Tag Archives: divorce

Frog Song

Yesterday morning, when I left for work, I heard a sound I had not expected to hear so soon in the year – the croaking of tree frogs. It was very faint, but I heard it. I heard the frogs again last night. To me, the frog song is a comforting sound because I associate it with spring. I also noticed that the jonquils are starting to push up through the leaf litter in Cycle Dude’s side yard. All signs of spring!

It hasn’t been a particularly nasty winter here in Mystate, but it’s been very wet. That means there will be many, many plants blooming when it begins to get warmer. More plants blooming, more allergies. I fully expect my allergies to be bad this season. But, I digress.

Scientists have found that certain sounds and smells evoke deep memories. For me, the frog song reminds me sitting on the back deck at my house several years ago, enjoying dinner or a glass of wine. The smell of coffee reminds me of traveling with my parents. The smell of bacon and eggs reminds me of my grandma’s house. There are many good memories that accompany these reminders.

It’s so easy to focus on the negative after a divorce. I want to take this opportunity to focus on the positive. What kinds of sounds or smells evoke good memories for you? Focus on how you felt – the happiness, the comfort, the love. The frog song also reminds me of finding a tree frog under a glass table last year on Cycle Dude’s front patio. The memory of laughter and wonder is sweet.

Take time to discover your “frog song” – that sound or smell that brings back sweet memories. Focus on the good things in your life. Life is an adventure. Live it! Stay tuned . . . .


Where Do You Live?

When my youngest sister was little, we taught her how to recite her name, address and phone number in case she ever got lost. She was a source of constant amusement – this little voice repeating over and over her address and phone number. We were all  impressed that she picked up on it so quickly and could confidently tell people where she lived.

Fast forward many years to a totally different place and a totally different person – me. My marriage was crumbling. To be quite honest, it was never really very strong. It took a huge hit by ex’s infidelity two months prior to our 12-year anniversary, then another huge hit when our Christian ministry failed. There were smaller tremors in the years between and after until one day, I knew it was so damaged, it was beyond repair. I remember telling my counselor that for years, I had been telling people my house was on fire and no one believed me – until ex attempted suicide. After that, I lived in a place of intense anger.

I had prayed for God to get a hold of my ex, for Him to mold him into the man he should be. It only seemed that the more I prayed, the more bad stuff happened. I became angry and bitter and wanted nothing more than revenge. I was living in a bad place. The more I stayed in that house of anger and bitterness, the worse my life got. My children started to become estranged. My health suffered.

I remember one of my friends telling me that it was okay to feel anger and bitterness, but I couldn’t stay in that place. I had to forgive and let ex go – I had to move out of that bad place that I was living in. It was like my soul was the house from “It’s a Wonderful Life”. You know the one – where Mary throws a rock and smashes the window as she makes a wish, the house that Mary fixes up and makes into a wonderful home for her family. Only my house wasn’t wonderful – it was cold and damp and dark, filled with cobwebs and other scary things.

I can’t pinpoint the exact day or hour, but one day, I found myself moving out of that house and into a nicer place – like the house from “Miracle on 34th Street”, the one that the little girl wishes for and moves into at the end of the movie. Sometimes it still rains and gets cold and damp, but I don’t live in that cold, broken down house anymore. I live in a house where there is almost always sunshine, where there is peace and happiness. My relationships with my children are getting better and my health is better as well.

So, where do you live? Are you living in a cold, damp, dark broken-down house? Or are you living in a house with lots of windows, where there is peace and happiness? Granted, we all have our bad days, but do your good days outnumber your bad days? Are you living in a place of healing and hope? Maybe it’s time to move. 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 . . . .


I remember when a theme park close to my home built a new rollercoaster. It had several loop-de-loops in it and ran fast. My children couldn’t wait to go on the rollercoaster! After much coaxing, they got me on the ride with them. However, I closed my eyes and screamed when we went on the loop-de-loops! I have always been afraid of heights and the rollercoaster scared me. My children said, “Aww, come on, Mom! That wasn’t scary!”

