Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Morning without My Daughter

Looking back, Christmas this year didn’t turn out too bad. Divorce is a terrible thing, but it has its benefits…I guess. Hannah spent Christmas Eve and morning with her dad, Tia, Tio and Abuelos, opening gifts there. Then Christmas afternoon, she came to open gifts with me and my mom. She was already excited from her first Christmas.

Christmas morning I just kept myself busy being productive. I hung Hannah’s 5-yr-old pics on the wall, which has been waiting to be done. And I did this while in my neck brace after having spinal surgery just 1 ½ wks ago! I also painted Angel’s paw print ornament from last year, which was fun for me. I like to be crafty, just don’t have time for it anymore.

Hannah was brought over by her father around 1 pm. It was hard to get out of her what she got from over there. All she mentioned was clothes and the Walking Kitty she asked Santa for. I asked her about the princess bike, which reminded her that she got that, too. HA!

She first attacked her stocking, digging as deep as it would go. Then she started under the tree. Every time she opened something really great, she would throw her hands up and scream with joy! Then she’d say, “Thank you, Mommy! You’re the best! Or she’d say the same to Santa. She’d come give me a big hug! This made it all worthwhile. The look on her face was priceless!!!

This was the X’s year to have Hannah for Christmas, and yet, he let me have her for the afternoon, then picked her up that night. I know he didn’t have to do that. I expressed my gratitude several times to him. His comment was, “I did it for Hannah.” Well, let’s make that clear! HA! He certainly wouldn’t do it for me. It doesn’t matter why he did it. It still shows that he thought of someone else over himself, unless of course he just wanted to take a nap that afternoon and wanted some peace. It really doesn’t matter, though. I gave up on trying to understand his motives a long time ago. I got to celebrate Christmas on the day, and that’s all that matters!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Alone On Christmas?

I've felt the depression bug, lately. I've had SOO much going on in my life all at once since Sept....nonstop. I started grad school, which was really hard by itself as a single mom! Then, I've had this 3 month battle trying to get my van back from a body shop, which has taken a lot of time, money and emotions. Now, I had this horrible spinal surgery right before Christmas, knowing I don't get my baby on Christmas day.

Let me just say, thank GOD for my mother!!!!!!! I would be a balling mess this week if she hadn't come to take care of everything. I really mean that. I was at some times, anyway. I've just been overwhelmed. The unknown is very difficult. My X also has been a jerk, but what's new.

My mom, though, has been here since last Friday. She came home right after I did from the hospital and agreed to stay until the day after Christmas, so I didn't have to be alone in this "state".

I'm unable to drive. Don't have a car, anyway. I would have to depend on others for groceries and would NOT have been able to have Hannah by myself all week, because I wouldn't have been able to take care of her. I can barely take care of myself! And I really wanted to spend this time with Hannah over the holiday even though I can't take her anywhere. Because of my mom, Hannah was with me all week, and spent some nights with her dad. Hannah helped my mom take care of sweet.

Anyway, I do know what it feels like to just want to give up! I have truly wanted to dig a hole to burry myself in. I needed an escape. And now, my photo printer broke. It's a $500 printer. I know that's not a necessity, but I'm a photographer and I do all my own printing at home. Photos are very important to legacy. It was just one more thing!

Ok, how about some good news! My lawyer picked up my van from the body shop and took it to a shop he trusts to get it looked over. That shop found some missed problems from the accident that still need to be fixed. I've had to put out about $5000 to get my van back! When I should have paid NOTHING out of pocket!

But just the fact that the van is out of the other body shop’s hands is SUCH a relief. We're suing them for $15000!!! I don't know if we'll win that much, but I sure hope to get my money back, at least. It'll be about a 6 mos fight, so this isn't over.

I will have Hannah Christmas afternoon, which I'm very thankful that he's allowing. My mom will leave Sun AM. I'm thankful for the small piece of Christmas I will get to spend with Hannah. I'm also thankful that my mom is here. YOU have no idea what that has meant to me! I will have to find a way to thank her properly, really. I don't know what I would have done without her.

These are the times where I miss having someone. Going through a surgery like this alone is not possible when you have a child...and pets, for that matter. But my mom stepped in to fill that void. Thanks, Mom!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Can I Find the Blessings in All This???

This is the time of year when families celebrate Christmas with time together, gifts, food, and fun. And yet, I just had spinal surgery and am stuck at home in a neck brace. I have stitches across the front of my neck that reminds me of Frankenstein!!! Thankfully, my mom was able to come at the last minute. I was under the impression that it wouldn’t be so bad, well, it IS! I am in a lot of pain, and seeing the terrifying wound just makes it worse. Yes, finals are done. That was a big load off. But I’m still left with a difficult recovery from this surgery and still have no car, since the body shop is trying to steal it. I’m in the process of suing them. Everything has gone wrong all at once, and at such a special time of the year. Can I find the blessings in this?

Besides all that, Hannah will spend Christmas with her father, who has NEVER cared about celebrating Christmas before. It’s MY holiday! I’m the one with all the traditions. She says she wants to be with me on Christmas, but he won’t let her. Therefore, I will be left in this mess alone on Christmas.

I keep hoping and praying that my life will get better. This has been a tough year! I was divorced. I dealt with Hannah’s emotional instability after having to meet her dad’s girlfriend. I had two surgeries in the past 3 months. I started Grad School full time. I got in a car accident, which left my car in the hands of crooks, who I’m having to sue to get my car back. That battle has gone on for 3 months.

I really do need a brighter year. I would love to see better days….days of peace. This is my prayer. I pray for a peaceful new year. I pray that my neck will feel better, pain free. I pray that I will have my van back and I will win the lawsuit against the body shop. I pray that the classes I take in the spring will not be too challenging, and that I will learn a lot.

I’m just exhausted. I need a break from my own life. I just need peace.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Best Predictor of Divorce

This facts below are something I learned in my Human Growth and Development class in grad school.  Sorry I haven't written in a while.  I have finals and am actually having spinal surgery next week.  In addition, I'm having to sue the body shop, who's had my van for 3 months, since my car accident.  They're refusing to finish and charging more than they promised....CROOKS!  Yes, my life has once again become complicated!!!  Satan must be threatened by me!!!  He's trying to get me down, but with God, I will prevail!!!

Best Predictor of Divorce:

• High level of negative affect reciprocity – likelihood that negative emotions in 1 will follow from the other’s negative emotions

• Negativity that predicts divorce

1. Criticism

2. Defensiveness

3. Contempt

4. Stonewalling

• Positivity – ratio should be 5:1, positivity: negativity

1. Humor interest

2. Affection

3. Validation

4. Ability to soothe angry or hurt feelings

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thankgiving Blessings

Thanksgiving this year seemed different, yet a blessing. My family unit is a little smaller this year. Where we once had 11 people at our table, we only had 5. Aren’t families supposed to grow over time? One natural decrease was my grandparents’ choosing not to travel anymore. For many years, they traveled down to Florida for Thanksgiving. It doesn’t seem the same without them, as they are 89 and 94 yrs old. But I understand that as people age, they have to give up certain luxuries. They were missed.

The other decrease was my sister’s family. Because of her divorce, not only was her ex-husband not here, but her 2 kids spent Thanksgiving with their step-mom and baby half-sister. So strange that even though their dad is deployed, they would still choose to spend the holiday with his wife.  Mind you, this is my sister's year to have them on Thanksgiving.  I guess you get to a time when they can choose for themselves where they want to be on holidays.  Then I am also divorced, which leaves out my X (which is NO LOSS!). So, that just leaves my parents, my sister, me and Hannah.

It just seems strange to not have as much chaos and mess. The house is so much more quiet. We didn’t cook as much food, with less mouths to feed. Instead of doing the typical Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings, we prepared each trimming on different nights during my visit to my parents' house. Then on Thanksgiving day, we made it simple, just having lasagna, salad and garlic bread. Mom is a vegetarian.  On other nights we had mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, and sweet potato casserole. I guess you can say, we celebrated Thanksgiving all week, so we had more time to eat all that food.

It’s strange to watch life change from year to year. Some things change for the better, and some for the worst. Who knows what next year holds. I dread the possibility of not being with Hannah Thanksgiving week, which is very possible, since we do every other year for holidays.

Other than food, we went to Uncle Donald’s Farm with my high school friends and their kids. We went to the Tree Farm to cut down my mom’s tree. My dad took Hannah to the playground, while I looked at Black Friday ads, which I made a killing on my day of shopping. My mom took Hannah to watch “Tangled” at the theater while I shopped. I started my shopping day at 2 am.  That's a first for me!  We visited with more high school friends on Sat. We visit First Baptist Eustis on Sunday, as I enjoy doing every year.

Another change this year is that I am in Grad School, which meant I had class on Mon. So, I didn’t get to come of Friday, as usual. So, I had to miss the annual parade and festival in Umatilla the Sat before Thanksgiving. This change is bittersweet, but it is only for a season. Life is full of surprises! I’m simply trying to make the best of it. Life is good!!! I am blessed….

