessed to be able to give them.

Friday, November 28, 2008

His was a chronic condition

Once upon a time a beautiful young woman was visited by a charming lad. Soon the lad presented the young woman with a ring and a question. The young woman, overjoyed and excited, said yes and the two became engaged. Almost immediately, the young woman discovered the charming lad suffered from a most chronic and SEVERE case of a dreadful condition.

You see, the charming lad suffers from a horrendous condition of yeahbut. Surely you are familiar with this condition. It's likely that everyone you know has been afflicted by it in varying degrees throughout their lives. Rumor has it that this condition is more prevalent in society than the common cold. It is at least ten times easier to catch and five times as difficult to recover from. The only known cure can be found in forsaking certain things and embracing others...often this is extremely difficult for people to do hence curing the condition is often impossible in many cases. Charming lad's case was one such as this.

In fact, his was the absolute worst case the young woman has ever seen. She noticed the symptoms early and spoke to him about it. You can imagine what his response was...yeah but. She thought that perhaps this condition only afflicted areas in which the charming lad had not gained a complete understanding. Unfortunately, it seemed to be prevalent in every area, seemingly permeating the charming lad to the core.

The young woman told the charming lad about a letter she found from the 1st Presidency...his reply was yeah but. She reminded the charming lad about the counsel that has been given repeatedly regarding R-rated movies, again he said yeah but. The charming lad sent pictures to the young woman and she had to remind him again that such images were not in harmony with gospel teachings and again he responded with yeah but. The young woman shared her feelings regarding the charming lad's profile and again he came back with yeah but. He even had a yeah but response concerning the holy garment he that he would soon be wearing. Eventually the young woman couldn't handle it any longer.

A wise friend of the young woman's reminded her that a team of ox will continue to move forward even if one of them is moving at a slower rate of speed. This wise friend also pointed out that if one of the team decides to lay down in the field, the other only has two choices. Be stuck, or break the yoke. The young woman found this explanation very helpful and she began to ponder the message shared by the wise friend.

The young woman had been reluctant to call the engagement off for a variety of reasons. She loved the charming lad and couldn't help but think once he sojourned to the holy house of the Lord he'd gain a greater understanding. She did her absolute best to be patient and support her charming lad, hoping he would bridge the gap between their degrees of spirituality. There was just one problem...

Charming lad decided it was more advantageous to sit in the field. His chronic condition continued to infect his body, mind and soul and every time the young woman spoke his reply was always yeah but. Soon the young woman began to have some doubts and again she began to ponder.

The young woman now had to decide if she was willing to trust charming lad's condition would be reserved for the little things. Given he seemed afflicted with this condition on something as holy and sacred as wearing of the garment (a rather BIG thing in the young woman's opinion), the young woman decided she had better not take chances. If she allowed her mind to run away with itself she could envision her charming lad and her conversing about bigger things like family prayer, scripture study, church attendance, keeping the Sabbath and numerous other subjects. The young woman feared she'd say something like "Charming lad it's time for us to do family scripture study" and his response would be "yeah but I'm busy" or tired or not ready or other similar and assorted remarks.

You know from a previous post that this young woman had already spent way too many years with Ex Knight and she wasn't willing to make some of those past mistakes over again. Did she love her charming lad, but of course. Did she think she and her charming lad could be wonderful together...absolutely. The problem was she also believed that her and Ex Knight could be wonderful together too. She had fallen in love with the concept, what could be versus what actually was and she promised to never do that again.

Charming lad's condition was so unpleasant and awful the young woman was unable to deal with the the affliction any longer. When he refused to do anything to recover from his condition, the young woman called the engagement off. When the young woman contacted her charming lad to verify his address so she could send back the ring, he, much to the young woman's surprise, didn't even respond with yeah but. In fact, the charming lad made no attempt to convince the young woman he was seeking treatment for his condition. He gave the young woman no hope that it could or would be any other way. Days after calling off the engagement, the young woman was shocked to find that her charming lad had been acting in ways inappropriate for a betrothed person for quite some time and she was relieved to have found this information sooner than later.

