Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hi, my name is Aaron, or as some of you know me, PB.  Jenn asked me to post something here so here I am although I'm not sure exactly what to put down.  I suppose I could start by telling you a little about myself.  I'm not what you would call a typical guy.  I don't get into sports, hunting, cars, or looking at boobs...well, with one obvious (future) exception. =)   I don't have any real hobbies, I'm not handy or a mechanic and I don't like watching people beat the crap out of each other.  Pretty much the only thing I've ever been good at is driving so not much surprise that I became a truck driver and in my free time I ride a motorcycle.  Maybe the open road has always been in my veins, or maybe there's something wrong with me, I don't know, but I am what I am and I make no appologies.  I'm stubborn and resistant to change.  I'm deeply flawed and scarred.  In fact, I honestly wonder sometimes what Jenn sees in me and how she puts up with me.  I am truly blessed to be loved by you, Jenn. 
    Now, I know you wanted me to put down a few words about how we met and our relationship.  Of course, my memory being akin to swiss cheese I may be short on the details, but I will try.   Obviously, being a thousand miles away, we met online, and as many do these days on a dating site.  I wasn't really looking for a relationship, having just gotten through a divorce, but I can always use a new friend.  Truth is, at the time, I was just bored and reading people's profiles can be  Anyway, on this particular site, Jenn was the only one who responded and we quickly became friends.  Eventually, that friendship developed into a relationship....which I promptly screwed up, we broke up and stopped talking.  None of this was new to me, most people I meet seem to end up just not talking to me anymore, but this time it was different.  This time she came back.  I don't remember who started it, but we started talking again.  We started as just friends and before long we were back to being in a relationship.   Again, I screwed it up...seriously honey, how do you put up with me?....anyway, we stopped talking, again.  I truly thought this time I'd never hear from her again so I gave up....then...she texted me, and I responded....hopefully third time really is the charm.  lol. All I can say is that I've never had a relationship like this before and I have never been so drawn to someone before.  There must be something to this thing we have cause it seems like we've done all we can to blow it up but we keep coming back for more.  I pray that God will help us to get it right this time.  This time I'm leaving it in His hands cause I know I can't do it alone.  This time I won't make the mistake of putting you or our relationship higher than my relationship with God....cause the truth is that our break ups always happened when one or both of us put our relationship and each other over God.  He has to be first or it will never work.  I know we still have our individual issues to work out and I believe that if we trust the Lord, He will help us get through them, but that is still the biggest issue we have as a couple.  Men make plans and God makes fools of men.  I truly do look forward to calling you my wife Jenn, but my first priority has to be God's will.  I have to surrender my future, my plans, and my will to His....and so do you babe.  Only then will we truly be able to have a long and successful relationship.  Don't put me on a pedestal hun, don't put your faith in me, I am only a flawed human being and I WILL let you down....I won't try to, and I won't want to, but I will because I am human.  Make God your priority and put your faith in Him, and when I all human beings do, it won't destroy your faith cause your faith will be secure in the grace and love of God who is more than able to heal all wounds and restore all relationships.  Our marriage WILL stand the test of time as long as Jesus is always our first love. 
   Sorry to get all preachy on ya (Mama Jenn says...he does this a lot *wink*), but I felt that message on my heart so strongly just now I had to put it down.  I do love you Jenn, and I do want to marry you, and I want to spend my life with you, and that's why I wrote this, not to excuse any future failure on my part, not as a cop out, but so that hopefully when the time comes we will both be on the same page, putting our trust and hope, not in our own strength, but in the Lord who will keep us together, who will make us one flesh and one heart.  

All my love,  Aaron.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Small town Troubles