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Grad School

I’m really excited about how grad school is going. It’s hard to juggle everything. I’ve worked hard on time management to get all the course work done. I battle with the guilt of not being “just a mom” anymore. I want to give 100% to Hannah, but that’s not my life anymore. My eggs can no longer be in one basket. Hannah has said to me, “Mommy, I don’t want you to go to school.” I explained that I have to finish school to get a good job, to make money for us to live on. She said, “I don’t want you to have a job.” I said, “Why not?” She said, “Because then you’ll spend less time with me.” That broke my heart!!!! A mother’s guilt never fails.

As I have passed the middle of my first semester, I’m happy to say that I have straight A’s! I only have one month left to complete my first 3 classes in Christian Counseling. I am taking Counseling Skills Training, Human Growth and Development, and Counseling Theories. I have learned a lot! I have also found that I am already very knowledgeable about what I’ve learned so far. I don’t think I would do this well had I taken these classes 10 years ago. Life experience has taught me so much! It’s actually made me a better counselor.

As difficult as it has been to adjust to being a student and a single mom, I’ve realized that even though it is hard and I feel overwhelmed at times, this is only for a season. This semester flew by, and the rest will, too. Before I know it, I’ll be in my career….and able to help people work through their problem situations. I have big plans to write books, as well.

God blessed me with a wonderful daughter. I was able to give her my all for the first 3 yrs of her life. I’m thankful for those 3 beautiful years home with her. Now she’s growing up and in school. I suppose God is telling me it’s time to redefine myself, to find my own identity. My identity can’t be just Hannah’s mom anymore, as much as I appreciated that. God used me in her life for that season, but now, he has bigger plans for me. I will still be Hannah’s mom, but I will also be able to make a difference in the world.

I just pray that God will help the guilt to fade, so that I can focus more positively on my future career. I know I can make a difference! Who knows, maybe one day, I’ll meet my soul mate and remarry. Then everything will change again! Life is full of ups and down. I’m just here for the ride.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

To Date, or Not to Date?

I’ve taken my time. I’ve done everything I can do to heal from the torment of my past. I began this journey afraid, afraid of being out there again. I felt like I was being thrown out to the wolves. I felt so fragile and alone.

I took it slow, as I tried to regain some respect for men. It was hard in the beginning to separate one man who hurt me so deeply and every other man out there. Aren’t they all capable of lying and cheating? Is there any hope of finding a loyal spouse? How many marriages have I watched falling apart around me, even Christian marriages? Do marriages even last anymore? Why bother looking?

Then, a new season began for me, the season of male friendship. As seen in a prior blog, I allowed testosterone back into my life. Through that sort of friendship, I realized there are still “nice guys” out there.

But now, I must ask myself, “To date or not to date?” Could I be ready to move forward into a new season, where I would actually allow someone the chance to sweep me off my feet? Obviously, my feet won’t be easily swept. I’ve been hurt. I’ve learned to be cautious.

What is dating in 2010, anyway? Will I even know how to do it? Honestly, I didn’t really date even when I was a teen. I was friends with guys, which turned into a relationship. I never had the chance to do the whole dating thing. It sounds exciting, yet at the same time, terrifying. What comes with dating??? I’ve only kissed one man in the last 12 years!!!

It’s not the kiss I’m afraid of. I guess there’s still a part of me that has a hard time breaking the loyalty I had in my marriage. The other part is, with a kiss brings other feelings and emotions…..passion. I am a conservative Christian, who does not believe in pre-marital sex. God created sex as a bond shared between a man and a woman in wholly matrimony. With sex, two people become ONE flesh! When those two people part ways, a piece of each person painfully stays with the other.

It’s also a matter of, if you give that up, what is left to wait for in marriage? I believe that love waits. This is the ultimate sign of respect. Any man who pressures me, will show his lack of respect for my wishes and my body.

These are just some things I’ve thought about as I toy with the idea of dating. Is it time for me to get out there and move on with my life? It’s exhilarating to think that I will be able to fall in love again. I haven’t felt that feeling in a VERY long time, since my X was so cruel to me over the past several years. This is my chance at a new beginning.

But….am I ready?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Stop to Smell the Roses

So, today I stopped by Home Depot to pick up some string for my weed whacker. I couldn't help but stop into the garden department. Oh, the feeling I got when I walked in and took in the beauty of all the colorful flowers around me! It was euphoria!!!

I’m used to spending a lot of time working in my garden. They know me by name in the Garden Dept of Home Depot, I was in there so often buying flowers. With Grad School, all that has stopped. Walking through there today, the craving to buy flowers to plant was overwhelming! But with what time am I going to do this??? I walked through every isle, taking it all in.

My, has my life changed. I don’t seem to have time for simple pleasures anymore. I’m a stop to smell the roses person. I need that! I still go out and sit in my garden, but it’s not the same as getting out there and working it. I maintain with mowing, but I want to plant seasonal flowers. I want to spend a WHOLE day out there!

I can only hope that one day, I’ll be able to find the time for this simple pleasure again. This is a season in my life, where things are different and time is short. But one day, I’ll be able to really ENJOY life again. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy life. I do take time just to “play”. I’m going out for karaoke with Hannah tonight, in fact. But my REAL enjoyment comes from the outdoors. That, I haven’t had time for. My body CRAVES it! We’re also going to the zoo tomorrow, so that’ll be nice.

I’m trying really hard to manage my time wisely and get my homework done during the week, so that I can spend time enjoying Hannah on the weekends I have her. I’ve discovered that the weeks that I have Hannah on the weekend, are really strenuous! I have to work hard all week to get my homework done before the weekend. And this weekend, I’m also planning another oral presentation. So, that’s a lot of added work! But the semester is already half way through. I think I’ll do all right. I can’t expect to be perfect, because I don’t have the time to give each class my ALL. So, I will accept simply, “OK”. As long as I get that degree, I’m in better shape.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Counseling: Conflict Resolution

I've started going to counseling with my X every other week for the last two weeks. We're seeing a Christian Counselor, a man. Yesterday, he suggested to my X not to have Hannah spend nights with his girlfriend in her house. He ought to get a hotel. There needs to be someone else, a family member, in the house if they are to spend nights there. The counselor also did not condone the fact that the four of them laid in bed together while watching TV, too intimate. These things my X did with Hannah over the weekend, what I was so worried about.

It also seems that he is not taking Hannah to church anymore when he has her. He explained that Hannah doesn't want to go to his Spanish church and they don't attend church in Orlando. So, she just doesn't go! The counselor explained an interesting statistic. When mothers take their children to church every Sunday, the child has a 50% chance of attending church as an adult. When a father takes their children to church, the percentage goes up to 90%!!! I found that incredible. So, obviously, the counselor encouraged him to make church a priority with Hannah.

Honestly, my X seems to have gone deeper into the abyss. He acted as if he didn't really care what the counselor said. He's going to do what makes him happy. I really shouldn't be surprised by this. All these years, he's pretended to be a God-fearing man, but he was living a double life. Well, now, why live a lie? He has nothing to hide. But my Hannah will have to suffer. That's what kills me!!!

The counselor also explained to me that when it is his weekend with Hannah, she is HIS! I can't demand to him that he take her to church. He said, "That's between him and God." No one can make him do the right thing. This is very humbling for me. He's right. This is something I have to let go. I have to give this burden completely to GOD! He does love my daughter even more than I do, and He will protect her.

The other thing I noticed yesterday was the HATE my X has for me. I don't understand it. He never spoke calmly. It was always yelling and accusing. He used sarcasm and jabbed me when at all possible. It was like he wanted to hurt me. I could feel the HATE radiating from his body. He was filled with anger. At one point, I stopped and turned to him and reminded him, "I am the mother of your child. Where is all this anger coming from? Talk to me like a mature adult." He just yelled even louder.

By the end of the session, I was fighting back the tears. I can't deal with this man. I'm so thankful that I am no longer bound to him in marriage, but it sure is hard to be bound to him through our daughter! One good thing is that the counselor saw the man I've had to put up with for so many years. He was a raging lunatic! Also, I did fairly well at keeping my cool. I must admit, it was hard, being that he was making so many false accusations. Where does he get this stuff!?!?!?!?!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Protect My Daughter, Oh Lord!

I must accept that every other weekend, my daughter will spend time with another woman. I don’t know this woman, and yet she is molding my daughter. This is more than I can bear alone! On these weekends, Hannah doesn’t go to church. She is not taught Godly principals. She eats whatever she wants to eat and does whatever she wants to do. She comes home a different child. So, I must get her back in shape after every weekend spent with her dad. She must know that she doesn’t behave like that in my home.

This isn’t how I pictured motherhood, sharing this very important responsibility with another woman. No, it isn’t fair! But this is how it is now. I’ve learned that I must accept this, and simply do the best I can do. I can only trust God for the rest.

I’ve prayed that God will protect my little girl when she’s away from me, for she is out of my care. I pray that what she sees and hears will be pure. This woman also has a daughter, who is 5 like Hannah. From what I can tell, she is not as well behaved as Hannah. Hannah comes home making disrespectful comments or using mildly inappropriate vocabulary. But once again, I give it over to God.

Legally, I have no grounds to tell him what he should or shouldn’t subject our daughter to. He won’t listen even when I tell him, so I swallow it, as hard as that is. All I can do is my best. God will take care of my princess! He is her ultimate FATHER!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Godly Husband

A Godly Husband

by Yolonda Juers

I pray for a husband

Who is chosen by Your hand,

One who honors his Creator

And follows the leading of his Saviour.

