.... {and a little to children as well} but this little one thinks I'm the devil.

This is Odie. I'm house sitting right now for my supervisor and Odie, for no *good* reason, has decided she hates me. She's never not liked me before, but she's realized that my supervisor is gone and now she snarls, growls, snaps and won't let me come within 5 feet of her. {Who knew something so small could be so vicious?} We *used* to be friends. We *used* to sit together on the couch. I've been over here lots, but now .... Odie, Odie, Odie. Odie seizes (as in, she has honest to goodness seizures) if she doesn't go outside to go to the potty. But Odie won't go outside. Odie very violently lets me know that she is not going anywhere with me. Odie won't do ... anything. Including eat. Drink water. Not growl. She lays on the couch with her back purposefully turned away from me, or buries her head in her dog bed. I'm two seconds away from calling the vet.

At this point, I'd rather have Odie go all over the floor inside rather than have her have seizures. She's a million years old (literally) and who knows ... Telling Supervisor that Odie "went" everywhere is a ton better than having to tell her anything else ... what if she doesn't make it through one of the seizures?? One of my Big Bosses (I have a lot. It's a chain that starts with my program manager, then goes to the administrator in charge of probation; then goes to the executive director of the juvenile justice center, then goes to the judges, then goes to the co. commissioners ...) said that it was good that I was house sitting because I was so nice ...

... and because hearing from me that Odie didn't make it would suck less than if anybody else said it. Big Fat Sigh.

And this is Rascal. Rascal is co-dependent and follows me everywhere. Literally. If I close the bathroom door, she has a cow. {But she's a cat. Don't get confused.} Before she left, supervisor said Rascal liked to sleep in the bed at night. Problem: I have some pretty amazing cat allergies and thought I would show Rascal who was "the boss." The first night I let Odie in to her dog bed and then closed the bedroom door, and ...

... I am not the boss. Rascall meowed outside the door all. night. long. All night. Maybe three hours of sleep. The next night, I just let her in. And later that day, refilled my allergy eye drops.

I am not the boss in this house. Not the boss at all.

No wonder people have pet psychiatrists.
Through the course of this past year, I have been asked and asked and asked, "You're doing so well with all of this, Lisa. How are you doing it?" I cannot believe I'm writing this, but I'm coming up on one year since the separation. Where did all those days go? Wasn't it yesterday that I was crumpled on my bathroom floor wondering why time was going so slow and how I was ever going to feel normal again? I don't remember getting off that bathroom floor, but I'm here. I'm not there anymore. Something's happened in these past ten months. {Ten?}

It wasn't yesterday, but here's my truth: Some days I do not do it at all. Some days I hide in my little apartment and think about the rejection and do not do anything. {Ok, actually I do do something: I weep.} But here is what I know. God shed light on a terrible, terrible situation and He gave me a choice. He said, "You can stay. And. I release you from this marriage. It's your decision."

But the things I had to learn ... I had to learn what resting in grace really means. I had to re-learn the amazing promises of God. I had to go back to my prophecy tapes and listen and re listen and re listen to the words that God had spoken over me. I had to believe in faith that by separating myself from a situation where my health was so gravely at risk, I wasn't forever ruining my chances of a Godly marriage and having my own beautiful children ~ my heart's true desire.

I had to come to the knowledge deep down in my heart and spirit that it wasn't God who rejected me at all. Rather, I had to surrender my own fears to Christ and let Him tell me that.

I still have sad days, but the God that I know now is so much more real than the God I knew before. {I probably would have chosen to find this reality a different way, though! ;)} This summer I'll be turning 30 {quiet sigh}. I had pictured things a little differently for this stage, but I know I'm not outside of God's will.

A week ago one of my good friends asked, "When are you going to start dating again?" My response? "I have no idea. That's scary." But when I took it to God that night in prayer, my Spirit began to get a little happy.