When I came to this small town, I was and am in awe of how much Godly love for a down and out family this place has shown us. We were strangers to them, and yet they have blessed us with food, clothing and a home, among other things. Most of these people are barely surviving themselves, yet they still look out for those who need it. you remember that saying, "there's no such thing as a free lunch" ? Well, even in a small town this saying is true. I never anticipated the potential price I had to pay. That I could have had to pay.
When I came here, broken, exausted, and just overall frustrated...I thought I wanted to join the Amish. I know now that was not God but me wanting something more than what I had. I was hurting and wanted to give my children a life, a community of people that I never had. I know the way I went about it was probably not the smartest, and the Amish saw that and denied me the chance. As angry as I was, I now thank God for that.
But just when I have come to terms with that, I now have to come to terms with the fact that I will probably not be accepted or embraced by the small town as a whole, either.
What would make me say this? Since summer, people have asked me if I was going to send my children to the nearby public school. Thinking I had no choice, I said yes. People continued to praise the public school, saying the children would "really thrive" there. This rubbed me the wrong way, but trying not to bite the hands that(literally and metaphorically) fed us, I grit my teeth and smiled. Maybe public school wouldn't be so bad for the kids, I thought to myself.
The end of summer was drawing near, and all the kids in the area were buzzing about how school was starting soon. School supplies list were handed out, a trip to Walmart followed. The only thing that was needed was to meet with the school and get the paperwork ready.
In normal Jenn fashion...I waited until the last minute. Finally, the day came. The kids and I walked to the fresh and shiny school building. We stepped in.....
And the first thing that popped in my head was a quiet "no.".
I shushed it. Probably just a homeschool mom in denial. Or something. I greeted the secretary, the principle, toured the building. But despite the wonderful building set before us, the quiet pride of the school's accomplishments, and the school spirit I felt that extended far beyond these walls...I felt an underlying negative feeling. I literally felt nauseous and I couldn't figure out why. This school is great! I thought to myself. Why on earth am I feeling this way?!?
Finally, the time for testing came. My children were exactly where I thought they'd be. The principle, though, gave the children and I some discouraging words. Yes, the children were stronger in some areas than others. But due to age and...and...state testing*cue vomiting noises*, they should be placed in their "proper" grade. Even when my youngest cried and boldly refused, the principle looked over her head and said to me..."as the...ADULTS here, WE need to think about what's best here. "
Clearly this woman didn't get our family. I told her this, adding that it was not the "adults" who would be greatly affected by this, but the children, so, yes I do think my children have a say in THEIR OWN education. Call me crazy, but that's just how we roll.
Well...this didn't sit well with the principle, so the guidance counselor was called. Two to convince is better than one, right?
Again, clearly these people don't know me. The woman who followes God and marches to the beat of a different accordian than most. But again...feeling like I had no choice, I left there with more forms to fill out, my children clearly offended, and my heart heavy.
Over the next few days, I talked to others in the church. They basically gave me the "the school knows what's best for kids" speech*cue massive eye roll*. Finally, a thought occured to me. I never took time to pray about this.
So...I prayed. I asked others to pray for wisdom, regardless of what form that came in. And, finally, in normal Jenn style, I asked for a sign. Each time I thought about homeschooling, despite working and having no support, I felt peace. Each time I thought about sending them to the public school, even though it would have been easier on me financially, I felt something stir up in me that wasn't pleasant. But, I prayed not my will, but God's be done.
I shot up a quick prayer to God again, asking for a sign and an answer, before I left for a Wednesday night Bible study. I jumped in the car in my usually late fashion and turned the key. The first thing that I heard was the radio turn on, with the words, "You CAN homeschool!". It was the title of a book being mentioned, but the answer came.
I had the same feeling I did when we first started homeschooling...I was doing something completely out of the box, and I was worried what others might think...especially those of the church, because they were pretty much depending on it so I could be on my feet without their assistance.
However, I have learned if God calls us to something, it doesn't matter if we're well-off or broke as dirt or anywhere in-between...God calls us to it regardless. It is up to us to trust his ways are higher and that he will make a way when there doesn't seem to be one. So, scared and totally dependent on God, I told the church I had decided to homeschool.
No one said anything...for a brief time. Before I could breathe a sigh of relief, the opposition came. Was I crazy? The school was so great..why would I pass up the chance for my children to get a "better" education? Didn't I understand I was basically going to be working to pay the sitter?
Meetings followed. I cried. The Amish minister and his wife was called. More confrontation, followed with threats of no help from the church if I went through with this.
"Toto, I don't think we're in PA anymore...."
It was a talk with my stepmother, and my BHF(Best Homeschoolmom Friend) that gave me the encouragement I needed not to waver at my most pressured time. Yes, I could homeschool. No, I didn't see how considering I was technically homeless and dependent on the church for so much. But, yes I could homeschool. God would make a way.
So...after many confrontations, meetings and whispers behind my back as well as in front, the church stopped. The kids went to a sitter and we continued to homeschool, tweaking my approach so the children could be more independent. I got a few raised eyebrows, but for the most part the church still helped when needed.
I got another job, but then that proved to be too stressful, so I stuck with the one that gave me more hours and I enjoyed more. We moved(again). I thought...maybe...maybe this place could work. I'm running on all cylinders, and exausted beyond what I deem normal...but God gives me strength for each day.
Then...I got a call. A friend from church said people were talking about me and the a bad way. CYS was mentioned. I cried.
A week later...a mysterious call at my job saying CYS was called, why they were called...but no name. Not spoken to me, but to my supervisor. More tears followed. I only know two thing about CYS- homeschoolers hate them and they take away kids. But, I didn't get a call from CYS directly, so maybe someone was playing a very mean joke.
Two days later, I got that call. A note left on my door. What did we do? My mind swam in a river of confusion. I felt hurt and like I could trust no one, because everyone was a suspect.
The kids and I were questioned. I won't go into all the lies but the one that stuck out was the top concern- why aren't my children in school???
After a quick explanation, a home inspection, and lots of was unsure why anyone would say what they said. The CYS worker could see my children are provided for, responsible, loved and educated.
No sooner do I feel the weight of that burden off my shoulders....several people suggest, once again, that maybe I should just put them in the local school. Apparently, this would help us to become accepted in the community and shush those that question the children's well-being. I seek acceptance from a community, or approval from God?
If homeschooling has taught me anything, it has taught me that being different is okay. Not conforming doesn't mean your life is over; if anything, it is just beginning. Being accepted by the majority is great, but if it means you have to change as a result...then what? Is it worth it...even if everything inside you screams no?
Needless to say...I may never be fully accepted in this community. I am an outsider, I am different. I have to look over my shoulder, I have to be mindful of what I say, how I say it, and who I say it to.
I don't know what the future holds...I only know the One who holds it.

