Archive for March, 2015

4. I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do: Double Rainbow Wedding

 I Do wedding shoes and flowers

…Praise God, North Carolina issued us a marriage license. But that presented yet another problem:  We had to get married in North Carolina but we had already booked and put down a deposit on the SC venue and invitations had already been sent out.  We could go back to the Justice of the peace (again) and exchange vows at an NC court before the wedding, but that would give us yet a 3rd anniversary date!  We really wanted the wedding and corresponding legal document to be October 7, 2012, exactly 7 years since our 2nd vow exchange.

So we spoke to the pastor.  His church is actually located in North Carolina, right above the NC/SC boarder.  The beach resort where we were to have the wedding was only located about a half hour to 40 minutes away from the boarder.  The pastor agreed to officially marry us at his church in North Carolina, in the wee hours of the morning, before his church service that Sunday, and then meet us in South Carolina at 3pm for the wedding ceremony, where we would exchange vows, again, for the 4th time.  We needed two more (real life) witnesses, so this time, I enlisted the help of my other sister, Starla and her husband-to-be, Jeff.

So the day of the wedding, we got up early and headed north.  We said our quick and legal “I Do’s”, signed the paperwork.  Then,  we headed back down south to quickly get ready to renew the vows we’d just made.

DSC_0129 I Do

Because much of the wedding party and professionals were coming in from out of town, we were unable to have a rehearsal, so there were a few glitches but nothing that bothered me or Amor (but it may have irked Grandma, the perfectionistic organizer, just a little bit).  Mica, Hope and a dear friend, “Sharin’s” daughter were my flower girls.  I couldn’t pick a sister to be my Maid of Honor, so Mica played that role as well.  She even got to add to the ceremonial sand.  It was a precious and treasured family memory.  Our pastor’s wife, whom I’ve admired since I was five years old, read 1 Corinthians 13, which describes the attributes of love.

DSC_0161 I do DSC_0072 I Do

Having an actual wedding, with close friends and family in attendance was a fairy tale dream I never thought would occur.  The color scheme was rainbow, which is quite symbolic, in and of itself.  I had worked extensively with the DJ on the music.  The reception was a disco/karaoke type party which included music in both Spanish and English and a lot of colorful lights, glow sticks and bubbles.  (I’ve always preferred fun over elegance anyway.)

DSC_0048 I Do DSC_1093 I do

At the end of that exhausting, yet exhilarating day, there we were.  We had traveled a long journey.  From our first meeting in 2000 to being officially and legally wed in 2012 and all the ups and downs in between, and all the ups and downs to come, we felt the presence of God on that beach.  And He’s still right here and He’ll never let us go.

Since then, Amor has mentioned having yet another wedding in Mexico some day for the friends and family on his side that were unable to attend here.  I guess a 5th “I do” wouldn’t hurt.  It would give the twins the opportunity to add some ceremonial sand too!

DSC_0221 I Do

Double Talk Quote:  “It went off with a ‘hitch’,”  instead of “without a hitch”- Me to Grandma when thanking her for making all this possible.

Verse:  “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:7

Term that has Lost its meaning: happily ever after

Relatable Lyrics: “Song of Love” by Rebecca St. James https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFMtVls5pzc

(March 21, 2015 –  twins 8 months)

*Thank You, dear friend, Cheree Johnson for the awesome wedding photos*

 

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3. I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do: Red Tape

I Do 2012 Amor y corazon Micaela

…Fast forward several years, we’d had a daughter, my father had passed away, I had been institutionalized, but had stopped self-medicating with alcohol and was on a decent bipolar regimen.  Amor and I had begun focusing on putting our priorities straight and making God number one in our lives.

Grandma actually got some money from an inheritance and kindly offered to throw me and Amor a Wedding.  We were ecstatic!  It’s something we had wanted for some time but had always found something higher up on the priority list to pay for.

