August 20, 2010

And So It Goes: At Six Months

January 25 2010
Today I realized - as I watched the millions of unique snowflakes fall to the ground - that there are new possibilities on my horizon and I am truly excited about them. Some aren't what I expected or even hoped for, and others are better than I could have dreamed. God is so good.
And so is tomato soup.

January 30 2010
I am very full of happy - because I know the right One is out there somewhere. Maybe he likes tomato soup.

February 1 2010
Today I: Said, "Yo" to one of my favorite people. Yes I would say progress was made on a number of fronts.




February 10 2010
I was able to text with Tomato Soup. *wink*

February 13 2010
Since it's Valentine's Day tomorrow, I was thinking of some random things I love today:
- Tomato soup
- Plaid (particularly if its a button down with the sleeves rolled up... just sayin')
- Facebook
- Planning a missions trip to Ethiopia
- Chucks
- "Whatever It Is" by Zac Brown Band
- Crisp, verdant, green grass
- Men who are scruffly on purpose
- Men who COMMUNICATE
- Honesty, integrity, and reliability
- When a man sings into your ear while you're dancing
- Marathon texting (or chatting) with your crush

February 13 2010

This song is on constant repeat in my head right now. That is all.







I'll find the map and draw a straight line
Over rivers, farms, and state lines
The distance from 'A' to where you'd be
It's only finger-lengths that I see
I touch the place where I'd find your face
My fingers in creases of distant dark places

I hang my coat up in the first bar
There is no peace that I've found so far
The laughter penetrates my silence
As drunken men find flaws in silence
Their words mostly noises
Ghosts with just voices
Your words in my memory
Are like music to me

I'm miles from where you are,
I lay down on the cold ground
I, I pray that something picks me up
And sets me down in your warm arms

After I have travelled so far
We'd set the fire to the third bar
We'd share each other like an island
Until exhausted, close our eyelids
And dreaming, pick up from
The last place we left off
Your soft skin is weeping
A joy you can't keep in

I'm miles from where you are,
I lay down on the cold ground
And I, I pray that something picks me up
and sets me down in your warm arms

February 15, 2010


I have lamented countless times about how much I love the snow... Today I feel refreshed. Reborn. Sort of like the new white blanket of snow outside, covering the world's mistakes and past promises. Perhaps one of the reasons I love the snow so much is because it symbolizes a cleansing. Pushing the restart button.

And dang if I don't want to tell you more about the restart button my heart is trying to press! Except, I'm hesitating because this one feels... different. Wholly, entirely different. This one (Tomato Soup) has been under my nose since September, slowly growing into a new best friend. One who roots me on constantly, one who uses WORDS. One of the most freakin' awesome men I have ever met. Ever. Then one day in January (around about the time I knew The Viking was NOT for me), I woke up.

Looked out at the blanket of snow in front of me.

The earth looked new. All of the feelings I'd been trying to force (not that I realized it at the time) with the other two men I've dated since my divorce were coming on their own now. In fact, I couldn't hold them back.

So, I'm taking my time here. Pushing that button. Starting new. Because holy shit it's scary. This one is... different.

February 16 2010

I made curtains for Mabel's windows. Just hours after finishing the project, I traded texts with Tomato Soup. I bragged on my productivity, telling him that I'd cleaned the house and made curtains. He promptly called me an overachiever, which made me smile.

February 23 2010

Last weekend I had a date. A date with the most awesome, almost-best friend guy I've been crushing on for months (aka: Tomato Soup). There were some really amazing fireworks (and that is SO putting it mildly).He rang the front doorbell when he picked me up. In a flash, 3 little people rushed to the windows.

"He has brown hair and glasses!" Andy declared.

"And a white shirt on!" Trevor said.

Mabel and her curls just bounced on the couch beside the sitter.

They have never so much as seen any man I've ever been on a date with, but as I said before, this one is so very clearly different. I wasn't sure how the pick up was going to go down, but I wasn't worried. No way. Not with this guy. Even though he didn't come all the way inside for formal introductions (plenty of time for that yet), he was aware of them glued to the window pane, just as they were aware of him. And all of us were smiling.

He stood at the door with a big smile on his face and a sparkle in his green eyes. In his hands were a dozen red roses.

And I died. So today... I am still SMILING. I can't help it!





February 25, 2010

And then, me. People, I am good. I am good in a way I haven't been for so long that I don't know how to function some days. Gosh that sounds drastic. Let me try another way of explaining: both Becky and Min have commented on my general disposition recently.

Said last night: "You were never like this in Ohio, Dude. Never this happy. Even when you were happy, you weren't happy like this. You never called me to gush like this. This is who you are, right here!"

Also this: "SQUEE! I'm so happy for you! It's about time! What I love most is that when you tell me things, I have a hard time differentiating between when you speak and when [Tomato Soup] speaks. You two speak the same language. He GETS YOU. And, Honey, [you are not dreaming] you are blissfully awake."

There has been a shift of something inside of me. Something has clicked into place. Feels like the hand of God, knitting things together. It's incredibly scary but I don't feel afraid. I feel HOME.

February 28, 2010

I feel like brand new things are growing in my life, things I want to nurture and bathe in sunlight. Things I want to see raise out of the ground, healthy and verdant, to untwist and face the sun. It's time to mosey this snow right on out of here. Bring on the green. Green = LIFE.

