Moving on After Divorce: Stay True to Yourself

I actually found the journal entry below from the year I got divorced, which was five years ago. So, I thought I’d share it. This where I was then in the divorce journey. It’s definitely been a road, but I can say that I have tried really hard to always stay true to myself. And, since then I have seen that girl again. She smiles and laughs and even cries – if you are numb and go without crying for years – it is actually a blessing to finally let yourself cry again.


I’ve learned to stay true to yourself.

There are so many things, beliefs, thoughts, memories, experiences and education that together make us who we are. Coupled with the core of our personality, or how we’re wired, we can take ourselves in many different directions based on current and past circumstances in life, age and simply frame of mind. I’ve spent so much time the last several years just going through the motions, running on empty and trying to do it all that I lost part of me along the way. I think I even got to a point where I thought this is it, just survive.

In the last couple of months, I’ve had the people that are closest to me open my eyes. It also took a therapist telling me I’m broken. Yeah, kind of hurty. But true. I had stopped feeling much of anything because that seemed easiest. I knew I’d let pieces of me go along the way and I didn’t think I could ever get them back. But I’m questioning that now. I know I’ll never be the person I was before 2005. There was a line drawn in the sand – one of those life moments where you know nothing will ever be the same from that point forward. But…

I’ve been thinking a lot about who I really am, what makes me tick, what you can get me talking about for hours and what I feel kind of ‘meh’ about. I’m working on staying true to her and fighting for her. Every day. For me, this means that I’m not going to accept less than extraordinary – a quote I had hanging on my wall in college. For the dreamer that I am, I’m done with not letting myself dream and plan and have goals to meet and celebrations to be had when complete. I’m going to question more and allow myself to feel again. I’m going to write and write. I’m going to sing at the top of my lungs and dance to really bad cover bands. I’m going to speak up, debate and lead. I’m going to joke around, be sarcastic and laugh until my stomach hurts. I’m going to stay positive and count every blessing. I’m not going to stop learning. I’m going to believe. Again.

I’m not finished with me yet. I’m trying to stay true to this girl that needs to let the sun hit her face and show me things I haven’t seen in a while.

Texting and dating…10 tips to make it through

If I had to give any advice on this topic, it would simply be: don’t text and date. Kind of like don’t text and drive. Unfortunately, however, that is easier said than done. In today’s world of dating I don’t know how it can be avoided. But, you can control your mind and actions to make it much easier.

Being divorced in my 30s, I was pushed into a dating culture that is much different than the one I was used to in high school and college. Thank God there wasn’t texting or social media at that time. Dating was much more of an effort – like a good old fashioned phone call or – gasp – stopping by. Did you read that – guys had to actually call you or stop by! And you could hear his tone of voice and know if he was joking around or not – and you didn’t have to be an emoji dictionary and probably misinterpret or read too much into what he meant anyway.

Now – don’t get me wrong – waiting for that phone call or stop by wasn’t a picnic and what I would’ve done for additional stalking tools. We had to basically be certified FBI agents.  I do think, however, that less is more, especially in the beginning stages of a relationship. And that becomes much more difficult in today’s dating scene.

I have found that I really dislike texting. Like a lot. It does have its moments because it is convenient and quick, but it can drive a completely normal person to think he or she is just a little bit crazy. Especially if you are female. And even more especially if you are an over-thinker or over-analyzer to begin with. Insert grimace face emoji here.

The plain and simple truth is that texting and dating is bad news. Yet if you are dating today, you don’t really have much of a choice. Be prepared for the roller coaster of ups and downs…like all of those memes I see that say “He didn’t text back for six hours…we are so over. Never mind, I just got a kissy face emoji. We are back on.”

Since texting and dating can’t really be avoided, I have come up with ten tips to help you make it through, especially in the beginning:

