Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The prognosis

My therapy is already over.  Six sessions went by fast.  It wasn't quite what I expected.  I guess I thought it would be somewhere I could go and talk about my problems, and in return I would be coddled and stroked and made to feel better.  It wasn't like that at all.  Instead I was told everything I was doing wrong in my life to cause the problems I was having.  That wasn't fun to hear at all!  

I do think that talking to someone about my problems was a good thing.  I learned how I should be dealing with the issues in my life.  I still believe that praying about them is the number one thing to do, but I also believe the Lord sends us people to help us and advise us.  I know this because I've been that person before.  I look back on conversations I've had with people and I know the Lord gave me the words to tell them.  I know I didn't come up with it on my own, I'm not that smart.  My life may have given me the experience to talk to them, but I couldn't have come up with that stuff on my own.  The Lord gives us words, and sends us temporary angels when we need them.  I can't count how many temporary angels have been sent to me in my life.  In fact, I doubt I even know about most of them. 

My therapist was a 53 year old woman, I'll call her C.C., that turned out to be a good match for me.  I believe the Lord sent me to C.C. for the advice I needed.  Someone that would listen to me like a friend, but would also tell me the hard things I needed to hear that no one else would tell me.  

It turns out my trust issues were the least of my problems.  I learned that I'm what is referred to as a Highly Sensitive Person or HSP.  Sounds fake, right?  But it's true.  There's a website and everything.  The characteristics of HSP are varied, and I qualified for all but maybe one.  It explains why I'm always hyper-aware of everything around me.  I notice when something is in the wrong place, or when things need put away, or if someone does something out of the ordinary or out of character.  Crumbs on the floor drive me crazy, as well as dirty socks or dishes or yucky smells.  At any given moment on the road I can tell you where every car is around me, and can anticipate their next move most of the time.  I just thought that was all part of being a mom!  Another characteristic is feeding off of the emotions of others.  I can be having the best day, but if David comes home in a bad mood it will rub off on me and make me mad or sad or anxious.   Other characteristics are like an intolerance for loud noises, which explains my hatred of vacuuming, hair drying and so on. The website is very interesting and helpful, and is worth looking at,  It's not a disease or disorder, it's just an inherited personality trait.  That's all.  

It turns out I also battle anxiety. That's not good for someone who has trust issues.  But it's even worse for someone living in a house with five other people who all have  their own set of issues. Combining HSP with anxiety basically means I emotionally take on all the problems and moods of everyone in my house, and then proceed to worry and fret about all of them at the exact same time till my head is about to explode.  

Good times, right?  


I feel so emotionally drained.  The last time I was this mentally worn out was during the divorce.  

As for my trust issues, those were all addressed in the first session.  C.C. Helped me to see that worrying about my marriage is pointless.  I know the real signs of a cheating husband, I know what to look for, and if all David is doing is answering a text on his phone I need to get over it.  I can either make my marriage miserable by anticipating the worst, or I can relax and enjoy my marriage with the faith that it will be wonderful.  I don't need to worry until I have a legitimate reason to worry. That answer almost seemed too simple for me, but the more I think about it the more I see her point.  

So here I am, the sixth member of this house, and I'm now bringing in my own set of issues to add to everyone else's.  I'm trying not to focus on that because it makes me freak out.  C.C has helped me see ways I can minimize my anxiety, and also how to deal with problems when they arise.  It's still going to take me a while, but I feel better than I did two months ago.  

The prognosis is good.  I learned what I needed to learn, and was told the things I needed to hear.  Some of it wasn't easy to hear, but that's her job.  I see her as my friend that will tell me the truth no matter what.  It's a job I could never do.    Things have gotten better for me, but I'm still going to keep her number around just in case.  

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Taking the next step

From reading this blog, I'm sure you can tell I'm a fairly open person.   

I'm a firm believer that the problems we go through in this life can help others going through the same things if we just share our experiences.  I'm the first to admit when I find a breakthrough that helps but I'll also be the first to admit when I need help.  

This past March was the five-year mark of when my life changed. I've had a lot of support during that time, but I don't think I'm where I should be yet as far as healing goes. The changes that my family, as well as David's family, went through have impacted all of us in so many different ways. Some have come through with flying colors, while others have come through with battle scars and lasting issues.  

This is commonly referred to as PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

Next week one of our kids is going to start therapy and I have decided to join them and seek some help myself. It's not good to know it's been five years and I'm still having the same trust issues I had after the divorce.  I'm finally in a wonderful, loving and committed marriage and there should be no reason for me to worry. Yet something will happen and the ghosts come back. 

