Thursday, December 19, 2013

How far I've come.....

It's amazing for me to think about how far I've come. My life is so wonderful right now. The Lord has blessed me beyond measure, and I don't deserve it. I went through times that I haunted me every single day, and now I can barely remember them. The thoughts of those times are a distant memory. It is such a blessing that the old saying is true... time actually does heal all wounds.

I didn't realize until last night how far I've come from where I was. A friend talked to me to tell me she was heading for a divorce because her husband was cheating on her. First of all, my heart goes out to her, and she is in my prayers. But my initial reaction to her news surprised me. You would think my 'been there, done that' side would've come out and I would totally relate to everything she said, but that's not what happened...

...When she first told me the news, I wanted to stick my fingers in my ears and say "la la la la la la la la la....." I didn't want to hear it. I couldn't stand more bad news. I've hit a point where I cringe at tragedy. I don't want to feel the pains of the world anymore. It's unbearable.

But if that wasn't surprising enough, my second thought surprised me even more!!!..... My second thought was "I'm so glad I'm with a man that will never do that to me."

WHAT????

Yep.... I was back to the mindset of thinking: "That's something that happens to other people, not me."

It's almost as if I had completely forgotten about the fact that two years ago I was her.

I've been in her shoes, and I can't even relate to it anymore.

The pain is gone. The residual effects are washed away. I'm a happy, joyful person that is in love, and it makes everything else fade away.

Like it never even happened.

Wow.

My heart is healed, and so full of love.

The Lord is so good to me! I don't deserve it, but I'm so thankful for it.

Please do me a favor tonight.... If you are in a marriage with a God-fearing spouse, thank the Lord for them. Then please say a prayer for my friend, as will I.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Changes

Change used to be a very hard thing for me, but that was back when everything stayed the same all the time.

These days, if my life isn't changing in one way or another I get uncomfortable. I've learned that if you are in a bad situation, you do whatever it takes to get out of it. If you're not serving the Lord the way you should, then something needs to change. What I used to think were bad changes in my life have grown to be blessings. All the negatives have turned into positives.

When things finally slowed down enough for me to catch my breath, I prayed for wonderful changes I hoped would happen in my life. That's right. I was ready for more changes. Good changes. Positive changes. I didn't want to be alone forever. So I prayed.

Now my prayers are to thank God for the wonderful changes that are happening in my life. I am also praying for wisdom and guidance during these changes. There are happy times coming, I feel like. But in order for me to get to those happy times, a lot is going to have to change first. Changes for me, and changes for my boys. I'm ready for the changes, but I don't think my boys are. So I pray more. I pray for them to adjust to the changes that are coming. I pray for the Lord to bless them with an excitement for the things to come. I pray that in time it will all be well. I know that the most important thing for them right now is time. They need lots of time to adjust.... one little baby step at a time.

Once again, I'm fighting my impatience. However, knowing that being patient is what's best for my boys will help me keep the breaks on longer. After seeing the effects of all the changes they've had to go through in the past two years, it will be easy for me to hold off on any major changes. Their little worlds were ripped apart, and uprooted so much they didn't know weather to laugh, cry or scream... and unfortunately it was usually the crying and screaming. My oldest acted out in school, and my youngest developed a separation anxiety. I believe they are both better now, at least better than last year, but I'm scared to push more changes on them so fast that it makes them revert.

The blessing of it all, is the confidence I have the changes that are coming. My normal self would worry and fret that things will fall through, but I have a peace from the Lord that all will be well. I've trusted the Lord so much, and I know he's leading me still. I have faith, and I have patience. I just need to sit back, enjoy where I am right now, look forward to my future, and pray for the changes that I feel are coming.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dealing

It seems every month, week, or even day I learn something new about myself that I have to deal with. Another repercussion that I didn't even know I had.

When you've been cheated on, it changes you dramatically. I managed to make it through my whole high school and college dating life having only dated boys that were true to me - of course this is just to the best of my knowledge. So I was able to go into my marriage completely trusting and confident that my 'happily ever after' was going to happen. I had no reason to think otherwise.

But in 2010 my life changed. My cookie cutter world was flipped upside down. Within a two month period my house burned and my husband started an affair that would lead to our divorce. My faith in God grew, and my trust in the world took a plunge.

