Tag Archives: changes

Wordsmith

I enjoy writing this blog. My main purpose is to encourage other women who are in my same age and stage of life, to let them know there is life after divorce, to let them know that even if ex is a _________ (fill in the blank), they don’t need to sink to his level, but can hold their heads high and continue on with life.

If you have read this blog for any length of time, you’ll notice a couple of things about my style of writing: 1) I usually start with a story from my own life, 2) I try to apply the principle of that story to something about divorce or being divorced, 3) I like lists and 4) I try to leave my reader with encouragement and the invitation to ‘Stay tuned . . . .”.

I enjoy writing. Sometimes it’s a challenge. I try to craft what I write, like a painter or a sculptor or a composer. There are times when the words and ideas flow. There are other times when nary a word comes to mind! How many blog posts have I started, only to reread them, deem them rubbish and delete them? I reread my posts after writing because I find that I often include too much detail or too little. I want to capture my readers’ attention and keep it, not have them give me a thumbs down for a particular post!

I’ve often heard, “Write what you know”. I know children, divorce, learning to love again, loss, siblings, and a host of other subjects. I tell people that what I don’t know, I make up. (Kidding!!)

I hope you enjoy what I write, dear reader. I hope I am an encouragement to you as you work your way through your divorce. I hope I am a kindred spirit, a sister on the same road as you – walking through life as a divorced person. Seven years on this side of a divorce, I can tell you that the first four years were pretty rough. Ex has remarried and lives in a different state and that has helped a great deal – to know I won’t be running into him and his latest love at the Farmer’s Marking downtown on Saturday morning (I did that for a couple of years).

I have found a man I dearly love and who loves me. My first grandchild is on her way. I have a job I enjoy.  Seven years this side of a divorce, my life is better. My hope is to continue to encourage you, to know that your life will get better, too. Hugs! Stay tuned. . . .

 

Missing x

When I started dating Cycle Dude, I soon realized our backgrounds were very different. For example, my family always celebrated the holidays and made a big deal out of family gatherings. Cycle Dude doesn’t. His holiday celebrations are minimal. I know that if I want to really celebrate the holidays, I have to bring my experience into them – whatever holiday it is. It’s getting better, but I miss the familiarity of how I celebrated holidays with my family – both immediate and extended.

Getting and being divorced is venturing into the unfamiliar. Sometimes, we may feel like we wish we would have stayed with ex because at least we knew what to expect. Our lives may not have been perfect, but they were familiar. For me, I do not miss ex. What had become familiar to me was doing things on my own. A friend pointed out to me that for some time prior to my divorce, I had been making all the financial decisions, familial decisions, etc. anyway.

You may feel like you miss the familiarity of your ex even though your marriage was bad. Would you prefer to stay in that toxic relationship? Heavens, no! Neither did I! It was scary to venture forth on my own. I learned a great deal about myself in the days following my divorce. I learned I could make good decisions. I learned what a peaceful existence felt like. I learned that I didn’t have to walk around angry or suspicious all the time. I learned that I could live on my own.

I learned to use resources at my disposal – a counselor, a financial class, my friends and my church, my bank. I developed a new routine in my life and embraced a new normal. Seven years later, I see that I have changed for the better. I do not miss the chaos and darkness my life had become in my marriage. Now I know order and peace. Give yourself grace as you develop confidence and find your new normal. Stay tuned . . . .

Looking in the Rearview Mirror

MyState is home to a wonderful dairy. The dairy makes great ice cream, milk and other products. The dairy’s ice cream plant, about an hour south of Mytown, is a popular place for school groups to visit. The dairy also has several large (fake) cows that they haul around to different events. One day, as I was on my way home from work, I glanced in my rearview mirror. I almost wrecked! I had to glance again, then I burst out laughing! In one of the lanes behind me was the HUGE cow from the dairy. Eventually the cow, and the truck hauling the cow, passed me as I exited the freeway, but I laughed all the way home!

Sometimes, looking in our review mirror can show us things that make us laugh. Other times, we see things that aren’t so funny. Life is like that. We can look at our past and find humor in situations or we can look at our past and see pain and anguish. That’s how it is with a divorce – we choose how to see our past. We can choose to see all the bad things in our marriage or we can see the good things. Most of the good I see when I look back at my marriage has to do with my children and the joy they’ve brought to my life.

If we spend too much time looking into our life’s rearview mirror, we miss what is ahead of us – the chance to start over, the chance to chase your dreams, the chance to make a better life. Don’t spend too much time looking in the rearview mirror. Focus on what lies ahead – your healing journey and an amazing destination of joy! Stay tuned. . . .