I can't stop them…but I want to.  I want to be able to live a normal life without all the fears that still possess me.  

If you had told me five years ago that I'd be seeing a therapist, I would have thought you were crazy.  I've always been fairly grounded and tuned to my feelings...and I still believe that most mental problems can be solved with prayer and counseling from a minister or the brothers and sisters in the church. Yet, I am starting to think PTSD is real and something I suffer from.  So where I used to be very anti-therapy, I'm learning I'm not always right, and that talking to a counselor that has Christian values can be helpful. 

I also used to be very anti-divorce...

...Hello, Irony, it's good to see you again old friend.  Come sit down and talk.  

So here I am, swallowing my pride once more, but I'm looking forward to going to my first session.  I plan to share my progress here.  I might as well as you've been with me through my healing process thus far, I guess I'd better see this through. 

And who knows, maybe my experiences will help someone else going through the same thing.  That's what I keep telling myself at least.  How I see it, if I help just one person, then it's worth putting my story out there.  

So, please join me in this new journey, and if you find a blessing in any of it then give the glory to God.  


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Pressing on

can't count how many times in the past few months I've wanted to give up.  Just wave my white flag and surrender.  

It seems the older I get the harder life gets.  Maybe I never took notice to all the bad stuff around me before, I don't know.  I tend to live in my own little bubble most of the time, shutting out the real world.  But things are getting too bad to ignore.  In the world.  In our homes.  In our churches.  Even our own children are having problems that they shouldn't be having at these ages.  

I want to help people, but what if they don't want help.  You can't help someone who doesn't want to help themselves.  

So what are we to do?  

The only thing I can think of is to keep praying, and no matter what, keep pressing on. 

Keep being the light in the world.

Keep praying.

Keep encouraging.  

Keep supporting.  

Keep rebuking when needed - that's the hardest one.  

It would be so easy to bury my head in the sand and ignore the mistakes that my loved ones make.  I get tired of rebuking and disciplining and trying to teach the same lessons day in and day out to these kids. That is where I am ready to throw in the towel, and say "Fine, ruin your life if you want."

Press on.  

Must. Press. On.  

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."  Galatians 6:9

Nope, no fainting allowed.  Not in this house.  The white flags don't exist. There are no towels to be throw in.  We don't give up, because the Lord hasn't given up on us.  

We have to continue to take this life one day at a time, and give each day the best we can.  

We will fail.  

I fail. 

But that's life.  We fail and we move forward.  

We keep pressing on.  


Monday, August 31, 2015

What I'm learning the second time around.... Pray together

When I was engaged to my first husband, I received a cute little notebook full of marital advice written by my female friends and family.  They had all put their two cents into it and it was a wonderful keep sake at the time.  The younger women wrote about always loving each other or keeping communication lines open, and things like that.  And all the older, and much wiser, women wrote about making sure God was the center of our marriage.  

Yes, I should've listen to the older, wiser women, but I brushed my doubts under the proverbial rug.  

But it's more than just both of you believing in God and attending church...

...Not only does God needs to be the glue that holds you both together, but you need to take it one step further and tell Him that He is the center of your marriage... Together.  

Praying together is a whole new level of intimacy between you and your husband.  It was something I had never done before, and really, it scared me to death.  I don't know why, I guess I'd just never shared that part of my life with anyone before, except my boys.  And even still, when we pray together, David is the one that says it.  I have a couple of times, but it's taking me a while to get comfortable with it. He wants me to more, but I like that he does.  He is the head of our marriage, and I like him to lead me spiritually.  

The first time David and I prayed together was actually over the phone.  We lived in different states before we were married, and had many obstacles to overcome before the wedding.  Blending families will do that.  Each time we came upon a problem we'd pray, and the Lord would guide us through the issue with ease.  

Once we were married, prayer became our nightly ritual, and If I remember right, we've only missed a couple of nights since then due to extenuating circumstances. I firmly believe that the success of our marriage is directly related to our nightly prayers, and putting the Lord first in our marriage.  

I hope we will always continue to pray together every night.  We both understand the importance of it, and neither of us ever try to opt out for any reason.  If David is sick, then I say the prayer, either way, it gets said.  Sometimes they might be short and sweet, especially after extremely long road trips, but even then, we still take a few moments to thank God for our life together.  

