Saturday, February 18, 2012

David and Guitta: November 3, 2005

I don't think that I mentioned in the Prequel that Twin Lakes is a Christian ministry of First Presbyterian Church that has young campers during the summer and hosts different groups during the year.  Working as a host, which both David and I did, requires one weekend a month to "host" a group by welcoming them, helping them be comfortable, setting up bonfires, working the ropes courses (high and low), and helping with and cleaning up after meals.  It is a magical and wonderful place for campers and staff alike.  David worked there for years during summer camp before he became a host.  He was pretty well-known over there.

That November 3rd morning probably around 8am, it was a little slow and I was sitting on the porch swing of the front office.  I was chatting with one of the guests, just shooting the breeze.  This guy walked up with the staff shirt on.  What I remember was that he had a grim look about him.  He had a 5 o'clock shadow and his lips were thinset and seemed rather reserved.  I was in cheerful staff mode and asked him if he was David and shook his hand.  He was friendly.  He checked-in and returned to the porch and sat with me and the other male guest.  We all chatted for awhile.  I don't remember much of what we talked about.  It came up that he was one of 11.  We talked about Irish music, Fenians, and the Celtic Fest.  Then, we set about separately to take care of some tasks that needed doing.  Once again, there was a lull and I sat on the front porch again.  It was November but a Mississippi November where it felt like spring.  It was a gorgeous day and I was enjoying the mild temperatures.  David drove by the office, saw me, and then backed up and parked the golfcart.  He came to sit with me again.  I started to wonder then if he was maybe interested but I didn't think too hard about it.  I remained casual rather than becoming weird (which I have done in the past--see the post about wonderwoman and charlies angels).  We talked some more.  Then it was time to help with lunch.  We headed that way and continued our conversations in between working and getting the glasses and ice out and prepping the tables.  He seemed to me to be a little more eager to work hard.  He also seemed a little nervous.  Again, I noted it but didn't obsess over it.  It isn't like I thought anything would come of it.  After serving lunch, the staff all sat together on the dining room porch to eat.  David and I talked most of the time.   The part of the conversation that I do remember from that time was me saying in response to how many nieces and nephews he had that I would never be an aunt because I was an only child.  He said, quite prophetically, that I might marry someone with a lot of nieces and nephews and then I could be aunt.  Indeed, David.  Indeed.  (P.S.  I love being an aunt to so many precious kids!)

I was only working through early afternoon on that day.  I ran into David at the front office (where the porch swing was) and told him it was nice meeting him and hopefully we could work again together.  I turned and walked inside to check-out.

He was surprised and said, "You're leaving?"

"Yeah, I'm only working a half-day today."  Then came a very awkward few moments between us. 

David said, "Well, hey, would you be interested in going to see the Boundstreet band at Fenian's when they play thursday after next?" 

I remember turning to face him with an internal smile on my face.  The inward smile was about me realizing that this boy was interested.  However, given my history with boys who weren't clear, I had my guard up.  Was he wanting to hang out with a bunch of friends of his and invite me along as a chum?  Was he asking me for a date?  If he were asking me for a date, wouldn't he ask for my number?  It wasn't clear.  Obviously, at that point I wasn't acquainted with David's Hogueness.  What I mean by Hogueness was that there are a lot of vague phrases that some of the Hogues use to fill in spots for real words or opinions, such as "Y'know".  I've heard sentences like, "I'm not sure, y'know, about that, y'know."  The stronger the negative emotion, the less clear some Hogues are.  It is kinda funny.  Anyway, I digress.  I started to feel David out to figure out what exactly he was asking me.  "Did you want me to meet you there?"  This question was to figure out if this was date. 

His reply did not clear things up.  "I can pick you up, if you want." 

IF I WANT?  Well, now was he trying to be friendly by offering to pick me up but originally wasn't planning to?  Or was he planning to pick me up in the first place? 

I said, "Well, I live all the way in Clinton, and you are in Belhaven (right next to Fenian's).  You don't want to drive all that way.  I can meet you."  I think that I offered this because I didn't want someone to go out of their way for me because it may put them out.  I supposed my inconveniencing him would turn him off.

"I don't mind." he says.

"I would feel bad with you coming all that way."

"It's ok."

