Monday, August 29, 2011

Comeback Choices

Do you need a comeback?  I do, and I love a comeback story!  For me, life waas trucking along fairly predictably, much the way I dreamed and imagined when I was blindsided by demise of our marriage.  The setback was deep and I feel like for more than three years I've sort of been waiting for a new vision of my life.  I have no idea how it will turn out, but I'm ready to stage my own comeback, stepping out and taking a risk in order to move forward - really just to at least MOVE.  I don't want to feel stuck forever!

So, here's where I feel stuck:
  1. Motherhood
  2. Finances
  3. Career
  4. Relationships
Okay, pretty much every area seems to need a bit of overhaul and the truth is, I'm a bit stumped as to how to move forward.  I'm going to hash out each of these areas in journal-like fashion here this week and I'm really hoping for feedback.  I feel like I need a mentor or coach of sorts to help me along.  I don't want my journey to stall and feel like I am in a place where I have the emotional space to tackle these issues.

Also, to any fellow bloggers - where do you get the great conceptual images?  So far, I just use most of my own photography because I don't know all the rules of usage. 

What's everyone up to this bright Monday?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Overshare Much?



Our culture offers so many opportunities to talk - about how we feel, what we're doing, who did what to whom and how I feel about that.  We can add little faces and emoticons to further describe our thoughts.  Oh it's so validating when others respond, "like" or comment!

  •  

  • When dealing with separation, divorce and co-parenting I was tempted to share 'out there' in order to somehow justify my feelings and seek support for my viewpoint.  I'm so glad I kept a low profile, it would have been so easy to let it all out there!  As it was I regret that so many knew so much - that was even with trying to be discreet.

    Bad-mouthing your ex can feel pretty good when you are angry and in pain.  Still, it isn't often helpful or productive and this is the time to enact some healthy boundaries for yourself. 

    Do Not:
    • Post on Facebook about specific frustrations - what goes around comes around and it will surely not help the relationship you still have with your ex.
    • Unload repeatedly on the same [perhaps mutual] friends - they will think you are bitter and negative if the topic is complaining every time you get together.
    • Consider every interaction and child exchange to be the time to bring up grievances.  It can wait until you can talk alone or email about specifics.  Let go of the feeling that each time you see your former you are reliving the betrayal and rejection.  That is in the past, live in the present.
    Do:
    • Find a few safe, trusted people with whom you can vent and rant.  Then move on to better and more uplifting topics.
    • Keep it light on the internet and remember the permanence of your words.
    • Protect your children from feeling of mistrust because you do not feel the same way they do about their parent.  It is their right to idealize mom and dad and to point out faults will create distance between you and them.  Let your ex define his or her own relationship with the children...they will know the truth in time.
    • Prepare a few key phrases for when acquaintances ask how things are going, "We are well and learning to work with our new family time."  "There are challenges and working on them."  "Some days are tough, but most days are busy, fun and full - like all families." 
    I whole-heartedly endorse journaling, for letting out those thoughts that even I feel are a bit scandalous!  Sharing with trusted people helps so much, as does sharing with those who have traveled this path.  I think a support group would be beneficial.  If you really feel that you are having deep, lasting resentment, it may be time to visit a therapist or minister.  You need to get these feelings out, then you can fill the space with dreams of your future and positive plans for a better season.

    I can think of several times I've really just wanted to shout out my pain, and explain to everyone the intricacies of why our marriage failed.  I had a need to feel justified and wanted validation from others.  A key part of my recovery has been to acknowledge that I know the truth, I don't need others to pat me on the back and agree.  I know I have acted in line with my values and I don't owe others an explanation.  Sometimes I know there are people who judge me or don't understand and I'm okay with that now.  I've never regretted holding back, but there are things that I wish I didn't share.

    What is your experience with sharing?  Needing validation?  Facebook?  Talk around town?

    Sunday, August 21, 2011

    Life Happens & Updates

    Our life became very busy this month with the return to school schedules and a new childcare situation.  I no longer have the lunxury of a nanny/babysitter coming to our home, so it has been an adjustment for me to have all three children up, dressed and out the door by 7:15 am.  Our school began the first week of August, but one of my little ones has tears each morning, which breaks this mama's heart.  Any ideas?  Baby Boy seems to love going to the new sitter's house and is enjoying his new buddy of the same age.  Thank you, Lord, for that option right now.

    Update on the Marital Home: I submitted all paperwork for refinance around the time of our vacation.  Everything seemed on target to close at the end of this month until the underwriter raised a red flad.  According to him, I needed an ammendment to our divorce decree.  The quitclaim deed or a personal contract with my former spouse was not enough to permit refi rather than selling the home, nor was it enough that he was willing to come to closing and sign the switch.  It is frustrating, but I had decided up front not to 'push' this through to make it happen.  So, I told former H that he would have to take care of it if he wanted and then I would continue to pursue refinance.  If he chose not to, we would have to list the house.   I guess I'm still in limbo until something happens.  Meanwhile, I'm trying to lock on these low, low rates.

    Last week was an especially busy one for us, so I committed to getting in bed early, managing the household chores and keeping things smooth and calm for the children.  We all did well and I'm hoping this week goes even better.  Activities are firing up so our calendar is full.  How is everyone else doing?

    Friday, August 12, 2011

    Good Things

    Psalm 84:11
    For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor;
    no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

    Oprah has her "Favorite Things" and so do I, but God has good things.  The two are not always synonymous...A large Sonic Coke with vanilla is one of my favorite things, but it isn't always good for me.  Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference.

    I know how it feels to think perhaps God has abandoned me - He certainly didn't heal or fix my marriage, the story of life that I authored didn't pan out and I know what it feels like to be angry about that. Still, I know He is God and I am not, He doesn't owe me an explanation of why He didn't work things out the way I wanted.