There are many times when life can seem like a rollercoaster – scary and not fun, ups and downs, twists and turns, moving so fast that you find it difficult to hold on. Your divorce recovery can feel the same way. I remember feeling happy that I was finally liberated from ex, but unhappy that my life was in such turmoil.

Some people don’t assess the risk of a rollercoaster before they get on the ride. They are all out gung-ho to feel the excitement of all the twists and turns, the stomach jarring drops, the negative G turns. Going through a divorce can be like that as well. You just want to be rid of that extra weight (ex) and you don’t give much thought to the ‘ride’ itself – the emotions you will face, finding your new normal, etc.

How does one assess the risk of divorce?

1. Are all your eggs in one basket and is he holding the basket? If he will not let you participate in the family finances or doesn’t allow you to see the bills, especially the credit card bills, there’s a good chance he is hiding something. Open up your own checking account. Open up your own credit card. Separate your finances and establish financial stability in your name only. Do not cosign for anything for any reason. And by all means, do not give him access to your accounts!

2. Who does the ‘lion’s share’ of work around the house? I found myself mowing the yard because ex would get ‘heart palpitations’ if he mowed (and his family has a history of heart issues). He complained about having to load and unload the dishwasher when I went back to school at night. Laundry went undone unless I did it. I was the one who cleaned the house, washed the cars, raked the leaves, etc. And I was working and going to school full-time, besides being a full-time Mom.

3. Are bills missing? Are there odd charges on household bills – cable, etc.? If you have any cause to question, question. Trust your gut. Chances are, he’s up to something.

4. If you feel that your marriage is headed that direction, get professional help: Marriage counseling is a good place to start. However, that’s not always successful. Professional help not only includes a good counselor, but also a good lawyer. Most lawyers will give you a free 30 minute session in order to help you determine a course of action. You need to protect yourself.

5. Protect your assets: Find out if your state has a community property law and what that would entail for your personal and shared assets in a divorce. Make sure the divorce decree spells out in detail who is responsible for what, how long, etc. There was one issue that was not intimately spelled out in my divorce decree and ex found the loophole. He shoved my face in it and left the state owing me more than $21K in alimony.

In my experience, divorce was the roughest when I was not prepared. I was not prepared for some of the actions ex took, even though they didn’t surprise me. I truly felt like I was on a rollercoaster. Divorce is painful, there’s no mistaking that. Hindsight is always 20/20 – we look back and see the red flags in our marriage and think about how we should have been more proactive when our gut told us something wasn’t right. If you are going through the rollercoaster of divorce right now, buckle up and make sure you are protected. Stay tuned . . . .

The Touch of the Master’s Hand

One of my favorite Christian artists, Wayne Watson, sings a song, “The Touch of the Master’s Hand”. The song is about an old violin that seems worthless until played by a master. I love the song because it reminds me that even when others think we are worthless, our Heavenly Father tells us we are of great value. After all, didn’t He send His only begotten Son to bring us back to Him? Zephaniah 3:17 says:

“The Lord your God is with you, the Might Warrior who saves. He will take delight in you; in His love, He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Enduring a divorce is painful, especially if you were rejected by your spouse and faced any kind of abuse. It can be such a dark place that only seems to get darker. There are days when you feel like you are so far at the bottom of the well, that you can’t climb out and you can’t see daylight. Dear one, know that in those places, Christ is with you. His heart also breaks at your abuse, mistreatment and abandonment. That’s not what He intended for marriage.

If you are in that place today, dark and dangerous, send up an arrow prayer of “Help me”. Don’t be afraid to venture out into a support group. There are many women who have been where you are. They have come out of the dark places and have experienced the grace and love of Christ. Even though you may be tempted because of a lack of confidence, don’t, don’t, don’t isolate yourself!

Sister, let me be your encouragement. You are an amazing woman! You have come this far, haven’t you? Continue to climb out into the daylight. I wish I could share with each one of you the amazing spring day here in Mytown. It is absolutely glorious! Today is the spring day all other spring days should emulate.

