Well, after 16 months of radio silence, I’m back in this quiet space of mine to dissect and digest some (really huge!) life changes that have taken place.

My perfect man and I got married, y’all. We actually eloped, to be precise.

It was just the two of us on a gorgeous Tuesday in June. I’d never been as sure about anything in my life as I was vowing forever to my new husband. He is absolutely a gift from God, the love of my life, and my perfect match. (And yes, we have conflict every now and then!)


After the wedding, we had a few wonderful days away and then returned to real life.

And that’s where my writing focus will be now, mostly. The “real life” messiness of remarriage and blending families.

More to come.




Beautiful Redemption



It seems I only blinked.

Almost split-second, really.

But when I reopened my eyes more than six months had passed since I last felt the urge to collect my scattered thoughts and meld them into something cohesive (ha). As always, my mind’s stream of consciousness is often fractured and tinged with the most prominent themes in my life at the present.

Children and the tireless parenting they require at this stage.


My dad’s diminishing health.

Upcoming commitments and plans.

And, now…



I’m in that delicious, head-over-heels stage of being in love. And it’s the most wonderful thing I’ve felt in a very, very long time.

He’s brilliant. A deep thinker. Kind. Handsome. Active. Interesting. Fun. Thoughtful. Generous. Cultured. Easy-going. Talkative. Adventurous. Funny. Strong. Masculine.

He has a killer beard, beautiful eyelashes, and a big, white Ram pick-up. And you know that gets me going… 

We routinely keep each other up way past bedtime. Talking, mostly. But sometimes with other really fun and wonderful things, too…

He gives the best hugs and back rubs and he smells of all kinds of manly things: sawdust, sandalwood, the outdoors, and (on occasion) The One by D&G.

We connect on every level more deeply than I ever have with another human being.

Being near him makes me feel warm and safe and hopeful and so very loved.

And. he’s. mine. 

I often catch myself holding my breath, hardly daring to believe that this is real.

Several times we’ve looked at each other and jokingly asked, “When’s the other shoe going to drop,”  because it’s just that good.

I feel like I won the lottery; I’ve waited my whole life for this man, and we’ve finally found each other.

Now what?!

Things are easy and natural. We just get each other.

Inevitable or not, the traumatic ending of my grossly dysfunctional relationship with Former Spouse where everything always, always felt so hard and more complicated than need-be left me broken and unsure of my capacity for love.


I took my time after all was said and done. I faced and dealt with the consequences of my divorce – both emotional and physical. I owned my part in the demise of my marriage, and I’ve learned and grown and changed from the harsh truths that were laid bare in it’s post-mortem.

Then, when the timing was just right, I met this amazing man.

And I don’t ever claim to know much about things, but this I know for sure: God is faithful to uphold His promises.

Be glad, people of Zion,
rejoice in the LORD your God
for he has given you the autumn rains
because he is faithful.
He sends you abundant showers
both autumn and spring rains, as before.
The threshing floors will be filled with grain; 
the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.

I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten –
Joel 2:23-25

During all that time when I felt hopeless in my marriage – the thirteen years spent with a man who didn’t know how to love, and didn’t really want to learn; those years that were rife with heartache and fear and loneliness; all of the struggle since the divorce – I’ve clung to the promise that God is going to redeem it all, just as He did for the people of Judah.

And I know He will. Because God has yet to fail in fulfilling His promises in my life.  

Is this a glimpse of what redemption lies ahead for me?



What a beautiful thing that would be.









Bare It All


As you cup my face in your hands and press your lips to mine, I feel like my heart might burst from the joy of kissing you.

Fingers intertwined and skin-to-skin; as close as two can get but I still yearn for more.

I’m completely intoxicated.

Your essence is heady and all-consuming.

I’m falling.

And I’m terrified.

For a moment, the shattered pieces of our broken hearts conjoin to beat as one.

This is unfamiliar and precious.

Allowing you to see me.

All of me. In the fullness of my imperfect glory.


Unashamed and confident.

You adore my heart and delight in my body.

“How did I get so lucky?” you say, your blue eyes smiling down at me.

All I can think is, how did I?






The Right Kind of Weird.