I hope this doesn't come across as some kind of pat on our back, I don't mean it that way at all.  David and I have both messed up in our past, and neither of us ever want to be back one of those situations.  We are just so thankful to have each other, and we know that it would never have been possible if it were up to us.  As David likes to say "humans are not creative, God is.  The only thing we can create is a mess."  We needed the Lord, and the Lord helped us and guided us.  We owe everything we have to God, and my prayer is that we will spend the rest of our lives serving Him daily for everything He's done for us. 


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What I'm learning the second time around.... Dirty socks don't matter

I'll be honest, it drives me crazy to hear wives gripe about their husband's bad habits.  Or vice versa.  Seriously, you married them, for better or for worse, so little annoyances are something you signed up for.  

Get over it.  

Remember, the devil can use small annoyances to form a teeny tiny wedge between you and your spouse.  He can also take that minuscule wedge and turn it into a boulder.  

My ex husband, toward the end of our marriage, decided the little annoying things I did were too much for him to take.  He used them as an excuse to justify the affair he was having. Yes, this may be an extreme case, but it's enough to make me perk up and take notice.  Don't get me started on how afraid I was to leave anything of mine anywhere in this house.  I was so scared of getting on David's nerves I couldn't see straight.  

But I also learned that one of the most annoying things in the world is paranoia. 

So I was failing anyway.   

Thankfully David loves me despite my annoyances.

These days David are pretty comfortable with one another.  He knows my quirks and I know his, and it's ok.  Every night he turns on my fan because I can't seem to remember to do it before getting under the covers, and every morning I put his dirty socks in the hamper.  It's a beautiful life we got going on here, and we appreciate getting to know each other's quirks.  We've seen the other side, and We'd much rather have a quirky spouse than no spouse at all. 

Just food for thought.  


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What I'm learning the second time around..... Being equally yoked

When I was engaged the first time I was not very knowledgeable when it came to God.  I had grown up in the church, and mostly understood the importance of it in my life.  My fiancé and I had the pre-marriage counseling by my father, but I still don't think it was setting in how big of a role God and the church needed to play in our lives as a married couple.  

Maybe it wasn't impressed upon me enough, or maybe I just had my head buried in the sand, who knows.  Either way, I messed up.  

My fiancé would go to church with me sometimes, we would have talks about God, and sometimes he would tell me that he didn't really believe in God, but he had no problem with me going to church.  

To me, this didn't sound like THAT bad of a deal, so I chose to ignore my worries about what that would mean for our future.  Boy, was I stupid.  Since then, I have studied what it means to be unequally yoked.  Let me see if I can explain it..... 

Back when animals were used to pull various loads of things, they would have something called a 'yoke' that went around the animals' necks.  If they paired up an ox and a donkey the two animals would pull at different rates, and they would struggle to do the job.  They couldn't work as a team, and in the end they would ultimately be pulling against each other.  These animals are unequally yoked.  However, if you pair up two oxen to pull the load, they would work together at the same rate in and same direction and be successful because they are equally yoked. 

Same goes for marriages.  If a husband and wife don't start off with the same morals and beliefs, they will move and change at different rates.  They will struggle to work together as a team, and ultimately, they will end up pulling against each other.  

That is what happened with me.  I went into the marriage knowing we believed differently, and hoping that he would eventually come around to my way of thinking.  Have I mentioned how stupid I was?  I could look back and wish I had been better advised, but the truth is, I was advised.  I just let go in one ear and out the other.  I didn't want to hear that my fiancé might not be the one for me.  

I can't look back and wish things differently.  I have two amazing boys, and I wouldn't change that for anything.  Besides, any other road wouldn't have led me to the love of my life.  I have no regrets.  

So, I guess what I learned this time around is to make sure you are equally yoked with your spouse.  I am now, and it has made all the difference.  


Thursday, August 6, 2015

What I'm learning the second time around..... Putting your spouse before your children

I started this series of writings as a way of spreading some Godly advice about marriage that I somehow missed the first time around.  That being said, I don't feel these things would've changed the outcome of my first marriage.  Being in an unequally yoked marriage to an atheist will have problems beyond the little things that I'm trying to fix.  What I'm try to do is prevent the cracks from forming in strong marriages so the devil can't get in.  

Whether we like it or not, the devil is loose.  He is going to look for any way he can to come between us and our spouse, or us and our church, or even our ministers and the church, you name it.  David and I are convinced he's after minister's wives.  It happened to him, and it's happening more and more everyday.  We have to be proactive in keeping our marriages strong.  