Until next time,
Mama Jenn

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Trying To Make It....

Greetings, everyone!
I'm sure that last post left you a bit dizzy, didn't it? Well, don't worry- although I tried, the Amish here said(in their very gentle sort-of way) that I probably couldn't make it Amish. I'm pretty sure it's because of my inability to follow orders and march to the beat of my own accordion. Or maybe it  was all the times I blasted country music while driving to church(?) Or maybe it was the fact that I know nothing of how to take care of a horse. Regardless of their reasoning, it doesn't look like I could make it, after all. It hurt that they didn't even give me the opportunity to jump fully in and at least try, but again...maybe this is all for the best. But even in this, I was blessed. They(and others in this community) have shown me what real Godly love for your neighbor is. If I haven't said it before, I'll say it now- this place brings tears to my eyes and awe in the way brotherly love is shown to a person when they're down. It takes my breath away, how kind the Amish, Mennonite, and just plain ol' small town people have been to our family. I praise God for their love and kindness every day. Who but God could have brought us to such a place, with such loving people?
For those of you not familiar with my personal Facebook page, I have since had the opportunity to attend what's called some here call a  "Beachy Amish/Conservative Mennonite" church. While I'm still trying to get the names them all, I can see God's love shining through each and every face whenever I walk through the doors. These people don't tell the world they're Christians, they show it, in their own way, in everything they do. And not in a, "I'm closer to God than you are!" or a "I'm a better Christian than you are!" sort of way, but a quiet way that could bring even the most wayward person suddenly want to know more of their God, and what he's done in their lives. They're not perfect, but they are what I'd consider the role model of what most churches should look like- adhering to the God and his Word in just about everything they do and every choice they make. If anything, the way they live their lives has made me reflect even more of how I can put God more into mine.
I still don't have a permanent housing situation, yet. However, I am trying to find one, and the church is trying to help me as well as best they can. I was also surprised when my stepmother presented me with another offer of help as well. So, at least there are options.
I do have a job, working part-time as a cook. This is one area I'm probably struggling(internally) in the most. While I had prayed for a job for so long, and the people I work with are really the best group I've ever had to work with...the more I work, the more I feel frustrated, angry, and somewhat depressed. Does every mom that works outside the home experience this?
The truth is...I miss my children. While we still homeschool, it seems as though a lot more of our time together before and after work involves a lot of correcting, and not as much loving. I spend more time un-doing and discerning all the "Children's television" they watch than just enjoying them. Nearly all of my paycheck goes to another woman, who is paid to do less than what I did with them on much less of an amount. Don't get me wrong, she's a nice woman and in all honesty, she is probably doing them a service compared to some other babysitters, but....
I still miss my children.I wrestle everyday with them, myself, the job. As thankful as I am to count myself among the working, another part of me wants nothing more than to return to being a stay-at-home mom.
These are my current hurdles. I'm trying...but I'm still not "settled" yet.
-Mama Jenn

Thursday, June 6, 2013

You're doing WHAT, now?!

