My Husband, My Hero

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My husband, Chris, and I have been through a lot in the last 15 years of our relationship. Marriage, job loss, infertility, foreclosure, bankruptcy, four failed adoptions, a major move from Illinois to Colorado, being foster parents to 16 children within a 2 year period (lots of loss involved there), the foster/adoption of our son Nathan, the surprising birth of our biological daughter, Annabella, my near death experience after giving birth, loss of our business as a result of the time Chris took off to take care of me and the kids, difficulties with our son post adoption, ministry hardships and so much more. (That’s just to name a few.)

Chris and I CutePeople have often asked us how we’ve stayed married through all of this. Especially since, in today’s day and age, divorce is the new commitment. If it gets too hard you can always bail out. Most couples getting married, or talking about marriage, have their “out strategy” planned. Being a youth pastor I’ve heard many young people say, “I’m committed to the relationship until they do __________.” Our society’s “Have it Your Way” mentality, which is the McDonald’s slogan for having your sandwich with or without pickles, has morphed into how we view marriage. “I liked my spouse when we married, but now those things that I thought were cute are now annoying. So, I’m out.”  Many couples hit the Escape button when things get too uncomfortable. And we’re teaching the next generation to do the same.

(Disclaimer: There are lots of exceptions. Every realtionship has two people, and they deal with their own set of issues, personalities and experiences, etc.)

I am not trying to start a debate about marriage, or tell anyone how to live their life. However, Chris and I entered into this marriage knowing there’s only one way out; death. This idea sounds terribly morbid, however it’s Biblical. Plus, we knew each other really well before we got married. Not completely, but really well. And my parents raised me to be a committed person. My dad said on hundreds of occasions, “Dittmer’s don’t quit!” (my maiden name) So, when Chris and I got married we knew what we were getting into. His constant talking and trying to make jokes…I knew about it. My constant correcting, or “mothering” as he’s called it…he knew about. So, they’re not reasons to bail. It’s become a family joke, “I knew exactly what I was getting into, so it’s my fault!”

With that said, our marriage is not perfect. We are continuously working on ourselves and our marriage. But, we are unified in our efforts. We like being together. Spending time together is important to us, both alone and with our children. My husband is my best friend and I am his. We make a focused effort to maintain unity in our marriage, and we try to keep our priorities in order:

1. God
2. Marriage
3. Children
4. Everything else

Sometimes I fail. Actually, I fail way more than I succeed. But, I’m aware of the times I falter, whether by intuition (that snazzy women’s intuition) or by being told, or rather putting my foot in my mouth and having someone remove it for me. And I make an effort to correct it.

Unity in my marriage is extremely important to me. Knowing that my husband has my back and I have his provides me with the stability I need to function as a wife and mother, and wear the many hats that I do. My husband is a hard worker. He goes to work every day and gives 110%, no excuses. He is also a towering example of fatherhood and leadership for our family, church and community. He leads by example and I am proud to be his wife.

So, to answer the question of how we’ve stayed together through the good times and the bad times; through the well-to-do times and the Ramen noodle poor times; through sickness and health, until death do us part? Our bond is strong because we stay focused on Jesus and on each other. And nothing will divide us.

My husband, My HeroChris and I Bike
He’s the man I love.
The man I choose every day.
He’s my best friend.
The one I lean on.
The one I run to.
The one I trust.
He’s my husband.
He’s my hero.

A Precious Necessity

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Nap time is a precious commodity in our home, especially for me. From the moment my daughter’s eyes open in the morning until the moment they finally close at night, she’s a handful. My own personal two-year-old “tear-up-the-house tornado”. My little jabber-jaw. The only peace I get during daytime hours is during her nap time. This is when I find time to write, such as this article. It’s when I find time to clean and then decide I could be doing other, more useful things, such as drink another cup of coffee, or read, or take a shower (another precious commodity). However, I was talking with a friend of mine today and we were discussing what a handful my toddler is and she said, “I would be terrified of the moment she wakes up”. She meant it in good fun. She knows my daughter pretty well and understands just how much trouble my little one can get herself into. But, it got me thinking…..