One of the things I look back on with regret is putting my children before my marriage.  

There are boocoos of opinions and advice swarming around out there in the world.  One very popular idea is that when kids come into a marriage they should automatically become the center of your life and everything else should revolve around them.

This idea is wrong, wrong, and might I say WRONG.  

Yes, children are wonderful gifts from God, and they require an enormous amount of care and attention.  But, your spouse still needs to be your priority.  

It's hard, I know.  I've been where you all are in one way or another.  I've had babies, I've had toddlers..... and now I have kids and step kids (7 boys, to be exact), there is nothing you can tell me that I haven't already been though.  Unless it has to do with girls.... I know nothing about raising girls.

When my boys were babies and toddlers I tried to be the kind of mom you read about on the internet.  Constantly playing with them, teaching them, holding them, you name it.  They were my priority and my husband took a back seat.  I don't believe I took it to the extreme that some moms have, but I made a mistake, and I am learning now what I should've done.  

Now I have more kids in my house, and they are all equally loved and attended to.    But we are teaching them that the most important relationship in our home is the one between David and myself.  All of these boys are from broken homes.  We have to teach them that divorce is not the 'norm'. We have to teach them what to do to make their own marriages strong.  If we don't teach them, the world will.  

Not good.  

Another point to ponder is how you represent your relationship in front of your kids.  I'm not talking about affection-which I do believe kids should see- I'm talking about a united front.  One of the first things kids learn to do is play their parents against each other.  If one says no, ask the other.  Kids need to see two parent that are in the same corner, not opposing corners.  This will help the marriage relationship as well as the parent - child relationship.  You should never side with your child.  If the verdict needs overturned, leave the room till you and your spouse can return on the same page.  Kids pick up on stuff like that, and will use it to their benefit.  

When it comes down to it.  Your spouse is number one.  Numero uno.  Feed and nurture that relationship above all others...and don't forget to pray together.  I should write an entire post just on that alone.  I love all of you out there, and I would hate to see any of you go through what I did.  


Monday, June 15, 2015

What I'm learning the second time around... Take care of yourself

I've been feeling a nagging in my heart to write a series of posts about the things I'm learning about marriage the second time around.  

There are so many lies out there telling you how marriage is supposed to be, and it baffles me how many people believe it!  I know I did in my first marriage.  I let worldly advice upstage any Godly advice I was given.  

Why, you ask?  

Because I was not the sharpest tool in the shed.  

I did things wrong in my first marriage that might have changed the outcome if I'd have done better.  Not that I would ever want that life back, but what I can do, is use what I've learned to help other wives not make the same mistakes I did.  

One of my main mistakes was not keeping up my appearance.  

I know this can be a touchy subject, but I've got to go there.  

One of the biggest myths in the world is that once you get married you are then allowed to let yourself go.  I've been there, I thought 'I've got this man now, it doesn't matter what I look like, he's not going anywhere.  We're married forever right??' 


No one is safe.  

I've witnessed it happen to the most secure couples.  Even couples in the church.  The devil's not prejudice, he'll go after anyone.  He knows our weaknesses.  

I had hit a point where I put myself last. I'd had two kids, put on a good 20 pounds or so, resorted to t-shirts, sweatpants, and pony tails, and basically decided I had too much on my plate to worry about my upkeep.  

I know now that I was wrong.  

Men want to be proud of their wife.  They also want to enjoy looking at their wife.   They chose you.  They married you.  It's not too much to ask for you to take care of yourself, and put a little effort into your appearance everyday.  

This is something I have changed about myself the second time around.  The gym is now a part of my weekly, or daily, schedule.  Cute clothes and perfumes are as well.  I want David to be proud he's married to me.  I also want him to enjoy looking at me and sharing my company in the evenings after work.  

It sounds very 1950's....  You know, put a bow in your hair, check your makeup, and put on a nice dress for when your husband gets home from work.  But it's true!  These women knew what they were doing!  The feminist movement that came about later on changed the way women thought, and I'm here to say it changed it for the worse.  

I've lived it myself, and I've seen what it's done to other couples.  Don't let this happen in your marriage.  Take the extra time to keep up your appearance, and your husband will appreciate it... 

You'll feel better about yourself as well, and when you feel better, you can be a better wife.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Men and women can't be friends

In my opinion, the biggest lie the devil has successfully deceived the world with is that men and women can and should be friends. 

Yes!  I can hear the disagreements already...but hear me out.

