Tag: marriage

~ My Family ~

Woofie Marie Kemp | British Golden Retriever

Officially known as Woofie Marie Kemp.
She has my middle name, and Mark’s last name :-)
Over 7 years old now.  She still acts like a playful pup.
Sweet as can be.  Will submit to a Chihuahua.  Wouldn’t hurt a fly.
Follows me around while I feed the other animals.
Feels lucky she is the only one that ever gets to come in the house.  (wild guess)

chickens and ducks

When we went to get our chickens, I saw the ducks.
Had to have them.  Had to.
We thought we were getting two females.  We didn’t.  They hump a lot.  A lot.
They are noisy as heck, quacking every time they see us.
They want to be noticed, I guess.
They love frozen peas.
They rule over the chickens – but they all hang out.
The chickens come running out to me whenever I go around the horse.
The one facing this way is mean.  He pecks at my feet and legs.
So I started wearing my cowboy boots every time I go out, so I won’t get hurt.
But he’s missing now.
Some neighbors complained (rightfully so) that the chickens kept coming into their yard and messing things up.  So we had to contain them.  Miss Meany escaped and we haven’t seen her for days.  Smart one.  I wonder where her new home is.

Raja | Arabian Gelding Horse

This boy’s name was Photon when I got him.  But I couldn’t connect with it, so I changed it.
I had reviewed many names but nothing was sounding good.
So I asked to have a dream to find out his name.  I did.
I woke up with “Raja” on my mind.  Perfect!
Arabian – to suite his breed.
Pretty.  Yet masculine.
We both seem to love it.
Two people I have met while out riding told me he looks like a ‘Raja’.  Yeeeaah.
He brings tons of joy into my life.
I love him.

Mark Kemp

My main squeezie.
Best husband ever.
He has the biggest heart.
I wish everyone knew him like I did.

Angela DiGiovanni


It’s not the family I imagined, but it’s the family that I love. <3

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What I Learned From Siddhartha Part I


Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse came into my life at the perfect time.  My soul was yearning for something deep, and Siddhartha delivered.  It’s been on my book list for over a year – sometimes you wonder how those serendipities work themselves out.  It’s magical.

Background of the Book:

To give a little background for those who have not read it, Siddhartha is a young boy who leaves the faith of his father to go on his own spiritual journey.  It follows him through five major shifts in his life and through to his old age.  He experiences and leaves beautiful relationships along the way, always remaining loyal to his purpose and ideals.

At one point Siddartha feels very, very alone.  He didn’t belong to the Brahmin’s anymore, nor the Samana’s.  He had nowhere to say anymore, “I belong here.”  He felt like something was gone from him, he had shed his skin like a snake does.  It left him lonelier than ever.  Yet it allowed him to see the world new for the first time… things that were always there, but now viewing with new eyes.

My Own Story With Loneliness:

I know this pain of loneliness.  The first time I felt this level of loneliness was in my first marriage.  I had entered into this contract with my boyfriend, and God, to be married and become one.  But we never became one… not physically, not spiritually, not emotionally.  I didn’t believe in divorce.  So I did what I had to… I lived the lie.  I lived a quiet, lonely death, where the outside world saw the facade, the life we wanted them to see.  (I can’t go here right now – it’s too deep, too much for right here in this post.  For more of this, please subscribe to The Virgin Wife Chronicles.)

The second time I experienced this level of loneliness was when I was converting to a faith not of my family.  I was transitioning from feeling like I belonged in my family, my tribe, to not fitting anymore, and grasping at straws to learn how to fit differently.  And then I was in this transit space where I felt like I didn’t belong in my family and I wasn’t part of this new tribe that I was converting into yet.

I can tell you that these dark chasms (and that is what they are) are where we find ourselves.  No longer do we get to parade a banner belonging to this group or that tribe… instead we are left alone, with only our own thoughts, demons, prayers, and epiphanies.  There are no coattails to ride, no thoughts to borrow, no cloaks to cling to.  It’s a space that will either lead us to death and despair, or to life and joy.  Our choice.  Our courage.  Our bravery.

