I have decided to stop re-telling my life story.
These stories were the basis of my blog from the beginning. I wanted to share all the storms that my family have endured and I mean...ENDURED and the victories through Jesus Christ. How He walked with us through each and everyone of them and how He never left our side, even though, we encounters some very rough times in our lives...God brought us through stronger and with deeper rooted faith than if we had never been through them to begin with.
I feel there has been a loss of interest in them and therefore, I will return to posting about my day to day life.
If anyone is interested in them, they are in my archives for your reading. If you don't want to search through my archives, email me and I will send you all the links to them.
Have a wonderfully blessed day!
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I have decided to stop re-telling my life story.
As time went on and years past...the precious years before the storm...were a thing of the past...just memories.
With the coaching of my ex-husband, my son who was 10-11 years old, became a "holy terror" to put it nicely. He will tell you the same thing if you were to ask him. His father had told him for years that he did not have to obey Roger, his step dad. My ex-husband made all kinds of racial slurs about Roger in front of Brandon or directly to him because of his Indian heritage and the fact that in the summer he gets extremely dark. It was a never ending campaign to keep strife built up in our family and tension between Brandon and Roger. Looking back on the big picture...his daddy was insecure and knew that Roger would be, could be and was a better father to his son than he CHOSE to be...not that he could not be a good father...he chose not to be one.
Brandon longed to have a great relationship with his daddy and to be daddy's little boy. Instead, he became his daddy's girlfriend...who became his wife after a number of years together...her "little boy". I do not know how bad things would have gotten if it were not for her. She would come by on his daddy's Friday to pick him up and brought him back home on Sunday many times. She spent more time with him than his daddy did on the weekends that he was suppose to be spending with his father. She loved my son like he was her own and was extremely good to him. I will be eternally grateful to her for the genuine love that she showed then and still does to Brandon.
I cannot say enough times that God is a good God...He is merciful, He is faithful, He is a father to the fatherless and He is love. I grew to love and respect his daddy's girlfriend/wife in a new way...one that was full of forgiveness and appreciation because she had been the "other woman".She loved my son and she was good to him AND he loved her very much.
However, things were not as happy at home. Brandon became very defiant, angry, argumentative, rebellious and was determined to destroy my marriage to Roger. I cannot begin to tell you the number of times that we talked about, fought about and nearly divorced...not because we did not love each other but because of Brandon. He has admitted in recent years that he knew exactly what he was doing and he wanted us to get a divorce. Even though, he could not remember his daddy and I married...he said "what child doesn't want both their parents in the same house raising their own child". He said recently "I almost got what I wanted". But he has realized and apologized to Roger and myself for all the problems that he caused. He also said that "he missed out on the best daddy and great times with his Dad (Roger) because of his own daddy. HOW SAD IS THAT? THAT A CHILD WOULD HAVE TO MAKE CHOICES BETWEEN WHO HE IS GOING TO HAVE TO LOVE OR NOT LOVE!
There were daily (or many times a week) fights in our home...it seem more like a war zone instead of a home. I always felt like I was stuck in the middle of my husband and my son. There were so many times that I felt that Roger was being unfair to his stepson when I felt he would not have treated his own son the same way (and did not later on when we had one together but they are two totally different children too). But there were just as many times that Brandon was in the wrong. I cried, I begged, I threatened, I avoided them, I prayed (many, many times), I wished I had not gotten married, I wished I had not ever had children, I wished that I could disappear and let them fight to one of their deaths (not really but it felt like it at that time), and I actually left a couple of times on the weekend to "run away" from it all.
When Brandon was gone to his daddy's or Roger was out of town...everything was great. Do not get me wrong...everyday was not like this but as Brandon got older...it was more and more frequent. I knew that Brandon was hurting inside but it was not until many years later that I realized just how bad he had been hurt and the rejection that he felt. We had the discussion so many times that he could love two daddys but his daddy had instilled in him that he could not love them both and if he loved Roger (Dad) then he did not love him...he would have to pick which one he wanted to love, who's approval did he want the most and who did he want to be "daddy's little boy" the most. What a shame!
I get angry all over again just writing this and thinking about the selfish and munpilative things his biological father did. Do parents realize the damage that they are doing to their children when they use them as pawn in the game of jealousy, the game of anger and revenge, the game of bitterness and the game of just being selfish? If you are doing this right now with a child or your children....please, please...I beg you to stop. You cannot imagine the damage that you are doing to your child. You might be hurting the other parent but you are destroying your precious child! You are setting your child up for many years of pain, angry, rejection and unhappiness!!! No child should ever have to choose between parents!