The life experience I've received from my past, and from David and I helping others that have found themselves in our situations, is helping me to learn more and more about this everyday. Not to mention the two twenty-somethings that live in our house who are trying to figure out life and love and the difference between right and wrong.  

From all this data that I'm soaking up from every direction, I have come to firmly believe that my stand on this is right.  The world is now fully convinced that men and women can be friends.  The devil has convinced us that it's a good thing, and it's spilling over into the Christian world.  

Stills disagreeing?  I fully expect it.  That's how deep the lie goes.  The concept is so accepted that to dispute it is absurd.  

But stay with me....

The Lord made men and women very different.  We don't think the same way, and He made us this way for a reason.  Men and women compliment each other.  They each posess what the other needs to feel complete in a marital relationship.   Women are meant to be nurturers, and men are meant to be providers.  Women are more emotional, where men are more stoic.  So if all we need is advice or a friendly talk, then we should understand that we need go to those we are like for those things.  It says in the bible that the older women should teach the younger women, and the older men should teach the younger.  This is our support and friendship system.  The Lord Himself set it up and who are we to argue? 

But there are many who do.  Many who try to be friends, and many who get burned in the process.  When men and women try to be friends, there will almost always be one that wants to pursue more.  Even if it's not in the initial plan.  The more the friendship progresses the more likely it will happen.  

During our teenage years it is more accepted.  When we are looking for a future husband or wife it's ok to have the friendships with opposite sex.  Male and female groups of friends are usually how significant others are met. However the older you get the more these kinds of friendships can effect your life negatively.   If you are married or engaged, a friendship with someone of the opposite sex can be detrimental to the relationship.  

Let me first clarify what I am defining as a friendship.  Friendships require one on one private conversations, either in person or by phone or text.  I'm not saying we can't be nice to the opposite sex, on the contrary, I'm nice to the brethren in our church, or to the men I would come in contact with in my workplace.  But that doesn't mean we are friends.  We don't text or talk on the phone.  We don't go out for lunch or coffee.  In fact, even the conversations at church or work are not of a serious nature, and they are never private.  No personal subjects are ever discussed.  If there is something questionable that needs discussed I would recommend them to someone else or have someone be present with me.

That being said... If a man or woman desires to have a friend of the opposite sex after they are married, then there is something going on in their life that needs addressed.  

Think about it, you are committed to someone already.  You  married this person who is your best friend, and more.  They complete you in a way no other person can.  There should be no reason to ever desire the company of another person of the opposite sex.  

One of the most common instances is for a person to want to stay friends with a former significant other.  If you desire to stay friends with an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend after you have broken up, then you need to figure out why.  My guess is it means you're not over them.  If this is the case, future relationships need to be put off till those feelings can be resolved. Wanting to be friends out of niceness is not good either, it will only lead to false hopes from one of the parties involved. 

You break up and you move on.  

That's the way it goes.  

Be nice when you see them, but there is no need for more.  

Also, you should never, ever put yourself in a situation that would make your spouse uncomfortable, or question your motives.  Marriages are built on trust.  It is the cornerstone that everything else leans on.  If you do something, even if it is completely innocent, to shake that trust, it can take years to repair.  And telling them that 'it's just a friend' is never the answer.  If you have gotten to a point where you have to explain or defend your relationship with that person, then it's gone too far and needs to be ended.  

We should strive to make our spouse feel as safe as possible in the marriage.  I know how it feels to be unsafe, and it's the most terrifying feeling in the world.  Knowingly continuing a friendship with the opposite sex, and making your spouse feel unsafe is one of the most disrespectful things you can do in a marriage.  

The older I get, the more adamant I am that this subject needs discussed.  My poor twenty-something step-sons are probably sick of me trying to drill this into their heads.  But it is a subject I am very passionate about.  I am going to do my best to teach these guys, and whomever will listen, what it really means to respect their spouse, and to always avoid the appearance of evil if at all possible.  It will either kill me or I'll die trying. 


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

My favorite times

One of my favorite, most precious times is when David and I have long talks about how much the Lord has blessed us.  

Inevitably about once every week or so we will sit and talk, or go for a walk , and we'll get caught up in a long conversation about what we've both been through, how the Lord brought us together and the wonderful life we've been given.  We love to talk about our story, it's our favorite subject.  What a wonderful thing it is to be married to someone who is just as thankful that we have each other as I am. We never take for granted the second chance we've been given, and I pray we never do.  We give all the praise and glory to God.  