Well, I didn't make it to Idaho after all. I'm in Indiana.
When we passed through here, we somehow got placed on a huge back road for several miles. The kids said how beautiful the area we were passing through was, and if things didn't work out, could we come back here, please? I replied, if for some reason we didn't make it to Idaho or things didn't work out, we'd come here and be Amish. We saw some Amish families at a supermarket we went to before hitting the road, and I didn't realize it at the time, but Indiana is the third-largest area for Amish in America.
Of course , I was in part half-joking.  Nobody just "goes Amish", especially no one of my complexion. But as we drove to through Illinois, made our way to Iowa and then turned around, the thought wouldn't leave my mind.
I love the Amish way of life. As some of you close to me know, I've always said half-heatedly that if given the chance, I would go and join them.
Part of this is due to their strong sense of community. How they manage to get things done, work hard and stay strong as a family. I've been accepted by many, but never felt like I truly belonged anywhere. I've always felt like a stranger on the outside looking in. I don't know if this is a trait of Christianity, a thing everyone feels but never does anything about, or what, but honestly, I've felt this way long before I could give it a name, much less before I knew about and had a personal relationship with God.
Secondly, I just don't like the way things are going in this way of life.Since having the children, I've become more and more concerned about the world they are going to grow up in. I know this is a common concern for parents everywhere. And I know, we all try our best to do what we can. But it seems even my best efforts aren't enough. Everyone back home parents much differently than I do. Not that what they are doing is wrong. It's just I've noticed that the goals for their family are radically different than the goals we have for ours. Aside from online, I could only find one other family that had similar goals for their family. I want to instill in them things that were non-existent in my own upbringing. I feel as though staying in the way of life we were in won't accomplish that goal. I just feel as though if they see little differences in parenting and family goals around them, they won't be as confused about how to act and feel quite as odd about trying to maintain their goals.
  I'm not saying the Amish are perfect, because I know they aren't. I know they have sins and calamities same as we do, and probably more so because of the life they lead. And maybe I haven't read as much as I should have about them, but I feel as though they have something I don't. As I have worked a little alongside them these past few days, I have seen their faith in even more in everything they do. No, they are not perfect. But speaking with them and working alongside them has only encouraged the children and I more to at least try this way of life. Their life is much more work than what we're used to, but the kids and I feel as though we could rise up and meet this challenge. It's only been a few days, and we're exhausted each night we climb into bed, but each day the kids are eager to go back and start the next day.
Right now, we have a LOT of hills to climb. This is going to take quite some time. Becoming Amish isn't something one does overnight. I knew this before I made this decision. I know there are many things I have to sacrifice and change about myself, my children, our former way of life. As wonderful as I like to think our family is, I know we are nowhere near close to their standard of life. They hold a very high standard, and we fall really short of that goal. We are still also trying to find a place and a job where we're at. Right now, the Amish minister and his family, as well as the community here are being beyond generous to us by providing us a temporary place to stay and making sure our basic needs are met, but I don't want to abuse their generosity. Even though I want very badly to become Amish, we also have basic needs that need to be met first.
I have become very humbled over the past two weeks. Starting new in a place where I didn't know a soul until Friday was scary, but this community has proved above and beyond that they mean us no harm. I really don't know what the future holds for us- am I taking on more than I should(again), am I seeing things with rose colored shades(again), can my family really do this? Is this where God is leading us? Am I doing the right thing? So many unanswered questions.
But, we're going to try. I honestly don't know if we can do this. After some serious talks with the Amish minister here, I know if we're going to do this, we are going to need God more than ever before.We are going to need a heaping bowl of humbleness.
As long as they allow us, we're going to try. I'll try to update as I can, but it probably won't be as much as I or anyone else would like. We have no cell reception over here, so I have to rely on free Wifi access when I can find it. Also, with all the obstacles I have to climb, I won't have as much time to update until everything is somewhat in place.
Please keep our family in your prayers as we try to figure out where God is leading us to be.
-Mama Jenn

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Lessons Learned from Moving- Days 1-4

Greetings, everyone!
I thought we'd be in Ohio by now, but due to some stupidity on my part, we are still in Pennsylvania. 
Below are the, I mean "lessons" I've learned as a result of my journey/why we haven't made it as far as I thought:
-Kids go to the bathroom. A LOT.
-Kids are hungry.A LOT.
-heat/humidity+lack of A.C. in the car= frequent stops to get water(see also, "Kids go to the bathroom A LOT"). 
-Big trucks+construction+night x 65 MPH/several years of not driving= one very freaked out mama. Like, hyperventilating freaked out.
-Rest stops are a mother of children/furbabies roadie BFF.
-Walmart is also a mother roadie's BFF.
-Stepbrothers are awesome
-Mapquest is only good if the person using it is good with directions. If you get lost going around the corner.(not that I do or anything...*nervous laughter*), then it is the devil's spawn of direction-giving websites.
-GPS is a directionally challenged woman's work husband. Complete with arguing and "I'm sorry, you're right. I was wrong..."
-Comforter's as a substitute for tarp on top of a moving vehicle only work up to 55 MPH. Anything past 55...yeah, you're picking up stuff off the highway. While big trucks are zooming past. *cue hyperventilating..again*.
-You suddenly realize that after comforter/stuff failing incident occurring several times within a few miles of each other that the stuff on the roof may not be worth risking your life over. Hey, less stuff to weigh you down at the new place, right?
-Tarp only works with a large amount of bungee cords. No, 8 is not deemed "a lot". And possibly large amounts of rope(just a guess-still working on kinks for this experiment).
-Stick with a relatively vegetarian diet when traveling with limited ways of heating food. Otherwise, you're stuck eating super-processed foods you would normally eat on rare occasions.
-Super-processed foods rarely eaten suddenly becoming everyday food has some really uncomfortable consequences.
-Large amounts of super-processed foods+limited leg movement= cankles an elephant would even say "Holy cow, those things are huge!!!!" to.
-Bring a pet brush on road trips if bringing furbabies. Unless your idea of an extra layer of clothing/snack is large amounts of fur over everything.
-Planning in advance is actually a good way to travel.Or so I've heard.
-Winging it is not such a good idea when there are children and fur/scalebabies involved.
-Car chargers- seriously, why did I not think of this? (please see:Stepbrothers are awesome)
-Roadies aren't actually as awful and scary as people think them to be. Some just look scary, but honestly, most of them are really just big teddy bears with road wisdom. Talking softly, cracking jokes and having chatty children helps.
-Praying while driving helps kill the time; you know, until you can come to a stop light and re-attempt to find the local country music station...again.
- I suddenly have a bigger appreciation for people that drive long distances as a part of their job description.
As soon as I get the hang of all this, pictures will follow. I think.