Give me a man following God’s will

He is so much more a thrill,

Than a man filled with his own thought

So easily led and so cheaply bought.

Father God, if it is Your will,

May I have a husband still?

Only if he is in Your plan

Otherwise single will I stand.

A man who rejoices in the love of God

To him only will I give the nod.

With the Holy Spirit must he be filled

And earthly desires simply be stilled.

I want a man who longs for You more

Not one who is Holy Spirit-poor.

One who longs to do Your work

On the narrow path he steps at the fork.

Father God, if it is Your will,

May I have a husband still?

Only if he is in Your plan

Otherwise single will I stand.

Few men choose based on right

Many choose based on sight.

May he weigh carefully each thought

Having persevered and been well taught.

I pray he reflect Jesus his Lord

On eagles wings may he have soared.

Not perfection but forgiveness his aim

Having made mistakes but casting not blame

Father God, if it is Your will,

May I have a husband still?

Only if he is in Your plan

Otherwise single will I stand.

To him this world need be muted,

And in the Word must he be rooted

I pray him faith in You a-growing

And his sins he not be towing.

I’d love for a man to love me

The way you intended it to be.

And for me to love him,

Sincerely, without the deceit of sin.

Father God, if it is Your will,

May I have a husband still?

Only if he is in Your plan

Otherwise single will I stand.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Very Bad Week!

I admit I’m behind on my blogs, but for good reason. I’ll tell you my story from a couple of weeks ago. In one week’s time everything that could, went wrong. First, I was in a car accident. So, I have a rental for a month, while they fix my van. I also had to spend a lot of time on the phone with Allstate getting the insurance issues settled. Then Hannah was sick all that week and stayed home from school. I was able to go to class, but didn’t get my studying done. Then my AC in the house stopped cooling for 2 days during that same week. I had to call a repair man. Then I had to go to Dr’s appointments to prepare for my surgery the following week, and of course was nervous about the upcoming surgery. Then that weekend, Hannah started acting out behaviorally. She was NOT herself. It was to the point that she made me cry. I also had an oral presentation to prepare for grad school, which is very stressful for me. In addition, I found out that my X deceptively allowed his girlfriend and her daughter to come to Hannah’s birthday party over the weekend (the one he threw for her). The last we had spoken about this, it was agreed that Hannah would NOT see her until Hannah is cleared by a child psychologist. Apparently, he had gone to a counselor, himself, who had Okayed it. And the counselor didn’t see any reason he should tell me this. I was irate!

I’ve realized that no matter what I do or how I feel, he is going to find a way to get his OWN needs met. I’m just going to have to accept that this woman is going to be a part of Hannah’s life whether I like it or not. He is in denial that it is negatively affecting Hannah. The counselor is basically saying that Hannah needs to accept that this is her new reality and live with it, even if it hurts her. I continue to leave my child in the hands of my Lord and trust that He will protect her. But at the same time, this caused extra stress for me during this traumatic week.

I knew that this was just one of those BAD weeks that everyone has. I knew that “this, too, shall pass.” But that didn’t make it any easier to go through. I was beyond stressed! I just had to make it through…but how? I studied while Hannah napped that weekend. I even studied some while she was awake, not being able to do much fun with her that Saturday. She was supposed to go to a drop off birthday party, but refused, unless I would go with her. I would have loved to go, but HAD to study! I just didn’t have a choice at that point.

Sunday, I was so thankful that my good friend took Hannah to church with her, while I skipped church to do my homework for the next day. I did survive this terrible, horrible, no good week!!! I gave my presentation, and I think it wasn’t too bad. Hannah was able to go to school the next week. Her mood improved. I stayed healthy for surgery, which I was concerned about with Hannah being so sick. I AC was not a big deal, easy to fix. Even though, it was difficult to go through, God worked out the solutions. I may have felt like drowning, but He kept my head above water the whole time….even if just barely.

Now, I just had my surgery and all went well. I’m recovering. I’ve done a lot of my studying for this week. My mom came to take care of me for a few days, which was GREAT! Hannah stayed with her dad, for the most part. It’s been nice spending some time with my mom. My life should be getting back on track now after a very tough interlude. I’m glad it’s over! I know that God will never give me more than I can handle. I’m thankful that He’s always teaching me and looking out for me. I’m thankful that last week is OVER! On to better things!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Self-Evaluation as a Counselor (Paper for School)

I have felt a calling to be a counselor since I took my very first psychology class. I found learning to understand people very fascinating. With time, I also learned the importance of self-help, through counseling or reading independently. I learned what it felt like to be a client, myself, as I’ve seen many different counselors when obstacles come up in my life. I believe that anyone can benefit from therapy.

I was awarded my Bachelor’s in Psychology in 2001 from the University of Florida, but ended my career before it started when I got married and started a family. It was decided that I would be a stay at home mom. But I still had an inner huger to grow. I continued learning about subjects pertaining to my life at that time by reading Christian books on marriage and parenting, for example. One of my favorite authors is Dr. Bob Barns. I went to several of his marriage and parenting conferences, over the years. There is always room for spiritual growth and maturity, especially as a parent.

Before long, I found that my friends began to confide in me with their problems. I am very outgoing and caring. Empathy comes very easy for me. I’m a good listener, and people sense that they can trust me. They also know very well where I stand, in my faith. Any response I provide will be well grounded in Biblical principals. I may not be very good at quoting particular scriptures and telling where someone can find it in the Bible, but everything I am is based on it. I walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Everyone who knows me, knows my faith in Christ. I don’t believe in hiding it. It defines me!

It wasn’t long before I realized that God had gifted me with a heart for people. God also put me through many trials like infertility, miscarriages, and divorce. Those all seem like very bad things, but I am able to see past that. I know that God has put me in those situations “for such a time as this”. My past is all part of God’s perfect plan for my future. These trials in my life give me the credibility I’ll need to help people who have gone through similar experiences. I will truly know what they’re going through, and I’ll be share my story of how I coped in order to help them to heal. God works all things for our greater good!

I have been through my share of heart-ache, but I am bound and determined to turn my experiences around
to help others. In doing so, I started a blog just before my divorce was final. It is “me” in raw form. I hold
nothing back. It is honest and shows my strengths and weaknesses. It shows that I too am human. I have feelings. I went through DivorceCare, which helped tremendously. It allowed me to go through the “process” to get healthy again. I’ll be able to share everything that I learned through my own experiences.

I feel called to write books in order to reach more people, those who I will never have the honor to meet in person. My blog is my trials in raw form, and it is a work in progress. But one day, I’ll be able to use that material to write a book to help people to cope through their own divorce in a healthy way. It has already helped so many people, some in which I’ve never met. It is public for everyone to see at

Sometimes I feel like I’m going to explode inside, because I’m so excited about sharing what I have found. Through my trials, I grew 10 times closer to Christ. I learned what depending on Him really means. I truly hit rock bottom. I was at risk of losing everything. He was my only hope. I joined 6 Bible studies a week during that time. I read scripture daily. I prayed with tears of brokenness, and God was listening. He even spoke to me on several occasions. I owe Him everything. He held my hand through every step. He never left my side.

I thought I knew what faith was until I went through this. It’s incredible how far I’ve come. I just can’t wait to share that hope with future clients. I feel like I’ve already been a counselor, as I’ve actually saved a few marriages just this year. I don’t hide my trials. I’m not afraid of allowing myself to become vulnerable. I spoke out in my Bible studies. I wasn’t afraid to cry and show that I was weak. Because of that, women came to me. Many told me they were going through similar things, but were too afraid to share, as I had. I was able to minister to these women. If I hadn’t spoken up about my trials, they would have never known that we had this in common. They are still fighting for their marriages today.

Even though my marriage ended in divorce, I recommend that as a very last resort. Even after discovering my husband’s many affairs over the years, I still gave him 6 months to change, and I waited on God to make my path clear. My whole body wanted to end the marriage right then and there, but God hadn’t released me yet. It is incredible what God can do in your life, when you give it all up to Him. I have the peace in knowing that one day, when I stand before our Lord in heaven, and He asks me, “Did you do everything to save your marriage?” I can say, “Yes, I did.” That is one very important question I ask people when they are contemplating divorce. Yes, Biblically, I had a way out of my marriage, but God still hates divorce, and boy do I know why, especially when children are involved.

I have so many dreams. Dr. Bob Barns is someone admire. I want to do what he does. I want to help people through counseling, writing books, and lead Bible studies. I would like to help to lead a DivorceCare group locally. I’m not comfortable speaking in front of people, but I’d like to try to overcome that. I have a passion burning deep down inside me. I’m on FIRE for Jesus! And I’m not afraid to tell the world! I believe that God is going to use me mightily. Therefore, I can be excited about what my future holds. God is in control. I’m so thankful for what He has done, and what he’s going to do.

Starting Grad School

It’s definitely about time for a blog update. The title pretty much explains my neglect of the blog. I’ve been in Grad School at Trinity International University for the past 3 weeks. I’m studying Christian Counseling. I really enjoy it, however, it consumes A LOT of time!!! I have 10 books to read for my 3 classes this semester. One I read in just one week, along with some of the other 9 books. Needless to say, I’m overwhelmed!!! I just can’t keep up on all of the required reading. Friends have told me that no one actually reads everything that is required. I’ve been told to skim and pick and choose the things I don’t already know.

