People Suck

Why can’t people just be happy for her?

It was her third marriage. People kept reminding her and anyone else who would listen to their mouth flap. Yes, it was her third, not that the number counted toward or against anything, though for them it did. They used it as a quantifier in which to judge her, instead of as a fact. Yes, she had been married three times before. They didn’t want to know the rest of the story, only that at one point, she had two other husbands. 

The first one died tragically of cancer. It was painful for her. He was older, and of course they judged her on that too. Even then, they didn’t care that she was stable, happy, and loved. Only that he was so much older than she was. When he died she was alone in the loneliest of ways. Three children who could barely understand where their father had gone. People pretended to mourn with her, but they didn’t really care. They judged. As they always do. Thus, she pulled away as she always did when she sensed toxicity and resentment.

She tried to love again, but the toxicity of others brought someone into her life that was fueled by their toxicity. It turned him against her. He manipulated her, threatened her, convinced her to marry him or else he would say, but the else would change. He’d find her, he’d hurt her, he’d hurt the kids, he’d hurt himself. He was desperate, and it made her desperate. So she married him to protect herself and her children, besides she could handle it she thought, and of course they judged her for that too. For trying to love. For letting his threats get to her. For ultimately marring someone else betraying her first marriage like her late husband was still alive. 

Nothing she did was good enough for them, and as the poison of their presence in her life seeped in, she began to believe that she would never be good enough ever. They all would find reason to talk. 

After having enough, and deciding to ask for her worth and being refused, she left him. They judged her once again, but this time for leaving. She decided not to listen to it. She took her children and moved away. Started going to church. Started learning to love herself again. Her children felt more free to be creative. She felt more free to be creative. Finally, she was ready to love again, and she did. They got married and are happier than ever! Of course they judged her again. They still do. But this time she shut the door on their words and made a home of love and safety for her family. They live happily and functionally. She finally feels that kind of safety and love she once had felt. Yet, they still judge. Out of ignorance. Out of malice. Out of loving to hear their own voices. They say the children must be emotionally torn apart, as if she had never spoken to them or gotten their input about it prior. Like she was being selfish. Like she hadn’t sat on my couch for several hours pouring out her soul about how the kids would feel and if they would let her get married again. Because she needed their permission. Not that those who judged her knew, and not that they cared. They just wanted to pretend to have empathy. 

I was so angry to hear how many people so openly talked about her in front of me. So willingly thought that I’d agree with them. So openly shamed her. So I spoke up, knowing that I too Would be judged, merely asking if they knew all these accusations for certain. Asking if they were living her life for her and felt as if they could come along and have a say in it. Asking if they enjoyed talking about her more than talking to her. So they stopped speaking to me. 

Neither she nor I have felt loss at their absence. 

I’m just getting so sick and tired of ignorant people talking about things they know nothing about. Especially when it has nothing to do with their lives. She’s not a relative. Her life has zero impact on theirs. Why open your mouth at all? LET HER LIVE HER FREAKING LIFE WITHOUT BEING AN OBJECT OF YOUR JUDGMENT! But, of course, we all judge. It’s our nature to want to. To gauge our lives against the lives of others and assure ourselves that we are doing the right thing. As if there is even a definition for that. I do it too. I catch myself being that person all the time, and realizing that I’ve got my own problems too. People ignore the fact that life is messy because people are messy, and a mess is a mess no matter how big or small it seems to be. 

If it isn’t your mess, just don’t worry about it. 