So now the young woman is again single but she continues to be happy and full of hope and cheer. She has learned some very valuable lessons from her past and is thankful that she's been given the wisdom and courage not to make those same mistakes again. The young woman knows the gospel is true, she knows that families are an essential part of the plan and she is confident that God will send the one exactly right for her when He is ready for her to have him. Her experiences with her charming lad have helped her more carefully examine the things she desires from or in Mr. Exactly Right and she has discussed the modifications with her Father. She is faithful and will rely on Him to provide.

The young woman cautions readers to be very careful of the yeah but ox. Theirs is a very dangerous breed.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Love they neighbor as thyself

So the most interesting experience occurred today at Stake Conference. An event I don't ordinarily like too much and I'm listening to the speakers and, as is usually the case for me, they're all talking about ME personally. Not literally but yeah they could have been cuz so much of what they said was so very pertinent.

Bill Marriott was our concluding speaker and he talked about how essential it is that we develop a higher opinion of who knew it was OK to be stuck up and no that's not what he meant at all but he did point out that the scriptures say to love our neighbors AS ourselves...he then posed a simple yet profound indeed do we love ourselves?!?!?

I'm sure I'm the ONLY one in the world that does this, but I know I personally seem to maybe love others BETTER than myself. I am absolutely my own worst critic that's for sure. No one else has to be hard on me cuz I'm hard enough on me to make up for at least a dozen people if not more. Ok so I'm exaggerating a little bit, I am only really probably hard enough on myself for HALF a dozen people LOL!

President Marriott says it's ESSENTIAL that we develop a higher opinion of ourselves and then goes on to outline a 5 Step Plan. I thought it was pretty simple, something I think I could actually do and so I'm sharing it with you.

Step 1: Rid yourself of guilt for past sins. We are commanded to forgive...EVEN ourselves.

Step 2: Learn how to handle failure and defeat. Always do our best no matter what. As long as we do this, even though we might not win, we will never be defeated.

Step 3: Focus on others. Get lost in service. Serving others feels good and feeling good is an important part of thinking highly of ourselves.

Step 4: Take charge of our life. We can choose to act versus being acted upon and must MAKE things happen instead of letting things happen.

Step 5: Work hard to develop our spirituality. Give thanks, ask for help, search ponder and pray and of course, read your scriptures.

This really got me thinking...if the scriptures are true (and I know they are) then it is REALLY ok to love myself as I love my neighbors...time to love myself a little more I guess. Thanks President Marriott for outlining a plan to help me do just that.


"Good Morning Mommy" says Youngest Daughter. "I made you breakfast in bed," she continues as she takes very deliberate and cautious steps toward me with a tray containing a bowl of my favorite cereal and a nice cold bottle of water.

I'm surprised and grateful and as soon as my mouth is full she exclaims "by the way we have to get to church today cuz it's Stake Conference and me and Sister are singing in the choir." She immediately retreats with the Ward Directory in hand and begins the task of arranging a ride to one of my least favorite Church events (it was actually a great Conference which I'll blog about in a separate entry)...secretly I was hoping everyone had already left and we'd be unable to find a ride.

Youngest Daughter arranges a ride for Sister first and Sister only has like 10 minutes to get ready to go. She's still in jammies and hasn't eaten either. Another couple phone calls and Youngest Daughter reports that she has arranged a ride for the rest of us and we have about 15 minutes to be dressed and ready to go. WHAT...I'm still in bed cozy under the blankets...

I jump out of bed and frantically try to pull myself together enough to be "presentable" and while putting on mascara we hear the familiar buzz of the call box announcing our ride has arrived. My eyes still feel swollen, I've just thrown something on, there was no time for a shower, I have not had time to inspect their attire to make sure it's church appropriate, our ride is here and of course we can't find the keys.

We look under cushions, under papers, on counters, on shelves, in the bathroom, in the living room EVERYWHERE only to find Youngest Daughter had them around her neck the WHOLE time. UGH..."Hurry out the door it's not polite to keep people waiting," I grumbled and we race down the steps.

Thankfully we are early enough I actually get to sit in the pews this time and our Sister Missionaries comment on how great I look...this day is looking better already.

As I look to the stand I see can see the tops of Sister and Youngest Daughter's heads present and accounted for in the Ward Choir. They are EIGHT and NINE years old and the chapel is packed, the overflow packed, AND there are EVEN rows of chairs on he stage behind the overflow but they are not nervous at all. I guess they didn't have to be, cuz I was nervous enough for the three of us I'm sure.