I wish I knew how to help others choose the path of life and joy.  But I don’t know how I did it.  I don’t know how I went from my path of destruction to my path of life.  I was headed for death.  Truly headed for death.  (Do I have to say it?)  And then, after years of disconnected prayers, stacks of books, torrents of tears, depths of despair, something gave.  I found courage.  I took baby steps.  I chose life.  I survived.  I’m living.  I’m breathing.  That world I left behind feels like some remote incarnation.

But I can’t tell you ‘how’.

It’s an answer I seek diligently.  I want nothing more than to be able to tell you ‘how’.

In the meantime, keep moving.  Keep breathing.  Keep praying.  Keep reading.

Maybe that is the ‘how’.

Just keep going.

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An All or Nothing Kind of Gal

Mark:  (offers me a sip of his slurpee)

Me:  (jokingly appalled) Are you offering me sugar during my sugar detox?

Mark:  Yes.  Just one sip.

Me:  There is never ‘just one’ with me.  I don’t work that way.  I’m an all or nothing kind of gal.  If I took one sip, I’d drink the whole thing and then I’d go straight to hell.

Mark:  Then I’ll follow you there.  We’ll kick Satan out and it will be our own little paradise.


While I was able to resist the slurpee, I proved myself right later in the week.  For our anniversary we went to Outback for dinner and I allowed myself the treat of the irresistible coconut shrimp.  There could only be a little bit of sugar in that dipping sauce – and not much gluten in the batter.  And we haven’t eaten out this nice in so long…

After devouring the shrimp with pure delight, I received my gluten free (and sugar free) ribs.  You ever try eating sauce-free ribs?  There are the ribs, plainly sitting on their plate like an unwanted outcast, not even attempting to beg to be eaten.  They acknowledge that they wouldn’t even eat them.  But I do try.

And after that first hopeless bite that I knew wouldn’t turn out well, I say out loud, “what a sad, sad existence.”

Mark nods his head and asks, “what?”

I answer, “To be gluten and sugar free for your whole life.  I mean, who eats ribs without sauce?  What’s the point?”  I suddenly understood why my nieces and nephews all went through their stages of dipping their fry in ketchup and only licking the ketchup off, or the carrot in ranch dressing, and only licking the ranch off. That barbecue sauce was all I wanted in that moment.  Please, take away the ribs.  Just bring me the barbecue sauce.

So out came the sauce.  And onto the ribs it was generously slathered.  And it was so, so good.

And then there was the movie theater last night.

That warm buttery, salty popcorn with those chocolaty M&M’s is such a winning combination, I thought.  I’ve already messed up royally…

And so it goes.

There is never ‘just one’ with me.

I’m an all or nothing kind of gal.  Perfectly strong for six weeks, and then, BAM!  One exception, and all will power is lost.

So when I fall off the wagon, there is no telling when I’ll finally get back on, if ever.

I sure hope that hellish paradise is an option…

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Our Bitter-sweet Wedding Day

We’re much too old to be celebrating only four years of marriage.  But it’s the second go-around for both of us.  I never would have thought in a million years that I would be in the second marriage club.  But alas… here we are. It can be a stigma to live with – a certain vibe that subtly exists in the universe, that a second marriage just isn’t taken as seriously.  And with it comes all kinds of assumptions and predictions about our fate.  Typically, which end up being true.

Statistics (depending on which ones you read) say that 67% of second marriages fail, and even higher when children/step-children are involved.  The older the children are, the more likely the second marriage will end, and usually within the first three-to-five years.  I’m not gonna lie, it’s a tough predicament – being a step-parent. Everything I’ve ever read said I needed to act as if I was the Fun Aunt, and nothing more.  Yet we must cohabitate and try to live functionally together.

I often felt that being a step-parent (of children still living in the house) required all of the responsibilities of a parent, without many of the rewards.  I’m sorry if it sounds brutal, but I’m just being honest.  My step kids know that I love them and I know that on some levels they love me.  But, because they were older when their dad and I got married, we never had any of the natural bonding that happens between parents and children.  It’s just the reality of the situation, and a stress for both step-parent and step-child.