James 3:16 For where you have envy and self ambition, there you will find disorder and every evil practice. (NIV)
Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath (anger): but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord
All of his daddy's tactics almost worked. He ruined so many days, nights and weekends because he polluted an innocent child's mind. He robbed an innocent child of the right to love all his parents, to have a happy childhood, to know what it was like to be loved and accepted by everyone and to love himself. You should never bad mouth the other parent to your child or in front of your child...did I manage to do this...."No" but I tried to reined it in as much as possible. That is something else that will come back to haunt you in the long run. Children are a better judge of character than most adults...let your children see each parent for what they really are, what they are made of, what they like about them, what they dislike about them and in the end...they will make the best judge of the other parent's character. You do not need to put the other parent down to make yourself look better...let your child love you for you and love the other parent for who they are. If you do this...your child cannot blame you later in life for ruining their relationship with the other parent.
Roger and I did everything that we could possibly do to insure that Brandon had a good childhood with many good memories as possible. Was it enough? At this moment in my life...I would have to honestly say "No"! Brandon is still hurting after all these years. I feel like it has affected him in so many areas of his life.
Was I the perfect, loving mother? Absolutely not! I was angry so much of the time, I was frustrated, I was depressed and I wanted to just plain quit...which was not an option either. There were many times that Roger and I would fight over Brandon and I told him on numerous occasions...."do not make me pick between you and my son...because you will lose", "God gave him to me to raise, love and protect at all cost and I will do just that...no matter what" and "I will not send him to his daddy's to live because I was a package deal when you married me...you wanted me and you got us both". Now, there were times that I threatened to send him to live with his daddy and once I actually took him to his daddy's for the night. He and I cried all the way to his daddy and I was back there the next day to get him. My heart still breaks to this day when I think of all that we all went through especially him...he was just a "little boy"!
We took family vacations each year, weekend trips as a family, got involved with him in sports and school...we tried to give him as normal of a childhood as possible. I am guilty of spoiling him because I was trying to make up for the things that were lacking in his life. Yes, he is rotten and it is all my fault. Would I change that? "No." Do I wish that I could go back and change so many things about his childhood? "Absolutely." Was much of it then and would it still be now...out of my control? "Absolutely."
I hold fast to God's Word and I know in time...God will restore to Brandon everything that his daddy robbed him of during his childhood, teenage years and even in his adult life. Please agree with me in prayer that God will heal Brandon's heart and spirit....to know that he is loved and accepted by his Heavenly Father...if by no one else on this earth loves and accepts him...but that is never going to be the case...because this mother loves her son with all her heart. I love you, Brandon!!!!
Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, (2) to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, (3) and provide for those who grieve in Zion to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mouring, and a garment of praise instead a spirit of dispair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. (NIV)
Psalm 9:10 Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. (NIV)
Psalm 27:10 Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. (NIV)
II Corinthians 4:8,9 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; preplexed, but not in despair; (9) persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (NIV)
Next 3 Enteries:
My Desire: A Child of Our Own
Very Successful Trip...Mommy On Board
Have a wonderfully blessed day!
Friday, June 26, 2009
We came back home from our honeymoon and started our new lives together. We went back to work and set up house as a husband and wife with an almost 5 year old son and two girls ages 12 and 10 that came over every other weekend. The neatest thing is that Roger and Brandon's birthdays are on the exact same day...April 13th.
It was a time that we had to get to know each other...me and the girls, Roger with my son, all the kids together and all of us...new family of 5...plus we were getting used to living together as a married couple. My son went to spend the night with my mother every Tuesday night because he went to pre-school in my former hometown and she would take him. This day was welcomed by both Roger and I...we didn't have much time alone with a 5 year old living with us and there was no guarantee that Brandon's father would come get him on his weekends either. That happended more times than I can possible tell you...a child sitting waiting with his bags packed and his daddy never show up or even call him. It still breaks my heart to this day to think about how it made him feel his whole life...to be rejected (for the most part) by his own father.
We were only married about three months when we took a trip to Satellite Beach, FL...a timeshare vacation that Roger and his ex-wife had planned before their divorce. We took all three children and flew to Florida. While we were there, we stayed at resort on the beach...the beautiful Atlantic coast where we went out at night, walked the beach and watched sea turtle come onto the shore, dig a large hole and laid their eggs. That was so awesome.