Until next time,
Mama Jenn

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Moving and Other Random Thoughts and Emotions

The countdown begins. 95% of my packing done. Y'all know me, I wait until the very last minute for EVERYTHING*wink*.Yesterday was exhausting, both physically and emotionally. I got my blessings from the only blood relatives that I speak to- my sister and her family. Although few words were exchanged(my sister and I don't say much to each mostly a question, followed by an answer, followed by one of our many faces acknowledging we heard right or didn't approve of the answer/silently think the other sister is adopted/wonder why mom didn't beat us enough as children to knock some common sense into us,etc.), many emotions were felt.
 Today, it's going to be a lot more emotions. There are massive butterflies in my stomach. Every thought, a prayer. Every word, carefully chosen. Mixed emotions doesn't even begin to cover how I'm feeling right now. Reducing 8 years of my family's life to a Suburban is no laughing matter. Not knowing what's ahead is downright scary. I've never moved out of state before, and I've never drove with a car more loaded with stuff than this one *nervous laughter*.
 It's amazing how some can suddenly reveal their true selves when they have nothing to lose. For months, years even, you are a friend but when you're getting ready to physically need them, you're suddenly a stranger in their eyes. Months of soothing words and reassurance, gone and forgotten at the last moment.I won't call out names, but they know who they are. I want to be mad, I want to cry over the wrongs done, but honestly, "Ain't nobody got time for 'dat.". God has blessed "Three Plus Me" with real friends that I can point to and call FAMILY and know without a shadow of a doubt they'll be there for us. Not when it's convient for them, but all.the.time. They've been there for us through thick and thin.
This move may be crazy, this move may be senseless. There are many people that have voiced(and screamed and texted and...) their opinion about this move. I'm hoping and praying that God will prove them wrong. If he doesn't, then it is only I who looks the fool. Even if nothing comes out of this move and I return back to PA, I have to do this now. I've waited three years to do this, and regardless of the outcome, I don't want this to be one of those things I regret never doing later on in life. I have a lot of those as it is, I really don't want to add one more to the list.
But, the same thing happened when I said I felt God calling me to homeschool. I know, homeschool and a move across the country are two very different things, but both started out the same. The pattern in the beginning seems to be the same, as of right now. I'm risking everything. People have abandoned me. I am starting without a clue in the world and just enough money for the day(and possibly not even a full day, at that). The enemy is breathing down my neck, whispering, "You're too scared to do something so bold! You don't have the guts! You can't do this, you won't! You're making a big mistake!"
In truth, no, I can't do this. I'm not even going to pretend I can. In all honesty, I'm a spineless wimp who wants nothing more than what she's comfortable with, with what she knows. I would love to just say, "Ha! I was just kidding, I'm staying after all! I'm not going! I'm too scared, too afraid of being uncomfortable and not sure of the way, that's not for me! I'm staying my bum right here!"
But if this is God calling me to do this....then I have to at least try and go. It's going to be rough, there are many times I'll want to turn back, question if this is really his will, question my own sanity. I will probably break down and cry many times, thinking I was a fool, it was all in my head.  No, on my own, I can't do this, just like on my own I couldn't homeschool. It's impossible to do this bold a thing on my own. I can't, I won't.
I can't...but God can.
Although I don't know the outcome, God does.
Am I scared? Out of my wits. Am I afraid of failing flat on my face for the general public to see? No...well, people see me fall all the time, but not metaphorically.Okay, who am I kidding...EVERYONE sees me fall slat on my face literally and metaphorically.But, we'll just stick to metaphorically.  Metaphorically, yes.  Do I even have an inkling of what I'm doing? Nope. Could I have planned this better? Yes. Should I have waited for more money to do this? Probably, but I know myself well enough to know, if I don't at least try with what little money I have, I'll never make it.
Regardless, I've got to do this. I've got to at least try.
Hopefully, later today or tomorrow, I should have figured out how to upload videos from my phone onto Youtube. Anyone want to message me the instructions? No? Okay, I'll Youtube it. If I can't find it, I'll upload it on my personal page on Facebook. If I can't figure out how to link it someway to this blog, then I'll upload pictures of our journey. At least I know how to do that...
Don't think I've forgot about the other (not-so-life altering) changes. I have confirmed the two new writers to Udder Chaos, and we should be starting sometime late Summer-Early Fall. As soon we all settle our crazy herds of children from the chaos that is Summer, we will group together and brainstorm some post ideas. If you have any suggestions for the "Chaotic Three", we will be more than happy to post our view on it.
Anyways, I'd better get going. Today is the day.
Until Next Time,

Mama Jenn

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Udder Chaos on the MOOOOOOVVVVVEEEE!!!

