Goodnight John Boy

From the time she was old enough to journey outside of a crib until the days I became curious about boys and training bras, my sister Amy and I shared a bed. I had so many tricks to make bed sharing a favorable experience for myself. Sometimes I would rush through the teeth brushing routine in order to get to bed before Amy. On these nights, I strategically pulled 8 -10 inches of the top sheet onto my side of the bed and then neatly tuck it under my backside. This was all done in effort to ensure my constant coverage throughout the evening. Amy was always a very small child, so in retrospect I am not sure where this concern came from. In reality, I am the cover stealer. Another trick I kept in my back pocket was the "bed alarm". I still like to believe that Amy was at least partially convinced that when I ran my hand down the middle of the bed that it was an actual alarm (not my mouth) making the siren noise when my hand found an enemy elbow or a knee on my side of the bed.

I remember the day my parents told us that one of us could move into the fourth bedroom. Amy and I scurried around, collecting as many of our personal items as our elementary school arms could carry. With more passion than a pair of contestants on the Amazing Race, we sprinted to the den to mark our territory. I believe our thinking was that the girl who got the most items to the room first would claim exodus from our bedroom because, "Gosh, I can't possibly be expected to move all of this back into the old room. I am practically all moved in!" Despite the presence of Amy's Cabbage Patch Kid doll and jump rope, she was returned to our childhood room and I was packing my belongings, with visions of new bedspreads and freshly papered walls in my future.

Not long ago, Herb was talking with our friend Jake about the changes that have come with marriage. Jake was especially curious about how we have transitioned from being independent sleepers into the world of bed sharing. For two people that have been flying solo in bed for a combined total of 53 years, it was a suprisingly seamless transition. This is the conversation I had racing through my brain at 3AM this morning when Herb left our bed for the couch. I am sick (again) and he told me he could actually see the germs moving from my body to his and "how heart broken would you be if I slept on the couch tonight, baby?" So at 3AM I was thinking about how easily it has come. After four short months, it is not bed sharing that is unusual, it is his absence that feels strange. And while Herb doesn't fall for the bed alarm trick, I like having him there.


Note from the editor

We here at I DO . . . . WHAT???? would like to clarify our take on the non-traditional blog entries sited in yesterday's post. While we take a less cynical view on Valentine's Day, we think that our more sarcastic friends are very funny and we appreciate their posts.

Brady Wisdom

When talking about relationships and specifically marriage, people always say, "If you are going to marry somebody you should be happy with who they are now and content if they never change." While I get the point of this advise, I don't totally agree. I think there is a call to change. For all of us. We are not as we were created to be. I don't think that who I am today is who I should be in 10 years from now. Christ gives us a call to change and grow . . . not only that, He gives us the grace and forgiveness to do so.

Herb's love for me gives me permission to be who I am today. He is learning to celebrate who I am . . . as is. It is not always easy for either of us to lavish love on the other when the other is being a bonehead. Or even when the other is just being normal. We are not always each other's best cheerleader. But we want to be. We want to change. His love for me doesn't stop at loving (or learning to love) where I am right now. Because he loves, me he wants the best for me. Because he sees my heart, he wants me to live FULLY out of it. And that would require change. His love for me . . . God's love for me . . . calls me to grow and become a new person. I think there is room for that in love.

I also find it interesting that in many couples where both parties are trying to find God and trying to grow & heal, there is an uncanny balance thing that happens. In other words, Herb's strengths tend to be in the areas where I need healing and growth. And the other way around too.

"Time to Change"
Words and music by R. Bloodworth, C. Welch, B. Mechel

Sha na na na na na na na na,
Sha na na na na.
Sha na na na na na na na na,
Sha na na na na.

Autumn turns to winter,
And winter turns to spring.
It doesn't go just for seasons you know,
It goes for everything.

The same is true for voices,
When boys begin to grow.
You gotta take a lesson from Mother Nature,
And if you do you'll know.

When it's time to change (when it's time to change),
Don't fight the tide, go along for the ride,
Don't ya see.
When it's time to change, you've got to rearrange,
Who you are and what you're gonna be.
Sha na na na na na na na na
Sha na na na na.
Sha na na na na na na na na na
Sha na na na na

Day by day you're facing the changes you've been through,
A little bit of living, a little bit of growing all adds up to you.
Every boy's a man inside,
A girl a woman too.
And if you want to reach your destiny,
Then here's what you can do.