It has also been hard for me to just sit down and read for a whole day, hours on end, which is what I have to do. There are days that I just don’t have time for reading and only a few that I do. So, those WHOLE days are spent studying. I’m ADD. That just doesn’t work well for me. I’m so easily distracted by every little thing. I think I’ve gotten better at it, though. I expect it’s a transition that I must process over time.

I’ve turned in some quizzes and a paper and have gotten all A’s on all of them! I worry about the exams, though. That’s not my strong point. Papers are no problem for me. I also have oral presentations in 2 classes coming up. I hope to get better at speaking in front of people. I want to be confident to do that often in my career and in churches.

The material is right up my alley. I was meant to be a counselor. The head of the department, one of my professors, even told me that I will make a great counselor. That meant a lot to me!!! I really think this is my calling. I’m excited to see what God has in store for my future using my education.

There are all sorts of students in my classes. I think that probably half are young students right out of their bachelor’s. Others are divorced women like me. Some are married and furthering their education after hitting a dead end in the work force. There are only a few men in the classes. One is even all women, which is nice, because we actually get to counsel each other in there….love that class!

I also have been working on choosing my own personal counseling theory. I will have to write a paper on that at the end of the year. I seem to be mostly person-centered so far. That may change. I was supposed to write what my strengths and weaknesses are as a counselor right now in my latest paper. I got a 9.5/10 because I didn’t list enough weaknesses. I’ll have to work on that. I’ll post that paper as my next blog.

But overall, I’m really enjoying school. I just need to work on time-management to get more reading done. It may be better for me to take fewer classes, as 3 is a full load in Grad School, but I really want to get my class work done ASAP. I want to be able to start my own career and move on with my life. But God will work it all out, so I’m not going to worry. Hey, I have all A’s so far!!! Who cares if I haven’t read every word? I just hope I can keep my grades up.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Still Feel...Why???

I’m having a lot of trouble validating my feelings this evening. The X came to pick up Hannah after work. I try to “see” him as little as possible…staying in the background, while he’s at the door. He doesn’t come in, so that’s usually easy. Well, tonight, I don’t know what went wrong. I didn’t look in his eyes, because our eyes would never meet. It was his arm. His ARM?!?!?!?! What’s wrong with me? I just noticed how nice and muscular it looked. Then memories came back to me from when he used to wrap those strong arms around me. I even remember how his arm hair felt on my skin. Yes, I realize I need therapy!

When he left, I felt so sad. I kept questioning to myself, what went wrong. Obviously, I still feel for this guy….who was once my husband, this guy who hurt me deeper than I can say. Why did he have to turn out like that? Why couldn’t we just live “happily ever after”? Then I begin to ask myself, “Am I that bad that he couldn’t see himself with only ME for the rest of his life?”

Now I know that it has nothing to do with me. I know that what he did has to do with his personal issues, which developed into an addiction. But we loved each other once. We did! He used to look at me with “those eyes”, eyes that adored me. Why did that change? When I said “until death do us part” I meant it. I think he meant it then, but why do those vows change with time? Can boredom really cause a person to go so far off course, and jeopardize everything?

How can I choose differently next time? How will I know when I’ve found a truly FAITHFUL man “until death do us part”? How will I know? I sure don’t want to go through this again. I am probably as loyal as they get! That’s why this is so hard for me to comprehend. I mean, I wouldn’t even LOOK at another man, let alone form any kind of relationship with them when I was married.

Why can’t I just feel indifferent when I see him? It would be easier if I hated him. I see him, and I forget all that he’s done and is doing. I stop and remember when….things were different. When will this fantasy end? Will I ever be completely “over him”? Is that even possible when you’ve committed your whole heart to someone in marriage? A vow is a vow. How can I get past that?

Just when life looks good, I hit a wall…..

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hannah Meeting the Other Woman

8-26-10 My X was to take Hannah to Orlando with his sister to go to Blizzard Beach for the weekend. I told him before, ‘Under NO circumstances does he introduce Hannah to any woman while there”. He said, “I know how to be a good role model for my daughter.” When Hannah came back to me that next week, she talked all about this woman and her daughter, who they spent a lot of time with over the weekend. From what I understand, they didn’t spend nights with the at the hotel, but they were with them during ever day while there.

They live in Orlando with this woman's mother. She was never married, but has a 5 yr old daughter. She’s from Argentina. She has some family down in S. FL. Hannah has met them before when they visited Miami. My X sat Hannah down and told her how he likes this woman very much. They’ve only been dating 2 months!

Hannah has since shown signs of insecurity. That next Wed night I took her to AWANA (a children's church club that she's been in for 2 1/2 yrs and LOVES), where she cried the whole time until I picked her up, which is very unlike her. She acted scared to death! She said she was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find her to pick her up. Later that night, she woke up twice with bad nightmares, where she was covered in sweat and crying. Then the 3rd time, she got up throwing up in her room and mine. After, she complained of a sore throat. I let her sleep in, but she went to school late that next day.

9-2-10 Hannah talks about playing with the girlfriends daughter a lot, but when I bring up questions regarding the girlfriend, she changes the subject, refuses to talk about her. Yesterday, Hannah agreed to go to AWANA again. All was well, until I left her. She came out to find me still in the hallway. She looked troubled, and told me, “My body feels like it needs to cry, and if I don’t cry, I feel like I will throw up.” She was shaking and crying. She held on to me for dear life, like someone was going to try to take her from me. People we know from AWANA came up trying to help me talk her into going back into AWANA, but she would hold to me even tighter. I’ve never seen her like this. She was SCARED! She complained that once again her tummy hurt and she felt like throwing up. I assured her that she didn’t have to go anywhere unless she wanted to. I tried many tactics to get her to go back to class, but all failed. We finally left to go home.

9-4-10 Hannah hasn’t been the same since AWANA a few days ago. I was up all night with her that Wed and Thurs night. She has terrible nightmares. All she would tell me about them is that I was in them, but didn’t want to tell me the rest. The night after AWANA she got a 101.9 fever, tummy ache and sore throat. She was up all night both nights, and had to sleep in my bed. She didn’t want to be away from. She hasn’t slept in my bed since she was 10 mos old! She stayed home from school for the next two days sick. She had been FINE before AWANA.

When I ask her what she’s afraid of, she tells me, “I’m afraid that you are going to move far away from me and leave me here.” She’s also said that she’s afraid that someone will take her away from me. These are obvious signs of insecurity. I explained to her that I will never leave her! I also reminded her that she can always call my cell and I will come, no matter where she is. She has my cell number memorized.

My Theory: Meeting her daddy's girlfriend has made Hannah feel like Mommy is being replace, subconsciously. She’s afraid of losing her mommy. Hannah is 4 yrs old. She doesn’t really understand relationships, but she can since that this isn’t as it should be. Her family has been broken. I can only imagine how it must make her feel to see her daddy having such a good time with another woman, when he can’t stand being around her mother.

Somehow, the insecurity she feels from meeting this other woman has been displaced to AWANA. Now AWANA is a trigger. She can’t explain it, but certain feelings just take over when she’s there. When she explained to me how “her body had to cry” I knew this was psychological. And I knew that this was caused by meeting the girlfriend. It was then, I burned with anger for her father had caused this. He did this against my will.

I called him Wed night after putting Hannah to bed, for the first time, and let him have it. I demanded that he will NOT allow this other woman around Hannah until it has been Oked by a Child Psychologist. He had already made plans to have this woman and her child come to stay with him and Hannah in the same house for the Labor Day weekend. I told him that if she is coming, Hannah will be with ME! At first, he agreed that he would choose to be with his girlfriend and give up his weekend with Hannah. Later, he changed his mind after talking with the girlfriend, who I guess convinced him that it will not be good for me to see that he’s choosing her over his daughter. So, they decided that she wouldn’t come, and he would spend the weekend with Hannah alone.

My X was supposed to have Hannah Thursday night, but Hannah chose to stay with me, since she was sick. So, he took her Fri night, instead. By that time, she was feeling better.

All of this happening the week I start Grad School.  I have 10 text books to read this semester, so you can imagine how much reading I have weekly.  So, it's been a stressful week, to say the least!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Acceptance of the Inevitable

The X had Hannah all last weekend and took her to Blizzard Beach in Orlando. To my surprise, she came back talking about his new girlfriend and her daughter (5 yrs). Apparently, they had spent every day with the X and Hannah throughout the weekend. She lives in Orlando, but comes to visit him down here frequently. Hannah informed me that she’s met them down here before. I was SHOCKED that he was having our daughter meet another woman so soon. Not only that, but he had lied about it.

After a week of meditating on all of this, I have come to a point of acceptance. I figure, at least he’s just with one woman instead of several casual ones. I’ve decided to start praying for both of them. I pray that she is kind to Hannah and learns to love her as her own daughter, who is about the same age. Will the relationship last, I don’t know. But I do know he’s posted photos of her on facebook, which I’ve seen. That seems pretty serious. I’ve been praying that she’ll be a good role model for Hannah, as a mother figure. I know, for now, she’s only seen as a friend of her daddy’s. But I’m guessing that may soon change.