Actually, I have to say that if the sunlight and green could start tomorrow that would be great, but I wouldn't actually wish to speed up time. No way. I want to soak up every moment possible these days.

I hung out with Tomato Soup yesterday. Such an odd but amazingly good thing to feel like we have been dating for months without either of us realizing it. It is a happy, happy thing we have. Real and tangible. A little scary but so freaking worth it. Full of LIFE.

Truth be told, I am falling for his green eyes. Well, that and the fact that after dinner, we had the most comfortable conversation while he hand-washed every dish as I watched from across the room. Really. Stood there in front of the sink looking unbearably handsome and all covered in suds. MERCY. How did he know dishes were the way to a girl's heart?

March 5 2010

Tomato Soup and I were talking last night about how we got to the spot we're sitting in. Months of best-friending, learning to rely on one another - yes, absolutely. Months of attraction that we (mostly I) accidentally ignored. Clear, constant communication - openness, honesty and humor. But that's not really what got us to where we are.

Faith did. God's fate. His plan. He knew. He knew there was a man in South Dakota with his own puzzle pieces that fit precisely with mine. He knew that my life (and the little people in it) would be understood by this man. He knew that his life (ditto) would be understood by me. We just needed time to find the path toward each other and hearts open enough to allow it to happen.

After a divorce so many people recoil; they shrink back and are too afraid of the hurt to try again. It makes sense, after all. You've already had the shit kicked out of you by love once. Except that I never really found that a very pleasant way to live - a shell of a person, resigned to be lonely forever. I am an ALL IN person. I knew that I wasn't done... knew that God made me to love and be loved - in a healthy and wholesome way. I knew that God wanted better for me than I had. I just had to be patient and have faith.

Man it's freaking awesome when you feel faith's reward! I can't NOT feel it right now. Every moment is sunlight. Green. New. Some lyrics come to mind - Kutless, of course.


I've seen dreams that move the mountains,
Hope that doesn't ever end
Even when the sky is falling.
And I've seen miracles just happen,
Silent prayers get answered,
Broken hearts become brand new.
That's what faith can do


That's the best way to say how I'm feeling today. My broken heart hasn't healed. Nope. It's completely brand new.

March 9 2010

Tomato Soup met the kids last week. Oh yes. Officially. They adore him (it's mutual).
Tomato Soup danced with Mabel in the kitchen while I cooked dinner. I had to take a moment and deliberately NOT cry. It was incredibly touching. Then she picked a booger and tried to eat it.


March 15 2010

This past weekend was wonderful. On Saturday, Tomato Soup +1 joined us. Four kids bounced all over my house, shouting and being sweet. We gals played Barbies and the boys played Wii until almost midnight. And when I say "shouting" - Dude, words cannot express the decibel level achieved in my living room. Tomato Soup and I glanced at each other a number of times with smiles on our faces. There are FOUR of them. Four of them and two of us and it is AWESOME.

We are 6 peeps. It feels exactly right. God is so good. All the time.

March 19 2010

I am finally tearing down the walls around my heart. I didn't realize that I'd put any up, but now that things with Tomato Soup are boiling (seriously - time for a new code name for Soup*, Guys), I can feel them coming down. I feel vulnerable again, but its exactly right.

Soup* spent time in my arms and in my kitchen. He did dishes in my sink. We made plans to go to a lake cabin this summer and ride jetskis. Fish with the boys and let the girls (I totally DID just say "girlS"!) build sandcastles on the beach. Bonfire, s'mores, guitar... the enormously fantastic and God-filled starry sky of Da Plains. Ahhhhh.... can't wait.

March 19 2010

After I filed for divorce and dealt with the dark and murky drama of that ordeal, I knew that I would find true love. You know, in the form of a HEALTHY, lasting relationship. God designed me to love someone and to be loved by someone. I felt better knowing that there was someone out there looking for me, too. It was hard to keep believing, but I managed to do it. Worshipped while I waited... tried so hard to be patient.

Somewhere along my path back toward love, I was cataloging photography one night in my mom's den and I came across Jessica Claire photography. I fell in love with her style and focus on engagement sessions. I thought about how to apply some of her technique into my everyday photography. I watched one session play and listened to the song Jessica had chosen to accompany her images. It was called "Green Eyes" by Coldplay. I'd never heard it before. I watched each image tick by, saw how Jessica captured the exact moment that the guy proposed and the look on the girl's face when she flung herself into his arms. It was perfect. That song planted itself in my soul, I think.

Days later I couldn't stop thinking about it. So I downloaded it onto my iPod. And I can tell you without a doubt that I have listened to that song almost every single day since. I sang that song to myself in the dark with tears streaming down my face. I sang that song driving through Minnesota on my way to visit Lulu. And again to haul our UHaul here because God was telling me to move. And again back and forth to deal with the drama with Shoes. That song has lasted years now. Its lyrics have lived inside of me.Even now I listen to it every night before I go to sleep. It's exactly what I've needed for so long.

B* has green eyes. And I no longer have a load, of any kind.








March 24 2010

Sigh. I have become one of those people. You know, the kind that gushes about their boyfriend with such fervor that your breakfast starts to backfire on you? Yep, that's me.

On the phone, I gush. I gush about his priorities, about how he's considerate and shares his feelings openly, how he washes my dishes and plays with the kids, how he lifts me up and gives me confidence every single day, about his charming and gentle nature, and about his absolutely gorgeous shoulders (you know, just to name a few things).

