Do Women Have Nose Hair?

Nearly 14 years ago I married someone that I was madly in love with.  He had a black ponytail, flat stomach, great legs and a panther tattoo on his arm. He said he married me because I liked shots of straight Stolis.  He liked shots of Jagermeister (which I have never understood) but oh well.  He loved to stay up late, sleep in and eat dinner in front of the TV. When we went to bed at night, he always made sure to have some romantic music playing. One of my favorite bands is Crowded House and that was a CD he played for me as we went to sleep…or whatever.  An amazing time in my life; a love that I was sure would always be safe and sure.  I couldn’t imagine anything at all changing. Completely convinced that we’d be together forever and nothing would ever go wrong…I woke up each day relaxed and unafraid of what might happen to our love.

 I was so wrong.  I am still married to this man who I am deeply and madly in love with. But his stomach isn’t so flat and his ponytail has been replaced with a balding and graying buzzed haircut. The stereo has long since left our bedroom and we resort to the 10:00 news in bed rather than the 11:00 news on the couch. We each have our side of the bed.  He snores. I grind my teeth. He’s seen me put on pantyhose. Nothing is sacred anymore. He still has great legs and likes Jagermeister (which I still don’t understand), but we stay at home now instead of going out. We’re aging, growing up and that’s okay. Four children later, we look at each other over dinner and wish for a nap.  Our hippie days have been replaced with grown up decisions and 401K options.  We care about money, cars and schedules like never before.  We have to schedule time for togetherness now.

 When does romance leave? It doesn’t. We just have to be more deliberate about it. I watched a family having dinner at Cracker Barrel last week.  The “mom” and “dad” were so sad looking.  Flanked by a toddler in a booster chair and an older child in the other seat, their faces showed exhaustion and age.  When was the last time these two held hands or kissed for more than three seconds? When did they last laugh at each other or with each other?  When did they play their last cribbage game late at night with Letterman and REM keeping them company?

I don’t have much romance in my life either. I caught my love looking at me over the table the other night. I was hoping he’d tell me how wonderful I looked, or how much he loved me…but…Nnnooooo…he wanted to know if women have nose hair? He does, however, wash my car, keep the sink free from dishes and bathe the baby each night. Maybe not romance, but true love for sure. I’ll take that any day.

Go figure.


What a Tangled Web We Weave

It’s been a long time since I posted. I simply haven’t felt like it and probably should not have freely added my thoughts to the internet at times over the past few weeks. Suffice it to say; things are never the way we think they are. Nor the way we wish they were.

But, thank God, I am not Anna Nicole Smith, her family or friends. Thank God I do not watch American Idol. Thank God I like to read fiction because it’s so much more believable than most of the carp that is out there! (I do not mean to ridicule those of you who DO watch American Idol, I just find it to be like an organized circus and rather silly). I think there have been one too many media trainwrecks lately and we need a good dose of political or inspirational news to make us think. We run the risk of turning dumb.

My pain is getting better at times. Most of the time, though, I haven’t noticed a great improvement over my pain prior to surgery. I’m told that may take another two months. It actually hurts in a whole new way now! I’m told I should lie down and rest for the next six weeks. They’re nuts! Perhaps if I won the lottery and then turned into an entirely different person who LIKED to lie around, that would work. It’s simply impossible on a number of levels. So…I learn to be patient about pain and wait for the day sometime this summer when I might not hurt. It’s the complete exhaustion I wasn’t prepared for! They didn’t tell me about that!

I don’t want to end on a complaining note; I’m really not complaining. I find that each day I wake up ready to do better and enough of the time I do. I have great plans and goals and hopes for this year. My family is in for a ride towards something deeper and greater than we know. It’s starting already. It’s fun.

And no, Jim, I do not wear my blue pointy shoes right now! That’ll wait for August.

Deepening Roots…Growing Up….Growing Older

Last year at this time we found ourselves on the edge of so much change. When we entered 2006, Andy and I knew that the year was going to bring profound changes in our lives. I could almost taste it and it was exciting in an apprehensive sort of way. Nothing could have prepared us for all that happened, and certainly none of it was expected. Much of it was hard and painful; nothing was simple. And right up to the last minute of the last day of December, we were feeling things shift.