If we had our wedding on October 7, 2012, which fell on a Sunday, we could renew our vows on the beach exactly 7 years since our second vow exchange.  The only glitch was – our marriage still wasn’t legal.  Since his former wife had fled the country a decade earlier, and was no where to be found, Amor had never officially divorced her before marrying me.

We had two options:

  1. Pay a private investigator in Russia to locate Amor’s (technical) wife, get the divorce documents professionally translated, have the Russian government officially serve her the papers if they could find her, pray she would sign, professionally re-translate the documents and finally, get a judge to sign off on the divorce decree despite the wife being physically absent OR
  2. Get an attorney.  Pay a local newspaper where she was last known to reside to print a daily legal notification for 30 days.  Then she would have a certain amount of time to contest.  If she didn’t object and it was determined by a judge that she couldn’t be found, he may sign off on a divorce decree without her signature.

We chose option number two, which though was expensive, was not as costly, nor as complicated nor time consuming as option one.

So with the divorce finalized, Grandma, our wedding coordinator, started planning the big day.  We booked a venue at a beach in South Carolina, near the NC/SC boarder where Amor and I used to live and therefore had friends and extended family nearby.  Things fell into place quickly and as the big day approached, we scurried to get things in order.  I contacted my cherished childhood pastor and his wife, with whom I had kept in contact over the years, to officiate the wedding and they were happy to oblige.  The ceremony would be a vow renewal but would, in effect, also finally make our marriage legal.

About a month before the wedding, we went down to meet with them and finalize all the details.  Everything was falling into place except…

the great state of South Carolina refused to issue us a marriage license!  One of the forms of identification we needed to provide in order to obtain a marriage license in South Carolina was expired. Freak-out, panic, and anxiety flooded me!  We had an alternate form of identification issued by North Carolina but for whatever reason, SC wouldn’t accept it.  All I could do was pray that the NC would issue us a marriage license…

I do - Amor y corazon beach 2010 Micaela

Double Talk Quote: “I’m almost done with the “I Do” series, I’m just missing one quote.” – Me to Amor. “Which one?” he asks.

Bible Verse:  “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12

Word that has Lost its meaning: finalize

Relatable Lyrics: “La Playa” by La Oreja de Van Gogh https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-i-b0NlFHA

(March 21, 2015 –  twins 8 months)

***Thank You Starla Ward (https://starlabward.wordpress.com/) for the above professional photos***

2. I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do: Legally Married?

I do Amor y Corazon colage

…So after having exchanged vows online, before God and Dick Wolf, we saw ourselves as married.  Amor bought me an inexpensive ruby heart shaped gold ring and we lived together for a hunky-dory few months.  But eventually, our families started asking questions.  Fed up with fielding them, I admitted, “We got married.”

My folks had an idea of how I felt about being an independent woman and were shocked to hear that we had “eloped” as they put it.  I offered few details and they asked surprisingly few questions.  Belle was now Mrs. Belle and that was that.

It was around this time that we moved four hours inland to be closer to my family.  I had finally gotten an official “Bipolar” diagnosis and I wanted to be near my sisters and parents who, I hoped, would be a source of support.   I knew that eventually, it would come out that Amor and I had no legal document stating that we were man and wife.  So we went to the courthouse to try to make it legal, only to learn we needed certain paperwork and witnesses (real ones, not TV characters).  So I explained to one of my sisters, Sarah, in as little detail as I could, that due to certain paperwork, we needed to restate our vows to make our marriage legal (all true).  She and Joe were happy to help.

So we gathered our documents and on October 7, 2005 (exactly 6 months later) we finally made it downtown with everything we needed.  I don’t even recall what I wore.  It felt like just another day to us.  We were pronounced “man and wife” by the magistrate and a few days later got our certificate in the mail.