For 2-3 days, we drove into Orlando to Disney World, Sea World and MGM Studio which was a two hour drive...each way. We had a great time while we were there. It was a bonding time for all of us, however, things weren't always smooth sailing. One of his daughters and I had a huge disagreement (nice way of saying a fight) that was not pretty. Looking back...I was insecure in my relationship with his daughters and they probably saw me as a "2nd rate" replacement of their mother. The one thing that I said from the very beginning was that "I was not their mother, did not want to replace their mother but I wanted to be their friend". What you have to remember is these were girls who loved their mother and father plus their lives together (their divorce was sudden and blindsided the girls)...all of this was very, very hard for them. I spend many years feeling very insecure and uncomfortable when all the children were together for the weekend at our house. I felt like I was being watched, sized up, being reported back to their mother on everything that I did...right or wrong. There were times that I would be told "that's not the way my mom does it or my mom does not make me do that". As a single parent and extremely stressed, I became a "yeller" and they were not used to yelling. I have no excuse for it that justifies my "yelling" but my job was getting stressful and my ex-husband was being a real pain. So for me, emotions were running high. These are all things that I did not realize until many, many years later...actually, were a really big problem for me and that I had never dealt with. If you do not deal with your stress, negative feelings and emotions...they can haunt you many years down the road.
My ex-husband had emotionally destroyed me...I left that marriage and entered into a single motherhood life with no self-esteem, no self-confidence and had huge walls built up around myself as effort to protect myself. We always had a good relationship with the girls mother and step-father throughout their teenage years, but I cannot say the same for my son's father.
In the early years of our marriage, Brandon was very good with Roger and Brandon loved the attention that Roger gave him. Roger took time with him, played with him, coached his basketball team, his t-ball team and his football team. But step-parenting is hard, very hard work and even then, sometimes you get to a point of giving up and not trying anymore. To me the greatest thing you can give your child if he/she comes from a broken home is to support the other parent and their new spouse. You've always heard that the child is the one who suffers when there is tension between parents and/or step-parents...that is so true but it is also very hard on the step-parent. A child will usually love their parent inspite of their flaws but they do not have to love that step-parent, make that step-parents life easy and it can destroy your marriage if it is not controlled. This was a deadly combination with Roger, my ex-husband and myself for many, many years. It seems that my ex-husband had the opinion that "he did not want me but he was also going to make sure that I was not happy with anyone else either". As for the girls, their mother was always supportive or if she wasn't...she sure made us believe that she was:) No, seriously, I believe that we all tried really hard to work together...all 4 of us to help raise Roger's daughters. I can only imagine the difference it would have made in our lives, marriage, Roger and Brandon's relationship and in Brandon's life as a whole if his father had only been supportive.
I fully believe with all my heart that when a couple goes to get married and they are going to be blending families...they should have to take step-parenting classes/counseling, as well as, marriage counseling. It is hard, very hard...because they only part you have control over is yourself, your spouse and your home...you cannot change the other parent unless they want to be willing to work with you and your new spouse.
Next 3 Entries:
Mother or Referee
My Desire: A Child of Our Own
Very Successful Trip: Mommy On Board
Have a wonderfully blessed day!
Sunday, June 14, 2009
We drove for 6 hours after our wedding and reception to arrive at our cabin around 9 PM. It was a very rustic, two story, 4 bedroom, 2 bath cabin situated on a mountain side. It had a huge balcony that hung out over the side of the mountain and not another soul in sight. We got unpacked and settled it...one of the greatest things about the cabin was the only television was a tiny one in the entire cabin and only rabbit ears...which made the reception nearly impossible.
The next day, it was a crisp, but sunny day and we went hiking down the mountain, up the other mountain...we made many great pictures of the scenery and each other. We found a small lake with a waterfall coming out of the side of the mountain...that was so romantic and beautiful.
When we woke up on Monday morning, it had begun to snow the night before and we ended up with a big snowfall. It was absolutely gorgeous....pure white snow as far as you could see...in the trees, covering the ground...everything. I woke up to the sound of the snow sliding off the tin roof onto the balcony...it made a loud crashing sound and Roger in my face with the camcorder. It was just the first of many, many times...I had a camera in my face with Roger on the other side of it:) Just after we woke up, owner's wife brought our breakfast to us around 9 AM, it was homemade breakfast danish, still hot and with freshly made strawberry smoothie. It was delicious. It snowed all day long and into the night. We had a big fire in the fireplace...it fire was roaring...it was warm and toasty on the inside and snowing huge snowflakes on the outside. We turned on the floodlights outside and turned off the lights on the inside...it was beautiful. We turned the stereo on with the crackling fire...it was so romantic!!! Roger even had me go outside on the balcony, in my robe, feet just stuck in my shoes, stand in the snow, smiling and waving for the camera. That's my new husband...the shutter bug.