These are my thoughts this morning.  I have a couple of posts in the works about blending our families, so hopefully I'll finish them up soon.  
Till next time...

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Riding in cars with boys

Sometimes I sit in awe, and wonder if this life I'm living is really happening.  

My life.  This is really my life.  

I'm sitting in our light blue SUV riding to church.  It's a little over an hours drive.  My older step sons are in the drivers and shotgun seats.  They are Godly men who, despite natural tendencies to falter, try to do the right thing according to the Lord.  However, right now the one is driving a little faster than I'm comfortable with on this two lane highway, but I trust that he knows the precious cargo he's toting.  

Beside me in the middle row of seats is my husband.  He's got his bible out making sure he has all his thoughts together for his sermon this morning.  I like to watch him look out the window and silently peach to the passing trees.  By his smile, I think they are getting it.  

And finally, in the row behind us are my two little boys.  I've never been more proud of those two little guys than I have been this year.  The way they've adjusted to all the changes completely amazes me.  However, the longer we are here, the more I'm starting to see areas that need attention when it comes to them, but I'm learning to adjust my time to suit their needs and everything is getting better.  

I never expected everything to be perfect, nor did I expect it to go this well.  The Lord is blessing us , and also helping us to see the areas that need improvement. Especially on my part.  The more settled we get, the higher our comfort level gets with one another.  It's a good thing and a not so good thing.  It's good that we are all more comfortable with telling one another the hard things that need said, but it also makes us freer with our words in a way that can cause friction.  Thankfully we all have the common goal of keeping peace in our home, so no conflict ever last more than a little while. Communication is key in this house.  Sometimes we may talk things to death, but it's better than the alternative.  

These are precious times right now, but they won't last.  In the next few years the older guys will be moving out and starting their lives, and then it will just be the four of us.  So for now I will enjoy things like riding to church.  It's the little things like that where our most precious memories are made.    

Friday, January 23, 2015

Street smart

There are a couple of slang terms many use as a description for people's personality.

Book smart and street smart.

Book smart is for people who are knowledgeable in things that can be read in books, and street smart is for people who are knowledgeable in the ways of the streets - aka the world. That doesn't mean they are worldly, sinful people, they've just been out there and know how the world works.

This is not to say people can't be both, it's entirely possible.

However today I'm talking about me.

It's my blog, I can do that.

I fully admit that I am the least book smart person I know. I struggled my way through school, and finally graduated with an art degree after six years of college. Academics are not my thing to say the least. I've always considered myself to be more street smart than book smart. I can read a chapter of the bible and not be able to tell you much about it, but if you have a problem and come to me for help, I will soak up as much information about that situation as I can. My knowledge of the streets has quadrupled over the past few years. I've seen how bad the world can be, and I know what mistakes I made, and that others have made, and I learn from them. When I talk to people who are going through what I've been through, I see what works for them and what doesn't and I learn from that experience on top of what I learned from my own experiences. I try to learn something each and every time I talk to someone in order to be a better help to the next person.

In my house there are three twenty-something guys, and these guys have twenty-something friends that come over. This is a foreign thing for me being the mom of two little boys, but I like that we are the gathering house for them and their friends. Some of these guys and gals don't have a very good place to call home, or a family that is a positive influence. A lot of times, our house is the only positive family unit some of these kids ever see. And we don't make exceptions when they are here either, if you have supper with us, you pray with is. If you come into our house, you leave your evil habits or language at the door.

House rules.

No exceptions.

And our boys will be the first to tell you the rules.

On top of hanging out here, these kids come to David and me for advice on their lives. David is one of those brilliant men who are both book smart and street smart. Between the two of us, we can tell it to these kids straight and give them real advice on life in a positive way. We can tell them what works from our own experiences, and tell them what they are doing wrong because we've been in most situations - maybe not every situation, but if we didn't go through something, then we probably know someone who has - We can use the knowledge from others to help when we haven't been there ourselves. We tell them about our own personal hells, and the mistakes we made that caused them, and we tell them how we are different now and why things are better and how the Lord is blessing us because of it.

We don't preach to them with book smarts, we talk to them with street smarts.

It's awesome when you can actually get through the thick skull of a twenty-something and help them understand that you've been there.

I can call them that... it hasn't been that long since I was a stubborn, thick-skulled twenty-something. I know just how horrible your twenties are, and just how stupid they can make you.

As always, the things I write on here are things that I pray about, and I will continue to pray that David and I can be good influences in these kids' lives, and give them good advice that will lead them on a Godly path.