You would think that the only repercussion from all that would be trust, but it's not. Being cheated on is a blow to your entire mental state. The effect it's had on me is complicated, and I'm finding hidden layers of issues that I didn't know were even there. Thankfully, my trust is returning. The hit to my self esteem is getting better. But I've found a new layer. I'm realizing the mindset you have while being suspicious of an affair will change the way your mind responds to certain things. When I hear of a friend's husband going out of town - for any reason - my first thought is automatically "he's having an affair". When I hear of a husband being insensitive to his wife, I think it's because his affections lie with his mistress. When I notice any out of the ordinary behavior, I automatically think the absolute worst possible thing.... and I hate it so much. I hate thinking the worst. I want to scream and pull my hair out every time this happens.

I never used to be like this. I've always been optimistic, and even naïve to an extent. Some people think it's a bad thing to be naïve, but I have to disagree. When the opposite of naïve is jumping to conclusions that aren't even there, I'll take naïve any old day. I'd rather live in a state of blissful trust - and pray that everything is ok - than to constantly be looking over my shoulder, and questioning every motive. I just want to be back in my sheltered, naïve world where I don't know just how bad the world can really be. I want to trust with my whole heart, and not over-think every action till it becomes a motive for evil in my mind.

I realized soon after the divorce that if I were to ever re-marry it would have to be to someone that has been through what I've been through. Someone who has known the pain of an affair. If I were to marry someone who has never been cheated on, they would never understand the emotions that come with it. The perfect person for me would know what I've been through, and know how to calm my fears, ease my anxieties, and not get mad at me for questioning things.

And the best part is that the Lord knew who I would need long before I did.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thankful


Jaxon, my oldest son, came home from school today and pulled some papers out of his backpack. He looked for one in particular to show me. It was a list of everything he's thankful for. I started to read it expecting to see his usual list of family, pets, sports, etc. But I was pleasantly surprised to see what had made the list. In fact... it made the top of the list.

In case it's hard to read, here is what it says:


There are many things I am thankful for. Here are a few:
-My church
-My freedom
-My food
-My school
-My friends
But I am most thankful for my family. I am most thankful for my family because they take care of me and provide me what I need and they take me to church on Sunday.



I love this boy. So very much.


If I had to make a list of everything I'm thankful for this year, this would make the top of the list. Hands down.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Smitten

If you don't hear from me for a while, don't worry, everything's ok. In fact, everything is wonderful. No complaints to get out, no fears to fret over, and no issues to be hashed out.

The world, as I know it, just got a little more beautiful.

Maybe one day I'll tell you all about it, but until then...



...just know that I am totally smitten.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

There's no such thing...

Over the past couple of years I've had to put up with all sorts conversations with my ex-husband. Most of which I would never tell another human being. But there was this one conversation that will stick with me forever. It was short and sweet and went something like this:

Him - "I think you are taking the boys to church too much."

Me - (laugh) "If that's the worst thing I do to my kids, I think I can live with that."

End of conversation.

That moment I realized how much he had changed from when we married. He was a total stranger to me. Someone that I didn't care about anymore, and that I no longer cared what he thought of me. I was completely disconnected from him at that point.

I was not only disappointed in him, but I was also relieved to be rid of him. I was so thankful for where my life was going compared to where it was.

How can you make a statement like that?

I'm sorry, but too much church? Really? There's just no such thing.

I always think of that conversation when the weekend of a church meeting is approaching. I actually think it makes me want to take them to church more.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Trust

This is a very sensitive subject for me. I'm almost afraid of it. I try to avoid the subject if at all possible because it bothers me so much.

In my marriage a trust was broken. Our marriage was never the same after that. Every time I felt suspicious about something I would be flooded with the heat of blood rushing all through my body. My ears and face would feel as hot as fire. My stomach would tie itself into knots and I would feel the need to throw up. It's a feeling I had too many times to count during the last two years of my marriage. It's a feeling I never want to have ever again.

So how do I trust again? My trust was only broken with that one person. How do I leave my trust issues with him and not take them into my next relationship or marriage? My next husband will have done nothing to break a trust with me, so why should I be paranoid if he is late getting home, or if he forgets to call?

What if I let these fears ruin my future?

You see why this subject scares me.

I've been ignoring these feelings for a long time hoping they would fade with the anger and pain, but what if they haven't?


Sometimes I don't even realize what I need to pray for until I write about what I'm afraid of.

