bittersweet

Some of you know some of my story — of how my husband of twenty-two years insisted on walking away from our marriage. This happened over four years ago, and sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s my story. Friends have encouraged me to write more about that experience and what I’ve learned, but it’s really hard for a variety of reasons. First, it’s not only my story. It’s also my children’s, and I’m sensitive to that and to the fact that he is their father. Second, I don’t want to overshare, and I don’t want to dwell. And, honestly, it still stings. But I think I should share what I can, because I remember how very desperate I was for every morsel of encouragement and hope when I was in that deep, dark valley. If my story can help someone else, I’m selfish to keep it to myself. So if I can figure out ways to put my thoughts together, I’ll share them here from time to time.

One of the things I’ve found curious as I’ve moved through these past years post-divorce is how my previous life seems like it’s not my life. Everything I found out was such a shock, such a complete and total up-ending of the life we built for over two decades, that I really don’t know what was real and what wasn’t. I’ve questioned everything.

But as I decorated the Christmas tree last week and unwrapped hundreds of mementoes collected throughout all those years, I was reminded that YES, I did live that life. It happened. The memories are real. I really did visit those places, make those friends, worship in those churches, make a home over and over again. I cared. I loved. I didn’t just dream it. And even thought that life is gone now, I still remember.

hulasanta

so many memories of our 8 years in Hawaii on the tree

mosaicstar

evidence of my brief foray into smashing plates and making ornaments

japanorn

a souvenir from our 2 years in Japan

britorn

I bought this one in my favorite city — London

So I decorated the tree feeling that now ever-present sense of bittersweetness. I felt sorrow but I wasn’t crushed by it. I took joy in remembering and was thankful for that. Surely that’s progress, right? I can’t take credit for the progress, but I know the One who can.

If you’re where I found myself about four years ago, or if you know someone who is, I can tell you that it gets better. It’s not a straight line, but more like a crazy stock market graph with lots of highs and lows. Pain hits at the oddest times , and it still hurts to say “ex-husband.” But God is always good and faithful, and I’ve found that He comes through for me. It’s often not in a way I expect or even want, but He’s faithful. Even when I’m hanging ornaments on a tree.

This I know.

signature

“We have allowed our love stories to end way too early.”

courseofloveA few lines from The Course of Love by Alain de Botton:

Our understanding of love has been hijacked and beguiled by its first distractingly moving moments. We have allowed our love stories to end way too early. We seem to know far too much about how love starts, and recklessly little about how it might continue.


…and she is curious because she knows, better than most, that there is no one more likely to destroy us than the person we marry.


He would find it so much easier to give blood to an injured child in Badakhshan or to carry water to a family in Kandahar than to lean across and say sorry to his wife.


Kirsten wants a blow-by-blow account because that’s how she copes with anxiety: she hangs on to and arranges the facts. She doesn’t want to let on directly quite how worried she is. Her style is to be reserved and focus on the administrative side. Rabin wants to scream or break something.

random thoughts

~ It really rubs me the wrong way when I hear the word ‘gift’ used as a verb. What’s wrong with ‘give’?

~ I’m listening to rain falling, and it’s a sweet, sweet sound.

~ I’m listening to my husband snoring, and while it’s not a sweet sound, he’s a sweet man, and I’m glad he’s mine.

~ 2016 has whizzed by faster than any year I can remember, and it’s also been one of the weirdest.

~ I’m in a bit of a reading rut, but that’s okay because I’m on a knitting binge. If I could just figure out how to do both at the same time, I’d be in hobby heaven.

~ I rarely use my laptop anymore except to blog. I love my iPad. So this seems like an awesome idea.

~ Are any of you watching This Is Us? I’m really enjoying it. It’s filling the Parenthood void in my life. 

Gotta get back to my knitting!

“…and this isn’t popular in psychology circles…”

stilllifeFrom Still Life: A Chief Inspector Ganache Novel by Louise Penny:

‘Oh, yes. But they were the ones who got better quite quickly. Because they worked hard at it and genuinely wanted it. The others said they wanted to get better, but I think, and this isn’t popular in psychology circles’ – here she leaned forward and whispered, conspiratorially – ‘I think many people love their problems. Gives them all sorts of excuses for not growing up and getting on with life.’

“…we end up achieving the very opposite of our goals…”

courseofloveFrom The Course of Love by Alain de Botton:

But calm is precisely what is absent from love’s classroom. There is simply too much on the line. The “student” isn’t merely a passing responsibility; he or she is a lifelong commitment. Failure will ruin existence. No wonder we may be prone to lose control and deliver cack-handed, hasty speeches which bear no faith in the legitimacy or even the nobility of the act of imparting advice.