My life won’t always be this way. Someday my big-eyed baby girl won’t look up at me with that jelly-covered face and ask me, repeatedly, to read her a “bood” (book), or play Mickey Mouse, Criffird (Clifford the Big Red Dog), Bears (Care  Bears) and “Tocker” (Daniel Tiger). One day she won’t ask me to to spin her ’round and ’round until I’m so dizzy I could faint. She will stop asking me, “Mommy sit. Play.” Someday, very soon, she’ll be too busy with her friends or ‘too cool’ to hang out with me and 1394238698713I’ll be embarrassing to her. One day she’ll stop asking me “what’s dis?” for every little thing she sees, or hears or smells. We won’t make up silly songs together or dance around the house like no one is watching. She will stop asking me to take her the park. She will stop playing during bath time and playing with bubbles will be a thing of the past. Cuddle time will completely disappear and my heart will break. She will be able to comfort herself after a nightmare, or put herself to sleep every night without being wrapped tight in a blankie and rocking. She won’t need help on and off the potty, and she won’t want to talk to me while I’m on the potty. One day, too soon for this mother’s heart to handle, she won’t need me for everything, and I will miss it.

So, even though I often look forward to nap time, I am going to try and cherish all of the tiresome questions, obnoxious behaviors, maddening temper tantrums, and vexatious messes for what they are: a precious necessity to my daughter’s development.

Finding Time to Write

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Unlike many of you, I have difficulty finding time to write. (sarcasm intended) I am a stay-atmickey-mouse-cartoon-1260-hd-wallpapers-home mommy with a busy teenager and an active toddler. My daily routine consists of potty training, running my kids around (the typical soccer mom, minus the soccer), band practice and writing music (that’s a whole different topic), cleaning, laundry, making meals and other mommy and wife duties. Plus, church activities. I really feel like I’m leaving something out. Oh, right! Me time. Hahah. That was a little joke. My life basically revolves around Mickey Mouse cartoons, nap time and high school activities. So, finding the time to write can be challenging. (Even as I write this article my daughter is refusing to lay down for her nap. I’ll be right back…..)

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My Little Minnie Mouse

Don’t get me wrong….I am NOT complaining. My mother tells the story of how I proclaimed, quite pointedly, “I am going to be a wife, a mommy, a singer and write stuff”, when I was just four years old. So, in reality, I am living my dream! And what adult actually gets to have their dream job? However, it does get hard to juggle it all. Sometimes I feel like I am losing my mind. Coffee helps. (I love coffee!) The real goal is to do it all and maintain my sanity. After all, how do you say “No” to a face like this?

My husband will tell you, without hesitation, that I do too much. Or that I don’t know how to say “No”. He’s right. (Yes, honey you can use this as written proof that I’ve said this at least once in our marriage.)

I (might) do too much. I (might) take on too many responsibilities. I (might) carry too many burdens. I (might) wear too many hats. You know what? I love it. I love everything I do. It might be hard work, but it’s worth it. Every minute is fulfilling and magical. (cue the Mickey Mouse theme song…”hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog….”)

The point is, if I’m trying to make a point here, that I must do everything with purpose. The time I spend with my kids is precious, so it should be treated that way. And if I want to find time to write the worlds next masterpiece novel, I will have to specifically carve out time to do so. Otherwise, a day goes by and then a year goes by and I’ve written nothing.

I guess it’s time to make time.

Now What Do I Do?

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I have finally completed my first self-published work, The Monster in the House. (Actually it’s been published for a year.) But, it’s DONE! (Start the Hallelujah chorus!)