Miracle Whip

I think what’s strange about moving into a home is going through all the things someone else has left behind. This evening I found myself with a fist full of recipes. All hand written. Some in cursive. Some in a sloppy but legible print. Some detailed and others not so much. Several recipes were repeats. I wondered to myself who this Vern was and how did Vern get so good at making this candy? And why were there six copies of it all hand written in this pile. As I pawed through them I read the titles of the end results. “Refrigerator Pickles” was one I was familiar with. “Potato Chip Cookies” sounded odd, but I was feeling adventurous and decided to hang onto that one. “Lemon Basil Chicken” was another, and it sounded so strange when I read the ingredients, I decided I had to taste it. 
Considering that I had no food in my new home yet, I decided it was best I went grocery shopping. It has been such a long time since I cooked something I had almost forgotten what it was like. Then again, in my apartment, I couldn’t use my oven because it smoked so badly I couldn’t cook anything without setting off the smoke alarm. I cleaned the thing six times too. Never got better. 
Things were different now though. I had an oven now, and from what I could tell, it was hardly used or really really well cleaned. So I went grocery shopping and picked up some groceries. Way too much money later (because I made the mistake of going to the grocery store while hungry), I was sitting in my vintage 1970s throwback kitchen (with a back splash so bad it was almost too good to get rid of). 
1 cup Miracle Whip

2 table spoons of Lemon Juice

1 tea spoon of dried basil

3 pounds of boneless chicken breasts
Combine to make dressing and pour over chicken and cook at 375 degrees for 45 min. 
It sounded so odd. I hadn’t made a sauce like this out of Miracle Whip. Then again, it wasn’t too far off from using a “cream of…” soup over chicken. I hadn’t ever thought of doing that same kind of thing with Miracle Whip and I was super curious as to how good it would be. So of course I made it, but added French Onions on top as an added flavor.
It was really good. 
I’ve decided to try out more of these recipes that were left behind. I’m super curious about these “Potato Chip Cookies” and the note of “(fair)” put at the bottom of the page in a different script than the rest. I mean they sound so bizarre that I think I’ll probably love them. Because who doesn’t love cookies and potato chips separately right? Why not kill two birds with one stone? 
The things some people leave behind.

Maid of Honor Part I

We chattered as we drove, talking about life, love and wedding details. She was glowing. Happy for everything. Happy that we were able to be together for this wonderful moment. Happy that we all could get away from work and have some fun. Happy that we didn’t have to stay in the area and could go on an adventure.

Happy we could get a wedding dress…for free.

The home it’s self was 3 floors high, with a plantation style wrap around porch. Mint green siding and dark shutters with glowing lights from inside welcomed you into a relaxed living space with quaint country decorating. The driveway was practically a mile long. The estate, where both her husbands jewelry store and her mansion sit, along with several barns. Sat on a hillside surrounded by fields. It seemed out of place in the middle of nowhere. The kind of home one would see in the south. Large and lovely.

When I heard about her ministry, I was expecting someone to come to you with outdated or vintage wedding dresses that she would help you make into a dress that worked. Who gives away wedding dresses if they’re actually stylish? I mean REALLY just GIVES THEM AWAY.? I suppose the divorced would. But that was beside the point. I assumed that she would probably just pass off something a few seasons old…or decades, and kind of hope you and a seamstress could make it work.

I was mistaken.

Her basement is a bridal showroom, full of contemporary dresses, all donated from bridal shops all over the nation and individuals who just happen to find them at places like Goodwill each season. After you choose a gown, she sends you off with it, to alter it as needed. The only money you spend is on alterations, if the dress even needs it at all. She specializes in dresses with sleeves and high necklines, but also has a large selection of strapless dresses she insists on showing you how to alter with straps, all the while lovingly telling you how sleeveless dresses are “ungodly” dresses. She refuses gowns donated by divorcees, believing them to be “ungodly” dresses as well, and therefore bad luck.

Despite how some of our theology differs, I enjoyed her. She was lovely, jovial, and extremely helpful. Not to mention a blessing to offer the kind of ministry she does for so little, and out of her own home. She made the experience of bridal gown shopping stress free for my dearest friend, who looked absolutely stunning in the dress she picked.

I even teared up a little. Not gunna lie.

As we were walking out, thanking her again and again for a lovely experience, she asked me when I would be coming to see her. I wasn’t sure how to respond at first. So I simply replied “When he pops the question.” She smiled, and assured me “He’d be a fool not to do it soon.” I laughed.

We all took a picture together with our stylist before we piled back in the car for a two hour ride home.