Repeat Chorus


Marriage: A Tool for the Depraved? VOL. 3 ***Special Valentine's Day Edition***

If you are looking for a toungue in cheek tribute to today's holiday, please refer to any of the three blogger's sites listed on my links page. Otherwise . . .

I have gotten past the point where I believe the roses & chocolates lure of V-day. There is nothing about a pink teddy bear holding a heart that makes me feel loved or cherished. I am trying to tone my married body so that when we eventually have a baby, I won't be as huge as a house . . . so chocolates don't push my love button either. I am pretty sure that my yoga teacher's valentine's day "heart mediation" missed the point to. Somehow, "sinking" my heart and my "prana" into the dirty floor at the University of Denver recreation center to become "one with the earth" doesn't really do much for me. I don't even know what my prana is! And I am sure not going to sink it into the earth for everyone to see!

The reality is, I tend to be the most sentimental of my smart ass friends, and I claim the right to like today. Herb is right, we don't love each other more today than yesterday or tomorrow, but i really appreciate Miss February 14th and the way she pops up once a year and says, "Hey you, remeber those people you really dig? Today, go tell 'em!" I like that.

Today, what I celebrate most, is Herb's grace for me. It is sweeter than anything I have ever known. We fought last night - long and hard. It was mostly my fault. Okay, it was all my fault. I am an ass wipe sometimes, and I was flexing those muscles last night. And yet, this morning when I woke up sheapish and near tears, my sweet man rolled over, grabbed me and lavished suger and grace upon me. He splashed grace and love all over my sick, depraved self. It gave me just a glimpse of Christ. Now, if you ask me, that is love. And that kind of love is worth celebrating on a special day.



When getting to know somebody, my favorite thing is to become acquainted with their quirks. Everybody has 'em and I love 'em!

Here are some of my favorite quirky things about Herb:
* He is currently reading a book on city planning that was written in the 1950's in order to create a knowledge base for reading more contemporary books on the subject. He is not a city planner.
* Last week he looked up the lot size of our home and the homes of 4 of our neighbors. He proceeded to "pace" each lot to make sure that the website was accurate.
* His goal for 2006 is to pick out his international DJ technosuperstar name. He periodically "practices his beats".
* He went to race car driving camp . . . a few years ago.
* He decided to call my mom "mum" as a shout out to the British. Now she calls herself "mum".
* He despises being an American when traveling internationally. On our honeymoon, he tried to convince me to speak "fake German" with him, so as not to blend in with the folks from Minnesota and Texas sitting nearby.

I LOOOOOOVE this man!


Letting Go of Who We Aren't

I woke up this morning bewildered. We went to a jam band concert last night and sat in the balcony. Below us, I saw the silhouettes of my "fantasy man" – the one you think has lost all potency or allure by the time you approach the alter - wearing baggy cargo pants and dancing carefree with girls whose long dirty hair was carelessly twisted into dreadlocks. So there we were, me with my new-ish & clean Long & Lean GAP jeans; hands folded neatly in my lap. Herb looking cute in his striped Banana Republic shirt. We just came down from the mountains were we did not bother to snowboard or smoke pot on the ski lifts; rather we enjoyed the views, our friends, and walking the village with a cup of warm Starbucks.

We sat where my back could rest because my body just isn’t capable of standing for four hours anymore. We sat quietly while the free spirits below danced without skill but without care. My man, who sat faithfully beside me, did not complain once. He is a million amazing things. But to my dismay, I became very aware of who he is not. I became very aware that he was not the fantasy man I created in my mind many years ago. Fantasy man, whose faint residue floats around in my mind, is hyper and free and wild and weird. Last night, I saw everything that Herb is not. More than that, I saw everything that he is not highlight everything that I am not. He was not down in the crowd carelessly dancing because his wife with low energy and plenty of back pain needed to lounge up top among the less free-spirited - read: the older crowd.

