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.

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I remember

[a repost from 2013]

A co-worker asked me yesterday where I was on September 11th. I told her I was living in Montgomery, Alabama and in my second year of homeschooling Will and Caroline. He was a fourth grader, and she was in second. On that very mundane early fall morning, we were sitting at our dining room table with our books when my mom called and told me to turn on the television. And then I was on the phone with my sister as I watched the towers fall.

My little second grader drew her feelings that day:

9-11-2001

A horrible day, wasn’t it? So much fear — was this just the beginning? Those people in New York City, Washington, DC, that field in Pennsylvania! Their families! All of those firemen! As a military family, what did it mean for our future? Who would do such a thing to our country? So many questions. Glued to the television.

Since that awful day, I’ve often heard it referred to as a tragedy. That makes me a little nuts. It is not simply a tragedy — something that just happened to happen to people. It was an act of war — acts of pre-meditated terror and evil inflicted on people like you and me. And then it was rejoiced over by other humans, twisted and dark and evil. Nope, not “just” a tragedy. It was evil.

Where were you?

Remembering,

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life is funny*

waffleTwo years ago, on a rare sunny and warm summer day in Brussels, my best friend (who had flown across two oceans to be with me in my valley) and I sat on my back deck and marveled at how weird life can be. She was there because my husband had moved out after asking for a divorce. This was after painful months of learning of his infidelities and trying to save our marriage. I wasn’t eating or sleeping and was trapped in Belgium as I waited for the military to move me back to the US. She brought blue skies and laughter with her, and sitting out in the sunshine was balm to my body, soul, and mind. And even more strange, we were using her iPad to watch her husband appear in episodes of a French reality show.

Life is funny, y’all.

We could have never dreamed up that scenario. As we reflected on it, we wondered where we’d be the next summer.

Well, the next summer found me with a full life in Georgia, and meeting up with her in Portland, Oregon, as I joined up with CAbi.

And this summer, we caught up again, meeting in Denver for CAbi, and then in Georgia where she was seeing her son graduate from boot camp at Ft. Benning. We marveled that our annual check-in this time found us praying that her son could successfully toss a grenade and celebrating my upcoming marriage!

I can’t begin to guess what will be going on by next summer!

Surprised,

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*sometimes it’s haha funny and sometimes it’s strange funny. and sometimes it’s a combination of the two.

family reunion

Last Saturday, we drove over from Lookout Mountain to Guntersville, Alabama, for a family reunion/birthday party on the lake. Again, the weather was absolutely perfect, and the setting was gorgeous. We celebrated my aunt’s birthday and hung out with my mom’s side of the family. I saw cousins I hadn’t seen in years and met their wives and children.

It was a day of good things:

  • delicious food just kept on coming. And my mom and aunts made the seven-layer salad I remember my grandmother making. I didn’t appreciate it years ago, but now I’m hooked on it and made one here at home this week.
  • sunshine, a nice breeze, and a spot in the shade
  • a boat ride
  • seeing my son and daughter hang out together
  • time in a hammock with my daughter
  • I played horseshoes for the first time ever, and I’m really bad at it.
  • visiting with my aunts and mom
  • my dad wore a goofy hat all day, and we laughed every time we saw it
  • holding babies
  • enjoying the little ones but not being responsible for them 😉
  • chocolate birthday cake with lots of candles
  • laughing ourselves silly on the way home

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