Take heart, my friend. The way seems dark now, but keep moving forward. There is healing in the journey. You are priceless! Stay tuned . . .

Stress Less During the Holidays

The holidays are usually a crazy time of the year anyway, but being divorced seems to make them even more so. You are short on time and money, you may have to share the holidays with ex or members of his family, you need to juggle time with your children, and you or others may still have pretty high expectations for you. STOP!! Put on the brakes! Because of your divorce, this holiday will be different – that’s the nature of things. Don’t let the holidays add to the stress of your life at this point.

1. Plan ahead: You know the holidays are coming – it happens every year about this time. Keep a list on your fridge of things you need to do, gifts you need to buy, etc. I have a small white board on my fridge. It’s my best organizational buddy! If I know a party is coming up, I bake ahead of time instead of waiting until the night before. Do as much as you can ahead of time.

2. Don’t procrastinate: You know the saying, “Don’t put off ’till tomorrow what you can do today”? If you leave your holiday shopping, etc. to the last minute, you will surely be stressed and hopelessly overwhelmed. If planning ahead overwhelms you, make a list and cross one thing off every day or every other day. Do what works for you.

3. Lower your expectations: All those things you did with ex, all the traditions you thought you had to keep – toss them out the window! Now is the time to make new traditions. Make the holiday what YOU want it to be, not what others want it to be. I don’t put out all my Christmas decorations, nor do I drag out all the ornaments for my tree. I put out the decorations I really like. This year, I decorated Thanksgiving weekend. I normally don’t do that. But it’s my apartment and my decorations, so I did what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. As a result, I am not rushed to put up my tree and decorations.

4. Make a budget and stick to it: It’s so easy to go whacko crazy with your credit card around the holidays. Word of advice – DON’T! Budget out how much you can afford to spend and don’t go over that limit. You may need to drop some folks from your Christmas gift list, or from your Christmas card list. You may need to go cheaper this year – smaller denomination gift cards or homemade cookies or candy. You may not have a whole lot of money after your divorce. Don’t start out the new year, and your new life, by digging a financial hole you cannot get out of. Don’t live above your means. If your friends and family have a problem with cheaper gifts this year, just tell them, “I need to stick with my budget”. Mary Poppins said, “I never explain anything!” Don’t feel like you need to explain your decision.

5. Take some time for YOU: I love to sit in my napping chair (my amazing $50 estate sale find) with a glass of wine and my dogs snoozing on either side of me. I turn off the lights and turn on my Christmas tree. Sometimes, I will have soft Christmas music playing in the background. I enjoy the quiet, the beauty of my tree, the companionship of my dogs, and the relaxing peacefulness of my home. That time alone is my recharge time. At other times, I may read a book, or watch a movie and knit, but that time is just for me. I find the snoring of my dogs to be quite soothing!

Above all, remember – if it’s not done by Christmas Eve, it wasn’t meant to get done. This holiday is for YOU. Gone are all the crazy things you did or did not do with ex. Want to go somewhere for Christmas? Stay home? Go see a local Christmas play? Light display? Sing ‘Jingle Bells” at the top of your lungs? Do it!! Gone are the expectations for that “perfect” holiday. Take time this season to slow down, to sit down, to take stock of where you are. The best gift you can give yourself this Christmas is less stress. Trust me, you will thank yourself for it! Stay tuned. . . .


Divorced, children grown . . . . now what?

After nearly 24 years of marriage, I find myself starting over. I stayed with my ex-husband until our youngest child was 18 years old so I would not have to fight him over child support. He was a sex addict and refused to deal with his issues. He blamed me, his children, his parents for his problems. He couldn’t hold a job longer than three years. His botched suicide was the last straw.

Our marriage had been deteriorating for some time. The divorce was inevitable. Yet, when it happened, I was sad, I was angry, I became bitter. I realized I had been in a co-dependent relationship for a long time. Extricating myself from that relationship was painful.

I have recently been reading some online articles about divorce. The majority of authors contend that now is the time to find out who I am, what I can do, what I want to do. They believe that starting over is not a bad thing. So that’s what I am doing. . .  starting over.