My reply was Elaine Benes’ signature response:


When we got to the date where you begin sharing weird tidbits and idiosyncrasies about yourselves over a beer (seems to be around date number three for me), Handsome Face told me that he routinely had “night hallucinations” during which he tore apart his room looking for the imaginary spider lurking amid the covers of his bed.

OMG. Get out!”  I said, pounding my fist on the table emphatically. “I totally have that same experience! But mine is usually the spider dangling down from the ceiling on it’s stupid little web trying to eat my face! Then I have to try to sneak out from under it so I can turn the lights on and shake out my bed to make sure it’s gone.

From there we continued to discover more and more quirky similarities which only served to strengthen our attraction to each other. We both loved our steak rare, but burgers had to be well-done. We both loved classical music. We both loved discussing theology and listening to sermons online. We both had tattoos in the same place. We both loved craft beer. We both loved driving in the snow. We both identified as introverts with outgoing personalities. His name is my dad’s name and son’s middle name. Yada, yada, yada. (And yes, I totally realize none of these things are truly weird. But this is my story, and when you like someone all of those little similarities seem way more coincidental and cool and weird. Whatever. Maybe I’m just the weirdo.)

We hung out and talked/texted all the time for a few weeks. For a hot second it seemed like we might be falling into some sort of dorky, weird love story.

And then I met his cat; a huge, 20+ pound Maine Coon. (Side note: he was entirely obsessed with her. Sent me videos of her and pictures of the two of them all the time. Should have been a clear red-flag, I know.)


She sauntered up to me and kept me pinned to a corner, while growling like a dog and pacing back and forth. After a few minutes, she sat down about 18 inches from me, staring up into my face intently. Whenever I tried to move out of my corner, she growled louder.

Oh, heeeeeeeyyyyyy kitty,” I said in my most soothing tone as she continued to peer into my soul with her demon eyes. “Um, what’s up with her? She sort of looks like she wants to hurt me.

“Oh, she’s just testing you. Brush past her. She doesn’t have front claws, so it won’t hurt when she attacks your legs,” my cat-loving almost boyfriend assured me.

Right. I don’t think so.

That cat had a serious attitude problem and seemed bent on intimidating the hell out of me. (And also possibly murder.)

Maybe her mental issues were rooted in feeling embarrassed about her appearance because, no joke, he kept her groomed like this:

cat_lion_cut_grooming_summer (NOT his actual cat, but this one looks like her. Except  probably half her size and not as evil.) 

He also spoke to her using an extremely emasculating baby-voice. Maybe she was irritated by that… I know it completely turned me off.

To make a short story even shorter, I ended things. I’m not super gung-ho about getting involved with another cat person since cats played a part in ending my marriage. (Not really, but kinda.)

Am I a jerk for not being able to overlook his obsession with his cat? It’s entirely possible.

But to be fair, that wasn’t the only thing that had me pumping the brakes on this particular situation.

I spent the night at his place one time, and before we went to bed he told me, “Don’t worry, I put the gun I usually keep under your pillow in my nightstand so it wouldn’t bother you… And so I won’t grab it and scare you if I hallucinate during the night.”


So, the search continues for someone whose quirks mesh perfectly with mine.

Someone with the right kind of weird. For me, anyway.

“What are your things?”


Sitting across the table from someone new last week, I was posed the question, “So, what are your things?”

“My things?” I replied, eyebrows raised.

“Yeah,” the boy with the handsome face and deep blue eyes across from me said. “Mine are golf, technology, and Jeeps. What are yours?”

“Ah, okay. Music. The ocean. Running. My children. American history. Sunsets. Jesus. Mexican food. Museums. Travel. Annnnd attractive boys who drive Jeeps?”

Maybe Handsome Face didn’t really read my profile since I’m pretty sure all of that is in there.


So, confession: I finally did it.

At some point over the spring, I bit the bullet and decided to jump into the often bizarre and mostly overwhelming realm of online dating. After a year of refusing to do it, I still feel like a hypocrite when I tell people I caved.

It’s not even like I felt compelled or desperate to try it, really. I don’t seem to have a problem talking to guys or meeting people when I’m out. Maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment. Maybe I felt like I was finally ready for something more serious. Or maybe I was a little bored. Who knows.