Life Will Go On

I normally don’t post twice in one day, but I read a post from another lady who is on the healing journey from her divorce. She posted about celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with her son. He asked if they were going to celebrate even if it was just the two of them.

My children are grown and married and have all moved away. I still put up my Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations and have continued to do so in the years after my divorce. Ex never really enjoyed celebrating the holidays anyway. This year, there was only me and my dogs to enjoy the decorations – and Cycle Dude when he would come over. I love to sit with all the lights off and just have the Christmas tree lights on – I find that very peaceful.

Just because one is divorced doesn’t mean one shouldn’t still live life! Celebrating the holidays, any holiday, after your divorce is a chance to make even better memories and traditions. Cycle Dude and I went down to Florida in 2015 to celebrate Thanksgiving with my sister and brother and their families. It was an enjoyable time. We celebrate the holidays with my grown children as well, though not on the holiday itself because they all have in-laws who want their time, too. The point is that we make the time to celebrate.

Being divorced has given me a blank slate. How do I want to celebrate the holidays and other important days in my life? How do I want to make those days special? This has become a time that I live life the way I want to – not the way some other family’s traditions force me to.

Dear one, part of the healing from your divorce is celebrating – holidays, birthdays, good grades, job promotions, etc. Celebrating is sharing the joy that others bring into your life. Don’t allow ex to ‘win’ in that you live your life is despair. There is joy in each day, each smile of your children, each tail wag from your dog or leg rub from your cat. Celebrate that you are healing and moving forward!

The lady I mentioned at the beginning of this post told her son that yes, they were going to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, even though it was just the two of them, because they are a family and that’s what they do.  Kudos! Life will go on. Stay tuned. . . .

The Number of Our Days

I found out this morning that a former boss passed away back in November. She died of a stroke. She was only 45 years old. I am still in shock. She was a great boss.

We never know when we wake up in the morning if this will be our last day on earth. We never know what’s going to happen. God numbers our days. He alone knows how many we have. How do we live our lives in such a manner that we will be prepared for ‘the day’ when it comes?

1. Banish anger and bitterness: For most of my marriage, I was a very angry person. I woke up angry, stayed angry throughout the day and went to bed angry. After my divorce, I became incredibly bitter. Were my emotions affecting ex, the person they were directed to? Heavens, no! Those negative emotions were killing me! Holding onto anger and bitterness is senseless. Let it go.

2. Practice random acts of kindness: Next time you’re at the grocery store and there is an elderly person ahead of or behind you, pay for their groceries. Donate some dog or cat food to your nearest animal shelter. Rake the leaves in your neighbor’s yard. Go out of your way to be kind to a stranger.

3. Be generous with your time, money and resources: Do you have enough to live on – to cover your needs (not necessarily your wants)? Do you find that you have several hours of free time on the weekend? Donate to a cause, volunteer, take your unwanted stuff to a local thrift store. Whatever you have you can’t take with you. You may as well use it up while you’re still living!

4. Cultivate compassion: Don’t be so quick to lose your temper or to speak out of turn. Resolve to listen to others, to hear their heart, their passion and their dreams. Be an encouragement to others. Be quick to serve others.

5. Smile more: I think if more people smiled, it would lighten the mood that so often seems to bring us down. Have you ever watched the other drivers on your way to work? Those who are not on their phone are usually scowling. Smile in rush hour traffic. Smile as you walk down the hallway at work. Smile when you answer the phone! Smile – it increases your face value and makes people wonder what you’re up to.

6. Say “I love you”: Every day before Cycle Dude goes to work, I tell him I love him. Every time I talk to one of my children, my mom or my siblings, I tell them I love them. Do not hesitate to tell those you love that you love them. Don’t worry if it sounds ‘sappy’. You may not get another chance.

Life is waaay to short to spend it ill-tempered, harboring a grudge, hoarding your stuff or looking like an old sourpuss! Make your family and friends glad to know you! Leave them with good memories. Live one day at a time because it may be the last one you have. Stay tuned . . .

Thankful

I hosted Thanksgiving dinner yesterday for Cycle Dude and his adult children. I usually decorate with fall decorations, make a centerpiece complete with candles, and bake so the apartment smells really good. I enjoy the holidays because of all the good memories I have from my childhood. I try to make the holidays special for those around me.