The following year (2006), I was doing some different paperwork at a government office.  I had been on a litany of psychiatric drugs to try to find something to help manage my bipolar, and I was feeling “out of myself,” so Amor was with me.  They asked for my anniversary date and I said, “It’s April 7th or 8th”  “No, it’s sometime in October,” Amor reminded me.  “Oh yeah, I think it’s October 7th, 2005,”  I said.  The lady looked at me, like I was clearly mentally unstable (ok, I was).  “Um today is October 7th, 2006.  Are you telling me you are here on your first anniversary and you don’t even realize it?” Sigh, I guess so.  Whatever, we had celebrated back in April!

So finally, it was all settled, right?

One more detail that we, being young and impetuous and a bit screwed up in the head, neglected to take care of:  Amor never legally divorced his first wife who had left him for Russia after just two months of their legal marriage and never returned.

Spending time, money and effort to find and serve her papers was not high on our priority list.  As time marched on, we eventually bought a home and had a baby and put the whole mess in the back on our minds.

But those kinds of things have a way of sneaking back up to you..

Double Talk Quote: “Love you later” – Amor still says this (mix of “love you” and “see you later”)

Bible Verse:  “Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.” Proverbs 19:14

Word that has Lost its meaning: settled

Relatable Lyrics:  “Silly Love Songs” by Paul McCartney https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I77JyDu0HVU

(March 20, 2015 –  twins 8 months)

***Update Note to clarify***  Amor’s 1st wife had moved to Russia 2 months after they got married.  He followed her and lived there for a few months in an attempt to save the marriage.  When it didn’t work out, he returned.

1. I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do: The Proposal

I do - Amor y Corazon

Amor and I have exchanged vows four times.  That’s right four times.  Why? one might ask.  Well, it isn’t because we enjoy expressing our undying love for one another.

15 years ago, I was in a domestic violence type of relationship with a bad man.  Long story short, I got away and made up my mind that I would never again be under that kind of abusive power.  I developed a “I am woman, hear me roar” type of attitude.  I wanted children some day, but coming from that relationship and having had experienced the heartache of a broken home growing up, kids and family were not foremost on my mind.  I decided that I would never get married.  It was an antiquated institution anyway.  That’s what I thought.

I was conflicted about it, however, because, although I lived a rather worldly life at the time, I was still a Christian and still held certain values.  I liked to drink alcohol and have fun, but I did not sleep around.  Since before I was old enough to know what it was, it had been engrained in me that sex outside of marriage is a sin.  If you must have sex, get married.  (Hum, that theory hadn’t worked out so well with the first relationship I was in).  So celibate I remained.

I was not a “good girl,” though, and I actually found it fun toying with boys.  I was a hot, blond bomb-shell type who lived at the beach so I had plenty of opportunities to flirt around and make the male tourists think they’d get some action, just to say “adios” after they had invested their whole evening with me.  This was my way of getting back at all males (especially the self-proclaimed “playars”) for being jerks.

I had a lot of guy friends.  Amor was one of the best of them.  During the first three years we knew each other, he actually got married to a Russian woman and moved to a different hemisphere.  When it didn’t work out and he returned, I started to realize that we’d be good together.  I loved that he had such a giving heart and we were both very hard workers and worked well together.  (Someday I’ll tell that back story entitled “Yellow and Green Skittles”).  So Amor and I started dating and eventually, “messing around.”

But I felt convicted so I told him:  “We have to get married.”  This was about 11 pm on April 7, 2005.  We were both a little tipsy.  I was also rapid cycling (on a bipolar roller coaster ride) during this time and was blissfully yet painfully oblivious to that fact.  So I grabbed an old prom dress I just happened to have in my closet and we went to the downstairs level of my little apartment.  I did a quick “Ask Jeeves” search on the interweb for getting married online.  We exchanged our vows by typing them in to the computer.  There was a prayer and then a certificate appeared.  I printed it out.  It had room for 4 witness signatures.  No one else was there.  Law & Order SVU had been playing, on mute, in the background so I wrote in the names Olivia Benson, Eliot Stabler, Ice-T, and Jack McCoy.  Done.  We went back upstairs to enjoy our honeymoon…

Double Talk Quote: “I’m trying to remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy.” – Me 10+ years ago, “But Michelita, you violate it already…long time ago.” – Amor, whose English wasn’t quite as awesome as now, but yielded some awesomely funny quotes.