Admittedly, I have met and gone out with some very interesting people: a guy with his PhD who says he’s anti-higher education, a small business owner who goes into office buildings at night to care for their indoor plants (that’s his business), active duty military guys, guys who have never been married (hard to relate to), divorced guys with kids (best matches so far), guys that share my interests, and guys that are completely different from me.

And then there was the last guy. We dated exclusively for close to four months and it’s the closest thing I’ve come to a relationship in the time I’ve been divorced.

Wow, great, so what happened, Erika?  Oh, hey! So glad you asked!

I ended that situation at the beginning of last month when one of my best girlfriends asked me what I liked about him and all I could come up with was: he’s a good kisser and he pays for things some of the time when we go out.

Really? I mean, he was a divorced single dad – funny, smart, attractive. We were super comfortable with each other from the get-go. We enjoyed watching sports together and lounging on the couch. Visiting local breweries. Trying new restaurants. Cooking together. Making out and…etc.

But something wasn’t there.

He wasn’t into music like I am. He couldn’t understand why I was headed to Disney World for the third time in a year (which, I honestly don’t fault him for, but he made me feel really bad about it). He had a tendency to be defensive about every little thing. He wasn’t good at communicating with me on a regular basis or showing that he cared about my day or what I was doing (even after I gently told him those things are important to me).

I knew I didn’t want to be in a relationship with someone like that. So, I had to do the whole it’s not you, it’s me thing and it sucked.

I wasn’t prepared for how much it would suck. I cried, people. I moped around for a few days and ate too much ice cream. I tortured my girlfriends by analyzing every tiny detail of the conversation(s) and second-guessing my decision to end things.  And then I tried to reach out to him a week later to make sure “there were no hard feelings and that we ended things on a good note,” and he pretty much told me to go to hell.

I know I made the right decision. But, goodness, I hate this.

Ugh. Dating.

What am I doing, really? Looking for the one? Maybe. Looking for someone to completely sweep me off my feet? Yes.

Will that ever happen? I don’t know. And frankly, it’s okay.

I’m a working single mom of three. I don’t have the time or patience for boys that don’t measure up to what I know I need.

And in the same breath, I’ve got all the time in the world. I’m in absolutely no rush to find someone.

So should I just try to enjoy the ride then? Date a lot and experience what I can? Hmmm. I’m not convinced of that either.

What I’ve always known is that I don’t want to be with someone just to be with someone.


Handsome Face and I have seen each other a few times now. I get the feeling he’s ready to make some kind of commitment. I like him, but I’m hesitant. I don’t want to have to do the it’s not you it’s me thing again. Ever.


So here I sit.


So. No, I’m not dead. Just really quiet lately.

Like a church mouse.

Except there’s not been much church-going and nothing about me is very rodentesque, I don’t think.

So what have I been doing, pray tell?


Parenting a toddler.

(Girls night out to see a play.)

Parenting little girls.


Watching gorgeous Florida sunsets from the deck of a sailboat.


Going to concerts.


Drinking margaritas.


Observing leprosy-spreading armadillos in their natural habitat.


Taking nighttime cruises in our nation’s capital.


Making this face. A lot.

IMG_6531 (1)

Riding in convertibles.


Robbing the cradle. (I’m 33.)



But mainly just enjoying the summer. Not motivated to write. Not really motivated to do much of anything that I don’t HAVE to.

So I’m not.


Somebody Catch My Breath.

I’m in the middle of a rather significant slump. It’s not particularly disconcerting, as I’ve been alive long enough to know that this is normal for me. After all, life is nothing if not a roller-coaster of ups and downs. It just kind of seems like there is so much, I don’t know, stuff pressing in on me from all sides.


My father is going downhill quickly. Two weeks ago, he received an official diagnosis of progressive supranuclear palsy from his neurologists at Johns Hopkins. Don’t google it; it’s a real downer. I’d never heard of it before, because it’s so incredibly rare. It’s a Parkinsonian-like disease that’s completely terrifying and unstoppable. Every day he seems more tired and a little more vacant, and it’s all happening way too fast for me to process. As the nurse in our family, there’s an expectation for me to play a significant role in his care going forward. And of course I will. He’s my daddy. But I don’t know how to pretend to be strong about it anymore.