Now what do I do?blogger-image--532495253

To be totally honest, I am flying blind here. It took me months to write the book and a few more months to format and publish the book. They say writing the book is the hardest part, but I’m not sure that is true. I think it might be the easiest. Writing comes naturally. It flows from me as if it’s part of my soul. Publishing and marketing do not. I feel like a fish out of water, a bird flying against the wind, like I’m working against the clock…. You can throw in your own idiom here.

So, here I am. I’ve written a non-fiction short story about my son’s life, a topic I am very passionate about, and now I want to get it into as many hands as I can. How do I do this?

I need to publish the book. img-thing
I need to create an author Facebook page.img-thing
I need create a Twitter account. img-thing
I need to create a blog/website where I can talk to my “fans”. img-thing

Now…. how do I get it into the hands of people?

I need YOU. That’s right, I need you, sitting right there, reading this sad blog post from a desperate writer, to help me.

How can you help?The Monster in the House Cover

1) I need you download it (or buy a hard copy).
2) I need you to read it,
3) Share it with everyone,
4) Give me feedback,
5) Follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

At this point, anything and everything helps.

I am completely blessed to have been given the opportunity to adopt my son, and then for him to allow me the privilege of writing part of his story has been amazing. We would like to share it with you.

Available on Kindle (digital) for ONLY $0.99
and CreateSpace (soft cover) for $5.38

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

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Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately…..

Writing is one of the most exhilarating and frustrating things I have ever attempted. It feels so good to get my thoughts down on paper, but being a perfectionist (I guess you could also call it being a Dittmer or OCD), I have done so many rewrites, editing sessions, cutting out major portions only to put them back in, doubting myself, doubting the project, trying to find an illustrator, trying to find a publisher, self-publishing. It’s been a roller coaster ride. :)

I spoke with my uncle, Tim Dittmer, who is a great writer and his advice was “Do your very best and go with it.” I think this is great advice, especially for a new writer like me. It is easy to become so overwhelmed by the mundane details of writing that you get distracted and lose sight of the important details, such as publishing timelines. In the midst of going back over the story again and again, and getting excited about finally publishing the book, I forgot how much work goes into the actual publishing. So, now my publishing date has changed. Looks like I made a Big Mistake by underestimating the work that goes into publishing a hard copy book.

I hope my friends and family will be forgiving and understand. I will announce the new publishing date soon.

Tim Dittmer, author of The Valley Walker. http://twdittmer.wordpress.com/

In the beginning……

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In the beginning….. What a great way to begin a story; a tremendous story of healing, transformation and salvation. Every writer looks for the perfect opening to their story; a line that captures the hearts and imagination of their readers. One necessity many writers need is inspiration. The old saying “write what you know” is the best advice for new writers. Pulling from life experiences is the best way to start a writing career and that is what I have done.

When I began writing my soon-to-be released book, The Monster in the House, I drew inspiration from my son’s childhood. The story is a fictional depiction of his childhood with his biological mother, his time in foster care and his adoption into our family. The book is written for children between the ages of 8-12. Although, I think many parents will love it and many older children may be able to relate to it. Especially those who have been in foster care or have been adopted.

Each story has a beginning, just as each life has a beginning. Unfortunately, Nathan’s beginning was full of trauma and neglect. Most of which scarred him deeply. However, Nathan and I are hoping that the story of his beginning will be an inspiration to others that it is possible to find your ‘Happily Ever After’ and have the perfect ending to your life’s story.

The book will publish on November 1, 2012, and will be available on Amazon.com.

Going Crazy with Formatting

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I have spent hours looking over my manuscript…..questioning my methods. Should it be in first person or third person? Should I rewrite it, so that it’s geared for an older audience? If I write it just for kids…how do I get it illustrated? I think I should take a break for a few days and then come back to it with fresh eyes. Otherwise, I may go BATTY.

I have also talked with two different self-publishing companies. I’m trying to decide between Amazon.com/CreativeSpace.com and a few other sites. Again…I should probably step back from the computer and come back later. Otherwise, I may crack!

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