Hannah had a good time over that weekend with her daddy, and for that I can be thankful. She was not harmed. I’ve thought about talking or writing to the X about what I know, but what will that help? He’s not going to change anything just because I said so. I had already told him, “Under NO circumstances do you let any of your women around Hannah.” Did he listen? NO!

Someone told me I should ask to meet this woman, or anyone else spending time with our daughter. I know I’m not ready for that yet, nor do I know if it’s a good move…still thinking about that. I know I can’t be the one to tell her what my X really did to me. I can’t be at fault for a break-up, or he will resent me forever. It’s not worth it. She’ll have to be on her own, I suppose, even though that’s against every bone in my body. If I was her, I certainly would want to know what my boyfriend did to his previous WIFE! But I’ve been told not to get involved. The only reason I would have for meeting her is to just get to know her for Hannah’s sake.

After a week of meditating on what happened last weekend, I am in a better place. I’m over it! God is so good, as He always heals my wounds quickly.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

No One to Go To

Hannah’s daddy took her to Orlando for the weekend to go to Blizzard Beach. This is the first time he’s taken her on any kind of “vacation” without me. Of course, he brought his sister along to care for Hannah.

I think it’s great that he’s spending quality time with her and making memories together. However, she came home telling me how he left her in the room with his sister to go down to the pool ALONE saying, “Only adults can go in the pool right now.” Basically this means he met up with the woman he has up there, which he’s been driving up every other weekend to see. No, I don’t have proof, but it’s pretty obvious to me. He’s not going to go up to Orlando without “meeting” up with her. His addiction won’t allow it.

I just feel so sick deep down in my gut, just thinking about he’s even doing this on Hannah’s time! I’m sure this is the only reason he brought his sister, so she can be the sitter.

Ok, I know this shouldn’t concern me as long as it doesn’t concern Hannah. But I can’t seem to let it go. I wish I could say I don’t care what he does with his personal time. But it still hurts. How long will I have to remember the pain? How long will these things bother me? Will it ever end? I’m in bondage. It makes me so angry when he lies to me and makes up excuses. Thank GOD I’m no longer married to this man!!! I’m so sad that he will always be Hannah’s father. I wanted better for her.

In the meantime, while I’m feeling all this pain, I don’t have anyone to talk to. I just don’t want to always interrupt the lives of my friends. They’ve been so good to me through everything. But they have families and busy lives. I don’t want to be a bother. So, for tonight, I think I will suffer in silence. It’ll be a better day tomorrow. Besides, I have my dog and cat. They are the BEST therapy!!!

A New Hobby

I tried karaoke for the first time this weekend. I love to sing, but am very shy. Believe it or not, I got up there 3 times, as a result of peer pressure!!! I met a lot of new friends and got to sing. It was great! I never realized that adults could go out and have fun without being consumed with smoke and alcohol, which is one reason I never go out. I was out until 4 am!!!! Ya, I couldn’t believe it, either. Everyone went to my friend’s house after to hang out. I had such a good time, that I went again the next night with a girlfriend of mine, different restaurant. I didn’t get up the nerve to sing that night. There were a lot of people!

Going out on the weekend made me feel young again. I think this is something healthy for me that I’ll keep doing. It’s good to get out and have some fun, as grownups, something I haven’t done in years. Plus, I met a lot of new friends.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

No Expectations

As an update on my last blog, I’m still “talking” to this man. But when he asked to meet somewhere, I thought it was time to make my intentions clear. I told him that I’m not ready for a relationship and this will have to stay as just friends, but I’m ok meeting with him with that understanding. Turns out, he’s ok with that. Now, I don’t know if he’s really happy about it, or if he’s going to “wait” for me to be ready. But either way, he knows where I stand.

Getting this out gives me such a sense of relief! I feel like I can chat with him or even meet with him, knowing there are no expectations for things to go further than they should. I think it’s pretty neat to have a guy friend. One girlfriend said it this way, “It’s important to have some transition friends of the opposite sex before entering into a relationship or dating.” So, this is my first transitional friendship. I hope to learn something about men from him.

In the mean time, it’s nice to have someone to text back and forth with. It’s nice to have someone pay me complements. He’s always making me blush! I find myself wanting to talk to this new friend. He makes me feel good about myself. I’m excited to receive a text! Finally, there is a man who WANTS to spend time with me and talk with me. I guess, in a way, I needed this….and it’s SAFE, now that I made my intentions clear.

You may be thinking, “She’s falling for this guy.” Nope, that’s not the case. First, he’s 15 yrs older than me.  Second, I’m not ready for a relationship, and I know that. I’m looking at this as a friendship ONLY. This is part of my learning process.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Letting Testosterone Back In

I’ve been praying that God will not allow anyone “interesting” into my life until I am ready. I haven’t gone looking for men to fill any void. Really, I haven’t even been interested in the opposite sex. But what about friendship? Is it possible to be “just friends” with a man, a single man?

This weekend, I spent some time talking on the phone with a man I met before summer. At first I avoided the communication, made me nervous. Then with his persistence, I decided that there’s nothing wrong with just talking. There must be SOME reason God is allowing us to “talk”.

Two and a half hours later and at 2 in the morning, I realized I had spent the night on the phone like some teenager! I’m NOT a night owl! But I enjoyed the conversation. This is so new to me. I even feel guilty, which I know I shouldn’t. I didn’t do anything wrong. I would never talk like that with a man when I was married, but I’m not married. But I still feel married sometimes. Does that make any since? Is it possible to be too loyal? Maybe I’m just a creature of habit and can’t get past the since of loyalty to my X.

I must admit, it feels really good to have someone’s attention, to know that someone cares about me, not that it’s that way. Just the fact that he wanted to talk with me felt good. My X hated talking with me about anything. He didn’t even like being around me unless he was getting sex. We won’t get into that!

Anyway, I wonder if I’m doing the right thing. I know I’m not ready for a relationship. It’s only been 4 mos since my divorce was final, but I’ve been separated for a year. I know I am still vulnerable. I’m not looking at this “friendship” as any more than just that….a friendship. But what if HE wants more? The last thing I want to do is lead him on or hurt him. How do I make it clear that a friendship is all I’m looking for? Can a man and woman even be just friends?

I know I shouldn’t worry so much, but this all makes me very nervous! Am I enjoying the attention too much? Is that healthy for me in this stage of the “process”? I figure, if anything, I might be able to learn something from this friendship about men. I’ve been out of the game for so long. It’s nice to have a guy that I can talk to and hang out with without any expectations.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

One Year Since My Life Fell Apart

Has it been one year already? I’m feeling it, as my emotions run very sensitive this week. My life fell apart one year ago this week. A year ago, I can’t even explain the suffering I was going through. It pains me to look back, but I can’t help myself. I don’t want to feel that pain ever again, and yet, I feel it just thinking about it.

I’m so thankful that I’ve come such a long way since then. We separated a year ago, and the divorce was final 4 months ago. So much has changed in only one year. I am in a better place now, yet this week has brought me down. It’s funny how emotions can just have a mind of their own sometimes.

I feel so angry, so hurt. You know, my X is basically openly talking about his “affairs” now. It’s like he doesn’t even NEED to hide it anymore. He tells me that his private life is his business and it's none of my business. He says I should RESPECT his choices. Are you kidding me?!?!?! There is NOTHING respectable about his choices! Then as I get heated with anger, he dares to say that he is praying for me. UGH! That’s like a slap in the face. He’s so full of it! He’s so fake! That just burns me up! His prayers to God are hindered by his sin. How can one have a personal relationship with Christ, and live such and obviously sinful life? I just wanted to say, “Don’t bother praying for me. God’s not listening to your prayers, anyway.”

Ok, obviously I’m upset. I’m venting. So, whoever is reading…thank you for listening. I’m basically a raving lunatic tonight, who doesn’t make any since. I can tell that this isn’t going to be one of my better, more helpful, blogs. I’m not making very Godly decisions. I shouldn’t respond in anger. God forgive me, for I have sinned!

I think the best thing for me to do is to dig into God’s word and ask for wisdom and peace. I also think it may help to pray for my X. I do pray for him, but for our relationship, that I will stop allowing him to take away my joy….that we’ll get to a place where we can be in the same room together without any bitterness…that we’ll be able to talk kindly in front of Hannah. He just makes me sick right now. But I think that also has to do with this week, this anniversary week. So many memories that I don’t care to recall are coming to mind every time I look at the calendar or just think about it.

Ok, I’m feeling a little better now. I took a short break to vent to my faithful friend. That always helps. I pray that tomorrow is a better day.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Divorce Rate on the Rise

Today I watched two young girls for a friend of mine. Turns out she, too, is going through a divorce. Then later today, I found out that another friend of mine with a little girl and two older boys is also going through a divorce. Now, I just feel so down. Why is this happening? Isn’t marriage supposed to be FOREVER?!?!?! Marriage used to be sacred. What happened to those days when men took care of their wives and children, instead of thinking only of themselves?

Is a good marriage even possible these days? What are newlyweds to expect? Do they risk starting a family together knowing that divorce is likely in their future? I surely don’t know many happily married couples with kids, myself. Are they out there?