We enjoyed four days in our mountain cabin and as much as we missed our children....we didn't want to come home:) Life was simple and quiet in the mountains...but reality was we had three children waiting for us to come home plus we each had jobs and a new house....a new life for us was waiting for us to come home to.
These are a few pictures from our honeymoon trip. It was the greatest honeymoon!
Have a wonderfully blessed day!
Monday, June 8, 2009
Planning our wedding was actually fun compared to the first time that I got married. Our parents were not involved in anyway this time...it was all about what we wanted and what we could pay for. Our parents paid for both of our first weddings, so the second one was on us....I think that is just an "unspoken" rule, right?
Remember I told you that we did everything backwards, well this was no different. Roger took me to pick out my wedding dress...I tried some on, he looked at them and gave me his opinion. When we found one that we liked, Roger bought the dress for me. We went to picked out our own wedding bands together, looked at houses together, planned every aspect of our wedding...we did together. It was very relaxing and fun...if you can believe that. The entire planning of the wedding was all done together down to the smallest decision.
At first, we butted heads on what kind of wedding we were going to have...Roger wanted a quickie...justice of the peace type wedding...small with just immediate family and I wanted a real church wedding. This disagreement went on for several days and we both were standing our own ground on this one. His reason for the "quickie" wedding was...we've been there and done that already...so why go through all that again. My reason, (which by the way, won out)...was...yes, we have both had the whole church wedding thing before but this time it will be different for both of us. You live in a totally different state and the same people will not be at this wedding that was at our first wedding. BUT, my biggest reason was....if we ever had a child of our own...I want him/her to have family pictures of his/her parents getting married in the traditional way. I told him that his daughters would have the pictures of his and their mom's wedding and my son would have the pictures of mine and his dad's wedding. I felt very, very strongly about wanting traditional wedding pictures and memories to share with a child of our own...a child that we did not know if we would ever have or not. Well, being the compassionate, sweet, kind, loving and sentimental guy that Roger is....that won him over and he consented to having a church wedding.
After much discussion in regards to where we were going to live and go to church....together, we decided it would be best if we chose a place where we did not know anyone and get a start fresh. This way, we would have our new friends and would find a church that would be our church...not my friends and my church or his friends or his church. We began looking at houses half way between where he currently lived and where I had lived all my life. We purchased our first home just a couple of weeks before the wedding and Roger got all settled in. Two days before the wedding, Roger, Papa (his dad) and his brothers began to move most of my furniture and belongings to our new home. Roger's family was staying with him in our new home and would stay until Sunday, the day after the wedding, before leaving going back to South Carolina.
We had a discussion back early in our relationship as to what type of church would we go to...we came from completely opposite backgrounds. Roger was raised Methodist, married into the Lutheran church and when moved from South Carolina to Tennessee...he was an elder in the Presbyterian Church. I was born and raised Baptist and when I was 19 years old...started going to the Assembly of God church, which I later joined, in the town that I lived. So, churches were a big topic of discussion. It was funny how we narrowed down the possibilities of where we would visit once we got married...it was the process of what do you not want to be the worst and worked toward the one that we were both willing to try out. But until that time, we went to my church at the Assembly of God. After we were married, we did try out several denominations and went to one church for several months before I could not stand it anymore. I told Roger that I felt so spiritually dead and he asked me where did I want to go and I told him First Assembly of God. We have been there ever since:)
This is so precious, when one Sunday, Roger and his daughters came to church with me and being that it was different than what they were used too....his youngest daughter was intrigued by the people who raised their hands in worship during our praise and worship time. She went home and told her mom "it was so neat, Mom, because all those people kept trying to reach up and touch Jesus". Through the eyes of a child....that is what we are doing in the spirit...reaching out to touch Jesus.