Work has been insanely busy. It’s not unexpected, as this is our “busy season,” but it’s exhausting. People want summer babies, and here in Northern Virginia there’s no exception. I have been trying to work a little more, but with more work comes more sleep deprivation. That and insomnia are making me nearly suicidal.

And my children. They are my heart, soul, and lifeblood. We have far more good days than bad and it really is a joy and privilege to spend so much time with them.


They are also tiny vampires who spend their days gleefully draining me of every last bit of the energy, patience, and sanity that I futilely attempted to hoard.

I’m so tired.

The reserves are gone.

I’m empty.

I hate feeling this way, but it’s like I need someone. I do. Someone to love me and hold me and tell me it’s all going to be okay.

I want that. I need it.

I’m on the verge of breaking. And I know how whiny this sounds, but I feel as though all I do is pour into others, and now I quite literally have nothing left to give.


I walked in to church with one of my best friends yesterday afternoon to pick-up our kids from VBS.

Can you believe it’s been six weeks?” she asked me.

I shook my head, “No. I can’t believe it at all.”

Six weeks ago she had a heart attack. One of my dearest and best friends. She’s 37. She had just delivered her fourth baby a week prior, when she started experiencing mild symptoms of a heart attack. After ignoring them for a few days (nurses are the worst at this!!!!), she finally decided to have it checked out one night after the pain intensified and she couldn’t get comfortable enough to sleep.

Four hours later, she had a double-bypass surgery which saved her life.

My friend was in the middle of a coronary artery dissection. If she had managed to go to sleep that night, she likely would have never woken up.

37 years old. Mother of four beautiful kids.

A freaky thing that we don’t really hear much about happened to her and she nearly died.

By the grace of God she’s alive.


Four days after my friend had her open-heart surgery, another one of my close friends lost her nine-month old nephew to SIDS. He was napping at her house when he died.

That darling little boy was the couple’s first child.

Words can’t describe the sorrow. The utter devastation that new family is experiencing is beyond my comprehension.

His memorial was one of the saddest things I’ve ever witnessed.


I haven’t written about any of these things for the simple reason that I feel like I can’t even deal. Seriously.

So much sickness. So much pain. So much death.

People sometimes tell me things like, You’re so strong. I don’t know how I could have held it together being left like you were in your circumstances, and now doing all that you do.

When this happens, I usually smile and say something about it not being through my strength, but the Lord’s.

Maybe I’m just really good at saying the right things though.

Maybe I have been trying to keep it all together on my own.

I mean, I’m pretty badass!

I can do anything! I can be anything! I can help everyone!

I can, I will, I must.

Until I just… Can’t.


The kids finished up their week at a jungle-themed VBS today and the parents were invited to sit in on the last thirty minutes of the program. The memory verse for the week was Colossians 1:16-17, and the kids had primarily focused on the first part of it where it speaks of creation.

But the second part, verse 17, was a beautiful reminder to me of His presence today:

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
(Colossians 1:17)

In Him all things hold together.

In Him.

Not in me.

I can’t do it.

I have to let go.

I DO need someone.

This is a beautiful song from my favorite album so far this year. It encapsulates all of what I’d like to say but with way fewer words and far more emotion.

To The Other Woman They Love.

Yeah, yeah. It’s totally cliché, but I’m going here anyway. This “open letter” to the other maternal influence on the lives of my kids was spurred by our first face-to-face meeting in over two years which occurred earlier this week.

Dear future stepmother of my children:

This is awkward, I know.

And I realize that neither of us wanted to make the first move to establish an appropriate relationship. So we just didn’t.

Until this morning when we were forced to.

You on your way to work, and me on the way home from it. My beautiful kids sat in your car as you waited for me to arrive so you could take your son into his daycare. Then we smiled at each other and exchanged pleasantries.

Like old acquaintances are wont to do.

You know, it still strikes me as completely bizarre.

And I’m still unsure whether you knew this was going to happen.

Despite my Former Spouse’s insistence that you two got together in the aftermath of our simultaneous marital separations, it certainly felt contrived.

But it’s irrelevant, really. I stopped questioning the circumstances and began to let go of the feelings of betrayal a long time ago.

I had to.