  1. Don’t be glued to your phone. Like ever.  Wherever you are, be there 100%. You will forget about your phone after awhile. Be fully present in each moment.
  2. Be busy creating your own life. Discover your likes and dislikes, take up a new hobby, spend time with friends and family, help someone, meet someone new, do something that scares you, write, sing, read…whatever sets your soul on fire.
  3. Don’t allow texting to change who you are or your behavior. Don’t let what seems like a change in tone, emoji use, etc. change your tone or alter what you would say. Stay true to you. Don’t be insecure. Know how much you are worth, because it is a lot.
  4. Don’t read into anything. Let me say that again. DON’T READ INTO ANYTHING. Just don’t let yourself do it in any circumstance. If everything has been positive or there is no reason to suspect anything is wrong or has changed, just take a deep breath and let it go.
  5. Don’t check Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc. to see his or her activities. Just stop. They will probably be on there liking stuff, viewing other people’s stories…and not texting you. But it doesn’t mean anything more than the fact that it will happen. I promise.
  6. Don’t assume to know what they are thinking or how they meant something. You simply cannot read tone or body language in text. You can’t. So stop trying.
  7. Don’t over text, especially in the beginning. Keep it simple and intriguing.
  8. Just be funny and lighthearted – you can’t go wrong there.
  9. Every once in a while, call instead. It will be a surprise.
  10. If you’ve been drinking…play at your own risk. This is like a drunk dial in my day. You’ll probably regret it if you aren’t sure where you stand. So save it for when you do. Then it’ll be fun.

So, that’s it. That is how I’ve tried to survive texting and dating, even though I am still not a fan of it. At the end of the day, just keep it real. If you wonder something, ask, but ask in person. Nothing will ever replace communicating in person, so do that as much as possible.

Soul searching journey without leaving home

Even though I’ve been divorced for years now, I have found that I still have my own soul searching to do. It is easy to move on if you silently bury everything and fool yourself into thinking that you’ve done the work to find happiness with yourself again. However, that is only on the surface, and I have found that on the surface simply doesn’t last.

You can jump into the arms of someone else so quickly that you forget about yourself and what you really need in order to truly move forward. This is actually the best distraction, seems like the most logical solution and definitely makes everything easier, at least for a while.

What I have needed is to forgive myself. I have asked God for forgiveness, I have asked my ex-husband for forgiveness – and I know they both forgive me. I know God will never remember what has already been forgiven and forgotten. The real problem I have faced, however, is that I haven’t forgiven myself. I haven’t forgotten. I wasn’t going to be someone that was a divorce statistic. I was going to say vows ONE time. I wasn’t going to give up. And I have been so ashamed with myself that it has gotten in the way of truly being able to move on and allow myself happiness.

I am reminded by my teenage daughter all the time that I ruined her life because she was moved out of the home and neighborhood that she now fantasizes about, as well as when we have to run all over hell going from one house to another because she doesn’t have the right shoes, charger or outfit. This is getting less and less, but still the supreme reason for most outbursts in our house. I absolutely hate this. And I pray everyday that we really didn’t totally ruin our kids’ lives and that they really will be ok in life.

I won’t share what happened in my marriage or why we ended up where we did because it is a very complicated story and it’s not all mine to tell. But, I would’ve never ended up in this spot if after ten years it wasn’t the best solution for everyone involved. I stayed for so long thinking there was no other solution until I was confronted by those I love and trust most in my life. That doesn’t mean I still don’t feel guilty and wish things could’ve been different. Could’ve I been stronger? Could’ve I done more? Could’ve I overlooked more? Could’ve I sacrificed more? Those questions don’t haunt me everyday, but still creep up from time to time.

I am not in a relationship at the moment. It has really given me the time to start the healing process that I should’ve started years ago. I know that I need to do this soul searching so I can stop punishing myself. All the while I thought the fairy tale was the happy ending. And it still might be, but my first happy ending will be me, moving on, picking up the pieces and actually allowing myself to TRULY break down the walls around my heart and be happy with ME first. I need to feel God’s love and strength and know that He is all I need.

When I can forgive myself and heal my heart with God at every last turn, then it doesn’t matter what the ending is because I will have fulfilled my journey and my heart will finally be open to so many different possibilities that I can’t even imagine as I sit here and write this. I smile to myself because it makes me a little giddy. It’s not even about an intimate love – it’s about all the relationships I will be able to build because my insecurity, shame and pride will no longer be in the way.

My favorite movie over the last four years has been Eat, Pray, Love. I can watch it over and over and learn something new each and every time. While I would love to go on a soul searching journey around the world like Liz did, I simply cannot at this point in my life as I run my kids around and want to soak in every moment of their school, activities and just spending time with them. Instead, I am embarking on a soul searching journey right from my own home.