At this point, David confides later that he wasn't sure if I was interested in a date or not by those questions that I was asking.  So, my confusion and his confusion led to that fateful awkward moment.
I wasn't getting anywhere with feeling him out.  I wondered if he was going to ask for my number.  If this was a serious invitation he would need my number, right?  I was already feeling sufficiently awkward and vulnerable.  I don't remember how he got my number but he did eventually ask for it but I may have said, "Do you need my number?"  I'm not sure.  I think what happened that my husband who is slow speak was taking a long time to ask for the number.  Me, who is too quick to speak, and whose brain just works superfast, beat him to the punch.  Later on in our relationship, I learned that David's silence was not always hesitation but him constructing his words carefully.  I just had to learn patience to wait for those words. 

I got in the car on my way home and thought, "Huh.  How about that?  I think I was asked on a date."

mercies are new every morning

UPDATE:  I'm still in hospital but I am pretty sure that I am going to insist on going home today.  They will have to do some serious convincing in order to keep me here another night.  Yesterday, we were waiting to make the decision about going home based on the assessment from the urologist that we were were told would come yesterday afternoon.  Lo and behold, he never came.  GRRRRR!  Today, we wait...again.  Telling the nurses what we are waiting for doesn't seem to help much.  They seem as powerless as we are to get the doctors over here.  It is nothing short of infuriating.  I haven't had pain for awhile and could've gone home yesterday and been a help to my family.  I think I will take my chances with the pain meds they send me home with for the next stage of this kidney stone passing.  Thank you for all of the messages and prayers.  We are grateful for them.  Pray for David mostly.  He is tired trying to care for our sick baby without the help of breastfeeding as comfort.  Neither of them are sleeping well at night because of it.  Hopefully, this will be remedied tonight. 

My mood is better this morning and it probably has to do with some good sleep and eating my first (small) meal since lunch on thursday.  Our circumstances aren't fun but I'm not as overwhelmed by it as last night.   Again, thanks for your well-wishes and prayers!

Friday, February 17, 2012

sick and guilty

For some reason, even when I was little girl, anytime I was sick and I had to go to the doctor I felt so guilty for how much my parents had to pay.  And now I am in the hospital with a kidney stone, and I am feeling so guilty about what is likely to be a huge hospital bill.  I feel guilty that I'm here, in and out of consciousness (because of the meds) while my husband struggles to be single parent.  I feel guilty that I'm depriving my children of their mother.  I am "pumping and dumping" with the narcotics and then pumping for more breastmilk after that for Judah.  My sweet Judah is sick with RSV and David is having to handle it mostly on his own.  I try to tell myself that I am no use at home.  It is true that if I were home, I would be laying down on a couch or bed and sleeping through the medication.  We both decided last night that it would be best to stay overnight in the hospital because of the level of care I could receive plus more powerful drugs.  FYI:  I had babies and a kidney stone (at least one of this size) feels as painful as labor and delivery.  I also have a pretty small threshold for pain. 

The boys came to my room today and they all looked healthy and relatively happy.  It was a hard night for all of us.  I didn't get to sleep until 2am and began to have more pain at 5am.  Sleep has come off and on since then.  Judah was wired from the breathing treatments and did not sleep well therefore David did not either.  What a mess!

However, what I see is that we are making it.  No, it isn't comfortable.  No, we are not having fun.  Yes, my family is separated and it isn't ideal all around.  However, we are still making it.  It is doable.  It is manageable.  I asked David months ago what would happen if one of us needed to go to the ER in the middle of the night.  How would we manage?  Who would watch the kids?  What about nursing my baby?  Well, my fear was realized and I learned that, though it is tough, we are doing it.  We are living through it.  We've relied on our neighbor who came to sit in our house while david jr. slept.  She sweetly picked up our living room and washed our dishes.  What a ministry to us!  She even came over this morning and checked on us.  We've had numerous offers from folks to help us through this difficulty.  I am thankful to see that people were so willing to help.  Thanks to all of you who reached out to me and reached out to David.  The offers mean a lot.