Mark and I got engaged in a precarious time – when the real estate markets were crashing all around us.  Since that was our business, it was a big deal for us.  Between trying to financially survive in such a turn of events, being a new blended family, and not having the support of our families for our union, we’ve had our share of really hard times.  I’ve been reflecting today on how and why we’ve made it this far.

First off, we are truly united in our understanding of this life and our goals for living, now and in the future.  We are united spiritually, with Christ and His example as the focal point of our example to follow (not that we haven’t made many mistakes), we bond intellectually, we share a love of entrepreneurship, business, and learning, we laugh together, we have friendly competition.  We’re best friends.

Not that this works for everyone, but we are attached at the hip.  We sleep together, eat together, work together, go everywhere together – we laugh and say that about the only time we aren’t together is when one of us is using the restroom, but sometimes not even then (ew, tmi?).

I love his company and our comradery.  We’ve survived so many things together in such a short time – things that would often tear couples apart.  But somehow we have this fierce loyalty to each other.  (Maybe because all the odds were against us, and we only had support in each other.)  We trust each other.  We believe that we both want the same thing, even if we believe in going about it in different ways.  When that happens, it requires trust and patience, and somehow we have it for each other.

He’s a good man.  So when I don’t agree with him, I just remember that, and then there is nothing left to try to control.  When I’m being overly particular (often), he lets me be.  He sits back, laughs, and watches me go.  And we don’t take each others bad moods personally – we give each other the space to be, to feel, to go through whatever it is we need to, without offense.

I think we must let our spouses be – and stop trying to control their every move, desire, and feeling.  We would never be so controlling with anyone else in our lives, we would never have so many expectations with anyone else. Why cage the love of our lives when all they need is a safe place to land?  If they can’t find that place with us, they may find it with someone else, or in something.  Our fears do nothing to invite solace for our mates – they only repel and push and prod.  And when people are pushed, they push back, or take flight.

Let us control our fears, bite our tongues, trust that we want the same things, be okay with getting there a different way than our way, provide compassion and acceptance, and a safe place in our midst.  We’ll feel better about ourselves, and we’ll have better marriages.

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Mark Kemp and Angela DiGiovanni Wedding Day

It’s not that I’m anti Valentines Day.  I’m just not super into it.  It’s the Day that you feel compelled to do all sorts of things that you may or may not feel like doing that day.  And who wants to join the masses for dinner out?

At the risk of sounding too jaded, Valentines Day has become so commercialized and full of expectation.  Am I gonna get diamonds?  Flowers?  A car full of balloons?  10 pounds of chocolate?  Surely, a card… Hallmark, Sees Candies, and flower shops are the biggest winners on this day.  And besides, what does all of this have to do with Saint Valentine?  I mean, how did we get from martyred Saints of Ancient Rome to chocolates, diamonds, expensive dinners, and flowers?

I’m not crying because my honey isn’t thoughtful.  He is.  But he’s thoughtful any given day.  Over the years, since we’ve been dating, I’m often stumbling upon little red strips of paper, like the ones in fortune cookies, with lovely sentiments on them.  They’ll be on my pillow when I climb into bed.  On his pillow when I climb out of bed.  In the bathroom.  Taped to my computer.  In my underwear drawer.  You name it.  He’s even managed to get these love notes to me when he’s been away.

It’s always nice to hear things like:  “I’ll Always Remember Why I Fell In Love With You”, “You Still Turn Me On”, “I Want to Make Babies With You”, “You Are the Love of My Life”, “I Love Your Smile”, “You’re A Good Person”.  I have hundreds of these by now, and they just keep coming.  It’s a small gesture that puts a huge smile on my face every time I find one.

So I’m all for being sentimental and sweet, I’m just not that into feeling pressure on one particular day to be that way.  I’d much rather know that my Love was thinking of me on his own, not because the world was telling him he should be thinking of me.

So how did we spend our day?  We worked for a few hours in the morning, and then took the afternoon off and NAPPED.  We stayed in bed for over four hours.  Got up for some homemade guacamole and a recorded episode of American Idol, then went back to bed.  I’m typing.  Pumpkin is sleeping next to me.

Mark Kemp and Angela DiGiovanni Wedding Day

A February Wedding in Utah = Freezing

How did you spend your Valentine’s Day?

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