Category Archives: resolve

Learning to Walk

I am so excited that I get to see my grandbaby over Easter. I am flying to where my son lives and will spend Easter weekend with him, my daughter-in-law and my grandbaby. My sister also lives in the area, so I will spend time with her and her family as well. The fun thing about having a grandbaby is watching her grow and watching my son and his wife marvel as she reaches her developmental milestones. One of these days, my grandbaby will learn to walk. (Not quite yet, though. She was born in at the end of 2017.)

Learning to walk is a huge milestone for a child. There is so much involved – balance, gross motor skills, muscular and skeletal development, hand-eye coordination, etc. Learning to walk is no small feet (misspelling and pun intended!). Many adults have had to learn to walk again, too. They have had to progress from that infant-like state as well. One must learn to stand before one can walk. And one must learn to walk before one can run. There’s no skipping the proper physiological progression.

Life can  be difficult after a traumatic experience – divorce, an accident, etc. It is tempting to want to curl up in a ball and hide under the covers. We all know that’s not practical. In order to move forward in our lives, to heal and become stronger, we must learn to walk again. What does that look like?

1. Don’t be afraid: When a child is afraid to walk, she will sit down and cry. A child who is eager to walk will pull herself up and walk around the coffee table, then walk as you hold her hands, then she’ll walk to you and then with you. Yes, she will fall, but she keeps trying. Fear kills dreams, adventure and even life. Fear not. Move forward.

2. Don’t look back: The past is the past for a reason – because it’s done and over with. Look forward. Set and achieve goals. Dream big dreams. Laugh at your own silly jokes. Experience the freedom that comes with moving forward.

3. Don’t dwell on it: Whatever “it” is – a divorce, an accident, a death – let it go. We will grieve for that which is lost, but the grief cannot and should not last forever. Grief, despair, depression, anger and bitterness – these are all soul-destroyers. Don’t let the negative emotions and thoughts destroy you. If you are stuck here, seek out professional help.

4. Do stop and take a deep breath: Trauma – whatever it is – saps your energy. From days spent in court to days spent in the hospital or in counseling – you feel drained. Stop. Take a deep breath and know that you will be okay. Give yourself the grace and the time to heal – to renew your energy.

5. Do have a grateful heart: There is always something to be grateful for. Your support group, the medical personnel, your friends – these are all the ‘scaffolding’, if you will, who held you together during the trauma. Be grateful for them. Be grateful for your life.

Sometimes, it hurts to walk. Your muscles may be sore. You may have a misshapen limb. You may have fallen and bruised your knee. Walking is a milestone in your healing journey. It represents months of hard work. Soon, you will be running and will never look back. Life is an adventure! Live it! Stay tuned. . . .



The Song That Gets Stuck in Your Head

We’ve all had this happen at one time or another. You hear a song, or someone mentions a song, and before you know it, that song is stuck in your head. No matter what you do, you can’t get that song out of your head. I’ve had the experience as a parent where children’s songs would get stuck in my head. That’s annoying!

There are other things that can get stuck in our heads, too – painful memories, regrets, words we’ve said to our children that we shouldn’t have said, stupid things we’ve done. Words are often the things that get stuck the most – verbal abuse from a parent, mean words from grade school bullies, abrasive words from a spouse. It’s bad enough when a song gets stuck in your head, but when the painful words and memories start taking up residence, it gets worse. How do we get rid of the painful things that get stuck in our head?