Hey y’all!
I have some great news! The Udder Chaos family is MOOOving!
Oh, c’mon, you KNOW I had to. Udders, moo? You have to see the connection here. Do I need to give you a minute to think about? Well, okay.
*cue timer*
….time’s up! Moooving on…
That’s right, the crazy antics of our chaotic family are no longer being limited to the great state of PA! That’s right…we’re finally moooving ourselves over to Idaho! Yes, I know…Idaho’s known for potatoes and not cows, but just stay with me here a little bit longer. Okay? Okay.
This is something God’s been giving me God nudges (and pushes, and shoves, and…) about for the past 3 years, and it wasn’t until this year I finally said, “Okay, God! I get it, I get it! We’re going, we’re going!”
I’m not entirely sure why Idaho (no homeschool laws? *shrugs*), but I do know this feeling in my heart just will NOT go away. Trust me, I’ve tried to let go of it, especially when I had no idea of how on earth we would ever get there. Then *boom* God blesses us with a way.
Since the kids and I have never been on a vacation before, we’re going to take two weeks to travel the states between PA and ID. Which brings me to my next revelation…
Udder Chaos is expanding!
Since so many of you are going to miss us face-to-face, and the written word can only do but so much…soo…we’re going to start our own Youtube Channel!
That’s right! Starting May 30th, we’re going to be starting a vlog of our vacation/move to Idaho! Please make sure to save our channel to your Youtube favorites! As soon as I have the kinks tested out, I’ll make sure to post the direct link here, on the blog. Keep an eye out for it on my Facebook page!
Yes, you can sleep in the meantime. I know, you’re still catching sleep from that time period I didn’t post from Thanksgiving to New Years(My word, someone can hold a grudge…).  I didn’t mean “keep an eye out for it” literally. Unless you sleep with one eye open…in which case, go right ahead and keep that one eye open and out for the post…
But, that’s not the only way we’re expanding…We’re adding MORE chaos to the mix. You know, because our lives are sooo dull and boring as it is! *wink*
No, I don’t mean that sort of expanding. What do you think I am… a hot air balloon?! I’m trying to lose weight, not gain it! Sheesh!
Along with the Youtube channel, the Udder Chaos family is going to be adding some fresh meat…I mean, writers! Yes, writers! *nervous laughter* We’re going to be adding at least one(if not,two!) writers to the mix. Totally disregard that urge for bacon that managed to form in the back of your mouth. Oh, and wipe your're drooling.
We’re adding onto the family in other ways,too. That’s right…we’re getting a dog!! No, we’re not replacing the transgender iguana or Nemo the fish that isn’t really a Nemo-breed of fish. They’re still here!  As long as the iguana doesn’t bite me(I kid, I kid…she already has. It was an accident!), and the fish doesn’t go belly up, they’re coming with us! We’re just waiting for the move to get them, since I can’t have any fur babies in my current place. *cue sad face*
Okay, so…pets, move, mention of bacon, Youtube…have I got everything covered? Oh, I didn’t mention chocolate once in this post.
Chocolate,Dark Chocolate. There. Okay, this post is complete.
So, is your head spinning? Are you feeling as giddy as a schoolgirl at her first school dance? Does your tummy feel like a net full of butterflies?
Then my job here is done.
Until next time,
Mama Jenn
Questions about this post, or past posts? Ask away in the comment section below, or feel free to contact me on my Facebook page.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Review of Time4Learning- Coming Soon!

I've been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment and for summer skill sharpening. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.
Check back in a month for the review! I look forward to my kids checking it out! :)
Mama Jenn

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What on earth is a PB? Is Jenn in L-O-V-E?

