Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Our Wedding- May 27, 2014

Hello again, Chaotics!
Sorry again for the long post last time...I know, you're probably sick of looking at words now, aren't you?
Do your eyes hurt?
Are you squinting a little?
Okay...I'll keep the words to a minimum this time. This post is largely pictures, and two Youtube Videos, I promise.
The only thing I want to type about it...why Papa Bear and I decided to wait until we got married to kiss...and do other things(*wink*)
The fact is...both are a miracle in and of themselves. If you knew either of our history with sex outside of marriage, you probably would think, "There is NO WAY those two could hold out until their wedding day! They didn't KISS, I don't BELIEVE THAT!"
But, it's true.
We had both decided long before we ever met, that we wanted to glorify God in our courtship. Which, in most Christian circles, just meant, "Don't get the nookie on before you walk down the isle!"
However, a few years ago, someone recommended to me the book, "I Kissed Dating Goodbye". After reading it, I concluded this book HAD to be meant for teens, not single mothers who had a hard time controlling her, uh, "feminine urges"!
Around that same time, as I mentioned in my last post, God started to put in my path conservative Christian magazines, ministries, etc. The more I read their Biblical interpreted view of what courtship really looked like, the more I started to see the beauty in it. While nearly all of what was mentioned was geared towards younger adults, I thought...if a bunch of just left the hormonal teens stage young adults can do it, then why can't I?
So, I had decided, even before I had met Papa Bear, that I was not going to allow myself even a hint of temptation. Because for someone like me, who struggled for years between the world's way of sex(great for a moment, then extreme guilt and feelings of shame long afterwards) and desperately wanting God's way(holy and unashamed, beautiful, and with one person-your spouse), I knew that, for myself, even one kiss was one step too many.
Plus...only Tweeny Bear knows how babies are really made. The other two...well...I told them babies are made by kisses. Special kisses, that are only meant for marriage. So...I couldn't allow them to see me getting all tongue-tied and swapping spit with Papa Bear before marriage, if I wanted them to continue to believe that, even after I tell them how babies are really made, that kisses, sharing your lips, or any part of your body,really, is only meant for the person God has chosen to be your, could I?
Papa Bear and I are aware that we want to not only raise Godly children in theory, but in our actions as well.  We also want to do our best to glorify God in our OWN walks, and in our actions to each other. We both wanted to respect each other as single people, God's people, and our future spouse, regardless of if that we were marrying each other or not.
It really helped we were 1,800+ miles away from each other most of the time...but minor details, minor details...*nervous laughter*
Anyways...I don't want to sound overly righteous or judgemental in saying all this. It wasn't easy-in fact, aside from the actual driving to get to Idaho, it was the hardest thing Papa Bear and I have had to do in the entire process of our courtship. I would hope most of you know me well enough to know, I am not saying all this from a "soapbox up on high", but rather, a woman who has walked and lived in the ways of the world nearly all her life, and has seen that life is not the life I wanted to continue to take part in. I'm human, but I'm also a sinner saved by grace-both(Papa Bear and I) of us are, really.
So, we decided to save that kiss for the wedding. And even though it may not amount to much to some,it meant a lot to me that we were willing to wait. And I'm glad we did- it was the sweetest kiss of my life.
Okay, I'm getting misty just thinking about it...part one is here, and part two is here.
Below are the pictures. On behalf of Papa Bear and I, I'd love to give a heartfelt thanks to Daniel, a facebook friend I had met for the first time that day, who decided to not only come to our wedding as a witness, but to go a step further and be our wedding photographer for the actual ceremony. Thank you SOO much, Daniel!
Two Families, Becoming One :)

Gosh, these kids are ADORABLE!!

I was trying to look like I was leaning on him, and ended up with double-chin(*-_-)

Mama Jenn and Papa Bear before the wedding! 

In Papa Bear's Car, getting ready to leave for the Courthouse!

Mama Jenn and Tiny Bear

Tiny Bear fell asleep on me on the way back...too much excitement for her!