This past year, the people I know have been watching me a little like they would a car wreck: you don't really want to look because you know it's Very Bad, but there's a part of you that just needs to see. It's not lost on me: people are looking at me to see what a Christian will do in this situation. Most of the time, that scares the crud out of me ~ so many people have been so hurt by hypocrisy by just a few in the beloved church. But, I know that God is showing them what renewal looks like in a life of a person who loves Christ ~ the flip side of that, of course, being ... look what God can do for your own heart. I've bit my tongue and not said a few things I really wanted to say, vented to a few good friends ... and then forgiven. Even in the beginning of this Terrible Thing, I knew that God would be asking me to forgive my former husband and former friend. That was hard to swallow, but I did not want to be bitter. Not at all. I wanted to give these things back to God and get healed. {Why do I need to hurt more by not forgiving?}

So I say, let them watch. And I also say, God, spotlight's on You. I have had amazing conversations with precious women that center around our relationships with men. There have been chances {already!} to tell them about how at 30, I'm re-surrendering my life to God's will, and how although I have no idea what this next stage is going to look like, I'm content waiting for the right time to move forward. I'm ok with it being me and God.

I also get to build Godly marriage up and say honestly and without hesitation, "It is one of the biggest blessings ever." I truly believe that. Before Former Husband made the decisions that he did, I had never, never been so blessed.

I'm not entirely sure why I wanted to share that on this Wednesday and I've changed my mind 20 times in hitting the publish button. But, as well, in the past two days, I've had this exact conversation multiple times. Don't know what it means, but I can take a Holy Hint. I guess I just feel like something is shifting, once again, in my Spirit and wanted to publicly declare it. So, renewal blessings on all of you, as well.

What a busy week. I can’t believe I made it out alive! It’s been so slow at work for so long ~ I was completely caught off guard on a Friday that kept me hopping for 10 hours straight. And I always say, a bad day for a social worker is a little different than a bad day for a librarian ~ especially considering that I work for abused children.

Also very busy from being co-captain of our Justice Center’s Relay for Life team. How did I get roped into this? I love planning and organizing and event coordinating … but oh, my. I do not like fundraising ~ not one little bit! I remember when Former Husband and I used to take kids on missions trips … and I was most decidedly not in charge of the fundraising! {In fact, I do believe I said I would never do it again! But, I suppose as long as I never sell another Krispy Kreme doughnut … or never have to fork somebody’s lawn again, it will be ok.} My other co-captain, Tiffany, and I have been busy baker bees this week ~ making little treats to take to work for others to partake in … on a donation basis of course. We also had the brilliant idea that we would approach a local restaurant and see if they would partner with us in a karaoke fundraiser … but the poor proprieters had extremely limited English proficiency … and the lady just kept cocking her head and staring at us blankly. She finally ended our meeting with nearly shouting, “You no force customers to give money! {We giggled all the way to the chairwoman’s house where we picked up more luminary bags.}

So I was very ready for this weekend, and it seems like this weekend was very ready for me, too! I slept until 10:00 {yes, 10:00!} on Saturday morning, which really never happens. Morning disc golf was cancelled and my poor body has been fighting off a yucky voice stealing cold for over a week. And I got to clean my house, which always sets things in order. I love the feeling of cleaning, straightening and organizing and then, sigh. Enjoying my newly found peace.

After a little house cleaning, my dear, new friend Lacey called to get coffee, and we spent a lovely late afternoon downtown, drinking Starbuck’s and shopping in our little downtown stores for Mother’s Day. I adore buying people gifts! The problem with our downtown is … I always find large furniture pieces I want to buy, as well. I found the cutest little table for my bedroom, but it will just have to wait. I, in all my order glory, have budgeted for the next few months, and this lovely little table just does not fit in right now!

Last night, too, a small wine tasting event ... Wine, of course, in this town is just as common as it is in Greece or Italy or France. Even our community college has an enology and viticulture program. This winery has some amazing wines this year ~ my favorite so far being the Syrah ...

I have one more week teaching on my kids church rotation ~ we do six weeks at a time ~ and while I adore our lovely kids, I am looking forward to sitting back, loving on them, having less responsibility ... and maybe taking a few weekends to visit family and go "back home." For right now, though, my little bed is calling me and I think I need to indulge in a late afternoon nap ... It's absolutely freezing outside {snow flurries expected tomorrow!} and I just want to snuggle under some covers. {Spring? Hello? Are you here yet?}
Drumroll, please. Everybody, I'd like to introduce you to my littlest sister ...

This is Hannah.

And yes, she should look that young ~ there are 18 years between us. There are also currently 9 hours between us, as she and her mom live many miles away. But my spunky sister Hannah and her equally spunky mom, Kate, came up this weekend to visit. It's been six or seven, years, I think, since I've seen them, although we do phone calls and lots of emails.