Because acceptance is crucial for moving forward. And because choosing hurt and anger over forgiveness doesn’t do anything except make my stomach churn.

Anyway, before today, the last time we spoke was two and a half years ago.

To me, you were still just his co-worker.

The sweet little boy you bathed in your tub last night was still snuggled, warm and safe, in my womb. The precious little girls who hugged you goodbye this morning as I buckled their baby brother into the car still only knew you as “Christopher’s mommy.” And the man with whom you now share a bed was still my husband.

Then everything changed.

And, somehow, you became a significant presence in the lives of the three most-important people I’ll ever love.

The first year of the separation was excruciating for me.

Sending my children to spend time with their father (still my husband, then) and knowing you would be there too – with MY family – felt so horribly wrong. At times I really thought I might die from the intensity of the heartache. I’d stand in the doorway, watching my Former Spouse drive our beautiful babies away from me and toward you and I would fight the impulse to rush after them and do whatever it took to keep them from you. Every single time.

Because picking up my little daughters and infant son from their dad and smelling your perfume all over them sickened me. The only perfume that should linger on their clothes and hair and foreheads should be mine. Ever.

And because hearing about how awesome your pancakes were, or the movie you all went to see, or admiring the manicures you gave them on their weekends away from me broke my heart even more.

It’s totally silly, but in those moments I felt like I was losing them. And they are my everything. The only thing I have left of my old life that I still sometimes can’t believe I lost.

Like a mama bear standing upright, tall and fierce, I roared a warning: these are MY kids. MINE!!!!! 

I’m ashamed that ugly green monster had such a long moment in the spotlight.

But I wanted to hate you.

And I’m pretty sure I did.


It didn’t take them long to start loving you, you know. In fact, I suspect it was almost instantaneous. Kids are quick to form attachments.

And they can’t help but talk about the people they love.

So I force myself to swallow the spiteful things I want to say about you. And instead I just smile when the kids regale me with stories about the adventures they have with you and their Daddy.

I bite my tongue when the girls gush over the latest gift you lavished on them.

I pretend it doesn’t make my heart bleed a little bit when my son says your name and his eyes light up.

And, the truth is, I really am grateful. You could’ve been a complete monster and hate children. You could’ve been 22 years old and clueless about what it means to be a parent. You could’ve been an unstable, irresponsible, unsafe, crazy person.

But you’re not.

And for that, I only have an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

So, here’s to the new beginning of an important relationship. I’m hopeful we can set aside our differences and work together for the good of my children.

Every choice I make, every goal I set, and everything I want out of this life is grounded in the best interest of those three.

So I forgive you. And I trust you. And I’m rooting for you and my Former Spouse to go the distance, truly.

Because I know that it’s so important for my kids to see their father in a healthy, loving relationship. It makes him a better person and a better dad.

And that’s really all that matters.

Puke and Rally.

Who the hell am I? 

It’s a question that demands an answer.

And it spun round and round in my dizzy little brain as I lay there in the darkness on the damp sidewalk outside my parent’s house a few weeks ago. I was very drunk and knew I couldn’t make it in to the bathroom before the vomiting commenced.

So I barfed next to the storm drain and then lay my head down on the cool, moon-lit cement in defeat.

Thank you sweet baby Jesus that none of the neighbors happened to come out. Can you imagine the talk?

Ohhhhh… dear. Dear, dear, dear. This divorce really has messed her up. She was always such a nice girl. So polite and friendly and smart. And a pretty young thing, too. Now look at her. Such a sad story.

It’s totally a sad story.

Me, a grown woman and mother of three, taking an impromptu nap at 2:30 am on the sidewalk next to the splattered evidence of my alcohol over-consumption.

Who the hell am I?

I’m the girl who was supposed to have it all together. There’s no excuse for this shit. I’m a good person. I was a good kid. I come from an intact, loving family. My parents cultivated in me the ability to discern right from wrong. And they reinforced my natural inclination to choose to do the right thing every step of my childhood.

I know how to make good choices.

I know better.

I knew better.

I still chose poorly.

Over and over and over again, I made bad choices.

I make bad choices.


At times I vacillate between behaving like an imprudent teenager, bent on rebelling against everything she should be and should do, and a dried-up, middle-aged hag who struts around with a stick up her ass.