Looks like I've got some praying to do.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lunch break

Having the Bible on your phone is just about the coolest thing ever. It helps to know I can have access to it at any point during the day. I pulled it out at lunch to do a little reading and stumbled on this. I've heard it before, but never knew where to find it. This is where I am right now. ....


...I'm asking, I'm seeking, I'm knocking.

I feel like I'm light years behind everyone else when it comes to my knowledge of the Bible... but I'm working on it a little bit at a time. The good news is that I've got the rest of my life to catch up. I'm just glad I started now instead of waiting. I'm looking forward to church tonight, and all throughout this weekend.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Blessings in disguise

I wish there were more opportunities in this life to tell the stories of times we've been blessed by God, or how something that seemed like a trial turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Of course I think the past few years have been a blessing for me. Even though, at the time, I couldn't see it. All I could see was my life falling apart... I hadn't thought about how it would be put back together.

Whenever I think of times like that, my mind always goes back to 2004. I had something happen that has no explanation other than God was watching over me.

That year my husband and I lived in Stillwater, OK. I was working as an artist in a local screen print shop, and he was in his junior year of Vet School at OSU. That June he started a preceptorship at a Veterinary clinic in the Fort Smith area - one that he would later go on to work for after graduation.

One Sunday evening I was headed back to Stillwater after going to visit him for the weekend. On the turnpike headed to Tulsa I had a blowout, in fact my passenger rear tire had completely disintegrated. Nothing left but strings of rubber. I'd never seen anything like it. I was thankful not to be going up to speed when it happened. I managed to limp my little Nissan Sentra to the next exit to get to a safe area to figure out what to do, and in the process of making calls a car pulled over to see if they could help me.

A man and woman got out of the car. They looked to be about the same age as my parents. I got to talking to them, and they said they saw me standing on the side of the road looking at my tire, and they could see that I was scared and alone. This couple just happened to be on their way to the cemetery to put flowers on their daughter's grave. They said she would've been about my age. They saw me, and felt a strong desire to help me. They knew I would have parents out there, just like them, who would be worried about me. I believe whatever happened to their daughter gave them the conviction to help me. I also believe they were my angels.

But the story doesn't end there...

The man helped me change my tire, and made sure I was ok to get back on the highway. I was getting kind of emotional at that point, and cried for a ways after leaving them. I'm not sure why the whole situation was making me that way. I guess I just felt 'watched over'. I had calmed down as I came into the south side of Tulsa, and I noticed flashing lights in the distance. There were emergency vehicles everywhere, and policemen detouring everyone off of the main highway to a secondary road. I pulled over to a grocery store to get directions back to the highway I needed and asked if they knew what had happened. Apparently there had been a horrible six car accident about a half hour or so earlier.

I got back in my car and completely lost it. I knew that if I hadn't gotten the flat tire, that would've put me in Tulsa about the same time as the accident.

Wow.

What is there to do in a moment like that besides pray and thank God for protection?

I prayed till I got my composure, and finally made my way back to Stillwater safely. I will never forget that night, in fact I remember everything about that evening with complete clarity. It is permanently etched in my mind.

The next time something happens that you think is a nuisance... just think about what it might be keeping you safe from. You never know when those little nuisances are actually blessings... and we don't even realize it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

They say confession is good for the soul.....

Hi, my name is Leslye and I'm a PK.

Other PK's know what a PK is, and even some that aren't know what it is.

A PK is a 'Preacher's Kid'.

In fact, I'm not only a PK, but I am a PGD (Preacher's Granddaughter), as well as a PN (Preacher's niece... two times over for that matter). Yes, Christmas' growing up were all about the preachers getting together to talk smack... or just discuss the scriptures, whichever they chose at the time.

You would think, given my background, that I would be well read when it comes to the Bible. Welllll.... truth be told, I'm not. In fact, my confession is that I didn't really start reading my bible till January 2013. Yep, that's right, this year. No, I am not proud of this.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I've been familiar with the bible since I was little. I grew up with little copies that stayed on my dresser with print so tiny you needed a magnifying glass to read it. The one I'm using now I received in 2002 for Christmas from my parents. It has my name on it, and is inscribed to me in my Dad's handwriting. Even though, at the time, I wasn't real excited to get it. As far as Christmas presents go it was kind of at the bottom of the 'exciting' list for a 25 year old. But I knew I would be glad to have it one day.