We need prayer for Judah's sickness, David caring for him and our toddler, and prayer that this stone will pass sooner rather than later, and that the Lord will provide the means to pay for these bills when they come.  The bills weigh heavily on my heart but I need to give that over to the Lord and not carry that burden.  I guess our tax refunds will come in handy once we get that taken care of.  It is hard to see that money go before we even get it because we had other plans for that money.  Not even money to play around with but money to replace our coil on our much needed air conditioner (repairmen make A LOT of money--if you don't know what to do with your life, become a plumber, electrician, or AC repairman) 

Alright, I am done whining.  I will trust the Lord.  He is worthy!  He also has a history of coming through for us.  I don't feel like editing because my brain feels fuzzy, so excuse my grammatical errors.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

David and Guitta: the prequel

Awhile back (was it a year ago?) my friend, Paula La (see the La family blog on the right hand side of this blog) gave a wonderfully written story of she and her husband (also our friend), Tuan.  David and I had so much fun reading it.  I was inspired to write our story too.  Afterall, I didn't have a blog at the time.  I also didn't have facebook.  So, except for a scrapbook that I started and won't finish until our last child leaves the nest, I don't have this information ANYWHERE but in my head.  So, in the name of Saint Valentine, and my own valentine, I will write *our* story. 

Every good story needs build up.  You need to know its characters and their history before understanding their decisions in the present day.  So here is a history (albeit relatively short).

David was born on August 28 in the year 1980....just kidding.

The year before David and Guitta became "David & Guitta", David was finishing up his final year at LSU.  He dated a nice Christian girl in 2004 for no more than 6 months long distance. They didn't see each other frequently and eventually he decided to break it off with her, realizing she was still unsure of how she felt about him and seemed to want something else.  At the end of his fall semester of 2004, he began having panic attacks.  That was the cost of pushing his nose to the grindstone without looking up and smelling the roses.  On top of that stress, he was wondering about where he was going to work.  Eventually, he recovered from the panic attacks and moved to Jackson, MS to work as a Latin teacher at Jackson Preparatory School (where he still teaches 6 years later).  He also decided to work at Twin Lakes Conference Center as a host.

As David was battling his last few semesters of LSU, I was graduating from Reformed Theological Seminary with a masters in marriage and family therapy.  I was single.  Always had been.  I have had friends who were boys (nothing but confusing) but no boyfriends.  By that time, I was convinced that I didn't want another ambiguous "friendship" with a boy.  It was too hard on my heart.  I couldn't take it.  I needed someone forthright.  I needed someone to step up to the plate and be clear about what his intentions.  I often said that when boys are confused about how they feel about a girl, you can be sure that the girl is drowning in confusion.  Confusion, in this case, is contagious.  I was fed up.  Yet, I was becoming less guarded and more relaxed around those who I would potentially date. 

In my class at RTS, all the guys were so kind and sweet--like the amazing older brothers and younger brothers that I've always wanted.  One in particular, John Fikkert, went above and beyond to be sweet.  It wasn't confusing.  He was my brother-in-Christ.  He was persuing another friend on campus at the time so I guess that helped clear the confusion.  He paid attention to what was going on with me and took the time.  It spoke volumes to me.  I wouldn't be exaggerating to say that he was one of the powerful forces that helped me to realize on a gut level (not just an intellectual level) that I was beloved by the Lord.  A lot of the guys at RTS were very different from any guys I had ever met.  Kind, sensitive, and engaging.  John was also that.  So during my second year, John and I worked with several clients together.  We worked on several class projects together as well as anytime I could help it, sat next to him in every class I could manage.  He was such a safe and amazing person to me.  I loved him in such a brotherly way.   This particular person was quiet and most comfortable being so.  He was intelligent and funny but not a talker.  As it turns out, I am.  When I am comfortable, in good spirits, feeling secure, and in the company of people that are safe--I will talk your ear off.  He brought out all of these in me.  This is important because it brought to my attention a personality that worked well with mine-a personality that brought out my truest self. 

I graduated from RTS and began working.  I was enjoying my single life.  I wasn't lonely.  In fact, I was beginning to wonder if I really wanted to be married.  I was up close and personal with a couple that for all appearances seemed healthy and happy but upon further investigation was falling apart and completely unhappy.  Well, that causes a girl to lose faith in relationships.  I was fearful of living in misery with a husband.  And lets not forget that I was in the business where I would often be confronted with broken marriages.  Nonetheless, I was at an alltime closeness with the Lord.  I had never had, before then, been in such intimate relationship with Him.  It was/is the true love story of my life (and another post entirely).  I began working in Vicksburg (traveling from Clinton) to be an outpatient therapist at the community mental health center.  I was planning on working there long enough to get my hours so that I could apply for licensure.  I was also hoping to teach and do private practice.  I knew that I needed variety in order to be content working fulltime--so I was hoping to work parttime in a couple of areas.  Timing seemed to be the important factor left. 