Hands joined together, to symbolize unity

Papa Bear putting on my ring

Me, putting on Papa Bear's ring

"You may now kiss the bride..."

The sweetest kiss ever- Our first kiss!

I freaking love you, Papa Bear!!! Forever :)

 Hope you enjoyed!
Until Next Time,
Mama Jenn

Idaho,Why Idaho?!?!, the Story of the Lost Summer, and More!

Hello, Chaotics!
The past week has been...well, blissful!
I have to ask people(I got peoples! Well...sort of. Okay, not really, just the kids) to pinch me, it's hard to believe it's FINALLY happened!
After three years of waiting, and six years since God has laid it on my heart(for reasons I didn't know at the time)....We FINALLY made it to Idaho!
You know, every time I think about it, my mind is blown. Six years ago, I knew I wasn't where I was supposed to be. I lived in PA my whole life, and yet, I always felt uncomfortable, and uneasy. Like I was a square peg trying to fit in a state's oval hole. I'm proud of living there, and I'm in love with the people that are there, but...why did I feel so odd in my own home state(?)
Six years ago, I asked God in prayer, where DO I belong? I know heaven is the believer's eternal home, but...where was I to go until then?
After several days of questioning/praying answer came, "Idaho".
Idaho! I thought. Ah. *ponders* Where the Hello Kitty is IDAHO?!?
And that's when the process began. First it was an acceptance in my heart that God knew what he was doing, then it was talking to others about it( you'd be surprised how many people respond with, "Idaho? No, you da hoe!" (*-_-) ), then pondering it some more( "I must be losing my mind...I don't have any family out there!") to...pondering it some more("Are you SURE you said Idaho, God?!" Maybe there's a city in PA called Idaho I'm not aware of..that's, like, 20 minutes away(?)") to accepting it again( "Okay, Idaho...I-da-ho. Where is that, again?!") to re-accepting it("Okay, okay, got it!!! Idaho...that's near Canada, right?*blinks in confusion*") to telling others about it("Idaho! How the heck are ya goin' get to IDAHO?!?!" "Uhhh...(?)". ).
It took two years of doubters and naysayers to finally accept it. I mean, really accept it. I didn't know where in Idaho I was going, or why on earth God would want me there, but if God said go, then I was at least willing to accept my heart.
But, as I s-l-o-w-l-y started to accept in my heart I was called to Idaho, I also had some other deep longings in my heart.
The more I read my Bible, the more I wanted to surround myself with Godly things, and people. Suddenly, more conservative books and magazines started popping out to me. And there was something inside each of these that also had me thinking of something more.
In particular- how lonely I was.
Every morning, I woke up, to a king-sized bed, feeling like someone else should be there.
However, I was a single mother. While I was not ashamed of being one, it did limit my ability to earnestly go out and "try to find someone decent". When my friends suggested going here or there to meet so-and-so, I politely declined--couldn't find a babysitter. The more kids you have, the smaller pool of babysitters you have readily available.
So many of my friends thought I was somewhat proud of doing it all on my own, or that I enjoyed complaining about not having someone. To a degree, they were right. I was proud of the woman I became- I didn't need a man to make my worth in the world! I gots this! I can juggle kids, start homeschooling, and work at home! I don't need NOBODY(Except God, of course)!
But yet...God knew. God saw past the mirage and knew that, strong independent woman I was, deep down inside I was afraid. I had been used and abused one too many times. I had three kids to worry about- I didn't want them to see what I saw growing up- my mother, a single mom, in and out of unhealthy relationships, over the moon one day, and crying her eyes out the next. I didn't want to deal with the feeling of potential rejection most men had offered me when they realized I was what some of them considered "damaged goods", and looking for something more than a one-night stand. I cried out to God for years, calling out in faith that he HAD to have someone out there, just for me, because in the very first book of the Bible, He himself said, "it is not good for man to be alone." Didn't that also include women?! Where was my "other rib"(?). However, I wasn't ready--just yet--to try. So, although I cried out to God about it, I also did nothing to help it along, either.
So, I did the safest thing I could do--I made Internet friends in Idaho. And while most of them have come and gone, there was one that stuck around...
Papa Bear.
Well, you all know how that story started, right(?) You don't? Oh, okay, hop on over here and grab a cup of tea or something and enjoy the sappiness.
But I know what you're thinking...what happened after LAST summer? Did you guys break up? How did the story continue?
We did  break up during that time. I was really upset over the way it all went down...but it was largely my fault, and part his...I was trying to rush and he wasn't ready for the responsibility. Over the summer, I did a lot of thinking(which was all I really could do, not having a consistently working phone or Internet, and all), and a lot of crying over it all...despite my initial anger, I really missed him.
Anyways, when I finally obtained a working phone number, I sent a text out to those closest to me. Even though we hadn't spoken pretty much the entire summer, I still felt like he should know where I was at, and that I was okay. He texted back and apologized for not being there when I really needed him. He admitted he was sort of just hoping I had it all under control because he wasn't mentally ready or physically prepared to take on the responsibility. So, we became friends again.