    It has helped me to know this: God does not withhold good from those who seek to do right or from the innocent. Everything I have learned for my entire life conditioned me to believe that my children were better off with an intact family - even if that family was very broken and dysfunctional. I no longer believe that. God is great enough to fill in the gaps where their father and I have failed and let them turn out in their personal best if they yield to Him. They are innocent of the mess and God will act on their behalf to shield, strengthen and empower them (AND ME!). When I am discouraged, when things don't go the way I want, I am choosing to believe that Go knew what I wanted wasn't good. He will not with hold good. So whatever He does give, is better and good.  Again, I don't always feel this way, but I choose to believe and live in this promise.

    Maybe this will help you, maybe it will make the present more bearable. Keep reaching out and remember things will not always be the way they are today. You will not always feel this way and circumstances will change.  Are there any good things in your life today that you would not have labeled that way before?

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    Cool Aunt Missy


    I am incredibly blessed to have three amazing nieces who are beginning school next week.  I was an aunt before I was a mother and it has always been my goal to be "Cool Aunt Missy."  I've lived up to that in varying degrees of reality, but still make the effort.  

    This year, Dayspring offered to let me review their Back to School line.  It is very cute and quite modern while still offering all the function needed by students.  My only daughter is just in kindergarten and so I'm sending the binders and folders to my dear nieces, since they were not on our supply list.  I hope that I earn more 'cool' points for this one!

    Please note, Dayspring has a 25% off sale happening right now.  They have so many charming items that I have to be cautious about overspending.  There is so much that I would love to have. 
    "I Know Where Love Comes From" line of school related products.
    
    Are you done with your back to school shopping?  Do you try to encourage your student throughout the days and remind them of their spiritual heritage?  Do share!  There are great options for boys, too.

    Note: I was not compensated but was given these products for review by Dayspring.  The opinions are fully my own and I really do love the products!

    Saturday, August 6, 2011

    Don't MissThis

    Thoughts on Recovering From Divorce - @ (in)Courage

    My own Guest Post about our Swingset @ Money Saving Mom

    Single Parent Homes from my blog-friend, April @ It's All About Balance

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    Grown-up Role Models

    True Story: I usually park and walk my child up to school- mostly because we're often running on the late side and I don't want to risk the drop off line being too long. Also, I enjoy the last minute hug and sendoff rather than the car drop. One of the teachers commented, "You always look like June Cleaver...." I literally laughed out loud and though, "Things sure look different than they seem."
    I had a quite idyllic childhood, and other than a few moves, there were no great tragedies in my young life. I married my college sweetheart and imagined that life would have some ups and downs, but completely thought I had the next fifty years pretty well planned out. I was completely blindsided and unprepared for the losses and betrayals that came my way.
    So now I enter the second act of life. I'm still adjusting to being a single mother of three. I work hard each day but struggle to make ends meet. I love to be social, but have trouble finding time to be with friends. My mind is more free and creative than ever, but I lack the time and energy to put plans to my thoughts. I don't even know how to live in this imperfect way that I never planned. June Cleaver is so far from my reality that she wouldn't know where to turn in my topsy turvy world (though I'm certain she would rock a string of awesome pearls while trying).
    In my previous path, I had strong, clear role models- like the June Cleavers of previous generations. But in this new walk, I'm not sure where to look. So what is the new norm? Where do I fit into the scene of family, career, personal life? Who is our new June? And if I'm looking for a role model, who is looking at me?
    It's a brave new world out there and we get to define our own limits. I'm still learning that I don't have to have it all figured out and that letting go is full of gifts. Someday, maybe I'll be the new June- it is my middle name after all. So this week I'll really put on my apron, jump in with both feet and fully engage in the life I have; The one with little darlings that adore and depend on me. I'll primp and put on pumps for a day at the office and then change to work out clothes and enjoy a four mile walk. I'll call a friend and schedule a get together. I'll make the budget stretch further than I thought possible, but I'll be fully engaged, fully living and it will be fully mine. What are you going to do this week to make your life your own? What expectations have changed?

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Step Outside

    I live at the top of a hill and I often enjoy a breeze which is more noticeable than further down the block.  During the summer, I love to step outside after the children are in bed and take a deep breath.  When I am feeling down, discouraged or just tempted to feel sorry for myself, stepping out of the situation for perspective can give me the same sense of fresh air.

    The Lord knows my inner temperature gauge, knows when the thermostat is rising and I'm about to blow.  I've been amazed to witness how he supplies, rescues and provides for every need and so many wants.  That history helps me deal with whatever current instability I'm facing.  He knows where I am and where I need to be.

    Often the best thing for my self-centered ways is to step out of myself and into the path of others.  It's really not all about me.  Even meeting a friend and vowing not to talk about myself or my situation provides space to hear another's journey.  How do you step out of your circumstances and into the terrain of others?

    Monday, August 1, 2011

    Mothering in the Storm


    Just as I was finally settling in to watch the news before bed, I heard thunder rumble.  It wasn't the distant thunder type, it was the "Get ready," type and was quickly followed by more ominous booms.  It was less than a minute when the first set of pitter-pats reached my room, and two more quickly followed.  When thunderstorms arrive all three little ones join me in my bed and we hunker down.  Sometimes we all sleep, more often we light candles, make shadows, tickle and giggle our way through the storm.  Even with the recent and horrible storms we've had, they always do pass.  It's natural for mothers to comfort their little ones, to keep them close and safe when storms enter our life and theirs.

     
    The last few years have been stormy in our family life, but the last year was the most acute.  Here are some ways I think I've handled the division of our family well and poorly...