In realizing that my man is not the image I had conjured in my mind when I started dreaming of boys years ago, I realize that I am not the woman I thought I was . . . not the woman I have always wished I was. Despite my small tasteful nose ring and the fact that I look really cute in flowy skirts & gauzy tops, Herb and I are not going to live in a tree house named Suncatcher. We are not going to name our children things like "Rain" and "Sunfire" . . . or better yet, call them "Baby" until they are old enough to name themselves. We are not going to travel the world on a hand hewn boat with a steel drum as our only entertainment. Our house might be solar powered someday, but it won't be a yurt and we will always have cell phones and satellite TV. The reality is, I am not this kind of woman - with or without Herb. As my old roomate Courtney reminded me when I realized Herb does not live la vie bohemme - "Cara, you buy $8 cheese and live in Washington Park - you are NOT going to live a life of poverty in a hut in Africa, with or without this man!"

In short, I am not the woman that my fantasy man would ever think twice about. I am not overflowing with confidence or laid back. I am somewhat tight-wound and carefree only after the bills are paid, my stomach is full, the weather is sunny, and I am certain that everyone around me likes me. On the other hand, I am the kind of woman that will live in the same town for 10 years and pour into her community. I make yummy food for my friends and I volutneer. My job is one that requires a creative mind and an open heart. I am the kind of woman that my husband is drawn to. And he is the kind of man that when reality strikes, I need and want. He is the man that, when reality strikes, I can actually make a life-long commitment to. At the end of the day, fantasy man is not who I want . . . I would much rather spend a yurt-free life loving reality man who can love the real me.


What NOT to do on Valentine's Day

If you don't have a honey to smooch on, don't cry - smooch on a friend, a family member, a stray cat . . . yourself! Find someone you love and love them well.



By the time we are in our late-20's and have more education than we know what to do with, we like to believe that we have somehow evolved above and beyond our society's expecations and general way of approaching life. We like to believe that we are immune to the culture and its bonehead version of how one should live. And yet, I continue to find myself falling into the traps I have always scoffed at.

On more than one occaision I have found myself buying the media's version of "sexy".
It slips my mind that sexy comes in all shapes, sizes, clothing choices, facial expressions, contexts . . . and yet at my core, I believe that the same 2 or 3 sex scenes that are done over and over again in Hollywood epitomize what it means to be sexy. Herb tends to laugh when I TRY to be sexy. I told this to my friend Sarah a few weeks ago, to which she replied, "Of course he laughs at you. You have been making that same stupid, pouty "sexy" face since I have known you! It isn't sexy!"

Live and learn, right?

We all know my dear husband's take on the sexy face . . . what do you think?

Hot or not?
Not Hot!
Free polls from Pollhost.com

What I Need

My old boss Danielle met her darling husband John on match.com. Prior to this information, I thought internet dating was for . . . well, not for me. But, Danielle made it sound great - as if being a Match member actually indicated her high value . . . "I'm much too busy and important to wander about looking for love. I am going to need it to come to me in the form of my computer." That summer, I decided that not only would I try internet dating, I would buy a pair of pink dating shoes and go out with anybody that asked. No more kissing dating goodbye . . . it was time to grab the sucker around the neck and stick my tongue right down it's thoat!

That year, I went on several first dates, a few second dates, and the very rare third date. And while I did not meet Mr. Right for me, I learned a lot about dating and myself. First, Christians CAN date! It is true. It is liberating. I dated and dated without as much as a single kiss. Not that kissing is bad, it just wasn't what I was looking for. I wanted to get to know men in the context of a date. I was sick of "hanging out", never knowing if the man was interested or not. So, I was picked up at home, brought flowers, walked to the door, bought dinner & ice cream & movie tickets, and told I was beautiful . . . . time and time again! It was glorious.

During my year of dating, I realized what I didn't need. I didn't need to date men who are smaller than me. Somehow, being able to push my date off of the hiking trail was not appealing to either of us. Nobody wants to feel like the Amazon Queen when they are with their honey. I learned I didn't need a cat walker. I'm serious. I honesty went out with a man who walked his cats (yeah, that would be plural) on a leash. No thanks. It became clear that I did not need a divorced man. I went through a period of months were I was pursued by four different divorced men. Now, I have nothing against divorced men, but we needed different things. "He" was looking to redeem a sad, hurt, and disappointed place in his heart. I, on the other hand, was looking to realize all of my life's hopes about what love might really be. We were living on two different planets.