But then the issues in Indiana started unfolding-first with the feeling that many people in the church were against us homeschooling because I was a single working mother, small town people gossiping, and last but not least, a trip/visit to/from CYS (fun times, fun times....NOT!)...I was literally crying everyday on the phone to him about something or another. I don't know what or why, but that sparked something in him, and one day, he was just like, "I can't take hearing you like don't deserve soon as my paid time off comes around, I'm coming over there, and we are going to have a serious talk...and if we agree...I'm going to be taking you back here as my wife!" I was speechless. After all we had been through the past several years, he still had feelings for me. He still wanted to give this a try. Despite all the chaos we'd been through...before we had even MET, he still wanted to give us another chance.
So, trying to be open but at the same time, keeping a semi-guarded heart, I made plans with HIM- not by myself, not "winging it and hoping for the best". We still had our chaotic ups and downs, but we still came back and tried again. And tried again. And then...tried again.
As the months rolled on, my semi-guarded heart softened. The guard went away. The voice of doubt, fear...once screaming, now barely a whisper. As PB said in a previous post, I had to stop looking so much to him to fill my need and more to God. I had to trust that God knew what He was doing-even if that meant the day would come and he(PB) might of stood me up. I had to do my best to let go and let God- something I hadn't done very well the first time we...I tried.
 Finally, the time came. THE week. As the week progressed, as the days drew nearer...everything that could go wrong, went wrong. Papa Bear's work truck broke down. Fear of him not getting off on his appointed day because of the work involved. Hunter Bear got an ear infection- something NONE of my children had got in several years! Papa Bear's car wasn't acting right- would it even get him home, much less the airport? I felt like I was NEVER going to get done with all the packing at this rate! Plus...what about my car? I had a friend from my previous job say he was going to check my brakes and put two (newer) tires on for me for the front tires- where WAS this dude?!
But everything was smoothed out. In fact, it couldn't have worked out more beautifully. Papa Bear's work truck? Turned out they fixed it and because of the time it took, his job told him to finish his load and go home-a whole day early!! His personal truck? Needed a jump start, turned out his battery wiring needed to be redone, something he was able to do on his own! Hunter Bear's ear infection? Gone, within TWO days, thanks to some information, a trip to Walmart, two essential oils, and two very kind friends! My car? Well...
The day came- Saturday. The BIG day. Papa Bear texted me that morning, to let me know he woke up on time, and he would text again before getting on the first plane. I got up(late..opps), got the kids and I ready, hopped in the car, and started our first mission of the day' get the U-Haul. It was in the same town as where I was to pick up Papa Bear from the airport...I'd never been there, but it should be easy, right?(Please feel feel to read my post from this time last year to see how easily I can get lost.)
My friend from work texted me. Said he'd be over to put the tires on before I got to U-Haul. I silently fist bumped myself. He came, tried, and said he couldn't get the tires out of the metal middle section. But, he said, the tires I already have on should have no problem getting us there. They would need to be changed, but they weren't bald,etc. He refilled them and put them back on and said they'd be good to go. With a hug and a thanks, I started on my way to go get the U-Haul.
As I started to pick up speed, I noticed...something doesn't feel steering wheel felt wobbly. The closer I got to the U-Haul place, the more uncomfortable I felt. Something was definitely NOT right. I started to slow down, thinking, well, I don't know diddly squat about tires, but I have to do something.I have to at least take some sort of look. Maybe there is a mechanic nearby...I'll just pull over and look on the GPS, and then take it from there...
*BOOM!* My driver's side tire flew--that's right, FLEW--off my car and in the air. I screamed. The kids screamed. I managed to stop the car. The tire went up in the air, came down, and sprang around a thicket in the woods near the highway...on the other side.
Displaying FB_IMG_14009453606025137.jpg
Tire-"I believe I can fly...I believe I can touch the sky..." 
 No one was on the other side as this happened. I checked, the kids were okay. My heart felt like it was going to come out of my throat via vomit, but other than that I was okay.
 I had been holding back tears and fear all week, and after I saw my tire disappear into the thicket of the unknown, they freely came. While I turned on the radio to keep the kids distracted, I cried. I called the friend who attempted to do the tires, but he didn't answer.I called the friend who always helped me out in a pinch--also no answer. Finally, my brain cells decided to function, I remembered..oh,yeah, my phone has Internet. I quickly Googled, called the first tow service that popped up, and got an answer right away. "Where are you at?" she asked.
"yeah, but where?"
"I'm not familiar with this town, I'm actually from another city...I was just going by what my GPS said..."
"Okay, and what does your GPS say now?"
"That I"m someplace...15 minutes from my destination(?)"
(I could hear the lady on the other end do a massive facepalm)
"Huh? says I'm near (fill in the blank) street....(?)"
"That doesn't tell me there anything nearby...a gas station, a store, anything??"
After one too many facepalms, the lady handed the phone to one of the tow guys who knew the area. Several probing questions later, he said..."Okay, I'm pretty sure I know where you're at. We'll have someone come out to get you, but it'll take...45 minutes to an hour. Maybe a little longer. Are you going to be in your car?"
"The only thing I know around here is my car...yes, I'll still be in my car."
"Okay, then we'll get someone out to you and your kids as soon as possible."
I hung up the phone, feeling slightly relieved. Hey, I can handle a crisis situation! I totally had this!
I may not know about cars, but I know who to call! I am woman, hear me ro--
"Mom...we're HUNGRY!"
...except that in my awesome dash out the door, I had forgot to feed everyone breakfast.