The Stake President announces that the Choir will now sing and honestly I don't even remember what they children stand on cue of their Director and all of a sudden I was an oozing mass of pride and love. Good thing I had skin to hold it in. Look, those are MY girls. I just kept thinking how did I get so lucky to have such great kids?

At the end of Stake Conference, when I went to the stand to thank what was essentially the keynote speaker for his remarks, Choir Director thanks me for allowing her to borrow my songbirds. I can't explain the pride I feel but it's ok cuz I don't have to. The mom's reading this either already know or will soon discover that pride and the rest can imagine it I'm sure.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

If each happy ending's a brand new beginning then

what is a bittersweet ending?

Friday I had the final court date with X Knight and though it went my way and decisions were made that help ensure safety for the Masked Marauder family, it was kind of bittersweet.

X Knight was given an opportunity to speak and I could tell from his tone of voice and sniffles he had been or was crying. Elder Scott, in the April 2008 General Conference, said how when we forgive it allows us to feel sorrow even and yeah that's totally where I was.

Hearing Mr. Lawyer tell a few pieces of our story was difficult to listen to. It's one thing when I tell it, or when the Masked Marauder Minis tell it but to hear a neutral party tell it honestly SOUNDS worse than it plays out in my memory if that makes sense at all.

So here I sit feeling sorrow for X Knight on one hand and complete relief on the other. So sorry X Knight that you miss the Minis and that you had to hear Mr. Lawyer tell some of the awful things you've done to them and how they feel about it. Must be pretty hard to know in your gut that YOUR freedom has come to you at such a high cost and I'm sorry you lost them but then on the other hand it's like well but you should have TOTALLY thought about the feelings you are NOW having when you were abusive.

It's a strange series of emotions it really is. Added to these emotions were the fear and anxiety I had over something being said that would compromise the safety of my Minis. Mr. Lawyer though is a pro and he was detailed and vague all at the same time. Nothing was said or done to compromise the Masked Marauder Clan and that is a GREAT thing!

When it was all said and done, Your Honor ordered the no contact order continued and required us to let her know where our spots on the map are at all times. Yes my spot is classified! Long as X Knight has integrity (and no I'm not holding my breath cuz he's never had any before) and is truly willing to stay out of the Minis' life unless and until they want him in them ,well I will likely never have to hear his voice again. This is a VERY good thing cuz just the sound of his voice is enough to make me cry, make my stomach hurt, and make me tremble in fear.

I'm relieved it's over over now finally but feel a good degree of sorrow that his choices required me to use my agency to make decisions I probably wouldn't have made otherwise. Did I make the right choice...of course, I know that and everyone else does too. Sometimes though, good choices feel hard and this has been the hardest one yet.

So the song says "each happy ending's a brand new beginning" anyone got any ideas on what a bittersweet ending is?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Stir Your Soul

Just a short note to let viewers know I've added another blog called "To Stir Your Soul" (click the title of this post to be taken there).

Here I will share random stuff to stir your soul...maybe even move it who knows.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Inquiring minds want to know...

Ok, befo
re you take the time to read this blog, I need to give you the "fine print".

***Please be advised that some of the people I suspect who will read this blog are those who I knew once upon a time and am getting to know all over again. They are they who've not seen or heard from me in a few years. As many as oh like 15 or so in some cases. Others who read this blog will know me well, and I suspect still others won't know me at all and you know's all good cuz this is my story and I'm sticking to it.***

Now that we've gotten that out the way...get up, grab your favorite beverage, a blankie if you like and sit down and get ready for a nice long read. Those that know me well can tell you I'm always good for a story...

Let's go back in time...the year was 1994. After a failed attempt at college in a sunny and warm location, I returned to the land of my birth. Still feeling the need to edge-u-muh-kate myself I decided to attend community college and had a much better go at it. Some of the stress in my life at the time I attended school in the sunny warm spot was gone, I was surrounded by family and had lots of support so I seemed to be more successful.

It's now April of 1995 and with the excess monies I had from financial aid I decide to take a cross country road trip to visit my high school sweetheart I was still a lil (ok no a LOT) crushed on. He, being the gentleman he was and TOTALLY diggin me, took me on yet another road trip to meet my "other" brother. You see, there are two by mom, one by dad...the "other" one is mine by dad...