Verse:  “…But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.” 1 Corinthians 7:28

Word that has Lost its meaning: tipsy

Relatable Lyrics: “Viveme” by Laura Pausini https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJ_o_uEmzoE – dedicated to mi Amor

(March 17 2015 –  twins 8 months)

Think Big and Be Big

you're just like me2 twins

Just before putting his foot in his mouth, Fred Flintstone tells himself “Think big and be big, think big and be big, think big and be big.” Although the episode ends in him feeling pretty small, it’s because his “think big” attitude is based in pride and pretension.

I love the quote, however, because when used in a healthy way, it can promote confidence and positive mental health.

In 2007, I began writing affirmation cards for myself.  They include 3-4 positive, encouraging and self-affirming sentences.  Over the years, as my faith in God has increased and the realization that all the powers I hold within are from Him, I have revised them extensively to incorporate scriptures and Biblical principals in them.  I call them my “Think Big” cards.

These cards were inspired by the Lord, as I would do my devotions in the morning.  I’ve never tried to write one.  In the beginning, I wrote them for the sole purpose of motivating myself.  But after seeing both Grandma and my sister, Sarah struggling with depression, I started lending them out.  I even typed a few samples and put them on “to-go” rings for their keys.  I believe these revelations could be helpful to anyone but could especially benefit people of faith who struggle with low self-esteem,  or mental illness, or have problems with life direction.

Over the years, as I’ve struggled for freedom, I believe (at least I hope) that I’ve grown in the Lord.  I’ve written 3 rounds of the cards over time.  I guess you could equate the messages with strategies to manage money.

1.  “Think Big” cards focus on getting out of emotional debt.  Sometimes, especially with mood disorders in particular, it feels like you’re drowning.  These affirmation + scripture combinations focus on adjusting your life view and actually seeing the positive aspects of your life.

2.  “Think Bigger” cards focus on managing day-to-day life and increase capacity to take care of yourself while incorporating God as the number one priority.

3.  “Think Biggest” cards focus on building emotional wealth.  They are about going a step beyond yourself and reaching out to others to bring God glory.

I know I’m not the only one who could benefit from this.  It needs to be shared.  One day these cards will be published and they will be a life-changing blessing to someone who is in emotional need.  My hope is that they will bless many people.  I can see them in print and on peoples’ key chains.  I can see them as a phone app that people read and reread 3-5 times a day.  I can see them meaning something to someone.  Not just me.  I am not alone.  This.  This could would should will happen.  Amen?

 

Double Talk Quote: “That cat roared at me.” – my 5-year-old, bilingual niece, Hope

Verse:  “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Romans 12:2

Word that has Lost its meaning: pride and pretension (hopefully)

Relatable Episode: summery here: http://www.tv.com/shows/the-flintstones/the-masquerade-ball-59978/

(March 10, 2015 –  twins 8 months)

3. Livin’ on Mica Time

Micaela happy

Livin’ on Mica Time

Scurry out of bed, No time to rest my head

Gotta be somewhere, No time to brush my hair

Hurry up and wait, There will be trouble if I’m late

 

Only 24 hours in a day, In this dimension anyway,

But appointments, schedules, and deadlines, don’t exist (don’t exist)… In Mica Time!

 

It’s Nice, It’s fun, It’s downright awesome, Livin’ on Mica Time.

To be so free, It’s so darn easy, Livin’ on Mica Time.

It’s tried it’s true, It’s good for you, Livin’ on Mica Time

Relax and just enjoy the ride,  There’s no pressure… on Mica Time (…on Mica Time)

 

Endless possibilities, No limit to imagination

There’s no such thing as being late,

on time, early, or wait

(Chorus)

If only the rest of the world would catch up & live on Mica time!