After an hour and twenty minutes in the car, a call to the U-Haul dealer(who, by the way, I will NOT be recommending to anyone in that area- VERY inconsiderate of the circumstances), two concerned citizens asking if they could help, a post on facebook, several worried texts to Papa Bear, a picture on facebook, and several return calls from my friend...the tow truck came. Twenty minutes later, we arrived at a local Pep Boys. I called the U-Haul dealer again, only to feel worse(because, you know...when potentially handing someone I don't know a couple hundred bucks, I like to feel like a complete idiot, for something I totally had no control over...NOT!). I was basically told I was ruining this guy's Saturday, because, even though I was handing him a large chunk of change, he had better things to do.
 Overly Attached GirlFriend meme
So, after spending several hours waiting for the Pep, men, to fix my tire issue, I called the U-Haul dealer...and got nothing.
No, "You suck at life because you're ruining my Saturday", no "I may or may not be able to give you that U-Haul you reserved several weeks in advance"...he didn't even answer his phone.
After the car was fixed, we made a quick dash to McDonalds (hey, desperate times call for desperate measures!), pigged out on some happy meals and a chicken...something...and then...
I had an hour left. ONE HOUR. That didn't give me enough time to do what I had originally planned-get the U-Haul, come back home, get ***super*** pretty(with the help of two gal pals), then dash into the airport like a beauty goddess(with three adorably dressed mini-gods) with a few seconds to spare and see the man of my dreams gasp in amazement at how much more stunning I look in real life vs. my facebook picture.
Uhh...yeah. That didn't happen. Instead, I want to the airport an hour ahead of time, with my "get er' done" packing clothes on, sweaty and gross from sitting in the car on a hot day for AN HOUR AND TWENTY MINUTES, my kids a mess because, guess what? They also had been sitting in said car for said length of time as well. Hunter Bear had forgot to put socks on, Little Bear's legs look like she was playing in chalk all morning, and Tweeny Bear looked like she had slept in her clothes.
But we had nowhere else to shower and redress, and I had zero dollars to go and blow on new clothes for us to look semi-presentable. So, I GPS'd myself to the airport, found the bathroom, and tried to make do with what I had: chapstick, a small bottle of hand lotion, a cell phone charger, and a splash of water...and... I still looked awful.
Funny GIFS and Reaction GIF
If he loves me, he won't care about something as trivial as first impressions, right? *nervous laughter*