  • Face it – head on: A counselor told me one time: “To feel is to heal.” As painful as that memory or those words are, if we let them come back again and again, they will continue to inflict damage. Facing that memory or those words takes courage. Journal about the memory or words and how it/they made you feel. Go into as much depth as you feel necessary to finally beat the wind out of the thing! This may take some professional help, but once you’ve beaten it (the memory, the words), let it go.
  • Share it: Talk to a trusted friend, a clergy member or seek out professional help. Don’t let the thing get so deeply embedded in your soul that it begins to fester. To share the thing is to bring it out into the open. Letting others know about the thing tends to loosen its grip on you.
  • Say it out loud: The deep dark recesses of our minds are fertile ground for stuff to rot, fester and grow putrid tentacles. Give words to the memory or the painful words. Speak out your pain – either alone, with a friend or in a support group. Tell it out loud how it makes you feel and how you are done with it! There is something about confronting the thing out loud that also lessens its grip on you.
  • Use it: There are so many people who harbor deep painful memories, whose ears ring with painful words. Once you’ve let the thing out, use it – write about it, paint it, dance about it, sing about it, take a very long walk, run up and down the stairs in your office building or at the local high school football stadium. Do not allow the thing to regain entrance into your psyche. Work it out of you.
  • Leave it alone: Don’t keep going back to that memory or those words. Look at that thing like a gross pile of feces, because that’s what it is. It doesn’t give you life or bring you joy. Don’t go back into the dark corner with it and allow its tentacles to wrap around you again. It’s something that should make you want to vomit – leave it alone!

Conquering these things in our lives takes time and willpower. Some people can get these words and memories out of their head relatively easily. For others, it takes time and professional help. Don’t berate yourself if it takes you longer to move past these painful words and memories. You know yourself and you know how much time you need to heal. However, I would caution you – don’t dwell in these dark places. Give yourself permission to move into the light and closer to healing. Stay tuned. . . .

Storm Preparations

I just got an email from the emergency communication system here at Myjob. We are under a severe thunderstorm warning. So far, this storm has left quite a bit of destruction in its wake. A couple of my children live in the middle of the state and have already sent me photos of some of the destruction their areas received just a couple of hours ago. Fortunately, the local weather folks have been forecasting this storm for a couple of days, so we are prepared.

There have been times in my life when I wished I would have had a forecast of the storms to come. I would have been better prepared. I was not prepared for the pain and anger of the divorce. I was not prepared for the destruction it wreaked on my heart and soul. I was not prepared for the emotional, financial and mental destruction the divorce left in its wake. Fortunately, I had several great people in my life who walked through that storm with me.

Weather forecasters always tell you to be prepared when bad weather strikes. they encourage you to make sure you have an emergency kit in case the power goes out or goes out for an extended period of time. The American Red Cross also lets people know how to prepare themselves in bad weather. But how does one weather the severe storms in life?

1. Have a safe place to go: Seek out a good friend, a pastor or priest, a mental health professional, a support group. You will need somewhere safe to go, somewhere that you can open up and express the emotions stirring around inside of you. You will need to go somewhere where the support is strong.

2. Have an emergency plan: Divorce just doesn’t happen overnight – there are signs of the impending doom. If you feel like your marriage is headed south, I would encourage you to do the following: open your own bank account and make sure you have money in it, find legal help and make sure you are covered, obtain a credit card in your name only and resolve to use it only for emergencies, make sure you have a place to go if you have to leave quickly. Take care of yourself.

3. Keep emergency supplies on hand: Friendship is like a flashlight in that it can show you the way in the darkness. Be sure to have a good friend close by, someone who will walk through the storm with you. Keep a journal to document your feelings, thoughts and ideas. Give yourself plenty of grace because you will make mistakes as you weather this storm. Take some time to pray and be quite before the Lord. He will hear your cries and He will heal your heart.

4. Listen to warnings and take appropriate action: Do you dream about revenge? Are you close to cyber stalking your ex? Are you losing sleep or weight from your divorce? Divorce is an incredibly stressful time. It is a major life change. Pay attention to signs of depression, PTSD, anger and other negative emotions. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help.

5. Turn around, don’t drown: Give yourself grace as you weather the storms. You may not feel ready to step back out into all the activities you did prior to being divorced. It’s okay to say, “No” when someone asks you to do something. It’s easy to cover up emotional pain with busyness. Take the time to deal with the pain of the divorce and allow yourself to heal. Don’t drown in overwhelming busyness.

The weather continues to be crazy outside. I will spend this evening bundled up with my dogs – not going anywhere, not risking my safety – but taking some down time as I prepare to move and deal with some major changes in my life.