And no wonder, too, if we end up achieving the very opposite of our goals, because increasing levels of humiliation, anger, and threat have seldom hastened anyone’s development. Few of us ever grow more reasonable or more insightful about our own characters for having had our self-esteem taken down a notch, our pride wounded, and our ego subjected to a succession of pointed insults. We simply grow defensive and brittle in the face of suggestions which sound like mean-minded and senseless assaults on our nature rather than caring attempts to address troublesome aspects of our personality.

monday miscellany

A collection from around the internet:

Dying to self in the age of self-love

For those who fail every day:

We are so easily consumed by our circumstances and our failures. We need to be persuaded that what makes the difference is God-centeredness—a deep conviction that God is in the midst of our day-to-day living, a trust not in the quality of our situation, but in the character of our Creator.

5 truths for sleepless nights

Why Christians love books

It’s not just grammar; it’s clear thinking.

Happy Monday!

signature

“…a deliberate redirection of one’s emotions…”

[a repost from January 2013]

Early Sunday morning I awoke anxious and angry. Added to that was frustration that on my one morning to sleep in a little, I was awake, tossing and turning. I finally got up, made tea, and got back in bed with my journal, Bible, and Psalms study material, grumbling all the while.

I prayed for God to give me wisdom and show me how to deal with anger at a person and about a situation. It’s an ongoing thing, but there are times that it flares up and affects me even physically — disrupting sleep and giving me heartburn. This is one of those times. I’ve run out of words to pray, and I’m ever so grateful that Christ intercedes for me. So I prayed a rather simple prayer asking for help and then turned to my study of Psalm 37. My sister just gave me Derek Kidner’s commentary, and I finally had a chance to dig in.

kidnerpsalms

Kidner looks at the advice of the psalmist, Fret not yourself, and summarizes the encouragement that follows the opening verse as Look ahead! (focus on eternity — God’s time), Look up!, and Be constructive!

Here is part of what he writes on Look up!

An obsession with enemies and rivals cannot be simply switched off, but it can be ousted by a new focus of attention; note the preoccupation with the Lord himself, expressed in the four phrases that contain his name here. It includes a deliberate redirection of one’s emotions (4a take delight; cf. Paul and Silas in prison, singing as well as praying), and an entrusting of one’s career (your way, 5) and reputation (your vindication, 6) to him. This is a liberation…

I take this as an answer to my anger. God is reminding me through his Word, explained by a wise teacher, that I need to take my eyes off the other person, off the anger itself, off the situation, and put them on Him! I am to deliberately redirect my emotions and be preoccupied with God, not myself and my circumstances. When I asked Him in prayer to give me wisdom and guidance, He answered quickly. Not an easy answer, but a simple one.  Now, I will work to take captive my thoughts and focus on Him, the One who loves me so well.

I began the morning angry and anxious, and in a matter of moments, my Lord lifted my head. I get the distinct impression that He cares for me!😉

Oh, Father, how good you are to me! How slow of heart and stubborn I am, yet you continue to show Your love to me for Christ’s sake. Forgive me for my unbelief, and by Your presence and Your Spirit, remind me to turn my thoughts to You. Thank You!

(By the way, there’s more good stuff here in Kidner’s book, but I’ll just leave you with this for now.)

Awed,

signature

saturday

It’s my third day off in a row from work, and there’s still one more to go! And it’s starting off well — coffee and reading in bed. And — true confession — watching a variety of Kick Six videos. (This one is a classic.) I never get tired of that!

Yesterday I decorated the house for Christmas, and Will came in for the weekend. Today my big plans include watching the Auburn/Alabama game with him on the big screen.

(I’ve got soooo many blog posts in my head, including one I mentally composed while decorating the Christmas tree yesterday. But today is unlikely to be a day I can actually put those thoughts to virtual paper.)

Thanks again to all of you who have encouraged me to keep blogging. I’m amazed that anyone reads what I write, and I’m surprised that you have stuck around through my blogging famine. I really appreciate it!

Happy Saturday, y’all! And Waaaaaar Eagle!

signature

a change of plans

That’s allowed, right? I’ve changed my mind. Shortly after I decided to give up on blogging, I got the urge to start again. Isn’t that the way it goes? So, I’m going to recommit to updating this little corner of the internet more regularly, and I plan to do a little remodeling. It will take some time to get back into the habit, so please stay tuned.

Many thanks on this Thanksgiving Day to those of you who left kind comments, and to my husband who encouraged me not to give up. I appreciate you!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

signature

 

shutting it down

I’ve been thinking about it for a while now, and I’ve decided it’s time to close down the blog. I simply don’t have the time to do a decent job of updating it, and it’s become just another thing I feel guilty about not doing well.

I started blogging many years ago — it seems like a lifetime ago — and it was an online journal of sorts. I took it down when my life took a drastic turn, and I blogged privately for a time. Eventually I started blogging here.  It’s been a fun run, and I’ve “met” some great folks. Composing blog posts when I’m driving or in the shower will probably remain a habit for a long time.

This domain expires next month, so I’m not sure if it will all go *poof* when I don’t renew.  I’m still posting photos on Instagram, so if you’re interested, you can follow me there.

So aloha and bye y’all!

signature