Category Archives: love

Learning to Love Yourself Again

Valentine’s Day is approaching, or as some folks refer to it, Singles’ Awareness Day. I am fortunate to have an incredible man in my life and I am keenly aware that not every divorced woman has the same. After a divorce, it is difficult to love and to find someone to love. But that is the perfect time to concentrate on learning to love yourself.

After we’ve been through the shipwreck of divorce, we often feel beat up, unworthy, ashamed, etc. It’s as though we ourselves have been bashed against the rocks and there’s just flotsam and jetsam left. May I suggest the following as you learn to love yourself again:

1. Don’t make any hasty decisions: You’ve made enough life-changing decisions during the divorce proceedings, paperwork, etc. Give yourself a break and don’t make any life-changing decisions, like dating, purchasing a new car or home, moving from on side end of the country to the other, etc. Give yourself a little time to begin to settle into the new normal.

2. Don’t rebound date: Very bad idea. You just got out of one possibly abusive relationship and you want to get into another? But how do you fill that void, that need for human companionship? Volunteer, find a new hobby, foster a cat or a dog, plant a garden – do something that uses your time and talents for good.

3. Get your finances in order: Your bank is more than happy to help you balance your checkbook, work out a budget, etc. If you have a good bank, they value your business and they will assist you in any way they can in order to keep your business. A good business knows that word of mouth speaks far louder than any advertising dollar.

4. Reward yourself: Divorce is a long, hard struggle. You feel battle weary. You probably don’t have a great deal of money. Reward yourself for enduring the storm: Have a movie night with yourself – watching something you have always wanted to watch or want to watch again (the two movies I watch over and over again are Princess Bride and The Muppets Christmas Carol), take a long walk in the park, visit your local arboretum, have a glass of wine on your deck at sunset or a cup of coffee on your deck at sunrise, buy yourself some flowers or a good book (good books can always be found at your second-hand bookstore for cheap!), buy a quarter of a yard of pretty fabric and use it as a table runner. There are all sorts of ways you can reward yourself without having to spend a great deal of money.

5. Live the adventure! Each day is a new day full of new adventures. Thank God when you wake up in the morning and take your first steps out of bed. Praise God for the warm shower. Be thankful for food in your tummy and a roof over your head. Look in the mirror and tell that lovely lady, “You got this, girl!”

Sometimes, it takes a while to learn to love ourselves again, especially if we have been the victim of an abusive or addicted spouse. There will be people in our lives who will feel free to voice their opinions about the divorce. Don’t listen to them. This is a new start, a new normal, a new life that will get better with each passing day. Trust God and trust yourself as you learn to love yourself again. Hugs! Stay tuned. . . .


Things That Matter

Last January, I bought a new car – a Nissan Versa in gun-metal gray that I named Jet. Jet does not have many bells or whistles – he does not have power windows or locks, heated seats or back seats that fold down or  lot of other things. That’s fine with me. He has what matters – the ability to get me dependably from point A to point B. He does that quite well and doesn’t use a whole lot of gas in the process. In fact, I discovered this morning that he also does quite well on snow and ice.

For me, getting divorced took me from a house full of stuff to an apartment full of half that stuff. The longer I lived in the apartment, the more stuff I got rid of. When I moved in with Cycle Dude, I got rid of tons more stuff. Truth be told, I could probably get rid of even more stuff.

Stuff wasn’t the only thing I got rid of. Friends who knew ex and I together seemed to evaporate. I also got rid of a great deal of anxiety, suspicion, and (eventually) anger. I felt like my life was like an onion, peeling away layer after layer. I finally got down to the things that matter.

I don’t have the latest, greatest and most updatest of everything – I don’t need it. Jet doesn’t have tons of bells and whistles – I don’t need it. I don’t have a walk-in closet full of clothes or shoes – I don’t need it. I don’t have a house full of knick-knacks – I don’t need it.

What do I need and what are the things that matter in my life? My faith, my children, my grandbaby, my sweetheart (Cycle Dude), my pups, my family, a roof over my head, food in the fridge and a job that meets my financial needs. My perspective has changed a great deal over the past seven years. My needs are met with simplicity and my wants are few. I find happiness in relationships, not things. I get to come home each day to three of my favorite people – Cycle Dude, Jack and Shirley. And for that, I am grateful! Stay tuned. . . .


Family Reunion

Next weekend, various family members will be heading to MyState for a family reunion. The last time my siblings and I got together was for my mom’s 75th birthday. She will be 80 this year. Some family members are coming that I have not seen in years! I am excited! The only bad thing is that it is supposed to rain the whole time my extended family members are here. Oh, well.