Well, I’m sure you all were on the edge of your seat, waiting for another blog post. You couldn’t sleep at night, you talked to your therapist over it, it drove a wedge between you and your spouse.
No? You mean…you mean you actually slept that one time over Thanksgiving? For shame!
Okay, jokes aside, I’ve got some great news. Well, several things really. But some I have to leave for another blog entry. I know I know…I’m a woman of mystery, what can I say? Call me the Carmen Sandiego of the mama world *wink*.
After tinkering around all summer/autumn, trying to find my own way around the world of real foods and the dreaded “E” word…I’m proud to say, I’ve finally lost some weight!
That’s right…this mama has, as of today, managed to lose 15 pounds over the past two months!
*cue happy dance*
Okay. But, y’all know me. I don’t just stop at just one revelation after not writing in so long, oh nooo. I have to keep you riding that happy dance joy train until I can’t hold it myself anymore.
The second thing…you will have to wait until spring (but no later than summer) to have spelled out for you.
But, I will say, it involves….potatoes.
While you’re sitting there, questioning my sanity (admit it- you’ve done it at least once!), I’m going to reveal to you something totally awesome. It’s something that even I wasn’t sure about. Something…
Or should I say someone
That God put in my path. If you’ve noticed my Facebook page at all within the past few days, you would notice I’ve made a few goofy references to this…someone…a few times. But, because your head is reeling in confusion, I will give you the background story. Because I know deep down inside, y’all totally love my stories.  
Okay, so…about a year and a half ago, I was checking singles websites because…well, I’m single. And I was bored.
Anyways, I came across one profile, about a man who recently came back to Christ and was in the midst of a divorce. He was a single dad with two kids. He said on the profile he wasn’t really looking for a relationship yet, but just to make some friends.
Okay, I said to myself, I can dig that. Everyone needs friends, right?
So, I searched for him on Facebook. And I found him on the first try.
Wow, that was easier than I thought…I thought to myself.
I friend requested him. Now, this guy didn’t know me from Adam, so I thought to mention that I found him on the said dating website and that if he was interested, I’d be his friend. I really didn’t expect a response back. After all, who does that? He probably thought I was some borderline stalker or psychopath or something.
I sort of hoped he would respond. I mean, he’s a single parent, I’m a single parent. Single parents need friends! But, as with most things, I just put the vibes out there, and waited to see if they’d come back to me or not.
Well, he accepted my friend request!
We became friends on Facebook. For several weeks, we just talked on Facebook. We vented to one another, and tried to point each other back to God and his Word.
Alright, neither of us sounds like total psychopaths, I thought. Maybe I could…give him my phone number?
I gave him my number, while trying to sound all non-conspicuous about it.
I don’t like him. I told myself. I’m just being…friendly.
He called me two days later. It was the longest two days of my life.
When he did call me, the conversation went smoothly. It was like we picked up where we left off. We started to talk every few days, then almost every day. During these talks, we started flirting a little. Okay, let’s be honest- I started flirting a little. What?! I never said I wasn’t flirty!
Anywho, so…things suddenly got weird for both of us. We had a fight. I cried. I told him I never wanted to speak to him again. He respected that, and backed away. It went that way for several months. I thought waiting for him to call me was bad, but this was torture. I couldn’t stop thinking about him. There was a particular song that came on, that reminded me of him. Every time it came on, I cried.
This is so stupid! I thought. Why am I getting all bent out of shape over a guy I barely knew? He was just a friend, Jennafer! It’s not like you were dating or anything.  Why on earth does this hurt so bad? Why do I feel so awful? Why did I push him away?
I would do the dishes, and suddenly this overwhelming sense of guilt would come over me. I would be trying to sing a country love song, and would find myself crying by the end of it, because I started thinking about him. No matter how much I tried to suppress it or move beyond it, I couldn’t get him out of my head. Sometimes it was full force, sometimes it was a quiet longing in the back of my mind.
I did what any sensible woman would do- I asked everyone and their mama about what I should do. And everyone pretty much said the same thing-“if he’s just a friend,  then stop flirting and sending him mixed signals and just be his friend!”
Okay, okay. I got this. I can be…his…friend. I can do this. Lots of women have male friends that they don’t think about that way, right? Right!
Then, I prayed about it. Well, half prayed about, anyways. The prayers were mostly like, “please God, help me not to flirt, but to be his friend. If he still wants to be my friend, I mean. Forgive me for flirting with him.  Help him to forgive me and my flirtatious nature so that we can be friends again. Help get him out of my head so I can be his friend. Amen.”
I sent him another friend request on Facebook, with another message (an apology) and a line drawn in the sand. We can be friends, but we can’t flirt. Like, ever.
He accepted my apology. He apologized, too. We both sort of laughed it off, and went back to where we were. Friends.
It went on like this for quite some time. We knew our limits; we tried hard not to cross them. Sometimes, one of us would slip, and the other would gently redirect us back to line in the sand. After a few times of this, we went back to being good friends. Best friends, even.
The guilty feeling went away. I had him back! Yay! Yes, we were friends, but…maybe that’s all God wanted us to be.
But…that song came on still. Sometimes, I would post things on Facebook, hoping he would say something about it. We talked on the phone, and I would hold my breath when he answered, hoping he would pick up the phone the way he used to, saying, “Hey, beautiful!” Instead he now said what everyone else said, “Hey, Jen!” It somewhat bothered me I didn’t hold that place in his life anymore.
I didn’t say anything. After all, I asked for this. He never asked for more, so I assumed he didn’t want more, either. Life goes on.
The summer came once again. We sort of drifted apart a bit, him because of work, me because of school. We kept in touch, but barely.