The setting for our wedding was a Saturday afternoon at 2 PM, at the First Assembly of God in my hometown. It was a beautiful, sunny winter day on February 23, 1991. My matron of honor was my friend and the wife of the guy that introduced us and my bridesmaid was my now ex-sister-in-law. Roger's best man was his father and his older brother, Marty, as his groomsman. We used my best friend's daughter and my soon-to-be new niece, Leigh Anne, who was 3 years old as flower girls and my 4 year old son, Brandon, was the ring bearer. My sister, Lana, played the organ for us. Roger's mother and younger brother, Rex, are florist, who brought every piece of greenery and fresh flowers in the winter from South Carolina in a van with the air conditioner on. They nearly froze but the flowers were beautiful. I let "Nana" pick out and design my bouquet and all the other flowers. They did a fantastic job! My only brother, Jeff, and Roger's brother, Marty, served as our ushers and candle lighters. My brother also gave me away to become Roger's wife. My wonderful preacher, Bro. Bob officiated the ceremony. He along with his wife, Debi provided the music. Roger's daughters, Sommer & Ryan, along with his niece, Ashley and my niece, Ashley were all escorted out after the mothers by Roger's nephews, Perry and Blake and my nephew, Bret. We tried to incorporate nearly all family members into our wedding so how.
We wanted to honor our parents at our wedding, so as I entered the church being escorted by my brother...it was a very emotional time for me because my daddy was not there to see me finally happy and to give his little girl away....again:) The picture that was made of me coming down the aisle looks like I am very unhappy because I am crying but it was because of daddy and no other reason. I stopped and gave my mother a single white rose and kissed her. When Roger & I exited...I stopped and gave his mother a single white rose and a kiss too.
The song that is playing now, "Always" by Atlantic Star was the song that Roger swears is 2 hours long because we lit our unity candle during the song and "gazed" into each other's eyes for the remainder of the song. It was a very long song....almost 5 minutes. It was just about to get comical...we started talking to each other to pass the time. But, it is a great song. We also had "Endless Love" by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross.
Our wedding day was magical! The best part of the entire ceremony was when Bro. Bob pronounced us...Mr. and Mrs. Roger W*********.
It was small but yet large enough, formal but yet not too formal, relaxing, enjoyable and nothing was rushed. It was so special because we planned every aspect of it and it just said "us". We got to spend plenty of time with our friends after the wedding....it was just perfect! The groom's cake was chocolate with chocolate icing...it has two tennis rackets that were crossed and it said "Advantage Roger"! I had a beautiful, three tier bride's cake with sparking cider in beautiful crystal goblets that Roger's mom gave us. It was funny because on the wedding video...you could hear and see me asking Roger..."what's in this glass?" I thought surely it was white wine and I was about to die...total panic. His mother overheard me and said "it's ok, Jennifer....it's only cider" Whewwwwwwwwww!!!!!!
The other funny thing was....my baby boy's shoes were too small and did not have time to exchange them...so he is in one of the pictures below with his shoes off...he kept saying "my feet hurt". God love him!My cousin along with the help of my brother and few others...decorated Roger's Ford Explorer...really, really good! I thought he was going to have a stroke. They took the aisle markers and attached them to the grill on the front...looked just like a casket spray!! So after we left the church, we drove 20 miles and he had to stop to wash his truck, well, actually, scrub it...after we went to Wal-Mart to buy stuff to clean it with...on the way to our honeymoon!!!!!
We had rented a mountain cabin that was like a bed and breakfast for our honeymoon. They would bring homemade breakfast with fresh fruit and juice. It was a 6 hour drive to the cabin and it was the first day of Desert Storm. We talked all the way to the cabin and listened to the radio but we always kept going back to was how enjoyable our wedding was. It was just like we had hoped and planned it would be. The was one of the happiest days of my life.....it was magical with my prince charming, the love of my life, my heavenly knight in shining armor, my helper and my best friend by my side. I love you, Roger!
I love the wording in the different translations...KJV, NIV and The Message
Genesis 2:24 - For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. (NIV)
Genesis 2:24 - Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife. They become one flesh. (Message)
Matthew 19:4-6 - "Haven't you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ (5)and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? (6)So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (NIV)
Matthew 19:4-6 - And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, (5) And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? (6) Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Mini Wedding Album....yes, I cut my bangs the week before the wedding....too short....but it was 17 years ago...go ahead, laugh...I do:) My, my...we looked young! Sorry, but my scanned pictures don't have good color quality.
Brandon is the little boy in the pictures, Roger's daughters...my new stepdaughters, Sommer & Ryan and my mother with Brandon. You can click on the picture to enlarge it.
Next entry: The Honeymoon