Anyways so yeah I meet my middle brother, his mom, 2 of my uncles, one of my aunts, and my grandmother. For the first time in 20 years, all in one night....yeah talk about an emotional thrill ride I'm tellin ya. It was AWESOME though!

My dear sweet grandmother....awww I miss her so much...she died within months of meeting me. But alas I'm getting a head of myself in the story....

After returning to the land of my birth from my visit with high school sweetheart, auntie calls and says grandma's not fairing so well and I should come stay with them and have some time with her before she passes...I did just that. On my way to their home however, I stopped off for a rendezvous with the sweetheart...a few weeks after arriving at Uncle and Aunt's house the stick I peed on said UT OH you're having a baby now you better grow up. Well no, really it just turned the color necessary to indicate I was positively pregnant...

Moved into my own apartment right next to the college I wanted to go to but never did . During the summer I worked and spent hours trying to get my head around the fact I was about to be a mom and wasn't married and was LDS and....

Then school begins and my rent triples. My modest income wasn't enough and baby daddy honestly wasn't much was time to again return to the land I hailed from and I began making my tearful goodbyes.

It's now August of 1995 and I'm back in the land of my birth. Living at home, going to school again, (fortunately my little hiatus in a far off land didn't impact classes), and preparing for impending mommy-hood right.

September dawns and I'm forced to go camping much to my dismay. While I can do it, it's totally NOT my favorite thing to do. I kinda like things like electricity and running water along with indoor plumbing and ummm matresses. Digressing again I do apologize...

Upon return from that eventful camping experience I get some very disturbing calls...when finally getting someone in the distant land to answer my call, I get the saddest news I've ever heard. Glorious Grandmother has passed away...I'm crushed and unable to attend the funeral.

On October 17th of that same year I have an ultra sound...finally a first peak at the little bambino who I was SHORE would be a boy (cuz that's just what high school sweetheart's family do) and yet to my amazement the tech discloses "it's a girl." WHAT...I'm ELATED and sad all at the same time...Grandma was right! You see, when we had that tearful goodbye she put her hands up on my tum so gently and boldly stated what the tech just confirmed...a daughter would soon take me from young adult to mommy. Wow, I was totally NOT ready....

Now it's February of 1996 and I've a beautiful little girl. I am still in school full time but working full time too. Sorry but "welfare mom" was never in my top 1 billion most important things to do in life list...

A year later I found my Knight In Shining Armor (not high school having a baby required us both to grow up but only one of us did....) and after a short engagement we said I do. Three weeks later, my blessed grandfather passes. And 5 months later I was wishing I had said I don't intead of I do...that may be a tale for another blog. Suffice it to say he was not knight, not shining and well WE needed to be wearing armor.

Marriage, complete with assorted trials and tribulations (some huge, others not so big) happens and three months in the stick says another baby is going to join our family...we get excited only to find out the stick lied. Miscarriage number 1. A few months later another stick says a baby is on the way and in February of 1998, yup you guessed it miscarriage #2. A separation, a reconciliation, and finally in 1999, baby number 2.

And then they just KEPT coming...a trip to parts unknown to see a husband accomplish a milestone results in conception of baby number 3 and shortly thereafter we're off to a place of lofty grandeur.

Now would be a good time to get up and stretch....get a drink if you need to, go potty (yeah I know but I'm a mom that's what we call it)...go ahead I need to stretch too. I'll be back.

Ok where was I...aww yes the dim days of Spring 2001....

It's more of the same....much miserableness intertwined with a glint of happiness here and again...alas we did just one thing well and soon baby number 4 is on the way. Yes I had 3 babies in 32 I crazy...not any longer, but at the time, yes, I certainly was.

12 weeks into pregnancy number 6 (4 live births, two miscarriages) not so darling husband decides he's done "playing house" and we file for divorce...AGAIN. He's sent to foreign soil just weeks before the only boy was due and somehow we made it through....

Now it's May of 2002 and a reconciliation has just occured. Promises of change and hope, this and this and that as well, but yes they were empty, as you likely could tell. Fast forward now to April the following year and it's off to foreign lands again for the one I used to call dear...

Don't ask me why I just went into rhyme lame I know sorry....digressing again....I told you I'm new at this bear with me.