In the face of all of this barf-speak, I am not deterred. I am so completely in love with this man that I cannot see or speak or hear or breathe sometimes. My most very favorite part is that HE is EVERY BIT as mushy as I am and he is not afraid to tell me exactly what is on his mind or in his heart.

The kids have noticed a difference in me as well. More quality time with them. Quality time with them with B. Just the other day I told B that being with him has made me a better mom. Allowed me to look at my kidlets from another perspective, to appreciate them more. And of course me being happier than I think I've ever been in my life doesn't hamper the ability to parent so much either. A smile on mom's face goes a long way.

March 24 2010

You know, despite the fact that I'm all gushing about the love and my hunky dunky these days, I do actually still have a full time job and 3 full time kids and a full time house to keep going. [As a side note, I absolutely adore how writing that previous sentence does not intimidate or worry me one iota... because I now have someone lifting me up, caring right along with me. THIS is what a partnering RELATIONSHIP must feel like! God is soooo good.]

March 29 2010



Balls were flying through the air left and right. Neighbors were commenting on the giggles coming from the front yard. Even Moo got in on the action from her favorite perch.
Impromptu dodgeball on a random weekend morning? That's the big Q right there, Folks.
An answer to prayer. Seriously.

March 31 2010

I have a jeans thing. A holey jeans thing. And boy oh boy, do I ever LOVE IT.

Two years ago it occured to me that I needed to loosen up about future (love) plans. I used to think that Brooks Brothers suits were attractive and powerful, for example. That's really all I knew for a long time. It was two years ago that I got more realistic and began to realize that those suits were incredibly uptight and fake, and that I'd been ignoring some possibilities. In fact, I specifically decided that I preferred a man who had character instead. Values. Priorities. Maybe punk ass hair, a scruffly face, or clear, piercing eyes. Someone just living life the way God intended him to live it, happy in his own unique skin. Not interested in overwhelming wealth or labels or selfishness. I wanted someone who could carry himself all powerful and confident with holes in his jeans instead of depending on a suit. Am I making sense?

Guess what.


I was so completely right. Turns out, character abounds with the holey jeans. Values and priorities, too.



Plus, I'm not going to lie. They're also really HOT.

B flipped through the photos on my hard drive the other night and stopped when he saw his knee. He laughed and grinned at me. I tried to explain it to him, but instead he just smiled and let me be silly. I love his knees. I love his holey jeans and his scruffly chin and his hands and his heart. I love his values and priorities. I very much love every ounce of his character.

I didn't really go into this new part of my life looking for any of that; I went into it with an open heart and an open mind - and God did the rest.

April 13 2010

I have to gush (shocked, aren't you?) for a quick sec. When B arrived, I was pulling the brisket out and putting the potatoes in the oven. I literally blinked and felt him behind me in the kitchen, lifting the pan for me, holding the oven open, and basically finishing the meal at my side. He doesn't have to ask what I need, he just DOES IT. Doesn't miss a beat. I felt an overwhelming peace that afternoon. B isn't a guest anymore. He's my other part. He set the table, entertained the kids, and stood at my sink and washed my dishes by hand when we were finished. Judy's mouth was hanging open, watching him wash those dishes. He didn't think twice about it.

April 15 2010

Can I get a show of hands: how many have been reading my rambling long enough to recall that I specifically said a year ago that I knew God would send me a guy who could bench press Andy? I did. I totally said that. Actually, I said The One can bench press Andy and clean a toilet. (Not that it was some magic qualifier, but I have always known the right man would fit our whole family exactly as he should, and bench pressing Andy seemed like a good way to turn that into a metaphor at the time.)

Love God. So, so much. He is one smart dude.


This is when the blog becomes a rear view mirror. I love it when the blog becomes a rear view mirror. Going back and rereading is so much fun sometimes. You find out that sometimes, you had it right. Sometimes, you are reminded that faith will prevail and you'll end up with exactly what God knows that you need.

April 19 2010


The picture is enormous and I can't figure out how to make it smaller. My brain is failing me. The happy is also enormous and I'm not trying to make it smaller. Can't. No way. Can you tell by looking? Tee hee.

April 20 2010


April 22 2010

Going to see this guy with my guy.

I surprised B with tickets for his birthday. CANNOT. WAIT. B has promised to wrap his plaid clad arms around me and sing into my ear. I have promised to dance in a cowboy hat and tight jeans. It's allllll goooooood.


April 26 2010

At church yesterday, we had an amazing lesson on faith.From the book of James:
2Consider it pure joy... whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 12Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

April 28 2010

One night several weeks ago, back when B was still Tomato Soup on the ole' blog, we were texting. We were both talking about how one day we blinked, and we were us. Both of us a package deal - me with my 3, and him with his 1. That made 6.

Then came the cutest text from him: "We might have to get a Suburban at this rate. We are 6 peeps! That rules!"

And my return text: "Babe, I've got it covered. My truck seats 8."

Who knew that this entire time, perhaps WE are the reason I needed that big ass truck in the first place? Just here, in South Dakota and all... Needless to say, he hadn't realized. He was excited and lamented on for several more texts about how that was yet another reason to love me. Or something. (Bucket queue right there.) Sorry. Guess you had to be there.