There are a few other movies that I’ve watched that have inspired me besides Eat, Pray, Love – Runaway Bride, Hope Floats, Sliding Doors, to name a few – all very romcom and not Oscar contenders by any means, but honestly each has given me a lesson about soul searching, not just love, that I’ve needed. Yes, I AM a hopeless romantic. I know myself well enough to know that there will never be a point in my life when I am not. That is just how I am wired and is something I have come to terms with. However, these movies have helped me see beyond the fairy tale. Here are a few things I’ve learned on my journey so far:

  • Yet what keeps me from dissolving right now into a complete fairy tale shimmer is the solid truth, a truth which has veritably built my bones over the last few years – I was not rescued by a prince; I was the administrator of my own rescue. – Eat, Pray, Love
  • Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. – Eat, Pray, Love
  • You need to learn how to control your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. – Eat, Pray, Love
  • Beginnings are scary and endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will, too. – Hope Floats
  • In desperate love, we always invent the characters of our partners, demanding they be what we need of them, and then feeling devastated when they refuse to perform the role we created in the first place. – Eat, Pray, Love
  • There’s a crack (or cracks) in everyone…that’s how the light of God gets in. – Eat, Pray, Love
  • I need to know how I like my own eggs first. – Runaway Bride
  • And maybe the happy ending doesn’t include a guy, maybe it’s you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over, freeing yourself up for something better in the future, maybe the happy ending is just moving on. – Hope Floats
  • First, get your ducks in a row – V. Then you can fly in a W – Runaway Bride
  • No matter what decisions we make, we will end up where we are meant to be. – Sliding Doors
  • If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments – for me this needs to be Diet Coke!!) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all – to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself…then truth will not be withheld from you. – Eat, Pray, Love
  • Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road that leads to transformation. – Eat, Pray, Love

I am not just watching movies on this journey, although that would be more fun. The principles from the movies have helped me with the other parts of my journey, however. I am also writing in my journal again, praying, meditating, reading devotionals (Joyce Meyer is my favorite), reading the Bible and fasting. I’ve also been trying to do things that push me out of my comfort zone.

I have a long way to go. I still haven’t fully forgiven myself or let go of the shame. But I’m working on it every single day. I’m going to do this even if it hurts and even if it is difficult because I know that it is worth it. It it worth it for my two wonderful children, the rest of my family and myself. It is a path to happiness and joy that I can only get through my relationship with God. And that I can share endlessly with others in every role that I play in life – mother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend, co-worker, stranger, etc. And that one day, when I’m not looking or chasing or trying to figure it all out and control every last detail, I can share with someone – and to quote my favorite movie – that isn’t a man – but is my champion.

Teenage parenting advice

A Letter to My Daughter on Her 13th Birthday

IMG_2434Dear Kaylee,

I am writing you this letter to give you on your thirteenth birthday, which is tomorrow. I still sit here in awe knowing that tomorrow you are going to be a teenager. I don’t know how the time went by so quickly and how my little baby, toddler, preschooler, elementary student…became this beautiful, smart, funny, caring and feisty, almost lady. You have blossomed right in front of my eyes over the last year and will only continue to do so as you grow into yourself over the next several years.

Whether it seems relevant to you or not, I know what you are going through. As you’ve reminded me, I do know times were different back in 1993. In fact, I came up with thirteen differences from my life at thirteen:

  1. We still had land lines and long distance bills (that I frequently got in trouble over for calling boys from out of town)…oh and no caller ID or call waiting (do you know what a busy signal is?) but you could look up someone’s phone number in the phone book (do you know what that is?) and you had the last four digits of every single one of your friend’s phone number memorized
  2. Cell phones were called “car phones” and only parents could use them because we were charged by the minute…and there were no games, videos or apps on them
  3. The Internet was just making its way to Iowa and if your family had AOL, you were the bomb, but only one person could be on it at a time
  4. We watched movies on a VCR and we had to wait like six months for a movie to come out on tape
  5. Instead of play lists, we made mixed tapes that you had to manually rewind or fast forward to find your favorite song
  6. We had to actually watch the commercials during our favorite shows
  7. The selfie hadn’t been invented yet and we couldn’t see ourselves in photos until the film was developed
  8. We couldn’t document our every move on snap chat or even text our friends…we actually had to call them…or knock on their door!
  9. We could still walk around town at night on our own
  10. We had to read Teen Bop or Teen Beat to keep up on our favorite celebrities
  11. We had to buy the latest fashions AT THE STORE, and beauty stores like Ulta and Sephora didn’t exist so we had to fill our caboodles with Wet n’ Wild make-up and lip smackers
  12. We had to stalk our crush with random walk-bys past his actual house or calling and hanging up, and we had no idea if he was home or what his family ate for dinner
  13. We had to pass notes in school to find out if someone liked us. Note folding was a talent