In Herb, I found someone and something that I need. I found a tender strength that calls me out and holds me close. I found someone that makes me laugh hard. I found a place to play and a place to rest. I actually found Herb on Match.com. Now, this is not how we met, but it is how I knew I was a top candidate to be his wife. I had actually met Herb three months prior, the "normal" way. But one night, in a bought of loneliness, I was cruising the Match profiles and I found Herb's profile. I called my roommate into the room. "Courtney, listen to this guy's profile. I met him at church a few months ago and he's pretty cool." I went onto read what Herb was looking for in a woman. Courtney replied, "Does this guy know he wants to marry you?" It was very clear; some things just fit.

The Goldenrod

It came to my attention this morning that I managed to overlook my dear friend Sarah Golden during my pink martini salute yesterday! It was by no means intentional, and perhaps even serendipidous . . . because it now gives me a reason to give the Goldenrod a salute all of her own. And, let's be honest - those who know & love the Goldenrod know that this is actually how she would prefer it.

I decided in effort to paint a picture of Sarah, I would compose what would be her match.com profile if I were ever granted such powers:

Profile Name: Fine Wine

I am a free spirit to the core, with enough quirkines to justify the title and double the charm to make me irresistible. Raised by an incredible single mom, I know what it means to be self-made and strong . . . but that strength is balanced with a soft heart and sensitive side. The past several years have found me exploring the world; learning about myself and God as I have served the poor and the disabled all over the world. Unexpectedly, my jet setting ways have ultimately led my heart back home where I have settled into a routine comprised of my favorite things: my family, my dear friends, and loving the unlovable children. If you are looking for the perfect girl, you best keep looking, because I supersede all boxes and stereotypes. And like a fine wine, I just keep getting better.

That's what I have for now, Goldenrod. I know it doesn't do justice, but I hope it communicates a double fisted pink-martini salute: "Here's to you, beautiful Sarah!!!"


Single Girls

I have never been very good with men. My first crush was Michael Fisher. He had blond hair and blue eyes to die for. He stuck pencils in his cheeks as a way of making fun of my dimples. Despite his obvious affections for me, he chose a girl named Mandy. She wore a training bra.

The first time I tried being coy was in the 10th grade. It was a drastic backfire. The summer before, I developed a crush on John Stevens. We swam together on the neighborhood team and he mowed our next-door neighbor's yard. As the summer neared an end, I created the 14-Day John Countdown. It was the number of days I had until school was back in session and I would not get to lounge in the hammock that hung over our property line and into the neighbors yard, pretending that I didn't see John there with his lawn mower, trying to mow the grass beneath me.

Surprisingly, my Countdown failed to woo John. So I took a more pedestrian approach: I called him on the phone and asked him to be my homecoming date. To my alarm, he agreed! So, after countless hours of dress shopping, one dress return (the off-the-shoulder velvet number actually showed off my goods during slow dance practice with my mom), and a pre-date on which I missed the entire premise of the film Sneakers because I was preoccupied trying to figure out if John's hand was on my arm or my breast (the answer was arm), the big day finally arrived. We danced, ate fettuccini alfredo, and held hands. He asked me if I believed in God and I don't remember giving him a straight answer. The night ended there.

Now, in classic novice high school dating style, we did not speak again until the spring when John needed a date to attend the spring dance at his hoity-toity all boys’ school. He told me (in retrospect, at the command of his mother), "You don't need to buy a new dress if you don't want. You could wear the one you wore to Homecoming." Here comes the failure to be coy . . . "Oh, really John? I don't need a new dress? I guess you liked that black dress, huh?" Alarmed by my charm, no doubt, John folded, "No, um, it's just that . . . you don't need to spend the money, that's all." Well, you can bet your prom date I bought a new dress. I traded in the black full skirted dress with the fabric rose on the hip for a red backless little number.

This is just the first of many fruitless efforts to charm a boy. All of that to say, it is not easy being single. And today, I salute my single gal pals. Today, one of my beauties admitted in her blog (www.hurricanic.wordpress.com) to toying around with the idea of Internet dating (my experiences here require an entire entry all to themselves).