I paced back and forth at the airport for an hour. The kids, sensing my anxiety...decided it would be a good time to do a Youtube Video(Gee, thanks, Tweeny Bear!)... 
Finally, the moment arrived. The kids could see his plane landing! You want to talk about NERVOUS...
What if he didn't show up- and I had to go back to my small family in Indiana, and PA...humiliated and ashamed because I had totally and completely given my heart to him before I ever met him?
What if he was just one of those "catfish" people, like so many people have warned me about for the past two years...and "he" was actually some lonely housewife on the Internet portraying a man because their life sucked so bad, they needed to make up an Internet alter-ego?
After all, this wasn't just about "me" meeting "him" anymore. We talked marriage, my kids were involved...just as badly as I wanted him to be who he said he was, my kids wanted him as their dad even more...we were talking FOREVER here, something my kids...I...we...had only dreamed about. Something I thought would never happen to a single mom like me. Something I didn't think I deserved nor was worthy of....
But, something God knew I needed. Something God knew I deserved, not because of who I am, but because of who HE is, and in his love for me.
Forever was just around the corner...If there was ever a time I forgot how to breathe, it was at this moment!
There he was! No screen holding us back, no text message or phone call to guess his feelings, the way he'd look when he'd see me...he was right there in front of me! And I could TOUCH him!I was SOO over the moon with joy...I had finally met my man! I was so happy, I wanted to kiss him!  I didn't, but, boy....did I want to( I know it sounds a little old fashioned, or weird...but Papa Bear and I didn't kiss. We didn't have our first kiss until our wedding day. I'll explain more about why in my next post.)!!!!
I don't know if I can completely convey the relief, the thrill, the joy...all the emotions I felt physically seeing him for the first time, but, again, thanks to my Video Artist in Training, Tweeny Bear, you can see it for yourself here. I could have stayed at that airport and gazed into his eyes, hugged him, and in awe that he was HERE, forever. However, Papa Bear, being who he is...was ready to get the worst part of the trip started and finished-the long drive back home.
The drive back to our home.
In Idaho.
Is God good, or WHAT?!
But, of course we weren't done with the...uhhh...roadblocks to get there...we still had no U-Haul trailer. Papa Bear told me that U-Haul guy was a jerk, and I need to call the local U-Haul center to let them know this & get referred to another dealer. They apologized profusely for his behavior in the matter and redirected me to a MUCH nicer U-Haul dealer not too far away...only for us to pay for the trailer, and be told I had the wrong wiring system(again, not my fault! I had a mechanic at Walmart tell me it was the right one!).The guy and his family were nice enough to say that they'd stay around the store(even though it was almost closing time when we got there), until we got back...four stores and almost two hours later, we found the right adapter for it, Papa Bear and the nicer U-Haul Dealer re-wired the system, attached the trailer and we were on our way! was getting dark. And we were both tired from all the excitement and frustration of trailers, electrical wiring, and cars. We needed a good night's sleep.
But the next day...we were set! U-Haul still in place, we packed up all the stuff the kids and I had managed to throw into boxes(and big blue tupperwares) and with some pizza and stew from a friend for brunch, we were on our way to HOME!!
Here are some pictures from the trip! Sorry if they look gross, I tried to keep the windsheild clean, but we hit a LOT of bugs with our windshield(And possibly a raccoon with our bumper...*nervous laughter*)! (*-_-)

"I'm not tired, Ma..."

