Sunday, January 18, 2009

If feelings were salad dressing mine would have been Italian

January 15th marked the one year anniversary of the Masked Marauder Clan's arrival in our current spot. ONE YEAR...I can hardly believe the time has passed so quickly and have found myself doing a lot of reflecting on this past's been interesting to put it mildly. A little over a year ago we arrived in our current location feeling a wild assortment of emotions. If feelings were salad dressing mine would have been Italian...

I remember my mom making it when I was a little girl...she put all the individual ingredients into the container and, until given a vigorous shake, you could see each separate ingredient...the oil, the vinegar, the seasonings, etc. The feelings I experienced upon arriving at my lil spot on the map were much the same.

If memory serves, vinegar and oil are the two primary ingredients of Italian oil and vinegar was apprehension and relief. Probably equal amounts of both. The seasonings then were excitement, fear, uncertainty, sorrow, happiness, and the list goes on. Let's talk about the two main ingredients though...apprehension and relief. It really makes for an interesting sensation when equal parts of both are combined.

One part relief...

We were finally safe in a location unknown to Ex Knight. We were safe from any retaliation or retribution Ex Knight might wish administer. He is totally and completely unpredictable when angry and I don't suspect felony criminal charges and two weeks in jail made him a happy camper.

I experienced a HUGE sense of relief when crossing the state line but the relief I felt upon finally reaching my destination can't be adequately expressed with words. You see, half the Masked Marauder Minis came to our present location by plane and the other two drove with me. Pulling out and leaving two of my clan behind was one of the most difficult things I've ever done. And, then there was the the lone driver of a U-Haul, traveling roads that seemed to go on forever in a vehicle tons bigger than I'd ever driven before in winter of all seasons. Upon arriving and reuniting with the missing members of my clan I was relieved beyond words. We had ALL made it...we were FINALLY safe and we were together. You can't imagine the peace of mind in knowing that he couldn't get us no matter how hard he tried because he had no idea where we were!

One part apprehension...

Arriving wasn't the end though. Really it was a beginning of a new beginning. We had gotten here safely and were together but now came the realization that this was just the beginning. You see, I hadn't really thought about what would happen after we arrived because I was very focused on the act of arriving. Now that I had made the trip safely the realization of what would happen next finally set in. Now I had the daunting task of rebuilding our lives essentially from scratch. This might seem like an easy task, but when you consider we came with virtually NOTHING and had limited resources, it was a lot harder than one might think.

I believe that God put everything and one into EXACTLY the right position and ten days after arriving we were living in our own place. A task I thought would take months took just days. It is true what they say...when God closes a door, He ALWAYS opens a window. In my case, he opened a big bay window.

Now, you remember I said on top of the layers of relief and apprehension came excitement, fear, uncertainty, sorrow, happiness and an endless list of emotions right? It was exciting to have a place to call our own so quickly, it was exciting to move into a new ward and receive a warm and inviting welcome, and we were very excited to think about all the future held in store for us. We still had fear. For the Minis it was mainly the fear of being found. I, your Masked Marauder mainly feared taking care of the Minis. Could I do what it took to provide them with what they needed when my resources were so limited?!?!? Though there were times I didn't think I could, with God's help I always did. The uncertainty I felt related to the on-going criminal case and divorce and wondering what would happen with both and would anything be said or done in either that revealed our location (I guess that is fear again too). And then sorrow...leaving was hard. We said goodbye to some people we really loved and adored not knowing would our paths ever cross again. We lost a LOT in order to gain one of the things we now cherish most...our safety.

So there you have it, why, if feelings were salad dressing mine would be Italian. As I look back, I find I still feel many of these same feelings but now in varying amounts. Most of the apprehension has been replaced by relief and to the seasons we've added joy beyond belief.

To say the last year of our lives was tough is putting it beyond mildly, but I truly believe we've also grown beyond measure. We've experienced some of the biggest heartache and sorrow one could imagine, gone from living in a state of total fear and dread to experiencing a life richly blessed and drowned in happiness and laughter, AND, this is TRULY still only the beginning.