So, maybe things have changed just a little bit now that you are a teenager. However, I am now older and wiser and  there are many things that have not changed…so here are thirteen facts that are still true today that I want you to know:

  1. What seems like the biggest deal right now won’t matter in six months or a year, and definitely not later in life
  2. You have no idea what people are actually going through – no one’s life is perfect and no single person is perfect, even if it seems like it
  3. You don’t want to peak now…or anytime soon
  4. You can never go wrong by being nice. A simple smile, hi, or asking how someone is could change their day, week, year or life
  5. People that are mean or put other people down, are actually the most insecure and need the most love. Forgive and give grace always
  6. It’s not all about you…ever. Open your eyes to what actually matters and how you can make a difference. The world does not owe you ANYTHING
  7. Be comfortable in your own skin – you are unique, you are beautiful and you have so much to offer the world – so just be YOU! If others don’t like it, that’s their problem, not yours
  8. You would stop worrying so much about what other people think of you if you realized how seldom they actually do – everyone is inherently self-centered so they are thinking of themselves too, not you
  9. Everything is ok in moderation – learn healthy habits now or it will catch up to you when your metabolism slows down – move your  body in ways that are fun to you, control yourself and don’t overindulge in anything in life, except your faith and service to others
  10. If you have a dream or want something to happen, do your part. Hard work ALWAYS pays off and most of the time in ways we can’t even imagine up front
  11. Solve your own problems now, while the stakes are low, and when the real problems of the world come your way, you’ll be ready. It is ok to make mistakes, but learn from each and every one so you don’t make the same mistake twice
  12. Whatever situation you are in – good or bad – it will change. Time is the ultimate healer. Be patient and give time its proper time. Even change you know is good change will be a transition, so those changes also need time
  13. You have the strength to get through anything, as long as you lean on God and not yourself

I probably needed to write this list as much as I want you to read it. Enjoy. Smile. Be happy. No one can make you happy but YOU. Enjoy these years. Enjoy getting your summers off, hanging out with your friends, spending your parents’ money and sleeping in. Enjoy being you. Enjoy the sunshine and the swimming pool and soak in the smells of every season. You will miss it. You will regret taking it all for granted because you didn’t know there was anything else beyond it. You will miss sleep when you have babies, but they will change your life in so many more wonderful ways…like you changed mine…thirteen years ago. THANK YOU.

I love you and couldn’t be prouder of you. I will never miraculously accept bad behavior, attitude or disrespect, however, I will always be here to guide you, push you and challenge you. You definitely won’t always like me, but one day you will thank me. One day you will understand. And it is ok if you don’t understand today – you’re not supposed to.

Happy birthday sweet girl, YOU ARE LOVED. God is smiling down on you today and always – don’t you ever, ever forget that.

Love,

Your MOM

Aside

Quotes to inspire your day

1.Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. – Helen Keller
2.Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out. – John Wooden
3.To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart. – Thomas Watson, Sr.
4.There are no traffic jams along the extra mile. – Roger Staubach
5.If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself. – Henry Ford
6.Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong attitude. – Thomas Jefferson
7.Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. – Steve Jobs
8.There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept responsibility for changing them. – Denis Waitley
9.It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. – Charles Darwin
10.When you change your thoughts, you change your world. – Will Rogers

What is your favorite inspiring quote?

10 Movies from the 80s You Might’ve Forgotten About

Do you remember THESE AMAZING 80s movies? My sister and I were reminiscing the other day about movies from our childhood – yes – we are children of the 80s baby! The movies on this list might’ve not been the most popular, but they are the ones we remember with a smile.

  1. White Water Summer (1987)
  2. The Legend of Billie Jean (1985)
  3. American Anthem (1986)
  4. Moving Violations (1985)
  5. The Pirate Movie (1982)
  6. Babes in Toyland…the one with Drew Barrymore (1986)
  7. Oh God! Book II (1980)
  8. Lucas (1986)
  9. Heathers (1988)
  10. Shag The Movie (1989)

What would you add to this list? I’d love to hear!