My grandparents are my marriage mentors. My grandpa is turning 94 next month, and my grandma is 86 yrs old. They are still together, and still walk hand in hand. They finish each other’s sentences. They have grown closer with time. It wasn’t always easy for them, but divorce was not an option for them. They had to make it work. Having young children is hard, and they had 4 under the age of 5 yrs old!!! My grandpa was a Methodist Minister, which didn’t bring in much money. Yes, they had it hard! We all have it hard, but we have to work together to get through those hard times. That’s marriage….it’s team work! Is that so hard to understand?

What’s going to happen to this generation of children, who are raised by single moms? What kind of marriages are they expected to have? What is Hannah going to say when she finds out what her father did to us? How will that affect her? What will she think when she knows how selfish he was, as he sacrificed his family for filth? My heart breaks for children like her. They deserve so much more! They deserve a 2-parent family who loves them. It’s just not fair!!! They are so innocent in all of this. Why must they suffer for the sins of one or both parents? Their job is to protect their children, not to harm them. I just feel sick as I ponder this….SICK!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

To Have Someone

Written:  8-3-10

As I sit out hear at my cabin in Colorado enjoying the beauty all around me, I ponder certain things. It would be nice to have someone, a husband, to share this experience with. Although, Hannah and I have fared just fine on our own. I can’t help but think…could there be more? Could there be someone out there that will one day join his life to mine? Will there be one summer when I will have someone special to share this with, someone to explore with, other than Hannah…of course?

Don’t get me wrong, Hannah has become quite the outdoor girl. She is hiking like a pro at 4 yrs old! She’s come a long way since last summer. Even my Yorkie, Sasha, has impressed me with how well she’s doing out here. These are my companions, and they are great! But could there be more to my story? I’d like to think there is, but I try not to hope too much. I try to be content with where I am right now.

For Hannah I feel the same thing. For now, I am her playmate. But might there be a sibling in her future, someone whom she can play with and share her life with? I know that would be best for her, especially when we travel to a place like this where there are no other kids to play with…all the time. Her 3 yr old cousin was here last week, which was great, but she has only me this week. It would be so nice to send the “kids” outside to play for a while.

It’s also very cold here. There’s a fire burning in the fireplace. We roast hotdogs and smores over an open fire. What could be more romantic! This makes me think of how it would feel to be in the arms of a man again. In 11 days it will have been a year since my X moved out. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt a man’s arms around me. I’ve been fine without having a man in my life, but I can’t help but desire more. Why is that? Why can’t I just be ME? Why do I desire having a man in my life after what the last one did to me? How could I even think of it?

Right now, I don’t have much hope for finding a decent enough man to marry, again. I really don’t know if such a man exists these days, in my generation. This is a sad thought, but with computers, porn is way too easy to access. It corrupts men when they get hooked. It starts out as something “innocent” where curiosity gets the best of them. But before they know it, they can’t stop going back to it. It’s a disease. How can you express to a man the importance of avoiding it all together?

The other thought I’ve pondered is, “How will I know when I’m ready?” Having these desires doesn’t mean that I’m ready to date. I guess I’ll just have to cross that bridge when I get there. So far, I haven’t had the opportunity arise, anyway. Frankly, I don’t know many single men at my age. I figure, if they’re in the 30s or 40s and single, why aren’t they married? There must be something wrong with them, right? All the good men are already snatched up by now. If they’re single, they’re probably divorced. The last thing I need is someone else with baggage. Then I wonder, why are the divorced? Either they didn’t make the effort to make their marriage work or they cheated on their wife. I don’t want any of those, either.

Could I be lucky enough to find a widower at my age? That’s a sad thought, but at least the end of the marriage wouldn’t have been his fault. I wouldn’t mind taking someone else’s kids in, either. In fact, that would be ideal! By the time I remarry, how will I provide Hannah with a proper playmate close enough to her age? The only way will be to gain someone else’s child who may be around her age. But then, will there be visitation issues with that child’s parents, as well? Boy, life sure is complicated! This is just one more reason God HATES divorce.

On another subject, I was talking to a friend out here, from another cabin. He asked, “Do you still love your X? You wouldn’t still take him back, would you?” I was surprised that I had such a hard time answering him. It’s amazing how strong the bond of marriage is, at least for me. I almost cried as I tried to answer. I wanted to say, “No way, jose!” But I couldn’t. I think of the story of the Periodical Son. He left his family and took half of his father’s money. He was gone for years living a frivolous lifestyle until he spent all of his money. I believe it was then when he probably hit “rock bottom”. They say, a person on the wrong path may stay on that path until they reach that point, where there’s nowhere to look but up. This is when they cry to the Lord like the son did with his father. And what did the father do? Did he turn his back on his son, who had gone astray? No! His father had been waiting, hoping his son would return. When he saw his son walking towards him, he ran to embrace him. He clothed him and threw a party! He welcomed him back to the family as if he had never left. This is a picture of what God does for us, when we go astray. He’s always waiting for our return with open arms. Is this how I am supposed to be with my X? Will he ever realize his evil ways and want return to us? Would I be able to receive him, the way God would?

In a way, that is the best case scenario, if he was to truly change. It would be best for Hannah to have her parents together…to be a family. This is why I gave my X 6 months to change, but he didn’t show any change. He was not repentant and didn’t seem remorseful. In fact, I found after the divorce that he was still active in that lifestyle. He never planned to change. He didn’t get help for his addiction. Would it be possible for him to one day come to realize the HUGE mistake he’s made? I can’t imagine him ever reaching that point. But it would be ideal. He would have a VERY long way to go!!! I guess all things are possible with God, but I’m not going to wait around for that miracle to occur. That boat has sailed!

However, whenever I hear sermons on forgiveness, I can’t help but think about this scenario. Anything is possible. If my X was to really make the necessary change, would I take him back? That’s a scary thought, indeed. Well, I guess that’s another bridge I will cross when I get to it….if I get to it. I guess the answer to my friend’s question is, “Yes, I think deep down, I will always love my X.” Is that wrong? It makes my eyes leak to even write this. I don’t want to feel anything for him. I want to be rid of all feelings for him. I want to detach. I feel so sad thinking about it, so I choose to avoid those thoughts. Is that wise? I just don’t want to hurt anymore, especially on HIS account. He’s done enough damage. He chose his addiction over his family.

Missing Her Daddy

Written 7-28-10

Hannah mentions missing her daddy everyday, more often when she’s tired. I have discovered, however, that she’s much better if she gets to talk to him on the phone more frequently. Fortunately, I have cell phone signal up at Lover’s Leap, where we can make calls. There are no phone lines at the cabin. I can send text messages when hiking in some areas in the canyon, but not at our cabin. So, we really are…unplugged here.

Last year, Hannah and I made this same trip out to Colorado, but I don’t remember her missing her daddy so much. Of course, we weren’t separated yet at that time. I expect she’s more insecure now. It’s hard to say, though, if it’s just manipulation when she’s crying for Daddy or if she really does miss him that much. She can use that trick to get out of sleeping, because I’m so unsure how to react to this behavior. I certainly don’t want to punish her insecurity, but at the same time, she has a bed time. She finds all sorts of excuses to get past that bedtime.

So, for now, I’ll make more of an effort to enable her to talk with him as often as possible and hope to avoid another episode like the other day. That was a nightmare! If it was for me, I would just make him suffer and only call when we go into town. But, for Hannah, I must make sacrifices and include him in her life as much as possible. It surely isn’t easy!

It is true that divorce is easier when there are not children involved, but I must say, I am very thankful that I have Hannah, even though the marriage between her father and I ended in divorce. She is my companion in all that I do. I can’t imagine being out here at the cabin all alone. I would much rather be out here with her. I’m happy that I have her to share my life with, since I don’t have anyone else.

It isn’t easy having to share time and worry about who pays for what, but I thank God for that little girl everyday! You know, when I was a youth, I used to say that I didn’t ever care to get married. I just wanted a child. Well, I guess you can say I have exactly that! Men are so complicated. Is it possible that I don’t even need one? So far, that’s the case. Will I ever desire the companionship that only a man can give? I don’t know. In a way, I desire that now, but in the future, that might just fade. I certainly will not be making any sacrifices on my “list” that makes a man marriageable this time. It’s just not worth it! He’s going to be all or NOTHING. At this point, I can’t imagine any man having everything it will take to be my husband. Are there good men out there? That has yet to be seen. So far, I haven’t seen it. Of course, I expect I’d have to let a man in enough to find out. I’m not there yet.

Next month will be one year since our separation. That’s hard to believe that it’s been a year already. Time flies. I’m so thankful that God has brought me through it. I sure am at a healthier place now than I was then. I think back to last July when I didn’t have a clue what he was up to. Last summer was his busiest time up to that point that I could see on paper. And I was oblivious. I feel like such a fool. Then I remember that God opened my eyes at exactly the time He intended. For some reason, He was waiting to show me what my husband really was. But at the same time, God was protecting me from so much. He protected me from disease, which is a miracle…considering! He timed my discoveries to August, which meant Hannah could start school the following week, which gave me free time to figure out what I was going to do and regroup. It would not have been healthy for her to see me that way. As expected, I was a mess during that time. I remember laying in bed, forgetting to breath wondering why I was even alive. It felt like my whole life had just ended. I didn’t see any other life, at the time.