My subpoint?This past weekend, we 6 went to the circus in my truck. We all fit quite nicely. We all fit quite nicely. (Mmm...Love that.) The entire time we drove back and forth to the circus, then to the grocery store, I kept thinking of that night we texted. I thought about how full my heart and our lives are now: of this man I love, of all four of the amazing children in my truck, and I gave thanks to God.

April 29 2010



There are moments when I look over at him and can't believe he's the same guy that I fell in love with so many months ago. Not that I even knew it at the time, but I was so smitten with him.

I work with B and see him every day. I remember the day he started at our company. I remember adding his picture to the New Hire slide of our townhall presentation that month. I'd see him in the halls and I was mesmerized. Genuinely nice, a KILLER smile, and eyes that made me feel like I'd been hit with electricity when he looked back at me.

Over those first few weeks I found reasons to be out and about in the plant, accepting new projects that would require his assistance. We talked. Joked. Flirted. Actually, I wasn't sure we were flirting; my attenae had been "off" for so long that it took me a bit to realize it was the real thing. This is the part where he would roll his eyes if I were telling you this over dinner and a glass of Pinot Noir. He would add that he was finding reasons to be near me and flirting so hard he nearly sprained something. He would also tell you that I was paying him very little attention.

It was over MONTHS that I went into my friend's office and said, "Does this sound like flirting?" I'd rehash a conversation or a smile and she'd just shake her head. "He likes you back, Rachel." But I was too bullheaded to believe it. Really? I even went so far as to date someone else during that time, so sure that B was just a friend. Or at least dating someone else, I mean, how on earth could a guy that amazing be single? Because he was patiently waiting for me, going home at night to tell his friends about the girl in the office.

Silently, I liked him. More than that, honestly. It seemed crazy, but I couldn't stop thinking about him. Being around him made me feel incredible. He was always so supportive, so genuine. I fell in love with every ounce of his character. And I always left his side all swoony and gooey. So I prayed about him. Often. And every day we got closer. To hear B tell his side of those gooey weeks when we were dating without realizing it would stop your heart, its so sweet.

It was sometime around the middle of January that I finally woke up and looked around and realized he was smiling back at me. It took me long enough. As soon as I knew, I KNEW. From then on, we have been US. Plain and simple. Both of us, all in.

Sometimes I look at him in awe. Look over at him on the couch or in the truck and literally can't believe he is that guy I've been searching for. That same guy that had me mesmerized for months. Holy shit, he's really real. He really was searching for me, too... waiting until our time was right. And he loves me back... like, a lot!

And then I think of how easy it would have been for both of us to be too afraid to take that first step... each of us having survived things in our pasts. But we could both feel the ember burning all those months ago, low and warm and REAL. So we put the fear aside, reached for one another's hands, and went after the happy. All in. Balls to the wall. Go big or go home.

I can't let myself dwell in awe, though. My breath catches in my throat and the blessings overwhelm me. It's usually then that he catches me looking at him and smiles. And I faint.

Love is an amazing, amazing thing. Just something I was thinking this morning. Hope you're all feeling blessings overwhelm you, too.

May 5 2010

I've been spending a lot of work time next to my homeboy lately. New project. So fun. I forgot how good he smells when I stand next to him, how we don't always agree (never have, but it still works), how I am somehow capable of paying attention to the words coming out of his perfect lips while feeling all warm and dizzy at the same time, how much I respect how brilliant he is, and how I can see in his green eyes how very much he supports me ... DANG it feels so inspiring to work with him. I LOVE it. It fills me up.

May 7 2010

So, this morning I put the kids in the truck to head to school/sitter's house. Unfortunately, my truck did not want to go. Seems that last night when I ran out to grab Jack Johnson's En Concert CD from my CD player, I did not remove my keys from the ignition... and she sat all night leaking power. After a quick call to a friend, he and my hunky dunky had the kids to school and me jumped in no time. What started as a tremendous pain in the ass turned into quite the delight for my heart. It's not every Friday at 8:15am that I get a kiss from the love of my life.

May 10 2010

Mother's Day itself brought fresh coffee, waffles, and strawberries. We all went to church together and I stood, holding hands with my God guy while singing DCB's "How He Loves Us." Literally a dream come true, that moment. And... AND... after lazing about the couch and watching movies all evening, we had some yummy lasagna (which we made together) and READ THE BIBLE TOGETHER. Seriously. Best Mom's Day ever.

I received my usual favorite handmade cards from the children. Got me all gooey. But this year I had one more than I expected. B had gotten me a card, too. In it, he thanked me for being the exact mom that I am, and for sharing who I am with my children. The card was about appreciating the minor chaos of a family... him, me, kids, and crazy... and he wouldn't change a thing. I was floored, People. The card played one of my most favorite songs.

















May 11 2010

So it makes sense to me why I called B 'Tomato Soup' on the blog for months, but I realized I never explained it. Aside from the comfort factor of his soul anywhere near mine (barf if you must), it began with some email passing after I returned from lunch one day. I had tomato soup and he commented about it. Then he kept commenting about it to the point where I was sure he had to be flirting. And so the tomato soup reference continued until the day when the sky broke open, the snow melted, and I woke the hell up. On that day I knew what I had to do. I went to the store and bought some tomato soup and the next day, I took it to work with me.