Kayleigh’s decision to move to Michigan was the first change. At the time it felt like the biggest one; but it wasn’t. The fact that she left impacted everyone in very different ways. Liam seems to have taken it more easily than anyone. He’s angry sometimes, but the kid is amazingly forgiving and, although he doesn’t understand what she did, he has decided to learn from it. He states over and over that he doesn’t want to do some of the things Kayleigh was doing because he felt the fallout and wouldn’t want his brother and younger sister to feel that way. He saw how hurt we were as parents and doesn’t want to make us cry. He remembers how rejected he felt when she wouldn’t spend time with him and knows someday Colin will look to him for attention like that. All very idealistic for a ten-year-old kid; let’s hope he sticks to it! Erin just sits in her anger sometimes. For weeks at a time she’s been moody, pouty and violent. She doesn’t understand that she didn’t do anything to make Kayleigh leave, nor does she understand that no matter what she does, Kayleigh will never be back the way she wants her to be. I can’t imagine the heartache of having a big sister who embodies everything you want to be and then she rips your heart out. Erin deserves to be angry. But she is learning to deal with anger (not just with Kayleigh) and developed some new coping strategies. That’s a good thing. Colin has stopped standing outside her door calling her name; she is now someone that comes and goes for holiday meals. He’ll certainly have questions someday and we’ll leave them to her to answer. Andy seems to easily tuck his hurt somewhere far away and to be honest I don’t know how much hurt there really is. I know I’m no longer hurt. I think we’re both just a little numb. After decades of verbal violence and psychological head games with K’s mother, we got so used to tuning out the madness. It’s been almost a year and we’re just happy not to worry so much. We love her now from a distance and I think that’s the better way for us to be. We will learn again how to be in a relationship with her, but as adults in the future, not as traditional parents in the present. Peace came to reign in our house and that was sorely needed. From this big change in our family make up, we all learned how important we are to each other and how desperately we want to stay together through everything. Kayleigh always had another parent to run to; the other kids won’t. They are stuck with us and they know that! And we will all be in it together.

The career changes for both of us were huge as well. Andy left what should have been the job to retire from to come “home” to Lancaster EMS. Less travel, less headache (and less money) were the tradeoff. But he’s so happy he did it and now has settled into his role there. Just in time to be present for the slaughter of baby girls in an Amish school. For such a time as this he was placed. Through that, Andy has been able to share his faith with his co-workers and with the press. He has learned about forgiveness (as we all have) and soon will get to meet Sara Ann and see how what he does really matters. I can’t wait for that!

My career change from nursing to sales was just wierd and unexpected but has brought rewards on many levels and it is becoming clear to me that God knows exactly what He’s doing and I should just shut up and deal. The schooling I’m starting is just another step in the road and one day ministry will be my “other job” while sales will provide the bread on the table. One has to fund the other, I think. God has a plan and His is much more long term than I could ever imagine.

Then, surgery came and went and now I wait to heal. I put that off for 13 years fearing the changes that would bring. By summer, I hope to be nearly pain free or as close to that as I can get. That just may be the most welcome change of all!

So, now we settle down in our new roles in our jobs, our new positions in our family and our new physical conditions. We wait on God to show us clearly where to go next. This year we sense His guiding hand very clearly and we know that if we trust Him, we’ll be exactly where He wants us to be.


I have married the most amazing person on the face of the earth. I hope that anyone else reading this would feel the same way (about their spouse of course!) This guy is just exceedingly tolerant and longsuffering with me. I can be a real jerk when I am irritable, and boy, baby, have I been irritable lately! Pain does that to people I am told.

I also have the most wonderful mother God ever allowed to be a mother. She has given me and my family more than anyone could have imagined or asked for—ever. And we don’t always ask; she just gives ’cause she knows what we always need. She is not only a fantastic mother, she’s the best grandmother going these days and my best friend. I want to be just like her when I grow up. My dad’s not too bad either!

Then, there is this guy I work for and these people I work with who are patient and willing to wait for me to recover to get back to work. That is such a reassurance and so needed right now. I need to work (for many many many reasons) and this is the best job ever and I can’t wait to get back full steam. But until then, they’ll let me gimp a little.

And the three most stunning people I have ever met. Liam, Erin and Colin Gilger for whom no introduction is needed and for whom I live each day more fully than the last.

This is a great big thank you to all of you who have stuck around while I was tired, crippled, less than perfect and coming alive.

I am eternally grateful and I’ll owe you forever.

Love ya!