Around the same time I started working as an outpatient therapist, I began to take a serious look at my finances.  I was living on my own for the first time.  I had my own apartment, a job and the obvious bills.  Well, I realized that I needed extra income in order for me not to live outside my means.  My good friend, Jenny, pointed me to Twin Lakes.  I applied and interviewed with Step Morgan (who, along with his wife, turned out to be good friends of mine.  In fact, met lots of great friends there.)  I worked for a year and then the same friend, Jenny, told me about a new guy who was working at TL who I would enjoy working with.  She didn't say much more than that.    She said he was quiet and intellectual.  I filed it away in my head as a person I would look forward to meeting and that was it. 

That fall, Hurricane Katrina shook up my world (more so my parents' world).  I was standing in front of my parents' ruined house as I called TL to return a phone call to Step.  I ended up talking to David.  He had a friendly voice and he was the one who told me that Step had left TL (which is why Step called).  I told him that I looked forward to working with him one day. 

Then on that fateful day, November 3rd, we both worked at Twin Lakes...
(to be continued)

NOTE TO DAVID:  Happy Valentine's Day, my Beloved.  I am overjoyed to see "that God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you."  I love you immensely!

Monday, February 13, 2012


I haven't written in a week.  It is for a strange reason, too.  I am surprised to see what a difference it makes to move my laptop to my dining room table.  Before, the laptop sat upon my sofa cushion or was balanced on sofa's arm.  So, anytime I sat down to nurse or just take a breather I was on the computer.  It constantly beckoned me.  However, ever since gatorade was spilled on the keyboard, we moved our laptop (alias: porthole to the outside world, photo album, and creative outlet) to the dining room table to fix it.  We unscrewed all the unscrewables and set it upside down on a towel in hopes of drying it out.  Thankfully, the next day the laptop turned on again.  We haven't moved it since because we were both realizing just how important this piece of equipment is to us (not to mention, how expensive it would be to replace).  We certainly don't want to risk putting it anywhere that it may get destroyed again.  Since then, when I am in the living room, I don't automatically plug into the computer.  I am sitting on the floor with my children.  I am sitting on the couch watching them.  I don't get irritated when they come to me because they've interrupted my task on the computer.  I'm way more present in that room.  When I have some free moments, I will head to the dining room.  It is usually when Judah has gone down for a nap that I will be able to play on the computer, like I am now.  All that happened is that my laptop moved a few feet and I am playing more with my children, less irritated with them, and wasting less time online.  That has been one of the main reasons I haven't blogged this week. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

back in the saddle

Today I had the privilege of teaching some ladies about marital communication.  It was so fun for me to prepare for this little opportunity.  I got to pour over some books that I haven't picked up in ages.  I love that information and the time of life that this information represents.  I wholeheartedly believe in the value of learning the practical side of communicating.  It feels strange and awkward for folks at first.  It is so new!  It is like learning a new language, and that will always be weird for the tongue.  I can't emphasize enough how important it is to have good talking and listening skills.  I internally cringe when I hear communication failure.  I have witnessed it A LOT (and probably participated more times than I'm proud of)!  It is a skill worth gaining.  It is a skill that helps you to love others well.  Our words have such potential.  They have the potential of bringing the receiver such beauty, encouragement, and strength.  They also have the potential of knocking a person down in a veritable tornado of shame, guilt, and pain.  Both have long term effects.  You can probably remember something someone said to you 20 years ago, for better or worse, that you still remember.  I know I do.  I am tempted to put that information I put together for those ladies on the blog just in case you wives and husbands out there need a refresher or a quick and basic first lesson--whichever the case may be. 