When I got home from work on Wednesday, I realized I had left my iPad behind. There was no way I was going to fight the traffic on Wednesday just to go back to work for my iPad. Yesterday morning, I took my pups on a ride to retrieve my iPad. On the way, I prayed and thanked God for all the blessings He has given me – my children, my Cycle Dude, my dogs, my home, my car, my friends, my job, my church, food on my table, a warm bed on a cold night, relatively good health, great coworkers, and the list goes on. My list took me to work and back! I have a great deal to be thankful for.

If this is your first holidays season after a divorce, I know it can be lonely, depressing, confusing, etc. I would encourage you to reflect on the following:

1.  Who am I? Very often, we tend to lose ourselves in our family as we are wife and mom. A couple of days after my divorce, I realized I was no longer Mrs. Ex. I was now Ms. Me. But who is Ms. Me? The divorce presented me with an opportunity to figure out who I was aside from my children. I will always be their mom, but I was no longer a Mrs. Take some time this season to discover you.

2. What can I do? Take this time to find out what you are capable of. Are you having to do finances on your own for the first time? Figure out car repair? Or home repair? Don’t say, “I can’t do this!” Instead say, “I will learn how to do this.” You will acquire some new skills. I learned how to change a flat tire.

3. Where do I want to go? You are at a crossroads – your life has taken on a new direction. Where do you want it to go? Do you want to return to school? Take a class at a community college. Do you want to learn a new skill? Find a group in your community that you can hook up with – ex. learning to knit, sew, cook, do home repair. Your local home repair store (Home Depot, Lowe’s) has classes you can sign up for. Find resources in your community and take advantage of them.

4. How can I help? There are so many needs in our communities – opportunities to give and to volunteer. If you cannot give, volunteer. Many agencies are desperately in need of volunteers. Giving of your time to a cause you believe in is a good way to explore the other questions listed above.

5. What can I leave behind? Everyone leaves behind a legacy when they die – good or bad. This morning, I learned that Florence Henderson (“Carol Brady”) passed away. What kind of legacy did she leave behind? Many people knew her as “America’s Mom” from her role on the Brady Bunch. She will be fondly remembered for her unconditional love for her Brady brood. What kind of legacy will you leave behind? What will people remember you for? We can’t all be world-famous whatever, but we can positively affect our small corner of the world.

As we enter the holiday season, let us be thankful that we have an opportunity to explore who we are and give of our time, talent and resources to those who need them. Give thanks with a grateful heart. Stay tuned. . . .

Peace During the Holidays

I remember the first holiday season after my divorce. In some ways, it was better (no ex), but in other ways it wasn’t. Some family traditions changed. Others we got rid of. And still others we made new. I was lucky in that I did not have to spend any holiday time with ex. My children and I started a tradition of getting together before the actual holiday in order to spend time together and to give them time with their father and their in-laws.

Needless to say, life changes dramatically after a divorce – that’s just the nature of the beast. If this is your first holiday season after a divorce, you are probably feeling a multitude of emotions – fear & anxiety, anger, sadness, overwhelmed, depressed, nostalgic, etc. How does one find peace during the holidays after a divorce?

1. Accept the change: As sad as it may be, your life will never be the same. Now is the time to step back, take a look at where you are and make some decisions.

2. Embrace something different: This is the time to make new family traditions, to do something new during the holidays – try different cookie recipes, host a Christmas breakfast for your family, make ornaments and give them away, be minimalist in your Christmas decorations.

3. Look outward: When I was young and I got to feeling sorry for myself, my mom would tell me to take my eyes off myself and do something for someone else. This holiday season, look outward – volunteer to serve the holiday dinner at a homeless shelter, lead a canned food drive at your workplace, organize a trash pickup in your neighborhood, sort through your stuff and take what you don’t want to the local thrift store.

4. Give yourself grace: The holidays will be different. Don’t try to make them the same as they always were. If you don’t feel like decorating, don’t. If you don’t feel like having the entire gang at your place, don’t. Go easy on yourself. Give yourself permission to back away and not be as intense this holiday season.

5. Cultivate gratitude: You’ve just come through one of the most horrendous situations you will ever experience. Be thankful that you are still standing. You may feel battered and bruised (hopefully not literally), but you are still alive, you are still able to see the sun rise each morning. Be thankful for what you have instead of bitter for what you don’t have.

You have a clean slate. What do you want to do this holiday season? How do you want to celebrate this time? If you are feeling depressed and are finding it hard to function, please seek professional help. The holidays can be the most joyous time of the year, but they can also be the worst time of the year.

One of my favorite images this time of the year is a cardinal sitting in a bare tree. The tree is devoid of leaves, yet the brilliant color of the bird reminds me that there is hope. I find hope and peace in nature. Be at peace today, Dear One. Stay tuned . . .