The next morning I got out a blank notecard and was deciding on what prose to include. Something like, 'I saw this and thought of you...' I wanted it to be appropriately friendly but with a coy bit of flirt, too. Just then my phone rang and it was B. We were knee-deep in one of our projects together and he had a question for me. Instead of answering it over the phone (here we go!), I told him to stay put (balls to the wall!), and I would be right up to his office. I threw the notecard in the trash, grabbed the soup can, and marched myself all the way through the plant and up the wooden stairs that led to his office. In retrospect, I wasn't nervous. I was certainly anxious, but never nervous. I was SURE.


I walked in and closed the door behind me. The soup was hiding behind the stack of papers in my hand, papers that I noticed were suddenly trembling just a tad. He was wearing one of my favorite shirts - the navy blue AE polo, with his radio cable curled around the collar. Had his glasses on, too, and I nearly lost my balance from swooning. We chatted about our project and then I told him that I had something for him. In a very bold and Rachelish move, I slammed the metaphoric GREEN LIGHT can of tomato soup down on his desk. "I saw this and it made me think of you." He smiled. I smiled. We went back to our conversation and I stopped trembling.


That was the moment. Right there, when he had to know that I was finally paying attention. And it worked. Thank God he was patient.


And so it seemed poetic on Sunday as we stood in the kitchen and he asked me how he could help. My hands were chopping and I said, "Stir the soup?" And so he did. He stirred my tomato soup. I thought about how long we've been together. A few months equal to a lifetime of possibility for both of us. Like the soup simmering on the stove, so was our love waiting to be enjoyed. It took us so long to find each other, after all. Full circle right there, Folks.


It was extra precious this morning when I walked up those same wooden steps to his office and handed him some of the soup for lunch today. Still not nervous, but still very SURE. Man, I love me some tomato soup. A very lot.

May 11 2010

One evening way back when, B and I were chatting on Facebook. Flirting was amped up to like, 1000%. He was strumming his guitar while we chatted. First, Keith Urban's "Stupid Boy" and then Jack Johnson.

At the time, I couldn't remember who Jack Johnson was. He begged me to look up "Better Together" and "Constellations," which I did. Of course (and any of you who know and love Jack would understand this...) upon hearing the first few bars I immediately recognized him. He's the Curious George guy!

Since that time, B and I have listened to a lot of Jack together. Made plans to go see him in concert one day. We have danced beneath God's blanket of stars above us. We have danced in his living room, me in his arms, and his voice singing Jack's poetic words into my ear. And I love it. I love it that B associates God's blanket of stars and Jack's lyrics with our story.

May 16 2010


May 17 2010

On Saturday, B brought all of his yard equipment to my house. He wanted to do something nice for me. Now, if you're like me you are thinking, 'didn't he just drop a flippin' alternator into your truck?' Why yes he did. Except this God Guy doesn't think like that. Primarily, he thinks about making me happy. But he also loves grass. I mean loves grass. And trees and leaves and plants. He's a walking horticulture encyclopedia, my Homeboy.


And Dear B: Every time I think it's not possible to fall more in love with you, you go and do something like this. To think that you continue to look for ways to care for me and lift me up is such a blessing. That your particular talents and expertise fit so precisely with my needs and wants is a God thing. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of it. For not doing it for yourself. For looking so handsome while you were doing it. For including and teaching my kids how to care for their mom and show love, for taking care of the living stems in my yard, and for teaching my heart how NOT to beat alone. I will break my neck to do every bit of this right back for you every day. So much love for you, Babe.

May 18 2010

I wrote about B's green eyes already. So, so amazing. When I look into them, I see a world of growing possibility - just like the green grass itself. And yes, I still listen to this lovely song every night and say prayers of thanks for him. Gotta love some Coldplay.


And Dear B: Thank you for taking care of business for me today while I suffered through a seven hour meeting. Can't wait to cook and serve dinner to the poor with you tomorrow. And I especially love that you told me about saying your prayers before you go to bed. Love you to the stars.

May 19 2010




May 20 2010

"Are we going to go outside?" I asked him, after the kids were asleep.

"We are absolutely going to go outside," said B. I picked up my FAVORITE orange blossom blanket I thrifted in Kentucky and the first quilt I ever made by pattern, and he carried the Pinot.

When I opened the back door, I took a moment to allow my eyes to adjust to the night sky. I spread out the blanket on the soft grass and laid the quilt on top. B sat the wine glasses down. We absolutely used our Google Sky Map app to find some constellations before finally laying back to look up at the blanket above us.

"Sometimes I still feel like someone should pinch me," he said, as he looked into my eyes.

There were plenty of soft kisses. The best talking ever. We turned on our sides and faced each other, and then there was more eye staring and giggling. You can bet I laughed loud enough to scare the cat next door. Which made him laugh.

There was love.

And Dear B: You have the most amazing integrity. I am proud to call you mine every day, but especially today. And thank you for plugging in my phone last night; little bits of kindness all the time from you. And yes I was serious when I said your forearms are blogworthy.

May 21 2010

And Dear B: Thank you for the most amazing weekend. Your grandmother may be one of the most amazing women I've ever met; I can't wait to surround myself with her spirit again. I do very wish I could have met your dad. You're right; he would have loved me! And I so wish that MY dad could have taken you fishing. Thanks for dancing with me in the kitchen again. And thanks for saving my heart.

May 28 2010



I finally bought myself a pair of gray Chucks about a year ago. I wear them all the time. Wore them on my first date with B. Wear them to work on casual Fridays. Actually, I've worn them with a skirt, too. I love them.