My mom loves Italian dressing and assures me that while the individual ingredients are nasty by themselves when you shake it all and pour in on salad it's great. I don't know about that, but I do know that when I give the bottle of emotions I have a good shake it has all come out OK in the end.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Twokuhneeshin Stomach Cancer

Apparently this is a near fatal condition Mr. Man and Youngest Daughter cured me of last night. I had it bad. My heart stopped twice on the table and they had to cut me open to take the cancer out. It was touch and go for a minute....PHEW I'm so glad there's a qualified doctor who doubles as a surgeon in the family! Thankfully Mr. Man was able to "get it all out." Now I get to live....YAY ME!!!

That was the plot of last night's episode of "Doctor Makeover Clinic"...this made-up game I play with my youngest two children. I am always the patient. Sometimes a bad one, sometimes a great one. I've had every real disease you can imagine and several I've never heard of like "twokuhneeshin stomach cancer" (and no I'm not even sure if I'm spelling it right). Lucky for me they can cure me every time.

After I'm cured, they celebrate with me by pampering me. This time I let them take pictures...yes I'm even going to post them for your viewing pleasure. While Mr. Man is the doctor and Youngest Daughter his nurse, she is always the head beautician...she calls herself the head "makeup girl". Middle Daughter thinks the game is stupid but decided she wanted to do my hair this time and I was brave enough to let her put mascara on my lashes (she only poked my eye once...not bad). So if you ever need cured of a made up disease you can't pronounce let alone spell or need a makeover, I know people....

Aren't I beautiful...???

Here's a close up of my makeup...not bad for application by an 8 year old

And finally my new do.....

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Yup it's that time of year again and EVERYBODY is doing it. Normally, if you're like me, you've probably already broken at least one of your resolutions. Come on admit it...I KNOW it's not just ME that's normally guilty....ha ha ha the great thing (or not so great thing I've not decided yet), is that NOTHING has been "normal" about my life for the last 13 months. This year, I've decided to deviate from what I "normally" do this time of year....

Originally I decided this year the only resolution I was going to set was to resolve not to resolve hee hee! I mean if I didn't have any resolutions set, there'd be none to break right? Yeah I know...I'm not one to cop out on much of anything. So since I wasn't gonna cop out, I then began to seriously think about the whole concept of setting New Year's resolutions. And yes, I am fully aware of how dangerous it is for me to start thinking about something....often I can't stop.

Anyway after resolving to think about resolutions, I started to think about was just what exactly the word "resolution" means anyway....well there are lots of definitions (you can look them all up here if you like) but the one I like the most requires us to look at the word R-E-S-O-L-V-E

Sooooooooooooooo, to define resolve (using a little bit of each of my favorite definitions), I've decided that resolve means to successfully deal with a firm decision. It is this definition which I think sets so many of us up for failure with New Year's resolutions...

While we all deal with whatever it is we've been given (yes we ALL deal like it or not), the fact remains that a key component of the definition of resolve is often missing. The word "successfully" is often neglected. Poor successfully...when embraced, it often leaves one feeling full of warmth, accomplishment, pride (not the bad kind we're cautioned to avoid being lifted up in), and confidence among many other things. Instead though, successfully is often ignored. Yes, everyone deals; not everyone deals successfully.

As I contemplated what I'd resolve to do different in 2009, I spent a lot of time thinking about why people even make resolutions in the first place. These thoughts are what sent me to look up the assorted definitions of the word resolution...

***SIDEBAR*** I wonder if people don't make resolutions only so they can laugh at themselves or beat themselves up for breaking them. It seems to me that breaking New Year's resolutions is almost as much of a tradition as keeping them is. I mean haven't you joked with your spouse, friends, neighbors, parents, or whomever about how at least you kept this resolution that much longer....

The more I thought about resolutions, the more I realized that the concept of setting them is brilliant, it's our execution of the concept that is sometimes lacking. This year I will not make resolutions I know I won't keep like trying to regain my girlish figure, going to bed at a decent hour (I mean look at the time stamp uhhh yeah I'm an insomniac), eating better, (chocolate makes EVERYTHING better) cleaning this, organizing that, doing more of this or less of that....this year I have just ONE resolution. I resolve that this will be the year I:


the Extremely