But look at me now. Everything worked out, thanks to God. He truly worked every detail out for me. He prepared a way for me. This August when Hannah goes back to school, I will start Grad School. My life is starting again. It’s just different now, better, in fact. I’m so thankful that God rescued me from that man. I didn’t realize how trapped I was. I was running in circles and getting no where. Now, I’m able to grow. Hannah and I will bloom together right wear God plants us. It’s going to be a good life. God will make a way, where there seems to be no way!!! He did it for me.

Our Vacation to Colorado

Written July 25, 2010
Colorado is one of those places I’ve always loved to go. We went almost every summer as kids. I took my X to the family cabin there, while dating. He never went again. It’s just too rustic for him. I think it’s sad that some people are so spoiled with their luxurious lives that they can’t enjoy the simple pleasures.

The cabin is 50 yrs old. My grandpa built him entirely by himself. It is a treasure, in the most beautiful place. There is a stream that trickles past. There are tall pine trees surrounding the cabin. The cabin sits at the bottom of a cliff. There are only 50 cabins in the whole canyon. Ours was one of the first. We really do have the best lot, I think. You can’t see another cabin from ours. You can hear the chirps of the hummingbirds outside fighting over the feeder I put out for them. It’s near 50 at night and near 70 during the day. There is not a sound around that doesn’t come from nature.

I can’t imagine a more peaceful place. I sit by the fire and ponder how amazing our God is to form such beauty. I’m so thankful that he’s given us this place, that we can come to and just unplug from the world. There are no phones, no TV, no internet. It is rustic. I think it’s important for people to leave their busy lives once in a while to remember what it’s like to slow down and just….be. Become one with nature. Don’t depend all the time on being entertained with the newest gadget. Chop your own firewood. There is no heat or insulation here. I am wearing a short sleeved shirt with a sweatshirt and am sitting by the fire and am still chilled. I need another cup of hot tea!

We look forward to some great adventures while out here for the next two weeks. Right hear in the canyon we can go on numerous hiking trails. One is about 3 miles up to a meadow in the middle of an aspen grove. Another is up the other side of the canyon to the summit, where you can see beautiful scenic views of the surrounding mountains. You must be on alert, though, there are bears and mountain lions out here. They’ve never caused a problem though. In fact, I’ve never seen either one. I did hear a lion in a cave I was about to go into, though. Needless to say, I didn’t stick around to see her. I believe she was protecting cubs.

You can also drive about 20 min down the mountain into a town called LaVeta. It is very slow paced, a small town. We enjoy visiting the local convenient store, Charlie’s, where we eat ice cream and buy groceries. There is a library, where we may go on a rainy day to find books for Hannah and internet access for me. J

Yes, we’re living it up! I hope you all take some time to just…be. It’s healthy. There are no worries here!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

After Some Thought

It’s been a difficult week. Hannah and I leave town for Colorado for 2 weeks this Sat. Yet, my X chose not to spend last weekend with her. He only sees her every other weekend now, since he found a job. Instead, he chose to leave town to live up his “double life”. He chose his sickness over his daughter! It will have been a MONTH since he had a weekend with her, when he finally gets her again.

I feel sick deep down in my gut. I feel disgusted with him. She wanted to see him, and he was “unavailable” as he put it. She called him Sat, obviously interrupting. She asked a lot of questions about where he was and who he was with. He stumbled all over his words trying to make up an answer. I believe she could tell he was lying to her. It was so pitiful to listen in. The thought of him makes me physically ill.

This week, I’ve held a lot of bitterness. I know that is wrong, but I can’t help it. I’ve been deep in prayer that I’ll be able to let this go. Why does this bother me so much? He can tell that I’ve been short with him this weekend, but I’ve refrained from telling him why. If I tell him it’s about his affairs last weekend, he’ll just get all defensive and we’ll fight. Besides, he’s right. It’s none of my business. Then why does it hurt so badly!?!?!?!?! I don’t want to feel anything anymore.

So, I’ve been tough on him this week. He called Mon night after work wanting Hannah that night. I told him, NO. He must make arrangements in advance if he wants to see her. So, I’m giving him Wed night, by his request. But he also wanted Fri night. We leave early Sat morning, so I refused. So, it wanted to take her to dinner Fri night. I refused again, stating that he gets home too late from work and she must be in bed by 8pm. Then he asked if he could just come by to see her. I refused yet again, saying that I didn’t want him in my house or anywhere around me. At that point, he got angry and told me that it wasn’t right for me to keep Hannah away from him the day before we leave for 2 wks.

After some thought and counsel from a really good friend, I realized he was right. What if he was taking Hannah away for two weeks? I would want to see Hannah the day before she leaves. So, how do we work this out? My brilliant friend came up with him taking Hannah quickly for ice cream after work. So, this was my offer under one condition. She must be back home by 7 pm, so she can take her bath and be in bed by 8 pm.

I knew I might have been responding out of anger. I’m sure deep inside, I wanted to punish him for his choices. But is this the right thing to do….even if it subconsciously? That’s why it’s important, when going through something so emotional like this, to talk to your friends about decisions you’ve made. It’s important to have objective accountability partners who have like minds. I’m very thankful that my friend set me straight. I definitely couldn’t do it alone. And I even felt better after writing him a short email explaining my new decision, after some thought. It wasn’t what I wanted to do. But it was the right thing to do.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Feeling Empowered

I have gotten to the point where I do just about everything myself. I mow, trim trees with my pole chain saw, fix my sprinklers, clean my house, and laundry. I fixed my own garage door, without having to call a repair man. I remodeled my daughter’s room in 3 days. It went from nursery to a princess paradise! I’ve been hanging framed pics of Hannah. I have curtain hardware to hang. There isn’t anything I can’t do. I feel so empowered. My house stays clean, which I wasn’t sure was possible with our busy lives. But I’ve managed. Do keep in mind that I have come from a very different lifestyle in marriage. I had a housekeeper come ever week. A company mowed my lawn and did all trimmings. Any time something broke, a repair man was called.

And even though I am responsible for all this, I still have time to spend with my precious treasure, Hannah. Yes, life is good, even though I have to do a lot more labor work around the house. I’m thankful that God has given me the strength and motivation to accomplish so many things that many women would never attempt. I feel empowered! I don’t need a man or a lot of money! I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me! Jesus is the ONLY husband I will ever need. I’m so blessed…

Over It...or NOT?

It’s been a particularly difficult weekend. Just when I thought I was doing really well on my own, grief hits once again. I discovered my X’s plans to have an “eventful” get-away this weekend, if you know what I mean. I try to tell myself, “He’s not my husband. It shouldn’t bother me. His lifestyle is his business.” But that knot deep in my gut won’t go away. I’m just disgusted with the thought of what he’s doing. This is the father of MY child! How could he behave like this? And this is the same kinds of stuff he did while we were married, while I was home caring for our daughter.

I can’t even imagine dating, myself, let alone doing the kinds of things HE’s doing! How can someone I married be so shallow? Someone used the word “JERK”. I think that’s being nice. Plus, he chose to go away this weekend knowing that Hannah and I leave town for 2 wks next weekend. It will have been a month since he’d spent any time with her. But he didn’t even care. He loves his sickness more than his daughter….so sad.

He also got a job, so he doesn’t see Hannah much during the week now. We are on an every other weekend schedule.  Since then, Hannah doesn’t even ask for him anymore. She’s grown used to not seeing him anymore. I expect this will get more and more common.

I’m thankful for the time I have with her. I just know the importance of a good father-daughter relationship. I fear how his behavior may affect her. But I know that God is in control, and he will protect her from all of this.  In the mean time, I pray that God will help me to separate my heart from his affairs.  I don't want to feel anything anymore...having to do with him.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Making My Room My Own

I just bought new bedding for the first time since the wedding! It feels good to make my room look different. No one had to approve my choice. I chose what I liked without considering anyone else’s opinion. I feel like my bed is now MY OWN! Of course, it’s Sasha’s, too…my yorkie.  But she really doesn't care what the bed looks like.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Questions are Coming

My little 4-yr-old daughter has really started asking questions about the divorce. I think it’s good that she feels comfortable doing so. I’ve even started bringing it up more. When talking about friends or family, I mention that certain people are also divorced, which means their kids get to live in two houses just like she does. This way, she doesn’t feel alone in this. I’ve also been using other families to explain the step parent and the possibility other siblings down the road.

I want to make sure that she feels completely comfortable asking any questions that she may have. So far, I really don’t think she sees this as a bad thing. She’s happy having two houses.

However, she has been having lots of nightmares since the separation in Aug ‘09! She dreams the same dream over and over, where a man comes and takes her away from her family. That tells me that there is some hidden insecurity. This saddens me. But I know that I am doing everything in my power to make her feel very secure with me. She is 100% sure of my love for her. I tell her constantly. I spend lots of time with her and NEVER make her feel unwanted. I also NEVER talk badly about her daddy to her. She doesn’t need to know what her father did to her mother and her. The time will come one day when she will need to know, and it’ll be her daddy who gets to tell her. But for now, as hard as it is to me, I must build him up as a Prince in her eyes.