That time in graduate school was a mountaintop experience.  Changes were radical and the friendships were/are precious.  The Lord was near. I KNEW that I was exactly where I needed to be.  I look through my old books and remember sitting in class and feeling mesmerized by every single thing that came out of Dr. R's mouth.  I also remember feeling confused with every single thing Dr. Hurley said but that got better with each class I took with him.  I remember the camaraderie.  I remember rallying around those who had a tough day or client.  I remember being rallied around.  There was a tremendous amount of love and support to be had behind those walls.  I loved them all and then I got to live amongst some awesome, God-fearing folks on campus.  It wasn't all easy but it was all beautiful!  I read about the awareness wheel and remember practicing with a partner in class those very skills that we tried to teach our clients.  I am still passionate about these skills.  I am still passionate about therapy.  I am still passionate about the Lord's transforming grace!  I will forever be thankful to the Lord for such a time.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

grace and mercy at Sam's wholesale

This Monday we had a flat tire.  It was like salt on the wound after the weekend we had.  It was more complicated than just a flat tire.  It was our first flat tire where we discovered that we didn't have the tool that loosens the lug nuts.  For some reason, it wasn't with the van.  This was, of course, after I drove a short distance on a completely deflated tire, David left Judah with the neighbors, David came to meet us (David Jr. and me), transferred the car seats, and endeavored to conquer said tire.  Still not a big deal until it was proposed that I had to put very sleepy and grumpy children who just needed to let their head hit a pillow into the car to rescue David.  We then discovered that we lost our Sam's card--the one we originally had and the other one we got when we thought we lost the first one. 

After David prayed this morning, I found the first (original) Sam's card underneath the toaster oven.  I don't know either.  *shrug*.  Then the kids and I blazed a trail (OK, it was more like inched our way on a barely-there spare) to Sam's.  We had to buy a new tire (gulp) but it did not take forever to fix as it usually does.  Both children were happy.  Judah was in the sling and David in the basket.  We did some grocery shopping, enjoyed a nice and early pizza lunch there, and then the tire was fixed.  No meltdowns.  No desperate mother looking for something to distract my toddler, no fussy baby.  On top of that, as I was loading my vehicle with my purchases, a nice older gentleman offered to help put some groceries in the van. 
I told all of these things to David Sr. and he was so grateful and praised the Lord.  He was concerned about me having to wait in line while at Sam's to get a replacement card (remember we had to do this before and it took a long time--for our kids it felt like eternity) and he was concerned about the wait for the vehicle.  He prayed specifically that it would go well at Sam's and that people would be around to help me.  And they were.  After the groceries were loaded, the mechanic came out to check to make sure I knew where the spare was supposed to be.  Very friendly.  It was also above and beyond his duties.  I'm thankful to know that David prays for me.  But I am even more thankful that the Lord answers those prayers concerning me.  He loves me and David enough to care for us in even these small matters.   Nothing is too small (or too large) for our Lord. 

the english call it a garden

What a lovely name, garden, for what is seen outside my back door.  Our yard is a mess!  It doesn't help that it is a dreary january day with not a sun ray in sight and the ground wet and muddy. 


However, even on the sunniest day our backyard looks like something you might see in a low-income trailer park.  Our yard already lacks character with it's squareness and plantless existence.  We have a fence.  That's all.  A fence.  Someone else's pecan tree provides some shade in the back during the summer months but that is where the points of interest begins and ends.  It needs help.  But most help comes with a price tag.  Even if these wanna-be DIYers just wanted to buy the materials and do work ourselves (which is the likelier option), it will cost.  Having a house and making the changes we want to make is an exercise in patience.  We can't do it all at once.  Sometimes I am ok with that waiting and sometimes I'm not.

 For now, I will figure out a system for putting away all those toys strewn about (just to be strewn about again).  And save some money for some plants.  I did get some pretty pots with some of my Christmas money.  I should've taken a picture of those too.  I wonder if other people with kids have toys all over the place, too.  Inside toys end up outside (i.e. electronic/battery-operated toys and stuffed animals) while outside toys end up inside (i.e. tricycles, big balls).  

Changes happen.  They just happen slowly.  We have cute patio lights up.  I've hung some iron decor on the brick.  I have a tablecloth covering the ugly patio table.  It is coming along.   I suppose the same can be said for my sanctification.  I am growing.  Most of the time, the growth happens before my very eyes but it is so slight that it cannot be detected but in a year's time or ten year's time.  Like plants and trees.  (Thanks, Dr. R, for that analogy that I will never forget!).  So, I hope the branch that represents patience will continue to grow.  How will it grow?  With opportunities to wait.