Over the years I would pick it up and flip through it, or glance at different books, chapters and verses, but really it was just hieroglyphics to me. Then my marriage started to crumble. I found myself trying more and more to find some peace and comfort in the pages of it. I would look up verses that dealt with prayer, dealing with tribulation, and such. It was helping, so I started taking it to church to read along with the ministers.

After I moved into my new house I felt fresh and revived, like I had finally gotten away from the last part of my former life. Once we were settled I started having this gnawing feeling that I should be reading my bible everyday. So, in January I changed the time my alarm clock to one hour earlier and it hasn't changed since. I get up, make my coffee.... drink about a fourth of it.... and then I begin my quiet time with God. I pray and read about 2-3 pages until my eyelids start to get heavy and the shower starts calling my name... or until a sleepy boy wakes up and breaks my concentration.

I started in James, and read it all the way through. Since then I've skipped around back and forth from the old testament to the new. I'll read a book till I'm done and then I see where my fingers open up to. Sometimes I know which one I want to read next and sometimes I don't, or sometimes I just pick a really short book just so I can cross it off. That's my list oriented side coming out. But either way I know wherever I read I can't lose. It will all get read, it's just a matter of time.


As you can see I've got a good start going. I keep putting off the longer books in the old testament, but I will get there eventually... and I'm probably going to save Revelations till last. To be honest, from what I've heard it's confusing. I think I need as much under my belt as I can before I dive into it.

Right now I'm in Luke, and this morning I read past my normal time... I had to rush to get the boys around because I just couldn't stop. I don't think the 'me' from ten years ago would even recognize the 'me' from today, and that's a good thing.

Sometimes....

Sometimes, in the late night hours, I think way too much.

Sometimes I wish I could turn off my head for a little while and not think.

Sometimes I wonder about the decisions that led me to where I am today.

Sometimes I wish I could go back and make different decisions.... but then I see my boys and change my mind.

Sometimes I wonder how to tell the difference between the Lord's will and my own.

Sometimes I go down the wrong path thinking it's the right one.

Sometimes I get my heart broken no matter how hard I try to guard it.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm meant to be alone, and raise the boys by myself.

Sometimes I'm ok with that, because I'm terrified of repeating my past.

Sometimes I wonder if the fear of making the same mistakes has made my standards so high no man will ever live up to them.

Sometimes I want to lower my standards.... but I won't.

Sometimes I feel like I'm constantly waiting for the rest of my life to start.

Sometimes I'm very hopeful about my future.

Sometimes I'm not.

Sometimes at night the silence in my house is deafening.

Sometimes the things I write on here are prayers....

...I always feel the prayers are heard, and the Lord comforts me in the late night hours.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm too open about my life, and should be more like Mary who kept things in her heart.

Sometimes I think if I did that I'd go crazy....

Sometimes all I have to do is think of this hymn and it hits the spot:

Mixtures of joy and sorrow I daily do pass through;
Sometimes I'm in the valley, And sinking down with woe;
Sometimes I am exalted, On eagle's wings I fly;
I rise above my troubles, And hope to reach the sky.




Tuesday, October 1, 2013

With God, all things are possible.


Mark 10:27.

When I think about my future, I sometimes get overwhelmed. The ideas of what I want for my future sometimes seem out of reach, or too many obstacles are hindering me from it. But when my worries seem to weigh me down, I just think of this verse and I'm fine. No matter what happens in my future, if it is the Lord's will, He will provide the necessary paths and doorways that will lead to it. I'm confident in that, and it puts my mind at ease. And if the paths are not there, then I can rest assured that it was not the path for me. I just pray to have the wisdom to know the difference.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Everything's changing

Why is it that the things that used to be so important to me no longer are?

I knew my life was changing.... but I didn't realize to what extent. I'm no longer the same person I was a few short years ago. My family, surroundings and priorities have all changed dramatically.

Before if I had a weekend to myself I would plan a trip to go see my girlfriends from college to relive the good old days. Now when I have that weekend to myself I drive to church meetings in far off places.

Before I would sleep till I absolutely had to get up in order to get the kids to school on time. Now I wake up more than an hour early so I can read my bible before the boys get up.