Sending my husband and children's father off to war was an experience like never before...looking back now it wasn't so bad but during the time frame there were many days I didn't know if I could drag myself out of bed ONE more time and drudge through the day...somehow though, I did. EVEN when my then 3 year old darling daughter caused a 30k dollar flood...again a tale for another blog perhaps.

So now it's March of 2004 and his tour is up. We had the proverbial honeymoon phase and soon a man that was already bad when angry went from bad to worse...we lived in hell for a little over 3 years, once again with happiness sprinkled throughout.

Have you seen Finding know when they're in the mine field with the sharks...that's what it was like living with him. He was the shark, we were the fish and everything else was the mines. To my surprize however, the tide turned. Some bad habits were stopped and even an ordination to the Aaronic Priesthood....a temple marriage he promised would be coming too. Good thing I quit waiting for it....

He began working locally in July of 2006 and by December I realized our marriage only worked cuz he was never around...I didn't much care for him now that he was. That was the beginning of the end...

Now it's May of 2007 and instead of being a good and righteous example I've followed my husband in unrighteous endeavors. I was MISERABLE. The scripture say Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy right...well there was not even so much as a drop of joy to be found...

I started my own business in May of 2006 and worked obscene hours just so I didn't have to do the "Mom and wife thing". I woke up with him next to me thinking "UGH why are you still here"? I tried and tried, I sacrificed everything, including my morals in an attempt to give him what he claimed he wanted and the only thing I got in return was verbal, emotional, physical and yes even sometimes sexual abuse.

Our home environment was AWFUL, everyone was unhappy, I had no idea where scriptures were so I obviously wasn't reading them, family anything religious caused major contention and to be quite frank....I would end my prayers with and if I just don't wake up tomorrow that'd really be fine with me.

Ok so I've decided I just CANNOT take this friends with benefits sometimes but really more like roommates thing my "husband" (I put it in quotes cuz by this time it was by legal definition only) and I are doing. I'm tired, I've had enough, I REALLY DO believe that Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy (yes WOmen too) and I wanted my joy.

I approach the children one warm June evening and try my best to explain that our family is breaking up. That it takes two to fix what's wrong and I'm the only want that wants or is willing to make the effort, that I just don't love Daddy the way I should as his wife and it's time for him to go. I proceed to explain sort of how divorce know with mom this time, with dad this time....and then everything changed....

Two of my three children present began to tremble...if I didn't know better I'd almost think we lived on the San Andreas fault like cuz they were literally QUAKING in fear. The third began to sob uncontrollably...what came next is pretty much every parents worst dream. Only the perp was Daddy...I was ummmmmmmm....yeah I don't quite know the right word to describe it but the decision was now CRYSTAL clear.

Oh wait rewind...not but 48 hours prior to this I had pleaded with Father to be my compass and point me CLEARLY in the direction in which he wanted me to move...THEN came this conversation and yes it was totally translucently clear...beyond crystal clear.

The next day I called my future ex husband at work and asked for a divorce stipulating the conditions...given the bargaining chip I presented he really had little other choice than to comply. What happened next is classified but I will conclude this blog by saying this...

I have once again sojourned to unfamiliar parts, only this time accompanied by the 4 most INCREDIBLE little people on the whole face of the earth (I'm mom I'm biased I know) and we are now embracing the most incredibly OPPOSITE life. We're happy, we're safe, we're loved by many, and we're together. This whole 11 year, 3 month and 7 day process with darling ex hubby (made darling of course cuz he's now an X) was VERY turbulent but it got us where we currently are and life is grand. We lost a lot in the process but were able to keep what matters most...our faith and our family.

Remember, without family, little else matters.

Here is my reason, my why!

My first official blog...

Well here we are...thanks to the inspiration of Mrs. OSV, not to be confused with an SUV, and the suggestion of one of my favoritest gal pals, who I'll now call Friendly Singer, I've given birth to the Masked Marauder blog.

I'm NOT exactly new to the spoken or written, well typed actually, word. I have quite the gift for gab...just ask Friendly Singer's mate how many times he's heard us go through more or less the entire dictionary and I type CRAZY fast it's scary my children say. I am however, brand spankin...oh wait no I don't want a spankin. Anywho, wait that's a people locator right? So yeah, I'm new to this whole blog thing ...please bare with me. Errybawdy seemztuh be doin' it though, soz I figure it's prolly my turn to bite the bullet, and catch the wave while I jump on the band wagon and do the dew!