Then, the inevitable happened. He…moved on. He got a girlfriend. I was happy for him as a friend. As a woman, though, I wanted to slap the taste out of this other woman’s mouth!
Finally, I reasoned with myself. I had no claim on him, he was my friend. He’s a great guy, and he deserved love, just like anyone else. I backed up, so he could have the time he needed to get to know this new woman and all that jazz. I was busy, anyways, taking the kids to the library, the park, and just about any place that had a free or low-cost activity going on. I was babysitting, I was active in church, I had stuff going on. No time on wondering what if and getting violent (in my head) with a woman I’ve never met.
Of course, we all know what happened next. That’s right…the potentially something wonderful that ended up becoming the potentially something stupid and not worth the energy I spent on it in three weeks or less.
Shortly after that nonsense, I texted him to hear about how happy people fall into happy relationships and try to be an, “I’m soo happy for you!” friend. Yes, I still wanted to slap the said woman. But, I was still in his life, and that was more than I deserved. The song still came on, and I still got a little sad upon hearing it; but I wasn’t his “Hey Beautiful!” anymore. Someone else took the opportunity.
Summer was coming to a close, and suddenly, I was receiving text and calls from him a bit more, for advice. His relationship was turning sour, and he needed some help on making it right. I tried being a good friend, by offering him advice from a woman’s perspective, “well, if I were her, I’d like…”
His relationship ended anyways. So, for the next few weeks, we were wallowing together in our failed attempts at love. We laughed it off, and the friendship went back to the way things were before. He didn’t call me beautiful, but he called me a great friend and I called him a great guy. We continued to encourage each other in Godly love.
But…that song still came on. It wasn’t as often, but it still came on. It still stirred up feelings I thought I shouldn’t be having. We were friends, great ones at that. However, the rejection I felt from the potentially something wonderful becoming potentially something stupid made me not want to go through anything again. My life was full; I had my kids, my God, and my health. I was going to school full time, and doing well. I had great friends, neighbors, and community.
Christmas season came, and so did the reminder of the New Year. I took time to thank God for all that He’s provided my family, while asking for wisdom and boldness to act out the plans He may have for my family in the upcoming year. As I prayed, I felt prompted to ask God to know. The feelings I had, were they me hoping for something I shouldn’t have? Or were they…something more? I asked for a sign. As the New Year came and went, I continued to pray about the matter. I heard silence. Weeks went by, and I started to wonder if maybe the silence meant “No.”.
Then, we had an abnormally warm Saturday. I had some errands to run, and the kids were antsy. They wanted to go to the playground. So, after the errands, we took the bus to go to the playground. No sooner did we go to the playground, my son said he had to go to the bathroom. The bathroom in the playground was closed, so we had to walk down to the gas station. In order to get there, we had to pass through an auto body shop’s parking lot. There was a huge industrial sized dumpster in our path that we had to walk around. As we approached it, I noticed some graffiti on it. Just some teenybops being stupid, I thought. But as we got closer, I noticed something. The dumpster didn’t have just any graffiti on it, it had his name on it. Not just a signature, but the words, “I love Aaron!” on it. Not just once, but all over the dumpster, completely covering the dumpster in love declarations.
I got goose bumps. I call goose bumps “God nudges” because most of the time when I get them (and I’m not cold), it means I’m onto something God is trying to tell me. And guess what?
I wasn’t the least bit cold.
The kids called me to hurry up. As I walked past it, I knew I had my sign. My amusing and weird sign, but my sign never the less. Amusing and weird, for an amusing and weird mama like me. Seems legit.
I told my BMF about it. She said the only thing to do was to just tell him. I was scared. Yes, we flirted awhile back, but…that doesn’t mean he had feelings for me. I was afraid of the rejection, of possibly losing another person in my life by trying to take it to another level. I recalled the months we didn’t speak, and I didn’t want a repeat of that. That hurt too much. She kept prompting me to just say it.
So, I said it. In a hypothetical, “what would you do if some chaotic woman said she saw a sign that involves you, prayer, a dumpster, and some graffiti? Would you continue speaking to her, even if you weren’t interested?” sort of way. When he finally gave me his answer, he asked, “So, who is this guy, anyways?”
I took a deep breath, and spilled the beans. I waited for his response. There was an awkward silence. He finally said he was going to need to pray about it. Although I was hoping for an answer right then and then, I respected his decision. Of course he should pray about it. We’re Christians, and that’s what Christians do, right? Duh, me.
A few (long, agonizing) days later, he gave me his answer.
He said yes! He wanted to court me! Then we were both spilling the beans about how we felt. I wasn’t the only one feeling this way! He cared for me, too! Added bonus- he wasn’t ashamed of my hair! *wink*
I’m so ecstatic to know that he loves me for who I am; first as a friend, now as something more. He knows my udderly chaotic life: no having to tone down or pretend I’m not an accident prone, big dreaming, slightly hippie, real foods lovin’, bookworm hording, ‘fro wearing, homeschooling mama.
Do I know for sure what the future holds between us? No.
All I can do is hope, pray, and trust God knows what he’s doing.
Oh, and dream he’ll be become a part of our Chaotic little family. Maybe he’ll even write a blog post or two…if I let him *wink*wink*
Until Next Time,
What, you didn’t think I was going to end without telling you what you wanted to hear, did you??
PB is my term of endearment for him, and it means….
Papa Bear.
You’re welcome. Now, go get some sleep, you haven’t had any since Thanksgiving! Sheesh!
You still can’t sleep, huh? Alright, since you must know…here’s the song I kept mentioning that reminds me of him. Again, you’re welcome. Oh, and your head is dropping on your keyboard again…and is that snoring I hear?! (O.o)