Dear one, the storms of life are overwhelming, especially when we feel like we are clinging to life as we sit on our rooftops, waiting to be rescued. Cry out to God in the midst of your storm. Give yourself grace and time to heal. There is a rainbow at the end of the storm. Stay tuned . . .


Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

The New Year is always  a time to make resolutions – what do you want to do different this year? Many people set lofty resolutions thinking, “This is the year I will ___________”. However, a couple of weeks down the road, the resolutions get tossed aside and the rest of the new year becomes one great big guilt party because we couldn’t keep those resolutions. We feel like a failure, disappointed in ourselves and feeling like we let others down. Maybe it’s time to learn how to set resolutions you can keep. When setting your New Year’s resolutions, think about the following:

1. Is it realistic? You want to lose weight. That’s always a great resolution. However, wanting to lose 50 pounds in one month is not so great. It’s unrealistic and it’s unhealthy. Start off with something you can do, like loose 2 pounds in a month. You may say, “But if I don’t push myself, it won’t happen.” Start off small. As you develop the habit of eating right, saving money, etc., then you can start to push yourself. My boss always says, “We gotta eat this elephant one bite at a time.”

2. Is it in character for you? Examine your motives for your resolutions. Are they for personal gain, to help others, etc.? Wanting to take a risk is fine (like learning to skydive), but if your resolutions are merely to satisfy others who think you should be doing x, y, and z, take a step back a refocus. Your resolutions should be for your benefit, not because others tell you that you need to do something.

3. Do you have the resources to do it? You may want to save $100 a month, but if you are a single mom with one income, that may not be so realistic. Start off small. Save $10 a paycheck, walk 1 miles a day, volunteer four hours on Saturday, etc. NOTE: Starting off small will develop a habit. It is better to start off small, to take small bites, than it is to go in way over your head and choke because you bit off too much.

4. Is it tweakable? My life motto is, “Blessed are they who are flexible, for they shall break and not bend”. You have to be willing to be flexible in your resolutions. You may have a large bill and may not be able to save as much money as you would like. In a situation like that, even saving just $5 is a step in the right direction.

5. Am I accountable? Keeping resolutions is easier if done in community. You have someone to whom you are accountable, who will ask you the hard questions and help keep you going in the right direction.

Finally, give yourself the grace to fail, because you will fail. However, failure doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or the resolution was unachievable. Failure means you are moving. Those who don’t fail don’t move. They don’t take the risk to grow and learn. Failure means you have to step back and reassess – why did I fail? Did I try to do too much? Did I experience a setback that was unexpected? Failure means you stop, analyze and move forward again.

This post is one in a series on “Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions”. Following posts will be about keeping your resolutions regarding weight loss, finances and relationships. Stay tuned. . .

Ok, Now What?

I often found, and still find, myself asking this question. When I moved out of our marital home, “Ok, now what?” When I moved into my apartment, “Ok, now what?” When my youngest left home for school and marriage, “Ok, now what?” I can either hang my head and cry, or stand there with my hands on my hips and ask, “Ok, now what?”

I think the response of “Ok, now what?” signifies acceptance, anticipation, maybe a hint of anger at times, and a willingness to take the next step. For me, I had to keep looking ahead and keep putting one foot in front of the other. It’s so easy during and after a divorce to get depressed and want to either go back or not move at all. That’s only natural. Divorce is a devastating loss and the first instinct is to hide in order to protect one’s self. It’s okay to feel those emotions, but don’t dwell in those emotions.

“Ok, now what?” Stand up, get to your feet. Show him that in spite of all the crap you’ve been through, you’re still strong enough to stand in victory instead of crumple in defeat. “Ok, now what?” Look at that lady in the mirror. Learn to love her again, be gracious to her, smile at her more. “Ok, now what?” Go outside and take a walk. See the sun and the clouds, hear the birds chirping, smell the flowers or the fresh-cut grass. Feel the warmth of the sun on your skin. “Ok, now what?” Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Exhale and listen to the sound of your breathing and your heart beating. You’re still here. You’re stronger that you thought you were. “Ok, now what?” Resolve to look forward and not backward. This is your time, your life. Give yourself a huge hug!! Stay tuned . . . .