What’s hard is she tells me how Daddy and others in his house yell at her all the time. I know she’s bound to be pretty sensitive with the voice rising, because I just don’t do that at all with her. So, if she compares me with anyone else, she may think they are yelling. Yet, her daddy yelled at both of us all the time when he lived here, so I imagine it’s mostly true.

I just have to keep in mind that a lot of parents yell at their kids. I do happen to be extremely patient. The yelling will not be the end of the world for Hannah’s development. In so many ways, I will have to be the very BEST mother I can possibly be to counteract any of the negative affects she gets from spending time with him. She needs to be with him, for her own good. She needs to know her father loves her and wants to be with her. But if he tells me he’d rather not have her on his day, I will gladly take her, myself, as I have all summer. He chose to not spend time with her during the day, only at night. I could get upset and tell him, that he’ll have to work it out. He is an equal parent, after all. But I choose to see it differently. I see it that Hannah is able to spend even more time with me, the healthy parent. This will allow me to be even more of an influence for her this summer before school starts again. So far, we’ve had a great summer. I have had many behavior issues to work on that she learns at her daddy’s house. But we’re conquering them one at a time.

The Stigma

When I enter a crowd of strangers now, I feel different. I feel like I need to explain myself, like I owe it to them to tell them I’m divorced. Why does this have to define me? Then after telling them I’m recently single, I feel the need to explain why, so they don’t think I just left him for a lack of happiness. For that would not be a reason for me to seek divorce. There are very few reasons divorce is acceptable in God’s eyes, and that’s more important than my happiness.

I visited a Single’s Bible Study the other night at a different church for the first time. I love to church hop. You meet more people that way! I’ve been praying that God would keep interesting men far from me until I’m ready. Well, He sure came through! All that was there were divorced women. I think its better that way, no temptation. Besides, the reason for going was to meet other woman like myself. But…for some reason, I feel the need to get away from people like myself, at the same time. How confusing is that? I want to get to a place where I don’t have to talk about being divorced. I just want to feel normal again. Why do I feel the need to explain myself? I hope that will pass with time.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

An Upsetting Find

Today is Father's Day.  I think I've taken it quite well.  My daughter still has a father, so I can be thankful for that.  I didn't have to see him at all, which is good.  But the challenge came when my friend told me I should buy him a gift.  "What?!?!?!?!  Are you kidding me?  Not after what he did to me!"  Then he didn't even get anything for ME for Mother's Day.  I owe him NOTHING. 

For the next several days, I thought about this.  I got angry and sad.  But eventually I realized that my friend was right.  I need to be the bigger person.  I need to kill him with kindness, as they say.  So, as difficult as it was, I bought "Bringing Up Girls" by James Dobson on CD for him.  I figured it was a gift that would end up helping Hannah, if he even listens to it.  He doesn't read, so I knew a book would collect dust.  I wrapped up really nice in a gift bag and made a nice little tag for it.  I even dropped it off at his house yesterday to make sure Hannah could give it to him first thing in the morning. 

Yes, I swallowed my pride and did the right thing.  I hope he appreciated it, but it really doesn't matter.  God is proud of what I did, and that's all that matters.  I was obedient to God alone.  Isn't that all we're called to do? 

The unfortunate thing that happened today was when I opened Pandora's Box.  I've been doing some organizing and came across a bag of old mail and cards.  Well, this stuff dated back to when we were dating.  I found a stash of love notes from each of us!!!  I read them, with tears flowing down my cheeks.  We were in LOVE!  How did we get here from there?  Based on the notes, we couldn't be apart.  We missed each other every moment.  Even my X would leave the house, while I still slept at times, and he would leave little love notes for me around the house as newlyweds. 

How could he go from one extreme to the other?  Here's my guess.  He lusted me, not loved me.  Lust is a feeling that does eventually wear off.  Love is a choice that is never self-serving and never dies.  I chose to love my X, which is why I'm having so much trouble letting go now.  I loved him even in spite of his cruelty and infidelity.  I loved him unconditionally. 

He used to tell me he loved me all the time, even just before the divorce, but I would always tell him, "Actions speak louder than words."  He didn't show me love.  I may not have said it often, but I showed it.  That is so much more important!  And when I did say it, you can be sure I really meant it. 

Now, what to do with these memories of a love long gone???  Some of them, I gave to Jady, for him to surely toss, hoping that he may just read them and feel bad.  But I decided that I'd pick a certain few to keep for Hannah.  I want her to know that she was born from LOVE.  Her parents once loved each other.  How we got here?  She'll have to ask her Daddy that one. 

She has asked us, "Why doesn't Daddy live with Mommy anymore?"  I tell her the truth.  We are divorced.  Of course, she wonders what's divorce?  I tell her that we are no longer married.  She pretty much leaves it at that for now.  I want to be open and honest with her.  When she asks, I will tell her the truth, down to what did Daddy do.  Then I'll tell her to go ask her daddy.  But I expect it'll be many years before we hear that question.  My X will have to be the one to answer her that.  It has to come from him. 

But over all, I did pretty well today.  Hannah's daddy doesn't have to live with me, as long as she has one.  I pray that God will make him the best daddy possible.  I pray that he will be convicted and will draw near the Lord.  I pray that he will desire change for the sake of his daughter.  I pray that he will never hurt her!!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Emotional Detachement from X

I realize now that the reason I often struggle when my X does/says certain things, is that I am still taking them personally. I let it get to me when he is cold and doesn’t want to talk to me or have any kind of relationship with me. I consider that not being civil. When I found out that he was still highly active in his ungodly lifestyle, I took it personally. It was like being betrayed all over again.

The point is he is no longer my husband. I know that’s a fact, but I don’t think I’ve really allowed myself to emotionally detach from him. And maybe it’s because there is a very small part of me that still loves him and has hope for him to change. I know God is a god of MIRACLES!

Last night in Divorce Care we learned about reconciliation. I learned that reconciliation doesn’t mean getting back with the person. It means coming to a place of civility with that person. This may mean forgiving them and letting go of all bitterness towards them, whether they deserve it or not. It may mean asking for their forgiveness. But that’s only the beginning.

During the meeting last night, a couple came forward to speak. The wife had chosen to divorce her husband due to bitterness she carried from the beginning of their marriage. After the divorce, she lived an ungodly lifestyle. She eventually began to realize that the grass wasn’t greener after all and became extremely depressed. Not only had she left her husband, but her children, as well. A few years down the road, she stopped eating and became very thin and ill. She decided to call her ex-husband, and he told her to come home. This man took care of her and nurtured his ex-wife back to health for 2 yrs.

She asked for forgiveness asked him to remarry her. After some thought, he agreed. After all that she had done to him, he forgave her to the point that he was ready to remarry her. Let’s just say that I was fighting back the tears the whole time they spoke! They were there, at Divorce Care offering hope to those who were separated and divorced. Even though your spouse has gone astray and allowed Satan to take hold of them, God can still work in them. God can one day make change in them. And they just may come back asking YOU to take them back.

What am I supposed to do with all this? All I wanted was for my X to desire the change needed to make our marriage work, to get himself right with God. But he rejected this option. He showed no remorse and no sign of Godly fruits in his life. But can God still change him? I guess that’s best left up to God. I know I can’t make that change for him.

Getting back to emotional detachment, I realize that it’s time for me to let go. Maybe it is best for us to not be around each other and talk to each other much. It isn’t any of my business what he chooses to do with his life. I need to find a way to stop taking things personally. When I feel like he’s being rude, I shouldn’t correct him, or concern myself with it. The fact is, he’s not my problem anymore and I can just leave or hang up. He doesn’t live with me, so how often could I possibly have to undertake his rudeness. I need to learn to counteract his rudeness with my kindness. I don’t need to get defensive or worry about changing him. He’s not much husband to change.

So, she he comes to the door and avoids looking at me, I just avoid him right back and/or show kindness when the opportunity arises. I try not to let him get to me. His behavior has nothing to do with me. He’s just a miserable person.

What’s sad is that my little Hannah has to put up with it. She tells me that Daddy yells at her all the time. This hurts me a lot, but I can’t change him! I couldn’t when we were married and I certainly can’t now. I just have to be the best mom I can be, so that his yelling will be less of a blow. Who knows, eventually, she may to not want to see him. But that will be her choice, not mine. I have to allow him to be the father he chooses to be.

These are all ways I have seen that I must emotionally detach from him. He detached from me emotionally many years ago. I’m only just starting. For having been divorced for 2 months, I think I’m doing really well. I only have one more Divorce Care meeting. I have officially gone through each and every phase of divorce. I am sure I will go through some of them again, but I know I am in a MUCH healthier place today, because I went through the Divorce Care course. It really helped me to recognize and deal with the different stages I was going through. I would much rather heal from this now than later.

The last couple of weeks, I’ve felt like my normal healthy self. I guess that’s why I haven’t written in my blog for a while. I’ve had no trouble sleeping. I show no signs of depression. I got my energy back. I’m not anxious. I don’t feel sad very often. I’m optimistic about my future. I rarely think about things associated with the divorce in a negative way. I still have a little difficulty concentrating sometimes. But that’s about it.

I know, beyond a doubt, that God is healing me, because I have been obedient and faithful. He is providing for my every need. I’m so thankful to not have to go through this alone. I would have made all the wrong choices, like so many do.