I would not be as excited about this family reunion if I hadn’t taken a bold step last October. My middle son and I were talking one evening about the family reunion and he said something that made me think about my familial relationships. There was one family member that I had not gotten along with for years. I knew she would be at the family reunion. I did not want to make everyone uncomfortable by continuing this feud with her. I prayed and I asked for prayer because making peace with this family member was not real high on my “To Do” list.  Yet, I felt that it was something I needed to do.

I flew to the state this family member lived in. I stayed at another family member’s home and made arrangements to get together with the feuding family member. I knew I needed to approach her as honestly and sincerely as I could. Long story short, we resolved our differences. I was so relieved! Now, this family member and I are going to be first time Grandmas together – her first grandbaby is due two months before my first grandbaby. Now we will be able to share in one another’s joy.

Making peace with that family member was difficult. It is not something I would have done five or even two years ago! Yet, I knew this family reunion was coming up and I wanted to honor my mom’s 80th birthday by having the focus be on her and not on my feud with the other family member. It took courage and it took the willingness to do what I knew to be right even if the family member did not reciprocate.

So what does this have to do with being divorced? Do you have family members with whom you have not talked for a while – perhaps due to your divorce? Perhaps you and another family member said angry words to each other at one time? Perhaps you had a misunderstanding? I would urge you to resolve your differences as soon as possible. Pray about it, think about it, give it some time, but resolve to move forward to make peace.

Why? A couple of reasons: we are not promised tomorrow – make your peace today; you may see your family member at a family gathering – it’s much easier to be at peace with one another than to spoil the gathering for everyone else because you are feuding; and because the Bible commands it – Romans 12:18 states, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Be willing to live at peace with others. Stay tuned. . . .

The Last Day of Your Life

Whenever I hear of a loss of life, whatever the situation, I always think, “Did they (the people involved) know that was going to be their last day on earth?” Most likely, the answer is “No”. I know this may be a rather macabre subject, but I have a purpose in this post.

The years and days leading up to my divorce were dark – I have shared before that I walked around angry all the time. I was bitter, easily agitated, and not very much fun to be around. Some folks would have cheered my passing during that time! I wasn’t much better immediately following the divorce.

It takes me 40 minutes to get to work since I moved in with Cycle Dude. That gives me a great deal of time to pray, think about life and listen to worship music. This morning on my way in to work, I thought about the phrase, “The Last Day of Your Life” and what it means. I thought, what would most people do if they knew when they woke up this morning that it was the last day of their lives? Would they be more compassionate, more kind and generous? Then I thought, we ought to live our lives like that anyway.

Why wait until death is near to be a good person? To have faith in God? To show unconditional love to others? We should live each day like it’s our last. Yes, it’s easy to get angry, to be irritated by the hatred and evil we see around us. But what if we lived each day with a little more compassion, with a kind word on our lips, with a grateful and generous heart? We may not make a difference in the entire world, but we will make a difference in our small corner of the world.

Psalm 90, verse 12 states: “Teach us to number our days, that we may have a heart of wisdom.” And again in Psalm 139, verse 16: “You saw my unformed body. . . You knew the number of my days before there was one of them. . . .”. Whether or not we know the number of our days, God knows. We are to live our lives with wisdom, being selfless instead of being selfish. Instead of living our days for ourselves – in a self-centered, grab-all-I-can for me, me, me lifestyle – why don’t we live our lives in such a way that shows the love of God, or our belief in the goodness of humanity? Whenever we depart this world, we will leave all our stuff behind. I don’t want to be remembered for amount of stuff I had, but for the amount of love I showed. Stay tuned. . . .

On Being a Parent

I found out Friday evening that my oldest son and his wife are expecting at the end of November. This little one is my first grandchild. He or she is also the first great-grandchild for my ex in-laws and the 5th great-grandchild for my mom. I’m sure my ex father-in-law will be over the moon, because if this baby is a boy, he will be carrying on the family name. That is very important in my ex’s family since there is only ex and his brother in his family and his brother never had children.

When I had my oldest, heaven and earth moved for my ex father-in-law. Then when I had my second son, we were assured an heir and a spare. I am so excited for my son and his wife. I texted him the following today:

” I have to tell you two that I believe God gives us children, not for what we can do for them, but what they can do for us. You will find yourselves stretched in ways you never thought possible – and that doesn’t include (my daughter-in-law’s) body! You will experience the deepest fatigue you have ever felt after numerous sleepless nights due to the baby adjusting, teething, not feeling well or just needing to be loved on. You will experience the greatest joy you have ever felt when your child surpasses milestones as a baby, child, teenager or adult. You will experience the greatest heartache you have ever felt when your child experiences it. You will experience the greatest pride you have ever felt when your child receives their first trophy or other accolade announcing their accomplishments. Being a good parent takes teamwork, flexibility and most of all, humor. You are about to embark on the greatest adventure known to mankind. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!”