We met in Cowboy Town in rural Eastern Oregon (a Little Ways from where I live) and we caught up news and school and ice skating (she's a pro!) and hugs ~ lots of hugs. Hannah had never been to the Cowboy Town, and it was a wonderfully family friendly day for her to visit. Not every day is a family friendly day in this rough and tumble Cowboy Town. For no reason that I could see, other than that it is Cowboy Town, they had horse and cow day on Main Street.

Hannah is a Horse Whisperer as well as a professional figure skater, and she loved conversing with the animals.

It did add a festive feel to the day. Almost like when the Rodeo comes to town, only more ... family friendly. (It may be the largest rodeo in the nation, but it is just not as family friendly as I would like to believe it might be.)

So after the horse petting and the antique shopping and the lunching, we toured Cowboy Town's early century underground life, where speakeasies and Chinese opium dens and saloons once thrived. Fascinating.

Some parts of the tour were a little, um, re-created, but interesting none the less.

70 miles of underground tunnels run beneath Cowboy Town, although most are long blocked off. The no chinese above ground after dark rule ended in early 1900 (thank goodness) and in 1953, Cowboy Town officially closed all of its brothels. (Then they all came up to Tiny Little Vineyard Town where I live. Sigh.)

Cowboy Town Mayor bricked over the entrance to this brothel ... and left almost every artifact intact inside. Tsk, tsk, Mayor. You can't Cover Up something and pretend it never existed!

I think Hannah liked the tour ~ she's a brave one. She's also extremely articulate and smart ~ her brain is also working. My relationship with her is a funny one with no legal ties, but lots of genetic links. Again and again in my life, I'm finding that, despite bloodlines, we choose our family. I'd choose Kate & Hannah any day.

Hannah also chose this guy. Silly girl.

In the Scheduling of the Family Visits, I'll probably visit Kate & Hannah at their home in the summer ~ before the trip to see my sister Cheryl in Hawaii and before the Family Reunion over Labor Day. Each visit brings a set of new faces, and usually, none of the faces are related to each other.

But, I don't mind.

O, it feels like it might almost be Spring.

I’m not sure.

I’ve never been awake during the day during Spring here … this is the first year I’ve lived here that I haven’t been working graveyards at this time. It feels like a somewhat tedious process though, this winter becoming spring … a few false starts, some teasingly warm days, but more blustery, rainy days.

I’m still wearing my long johns, ski jacket and ski hat during disc golf on Saturday mornings. The space heater still runs full time in my apartment. And I know for sure Spring isn’t here entirely yet because I’m not wearing my Spring shoes yet.

But the daffodils have triumphed. And the tulips are making a run for it (these guys were actually awake this morning).

And if I'm not too far off, I think the grape vines are sleepily getting up to the season as well.

This week was a difficult one at work, but in a strangle, parallel world where parents are not always loving (a misnomer) to their children, and service agencies face huge liabilities and have so much at stake, and everyone involved has such high emotions running … I expect nothing less. (But do get so tired, sometimes, at the end of A Very Long Week.)

Which is why I do play disc golf on Saturday mornings with the boys from church (they are gracious gentlemen. I never throw to par. This can make the game take awhile.). And why I am writing this. And why I am about to go paint old picture frames.

I have a master plan to actually decorate my bedroom. Courage just arrived on my heart’s scene and now I feel like I can try some things … without the fear of failure. I need some picture frames. I need some pictures of green growing things. I need a little more organization.

I’ll get back to you about that.

Here’s to a better week – one with grace, less sweaters, thoughts of Farmer’s Market opening in the next couple of months and finding the perfect bottle of cabernet sauvignon to send to my sister in Hawaii. She must know she’s loved. Shipping wine takes … a pretty penny. Next weekend my littlest sister, who is newly eleven, will be in town to visit. She is a pretty, spunky, amazingly smart, funny girl.

I’m sure she gets it from me. ;)

Also this weekend, a spirited fundraiser where the best of friends got together to eat some amazing Mediterranean food, to the point of over indulgence, and laugh deeply.

Here we are dancing.

Here we are being young.

And here are the people I live with. Upstairs roommates.

Here we are being happy.