The Big Arch! 

There it is! 

Meet me in St. Louis!

I just thought this was the COOLEST looking bridge ever! 

Kids-"Mom, that looks like Rapunzel's Tower!"

Kids thought this was a weird sight (O.o)

Eeek! A Three-lane Highway! Papa, you drive...!"

Tweeny Bear, sticking her head out the window, "I feel so FREEE!!!"

Little Bear, and Sherlock. Don't worry-he's enjoying this.


"I go where I wanna"

Aren't these PURDY?!

Edges of Nebraska..almost to Utah

Doesn't this sort of look like a truck with a thong on? LOL

75! Gahhh! I never went faster than 60! Papa, you drive...

Wind Power!!

Papa Bear Says, "There are two seasons in this part of the US- Winter, and Construction Season!" LMBO

Seriously, those things are freaking HUGE!

Utah! One state between us and HOME! *Girlish Squeal!!!*

Papa Bear and Sherlock...road warriors!

Almost Idaho...

"Follow the Road covered with Sage Bush to Idaho..."

We made it!! I don't know how(hint- Papa Bear did 97% of the driving), but not only did we make it before my anticipated time(which was..."eventually"), but we made it on Memorial Day- Which also happened to be Tweeny Bear's Birthday!I asked Tweeny Bear to do a video tour of our home...we're all kinds of worse for wear due to the trip, but you can watch it here if you like!Sorry if it's dark- we got home late that night!
Seeing our new home, looking at Papa Bear, the kids...I couldn't help but praise God at the mere awesomeness of it all!
I thought my day was full, blessed, complete. I mean...I had my man, the man I had prayed about for years. I had our children- a little rowdy for 10 o'clock at night, but beautiful to finally see playing, sharing secrets with, and enjoying each other, together. We had food in our bellies, and clothes on our backs. We had made the journey home with only a few small bumps before we even started; but once we started, the only thing we had to do was count the miles.
This trip. It wasn't me trying to wing it. It wasn't him hoping for the best. It was both of us, trying, and God in the middle of it all. It was crazy, it was exhausting, it was full of more fast food than I ever care to see in a lifetime. But it was also beautiful, blessed, and wonderful.
It's not my story--it's OUR story.
But it wasn't finished yet...
Just as I was content with the journey, seeing my Papa Bear, and everything else...
Papa Bear had to ask me something...
Which, after figuring out together which was my left hand, I excitedly cried, "YES!!!"
I had waited years for my soul's mate...and the next day, I'd be waking up to get ready for our wedding! The moment where there would be nothing between us, when "two shall become one flesh"! I could hardly contain my excitement!
I was going to be Mrs. Mama Bear!
Er...Mrs. Papa Bear! know what I mean. I was going to be HIS wife!
The kids jumped for joy, and couldn't stop asking, "are you sure--this means you two are going to stay together FOREVER?! You mean it?! He's going to be our forever Daddy--FOREVER?! You'll never break up, right? You won't be like some people and get a divorce...are you sure? Really?! Can I see the ring again, Ma???"
This wasn't merely two people becoming one...this was two families, joining together, becoming one family...only by the grace of God!
One of my closest friends put into words the way I felt-
" You know, it's funny...Last Memorial Day, I(she) had the Indiana State Troopers find you in an Aldi parking lot...This Memorial Day your drove off into the sunset to get married...I'm proud of you!"
All I can say is....Thanks, God. Thanks for answering my heart's prayer, my soul's deepest longings.
I am now home. And now...we are now complete.  :)
Next post...the even BIGGER day...OUR WEDDING!
Until Next Time,
Mama Jenn