Imagine my surprise when B told me that he bought himself a pair of gray Chucks a couple of weeks ago. They are the hottest shoes, ever. I know that sounds ridiculous, but they represent such character and style and his overall frame of mind. He is about as laid back as they get, but also the most aggressive person I know. He is the perfect juxtaposition.

And Dear B: Yesterday you texted me at the exact moment my heart needed you. You told me that you were proud and encouraged by my strength. Then you said you loved me so much. It hit me where it counts, Homeboy. Thank you for taking me out for a drink to relax after my drive. And for busting out your 'game' while we played pool; I love it when you woo me. I have a feeling you'll never stop. And, Dude, the shoes? Wicked good 'game' right there. I'm allll yours!

May 31 2010

B and I have been nearly inseparable since Thursday. Such important conversation. So many comfortable, perfect, everyday moments. He's at work this morning to take care of some things before we leave for our vacation. Say what? Yes, you most certainly DID hear me correctly. OUR vacation. We leave Wednesday for 5 days. We're borrowing a convertible, going to hold hands and chat for umpteen hours and listen to crazy cool music, and we'll see Brad while we're gone.

May 31 2010

Those who have read my blog for years will understand the importance of this.We played the jukebox the other night while playing pool and B selected this song. He told me to listen to the lyrics, that it made him think of me. And so I did. And you bet your ass I teared right the heck up, too. Love that Homeboy. Sneaky God guy.


















June 7 2010

My cowboy and I are back from vacay. It was most amazing.

We:
Slept in every single day
Laughed with Judy about childhood stories
Had awesome hashbrowns at IHOP
Learned how to use the Footprint app
Took turns driving (though he did take over on the way home, all chivalrous and stuff)
Car-danced to the Hollywood Undead
(I) Met his brother for the first time
Had a lot of Mexican food
Stood FOUR FEET from Brad Paisley wailing on his guitar
Teared up listening to love songs
Teared up telling stories
Teared up being honest and letting honest in
Held hands for about 40 hours
Had 2 shots after a Mudhens Baseball game
Drove 1,685 miles
Listened to Brian Wilson
Fell more in love
Had sashimi for the first time
(He) Fought off 2 attack horses and endured friendly interrogation from BeckAY (he so totally passed)
Missed 2 tornados and severe devastation by HOURS (Judy and the kids are fine, in case you've been watching the news)
Finally had a real, actual and for-true shoot before the concert, wherein I learned that B can actually be a little shy when I'm looking through the lens... but he promised to practice anytime I want..


And honestly? I will need hours and hours of practice staring at this. Perfecting the way I adore him. The smile, the gruff, the eyes... and oh holy shit, the hat. I was a puddle of mess, People.

Dang I love this cowboy.

And Dear B: Thank you doesn't cover what it meant to stand, holding your hand, Back Where We Were From. I love you doesn't cover what is in my heart or head for you anymore at this point. I would throw myself in front of a turbo orange beetle for you. Thank you for trusting me behind my lens and looking me in the eyes while I captured the beautiful you that I see. And I adore that you couldn't wait to see me at lunch today, just to spill about your morning... you called me your best friend this weekend and you meant it. Hit me in the heart, Smalls. Know what else? You standing beside the staircase today and saying,"y'all" twice? Yeah, that more than doubled the love in my heart for you. Just like when I wiped your bogey the other day. That is the real deal.

June 9 2010

B and I started out that morning having breakfast with Judy, where she told him the story of how my dad gave me a spanking with a 6" ruler when I ate a Fruit Loop off of the floor (another time, People...). We laughed until we cried. Well, I did. In fact, B said he had never seen so many tears of laughter fall from my eyes before.

After breakfast and hugs, B and I headed south to see Becky. Just another 2 hours together in the car. Talking and holding hands. And actually, while B knew my story already, I shared more detail than I ever had during that drive. He spilled more details on his story, too. Doubled the love on that drive, we did. Didn't plan it; it just happened.

We arrived, hugged, and unpacked. Kicked our shoes off. Becky immediately said something about B's feet and stink. Which they did not. But it was kind of her to check with him about it.
After stretching, we got back into the car and went to Haiku for sushi with half a dozen friends. Not to be outdone by my first piece of sashimi, B had 20 rolls with smoked salmon. Such a trooper. Kind of hot watching him pop those rolls into his mouth without so much as even trying to use a chopstick, too. Stinker.

At one point, Beck took B next door to meet the two great danes she dogsits for. They were gone for 45 minutes. Apparently, the dogs disliked my homeboy and tried to eat him. Then he tried to escape into the dark laundry room only to slip on her friend's underwear (I know, right? BLECH.) All of this while she hammered him with dozens of questions about his intentions with her bestie (c'est moi). Homeboy passed with flying colors. Later he told me that her questioning did not bother him at all, but the altercation with the danes might have caused permanent scarring. Emotionally speaking, of course.

Later he also told me that he loved me twice as much as he did the day before. (Bucket check, yo!)

So lucky to have this man, willing to be eaten by dogs as big as horses and skid on a pair of nasty panties, just to prove his love for me.


June 10 2010

And Dear B: Yesterday you left our journal on the seat in my truck to surprise me. I rambled in it for a while and snuck it back in your lunchbox today. I may or may not have referenced hickies. Thank you for texting me early this morning after your Bible study, when God was fresh all over you. I love that you think of me then! Love you all the way, Baby.