While I think it is a fine idea, I am afraid few of my single pals would do themselves justice. They are so awesome and they just don't know it. So here is my shout out to 'em . . .

Kelly J. - you rock because you are honest and kind and hilarious. Because you took amazing pictures at my wedding (www.kellyjackson.com) and because you are a kick-ass artist all around!
Kelly F. - you light up my life with your honesty and your dedication to teaching bonehead middle school kids
Amy P. - your sassy Texan self has a heart of gold and sarcasm to balance it all out.
Amy G. - your a first class lady with a determination for the truth and kindness
Libby S. - who else can out-sass the rest of us while fixing a computer? Nobody, that's who.
Beth M. - she is one purty lady with a killer yoga bod and a whole batch of homecooked southern sayings
Jessica K. - this girl is sweet and sassy and smart and strong all at the same time. she also has a great ass. just ask her, she'll tell ya!
Michelle S. - a woman whose love of Christ and coffee are as unrefined as you can find.

So, to all of you incredible single women, I raise my disgusting pink martini -
"Here's to you, beautiful!"


Marriage: A Tool for the Depraved? VOL. 2

While Christ is the ultimate grace giver, we have so much grace to give each other as we stumble over ourselves. Herb and I have been overwhelmed by the power we have in each other's lives to give or with hold grace - and how deeply this impacts the other person. I do think that a sibling and a spouse tie for first place when it comes to bringing all of our "stuff" that needs to be . . . um, polished . . . up to the surface. Just the other day, in the middle of one of our infamous Saturday night "discussions", Herb looked at me with defeat in his eyes and said, "Before we got married, I thought I was a really easy guy to get along with." It is true - 999 out of 1,000 people polled in the Denver Metro area state, "Herb is number one on my list of easy people to get along with." Guess who number 1,000 is . . . yeah, that would be Herb's wife.

But for as often as Herb and I are the catalysts of self-examination for each other, we are each other's biggest grace givers. For instance, the other day I was attempting to hoist my married body out of the deep end of the swimming pool. The reason I call it my married body is because I have love handles; and I am convinced that you get love handles with you fall for someone hard and begin to eat dessert with them . . .. all of the time. So, I was attempting to hoist my married body out of the deep end, but to no avail. I immediately reverted to age 13 in my mind. "Oh man, everybody is looking at me. They are pointing and laughing and saying things like, "wow, she can't get her married body out of the pool." and "i am glad i am not her" and "not only does she have a married body, she has a huge hole in the butt of her swimsuit!" At this point I realized that there is only one person in the world who would be watching me hoist my married body out of the pool at that moment and be thinking, "Man, am I a lucky guy. She sure does look groovy in her swimsuit." That person would be Herb. Somehow, God has given him the grace to give me the grace to be less than graceful as I pull my married body out of the pool.

And for that, I am grateful.


The Stuff We Bring

As a therapist, when I talk about "my stuff" or "your stuff", this is typically my soft way of referring to your (or my) issues . . . your junk . . . your neurosis. After combining two households, I have learned that in marriage not only do you have to deal with each other's "stuff"; you also become acquainted with their actual stuff!

Herb has great stuff. The man has impeccable taste. But when you dig a bit deeper, even the best metro around has stuff that causes you to raise an eyebrow.

My "favorite" items of Herb's stuff:

- The garden Nome that perches in the shower. He is 12" high. I know this because a few days ago, I measured him against my foot. My size 9 tootsie only made it as high as the Nome’s nose.

- Kramer. A bird made out of metal garden tools. He is about 2 feet tall. And while I find him less than beautiful, I owe him a lot. It was after I kidnapped Kramer a few years ago that Herb realized he had to start dating me in exchange for getting his bird back. Also, our friend Craig gave it to him, so it has sentimental value.

- The whistle collection. As I have mentioned, Herb believes that whistles are an important part of everyday life. He keeps 6 in his underwear drawer.

- The stuffed animal that Herb gave to his best buddy (they just celebrated 20 years of friendship) when Matt and Sherri got married. It was returned to us upon our marriage. I have yet to really wrap my head around the significance of this animal. I am sure I really don't want to know.