 

(Note to Mica:  I’m going to need some help with the music part of all these songs I come up with, so keep tinkering with that piano baby!)

Double Talk Quote:  “Oooh, mommy, can we match wearing mismatched socks?” – only Mica

matching mismatched socks

Verse:  “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” 2 Peter 3:8

Term that has Lost its meaning: 24/7

Relatable Lyrics: Patience (Herbert the Snail) – Music Machine:  The Fruit of the Spirit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kn6Z2Mop5I&list=PL38ACE7EA0DE0E420&index=12 (Agapeland Music)

Another note to Amorcita, I’ll love you and keep you forever and always for all eternity plus longer than infinity and beyond the end of all time!

Mommy Belle Micaela snow

2. Hostage to Homework

Micaela Oso Polar presentation school project 1

There’s this one tune I hear Mica stand and play at the piano.  I’ve heard her play it before on several occasions and it’s a sweet, soothing piece.  She’s never taken lessons.  “Who taught you that song?” I ask.  “No one, I made it up.”  Wow, She’s a diamond in the rough.  What other hidden talents might she have that we are not able to foster at this moment.

Lately it feels like all of our free time is held hostage to this one major task – homework. It’s not that she has too much or that it’s too complicated.  It’s just that it’s boring, repetitive, and time-consuming.  In addition, on the weekends, Mica’s teacher has been sending home a packet of work she was unable to complete during the week.  There are also 3 websites she’s supposed to spend at least 15 minutes a day visiting and “playing” and 2 Accelerated Reader books (one English and one Spanish) that she must read and take a test on each morning.  It feels like we are under water all the time, struggling to breathe.  When is this child supposed to get a break, be a kid, feel free, play with her barbies or watch one episode of Sponge Bob Square Pants?

There are so many important things that I wank Mica to learn.  I want to teach her about personal finance and the importance of tithing.  I want her to have hobbies such as music and sports.  I want her to do chores and be able to keep up with her own room (cleaning and organizing).  I want to teach her how to write in cursive so that when she’s older she can read all the little notes I’ve written to her over the years.  I want her to read some of the things I read as a child, such as “Chick tracts” and “Help me be Good” books to build faith and character.  But most of all, I want her to learn about God and His Word.  The Bible should not come second to homework!  It should not come second to anything.

So I looked at the situation from this angle.  What’s more important?  Drawing 79 cubes or reading and discussing the story of Daniel and the Lion’s den?  I think in life, courage in the face of adversity and faith that God will come through if you are faithful to him, is a more valuable lesson.

So I wrote Mica’s teacher and explained the situation.  I politely told her I would be limiting homework time, at least until we get a diagnosis for Mica (if she does, in fact have A.D.D or A.D.H.D) and focusing on what I think is important.  Thankfully, she was understanding.

The past few days, things have been a bit calmer during the once-dreaded evening hours. I pick out several key questions from the homework assignment or uncompleted work from school and we make those our goal.  I set a timer and she gets done what she gets done.  After that, we do “God Time card” activities (our church’s kids’ devotionals).  Just before bed, we read her AR books and then her Children’s Bible.  Now, finally, we feel some peace.

(Note:  This “Relatable Lyrics” link below is a must see!)

Double Talk Quote:  “You’re gonna rock it!” I told Mica after she had practiced for her school presentation about Polar Bears (Los Osos Polares).  At this point, she was already board and distracted and leaning up against a baby swing.  “I’m already rocking it.” she joked.

Micaela rocks it 1

Verse:  “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

Letter that has Lost its meaning:  N (on report card:  for “Needs Improvement”)

Relatable Lyrics: Mica’s “Paradise” by Coldplay – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-fnSzLtDB0&index=8&list=LLuqdtjfWd222XyZaq0009RQ (Video made by Aunt Sarah for Mica’s 4th Birthday)

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