June 11 2010

Yesterday was a unique day. Can't put my finger on it, but it was odd all around. Good odd. Just unique enough to grab our attention so that we could savor the day as it passed by. I think part of it is the continued realization of our lives clicking together more and more, of our love growing some really deep roots... some days you just feel it.Work was brutal and thick. Coarse, like swimming upstream. Homeboy is gaining more responsibility and with that comes a bigger headache. But he started the day with a men's Bible study, so his heart was full and his head was clear and ready for the challenge when the day began.

I drove to pick him up before dinner and couldn't settle on what music to listen to. Over and over I changed CDs, shuffled my discs until I landed on Neil Diamond. B told me once that "Forever In Blue Jeans" made him think of me, so I chose that song. The disc started to play just as I turned into his driveway. B was waiting for me outside and walked to the passenger side with a awe-struck look on his face. He opened the door and grinned so big. He proudly held up his phone, upon which was YouTube, playing "Forever In Blue Jeans" by Neil Diamond. On a whim he wanted to hear it and think of me, he had said. We wallered around in that moment for a while. So cool.





Dinner with his family was lovely. We shared a meal... ordered one thing and split it. Shared. Sat nearly on top of each other at the table. I mean, we were absolutely respectable, but so stinking obvious - our arms crossing each other, both of us holding on to the other's knee. At one point, he put his head on my shoulder. Kissed me on the cheek. We laughed. Talked with his sister and mother and daughter. Made plans to get together with them as 6 peeps. You know, I have never once been nervous with them. Really. Not ever even once. I've only ever just been ME. Such a satisfying feeling.

Back at my house, we danced in the kitchen. Then B wrote a poem for me. I thought of sharing it here (and he implied that I could) and maybe I will one day. But for now, it is all mine. Tucked away in my heart to hold with precious care. His eyes teared up as he wrote, as he talked. And then I read it and told him he had amazing "game." Dude doesn't even try and he has me in the palm of his hand. I was so touched.We talked about God a lot. I love it when we talk about God a lot. God and Bible study, God and our story, God and how wonderfully included in our relationship He is. How He is guiding us. He is in charge. Talked about a Bible verse he'd read. We faced our Death Dot (that fear that creeps in from past relationships, consumes you just long enough to know what you never want to take for granted).

June 14 2010



June 15 2010

And Dear B: Today I love you. More than yesterday and less than tomorrow. Did I tell you how great you look in red? Did I also tell you that, when we are walking through the halls at work all professional-like and bump elbows it sends a jolt of electricity through me? Can't wait to share your kitchen tonight. I plan on kissing you repeatedly. Hope you don't mind.

June 20 2010

Today, I am spending time with B and his daughter. It is lovely.I am also allowing myself, for the first time in YEARS, to really think about my dad. I finally feel like I have the backup needed (B) to let my guard down and miss him. Might be because I desperately want to introduce him to my dad. My dad would absolutely love B. Not just because they have hunting and fishing and dozens of other things in common, but because I know that B meets and exceeds what my dad's expectations were for a man in my life. No man has ever truly hit that mark.

And Dear B: Thank you for being the father that you are. It is absolutely one of my favorite things about you. All four of our children are blessed beyond measure to have you in their lives. Thank you for wanting to pass on the good that your father gave to you. Thank you for holding me as the sobs came, remembering my father's voice. You are right; Larry and Richard are both watching over us right now, pleased. Probably fishing together.

June 24 2010

And Dear B: Yesterday was important. Thank you for trusting me and letting me in. You will never be alone. Not only is the big JC always with you, so too is my love. Knuckles all in, Batman.

June 25 2010

And Dear B: Last night we wrote a note that I want to look at in 20 years. I love the K.

June 26 2010

B met Shoes. Oh yes he did. Walked right up and shook his hand. It was awkward, but it is the next step. Had to happen. And I couldn't be happier that B and I did this wholly important thing today.

And Dear B: Another road trip with you, one that involved some very important conversation. Thank you for always being there, for holding my hand and being so wonderful. Knuckles, Baby. That's spelled with two K's. Oh, and yes. We sat beside Kurt Warner, which was super cool.

June 29 2010

B and I are good. Rockin' awesome good. So good that we are making plans. I'm still going to protect those plans for now and not share just yet, but we're making them. Wholeheartedly. I promise to share soon. Point being, it has me thinking.

And Dear B: How I treasure our evenings of gazing, laughing, and listening to music. I love watching you continue to fall in love with my kids; last night was the full routine as 5. It was the bomb! And I love that you provided me a report of the new HD channels you have and included the Contemporary Christian radio station. You so know me.

July 9 2010




July 9 2010


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And Dear B: On top of a most important weekend as 5, I don't know where to begin about last night. Amazingly wonderfully awesome? Will that do for now? Thank you for losing it when we touch, for being completely disarmed around me. Thank you for knuckle bumping me during our discussion. Props to Neil and Jack and Brad for the music that backed up our plans and enabled kitchen dancing, and to the apple juice that came through in a pinch. I love that you want things simple. I love that you want things outside. I mostly love that you want me.

July 24 2010

B was at the house when he called; we'd just tucked the kids in to bed so we could get them up at 5am. It was a sad night until we made it a happy one. God saw this coming. And He saw fit to make sure B was there to help turn it happy.