- The knife collection. For whatever reason, on more than one occasion, Herb has been given elaborate, ceremonial knives; complete with decorative sheath. We have yet to inherit the Virgin Slayer from Matt & Sherri . . . but I am not scared of it anymore, so they might as well send it our way!

And finally . . .
There is a rumor that Matt's mom owns a full size suit of armor. Herb put his dibs in for that one years ago. So, eventually . . .


I would like to stand corrected. Guns N' Roses sang Welcome to the Jungle. It was not Metallica. My cheeks are all rosey. I was just so busy back in that day listenting to Billy Joel that I missed the mark when it cam to heavy metal. I have promptly corrected my mistake and even added a photo of the band to make it all up to them. My friend The Hamster very graciously and gently redirected my steps. He is my Mr. Miyagi of Death Metal. To use his own phrase . . . I appreciate him.


Marriage: A Tool for the Depraved?

Ed Cash sings a song called "Where Were You?". Listening to this song is like taking a walk through a field of green grass and perfect petaled daisies. It is like holding a newborn baby as it falls asleep in your arms. It is the kind of song that could lull you into a sleep that will give you a money back guarantee for peaceful dreams. When Ed wrote this song, he took a page out of the book of Job. After Job and his friends spend the first 37 chapters of the book complaining, doubting, and whining, God finally speaks. And He begins to ask Job questions similar to the questions in Ed's lyrics. "Where were you when I . . . "

Now, I don't know Mr. Cash all that well nor do I know anything about his faith, but I suspect that he may have missed the boat on this one. There are certainly times when God speaks to us in that "daisy in the field" sort of a way. There are times when he is the one lulling us to sleep. And I do believe that in many ways, He wants nothing more than to scoop us up like a precious newborn baby and give us rest. There are parts of Him that are gentle and soft.

But, I do believe that when He asks questions that begin with "where were you when I . . . ", the Big Guy is NOT feeling very nurturing! I think that if we are going to set this part of God's Word to music, that a tune like Guns N' Roses "Welcome to the Jungle" or something by Marilyn Manson might be a bit more accurate. Because by the time God is saying, "where were you", the Man is hacked off with us! He has tried to help us understand and we are NOT getting it.

It took God 37 chapters to open his mouth. And when He did, He said what is one of my all time, "No he did NOT just say that!" lines. God engages Job by saying, "Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? BRACE YOURELF LIKE A MAN; I WILL QUESTION YOU, AND YOU SHALL ANSWER ME." It is at this point that he begins to ask the questions that fair Ed sings about. And I am gonna tell you somethin' - I think that our God was pissed off!

When we find ourselves in these kinds of encounters with God, I believe He engages us in ways a bit different than long walks in daisy-strewn fields. When He really wants us to listen and to change, he sometimes takes measures that are a little different than what we would imagine the doe-eyed Sunday school Jesus would do. I would go so far as to suggest that He uses tactics such as, but not limited to, marriage.

Let me back up here before I go much further. When I was in college, I heard a lot of people explain singleness as an indicator that God was not yet pleased with your life as a Christian. The idea that "once you have achieved a certain rank on the spirituality scale you will get your man (or woman)" was flung about like a pair of day old panties. Carelessly and effortlessly.

I once subscribed to this idea. I believed that good gifts are correlated with our good deeds. I have since changed my tune on the subject (and on God's grace as a whole). It would seem possible that marriage is actually something given to those of us who are somehow MORE depraved than all the rest! Now, I realize this actually is not theologically sound, but there is something there that makes sense to me. Marriage is not a prize given to the kids with the most stars on their scripture memorization chart. Instead, I believe that, while it IS A VERY GOOD GIFT, it might also be one way that God exposes the very ugliest parts of us for the purpose of our redemption and sanctification.

After just three months of marriage, the bowels of my sin seem to have been brought to the surface. When you find yourself giving your cute new husband not just one, but count 'em, TWO middle fingers because he does not like the new bamboo tray on the coffee table, you realize you are off base. At this point, you have to wonder, "Am I, perhaps just a little jacked up?" This is the kind of stuff that desperately needs to be changed in us; and when God's sweet lullabies don't make their point . . . well, there is always the commitment of living with the same person for the rest of your natural life to do the trick!