Who the fuck am I?

At 33, I’m fairly certain I should already know.


After my husband left, I experienced something of an identity crisis. I suspect that’s pretty normal when you begin dating the person you believe you’ll spend the rest of your life with at the age of 18 and then proceed to do life together for the next 13 years.

I assumed the role of wife and homemaker at the age of 22 and added the title, “Mommy,” to my credentials two years later.

Life happened and the marriage soured, but still, I genuinely never believed I would lose it all. Because marriage is forever! So I invested myself wholly into the roles I played.

When my husband decided he wanted to divorce, I was shamefully and unceremoniously stripped of one of the most-important and precious parts of my identity as an adult.

Without the wife role, I didn’t know how to view myself. It left me confused and more than a little off-kilter.

Of course I’m still a mother. That’s obviously an undeniable and almost all-consuming part of who I am post-divorce.

But I’m realizing that there are other parts of me that I forgot existed. Parts that were buried when I decided to marry my first and only real boyfriend at an age that was probably too young and tender. Innately wild parts that were never indulged by any sort of rebellious behavior but are now yearning to be set free.

Who the hell am I?

I can’t answer that question right now and that’s unsettling. Even more unsettling is how irreconcilable my life as a mom and my (secret?) inner wild-child appear to be.

[I write wild-child and sort of laugh, because I’m really not that way. Promise!]

I suppose the truth is that I’m still learning how to conduct myself in this strange in-between stage of life.

The many IPAs and shots of tequila responsible for my sidewalk nap give testimony to that embarrassing fact.

I’m not 18. I don’t have youth or naïveté or ignorance on my side anymore.

Time to make better choices.

Time to act 33.

Whatever the hell that means.

I Think I’m Smitten With…

Jason Wahler. You know, from the MTV show Laguna Beach? Circa 2004?
Maybe no one else watched that show. It’s entirely possible. 


Last fall, when the thought of dating again stopped making me throw-up in my mouth a little, I created a list of things/characteristics/qualities that I would love my future partner to possess.

A Boy Wish List, if you will.

I had written these things down in a journal that I came across today while doing some cleaning in the basement. Here it is:

  • He must be kind
  • He must be able to make me laugh
  • He must be a Christian
  • He should like sports
  • He must be intelligent and enjoy deep and philosophical conversation on occasion
  • He must also be able to incorporate lines from Anchorman or anything Ron Swanson has ever said on Parks and Rec into the deep and philosophical conversation from the point above
  • He should hold political views close to mine (because it’s just easier that way)
  • He must be ambitious and driven (i.e. not lazy)
  • He must like to be active and do things outdoors
  • He should not be super picky or more snobby about food than me
  • He should not care about his appearance more than I care about mine

And then there were a few items that I would strongly prefer but, if missing, weren’t deal-breakers:

  • He should drive a truck or SUV (I’m just generally not into guys that go for sports cars or sedans)
  • He’d drink coffee
  • He’d be into music and enjoy going to shows
  • He’d enjoy travel (and want to do it with me)
  • He’d be able to change the oil in my car and fix things around the house
  • He’d be a part of a big family and be close to them – geographically and otherwise

Obviously, it’s a completely reasonable and very general list of requirements.

But seriously, I know the things I can’t live with (again) and what I can’t live without in a significant other. And I won’t settle.


I had a promising first date with someone this week. There were sparks and we both felt a connection. And if it turns into anything more than just a few fun dates, I’ll share the story of how we met because it’s kind of cute and serendipitous.


It was very interesting to read through my Boy Wish List this morning when I found it.

Guys, this boy has/is 98% of the items on my list.

Plus! He’s six months older than me (not 28!). Did four years in the Marines. One of the first on the ground in Baghdad. He came home and got a degree in business, and he’s now a successful entrepreneur. Devout Catholic. The second of seven siblings. Never married. Hilarious. Brilliant. He reads poetry, you guys. He looks a lot like Jason Wahler from Laguna Beach, but not douchey and with a fuller beard. And he has bright blue/green/hazel eyes instead of brown. So basically he’s cuter than Jason Wahler.

And? He thinks I’M a catch.

I’m attempting to reign in my excitement.

But I’m kind of excited about this one.

So I’m proceeding with caution…