August 2 2010

One night last week, B and I made plans to travel to a small town somewhere near the small town I live in to see one of his favorite local bands. It was comfortably warm with a breeze that night. I wore my favorite holey jeans, a fitted tee, sunglasses and flip flops.

We parked, intertwined our fingers, and walked into the place. The setting sun cast yellow light across the ground as we walked in. It was a little bar in the middle of nowhere. We bought some drink tickets and went out back. There was a BBQ with all the fixins and a folding stage. Gravel. A stench of swine. Live music. Neil Diamond. Jimmy Buffett. Johnny Cash.

It was past dusk and we were a few drinks in. B's best friend and his girlfriend had joined us and we were ready to dance. In the gravel. With the stench of swine swirling about our nostrils. By the end of the night I found out that Malibu kind of erases the smell of pig ass. Just so you know.

My baby danced with me. He swirled me all around. He JUMPED with me. They played so many of the songs that we love: Fishin' In The Dark. More Neil. Johnny Cash. There we were, jumping and laughing and kissing - all with little pebbles in my flip flops.

Literally one of those amazing, warm, heady moments I will never forget. One where we were there, under God's enormously beautiful, Midwestern starry sky, held tight in each others' arms.
B and I talked the whole night long. Flirted just like we always have. Talked about our plans. Smiled. Didn't let go of each other. Stared into each others' eyes and said out loud all the things that most people are too afraid to say or don't say often enough.

One of our best dates ever. EVER.

And Dear B: Night before last you told me that you loved that I don't like Red Vines. (I hope you'll still take me to the movies; I'll buy the Twizzlers.) You also told me that you loved how I cook and how I switched to Tide detergent (just to smell you all the time). I love the way you say 'logistics' and how you glance at me sideways. I love how one of us always plays Neil when the other needs to hear it - without even asking. I love your long toes and how much you love Shark Week, just like me. Every moment is sweeter because you're in it. Here's to grey walls, Babe.

August 9 2010

I quietly said, "I love you," and instead of just repeating, B held my head in his hands, closed his eyes, and with our noses touching [I love our noses touching] said, "I... would be nothing... without you."

During a moment thick with thought, I asked B what he needed. Without skipping a beat, he said, "I have to do something," and then he grabbed both of my hands, squeezed them tight, and mashed his eyelids together. And we prayed...

B talked to H last night and she was so excited to have lost her front tooth. "Tell Rachel!" she cried, "Make sure you tell Rachel!" And he told me how warm it made him feel inside and how much he loved God in that moment: the moment his daughter said out loud in front of whomever, that - to her, I was important, too.

And Dear B: The foot massage yesterday? Yeah, you'd better take that one to the bank because historically, I do NOT rub feet. Ever. But somehow, your feet do not adhere to this rule. I'm not sure why that is, but I absolutely ADORE your feet. Just sayin'. You have me completely wrapped around your toe-fingers.

August 13 2010

I love so many things about Homeboy. Everything, actually. His soul and heart and personality- 1000%. But, I can no longer hide from you the fact that I also very much love the beautiful body all of that important stuff walks around in every day.

It has been said multiple times that Bryon's arms are fantastic. His hiner isn't too shabby either. Judy can tell you that he smells terrific. And his eyes make me swoon and want to throw my panties on stage (well, if he were an actual rockstar).

To say that we have chemistry would be an outright lie because what we have is far, FAR more than amazing chemistry. I have never found anyone who fits me so completely and perfectly ever. Every moment is like electricity and when he reaches out his hand and touches me... ZAP. I just plain die. Our first official date involved five HOURS of kissing me goodnight. Just kissing... but FIVE HOURS. We simply couldn't let go. Like we were seventeen again.

Now, I realize that my mother and my Carmen read this blog, but I have to say that making out with this man is cruel and glorious at the same time. The feeling is mutual because just last week he told me that I set his hair on fire. Might be the best compliment ever.

August 16 2010

This weekend was huge. Well, really it was ordinary. But it felt huge because it was all of us doing routine everyday things, as 6. We started cleaning up his house and we started cleaning up my house. We cooked meals for all 6 of us all weekend long. I realize that may seem strange to celebrate, but I am in love with the everydayness of it. I made Andy's birthday cake (yes, it's this Wednesday!) in B's kitchen.

We made some important family decisions as 6.

One evening I laid my hand on Bryon's chest and I could feel his heart beating there. I was overwhelmed at once. I'm not sure why because I've felt his heartbeat many times before, but this time I remembered laying alone in my bed at my mom's house and wondering if I'd ever feel a man's strong heartbeat under my palm ever again. I guess I suddenly realized that I was finally feeling that heartbeat - full of love for me and my kids - now, and plan on feeling it for the rest of my life.When he grabbed my hands last night to pray, the tears started to roll. I am so incredibly blessed. How did he find me? How did he finally find me? How is it that he was looking for me while I was looking for him?


And Dear B: Thanks for taking it like a man when our friend brought you a cup of water today to put your hair out. Classic. Please know that I am eating an entire bag of caramel corn right now, wishing you were here to share it with. And maybe so I could pick on you about the hair on fire thing, too. [Kidding! Please say I can still set your hair en fuego when we're 80?]


And Dear B: Happy Six Monthiversary, my love. Here's to forever more. When you know, you know.

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