Parenting is truly hard work because those little things don’t come with an owner’s manual! What works for one family may not work for another. What works for one child most likely will not work for the other(s). I have two boys and a girl – all happily married. The boys are as different as night and day. Then along came their little sister and I definitely could not treat her like I did the boys. It think children also prove that God has a sense of humor. He gave me three very different children.

However, one of the fun things about the Parenthood Adventure is discovering your children’s personalities, strengths and talents. I have been amazed to watch my children as they have grown and become such amazing people. With each child, God gave me a vision for their lives. For my oldest, we were told he would be like Aaron of the Old Testament – very good at speaking and expressing himself. My son can speak five languages and his college degrees are in Communications and German. With my second son, I saw a vision of a pair of hands, like those of the disciple Peter – hands rugged and worn. My son is very happy to help and serve – only he does it in the background, not wanting any recognition. He is also a very compassionate soul. For my daughter, I saw a sword piercing a flame. She is my prayer warrior. She is very strong in her faith. I have been awed by each of my children and the lives they are living. I am indeed a blessed woman!

I’m sure I will give updates on my grandbaby from time to time. Stay tuned!

All Dogs Go To Heaven

I have written before about my two canine children. The three of us recently moved in with Cycle Dude. Shirley, my Dalmatian/hound mix, adores Cycle Dude. He can get her to do things I can’t by just looking at her (like go upstairs to take a bath). If Shirley had her druthers, she’d sleep in Cycle Dude’s bed every night. Shirley acts like a starry-eyed schoolgirl around Cycle Dude (ok, I do, too!!). He just smiles and pats her head. That’s all she needs.

We should all be so fortunate as to have the unconditional love of someone like Shirley. Granted, she’s a dog, but where else will you find such pure, unconditional love? You find that with the God of the universe! I am convinced that in so many parts of our daily lives, our Heavenly Father shows us His incredible love for us. Did you wake up this morning? Did you see the sun rise? Are flowers blooming in your yard? Do you hear the birds singing? Do you have the gracious friendship of a good person?

I see the amazing love of God in the crazy full-body wag of my dog, Jack. I see His boundless love in the beauty of each sunrise. I see His unconditional acceptance in the way Cycle Dude loves me. Take the time today to stop and listen to voice of God. I am reminded of His voice whenever I hear thunder because the Bible says the voice of God sounds like thunder.

I am grateful for the sweet love of my pups – the way Jack looks at me and the way Shirley loves to give me kisses. I am thankful that God gave me such wonderful animals to take care of. They remind me all the time of what unconditional love truly is – accepting and gracious. Thank you, Father, for such a sweet reminder of who You are! Stay tuned . . .


The holidays are usually the time of year when most people give – to their favorite charity, to their local homeless shelter or animal shelter, to needy families in their community or their place of employment. It is also the time of year that organizations who help these needs solicit donations. Please be generous with your time and resources, not only at the holiday season, but all year-long.

I live close to the Smoky Mountains. Several communities near me have been evacuated due to raging wildfires that, it is suspected, were set by arsonists. My heart breaks – for my friends caught in the inferno, for the animals affected by the wildfires (forest wildlife,  pets and animals at an aquarium), and for the beautiful forest that has been destroyed. Members of my church are donating supplies to the fire fighters as well as to the evacuees.

There was a time when I did not have much to give. I wanted to be more generous. I realized that generosity did not only apply to money, but it applied to time as well. Many times, I barely scraped by in paying rent, utilities, gas and groceries. I was frustrated because I wanted so much to be able to give financially. I was reminded of a verse in the Bible: “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.” There are many instances in the Bible where we are encouraged to be faithful in the small things.

I started small – giving to the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle when I had spare change or a couple bucks, volunteering wherever I could, donating my unwanted stuff to a local thrift store to help the homeless. Then, I got a better job and another better job. I began to donate my finances – through helping friends at my church, or giving to a cause I believe in, or giving to other needs I became aware of.

My heart is not to accumulate stuff, it is to open my hands and bless others as I have been blessed. I have enough – a home, a car, food, clothing, love. Anything beyond enough is just extra – to be shared and used to bless others. Practice generosity and be faithful in the small things. Stay tuned . . . .