Before I was one person on Sunday mornings and someone completely different the rest of the week. Now I can't stand being that different person throughout the week, and am trying my hardest to not have that split personality.

I don't mean to say these things for recognition or a pat on the back.... Trust me, I'm just as surprised as the next guy. I'm just totally amazed at how God is working in my life. I mean, seriously... I just passed up turning on my Pandora to listen to a sermon on the internet. I would say I don't know who I am anymore, but that wouldn't be the truth. I actually feel more like myself than I ever have before in my life. I don't know what is to come, or what other changes I will go through, but I'm not worried. I know God is with me every step of the way, guiding me in the right direction. That's a comforting thought for someone who doesn't like change.





Friday, September 20, 2013

Self esteem

I'm trying to figure out what exactly self esteem is. Is it pride? Is it being conceded? Is it selfish to feel good about yourself? How do you be humble and still have self esteem? Does that combination even exist?

I was married to someone who did nothing but bring down my self esteem. I would constantly take hits or digs about things I wasn't good at or didn't do right. I often got yelled at. I was constantly reminded that I was lucky to be with him. Or he would feel the need to remind me I wasn't as smart as he was. I don't think it was technically verbal abuse... but it hurt nonetheless.

Sometime I wonder how I put up with it.

But then I realize how... It was because I vowed to.

These days I'm starting to feel better about myself, to an extent. But sometimes it's still hard for me to imagine what it is that I could offer someone.

When you hear the negative for so long it makes it hard to hear positive things about yourself. I have wonderful friends who are constantly reminding me of my good qualities. It's a blessing. I hope I can one day believe them. When I first started this journey of being divorced, all I wanted was to be married again. That was what I knew. That was how I wanted things to be again. I would even start to think that I could settle for someone that wasn't perfect just to get me back in my familiar territory.

Thankfully the Lord knows what I need more than I do. He knew I needed time to myself. He knew I needed to get my priorities straightened out.

The more I think about what I want out of marriage the more selfish I feel. Before I approached marriage as "what can I do for you, and how can I love you more." But I never got very much in return. I still want to approach marriage with that attitude, but I am craving that feeling in return. I want to be loved and doted over and made to feel like they are the lucky one to have me in their life. I want someone that knows every fault I have and that still loves me in spite of them - without holding them over my head. My marriage before was give, give, give. I need to have that returned to me. If I don't have that in return it's just not worth it to me.


These jumbled thoughts are in my prayers this evening.... Thankfully I have a God that can understand my prayers even when they are jumbled.



Sunday, September 8, 2013

...that warm fuzzy feeling...

This weekend was a church meeting that was held at my home church. People came from many different states to be with us. Some I hadn't seen in a long time, and some that I see every week.

I was blessed to be a part of this wonderful meeting. There was beautiful singing, wonderful preaching and fellowship from people near and far. But for me the thing that stuck out the most were the sweet words of encouragement from those that I love.

Words that will stick with me for days and years to come...

My situation has been very delicate, to say the least. I'm thankful to be at a point where I'm not only over the past, but my friends, family and acquaintances are over it as well. That's an important thing. Just because I'm over something doesn't mean I can go up to someone I barely know and make jokes about it. It doesn't work that way. I have to be respectful of the time frame it takes for a painful situation to blow over.

I'm thankful I have finally come to that point. I feel like the weirdness is over. I can finally be myself without feeling like I'm the elephant in the room that everyone must tip toe around. I feel like I'm back to being a part of everyone. I'm back to normal. It's such a wonderful feeling.

I still understand, though, that I'm different. I've been through something that most of the people in my church will (thankfully) never have to endure. So, even though I feel like I fit in, I know I'm not like everyone else.

I'm ok with that.

I'm ok with it because I can feel the love and acceptance from those I love. I can feel that I no longer have to be tip toed around. People feel comfortable approaching me to give me words of encouragement. People feel comfortable about coming up to me and telling me that they pray for me... or that they admire me. What wonderful words to hear from someone. I can't think of a greater honor in life than to have someone pray for me. It brings tears to my eyes to think of it. The thought of someone kneeling down at night to talk to God, and I'm on their heart. I'm one of the people they talk to God about. What a blessing it is to have so many wonderful people in my life.

I also had someone tell me today that they admire me.... What??? It doesn't feel right to be told that. It was wonderful to hear, but I'm just like everyone else. I don't feel worthy of admiration. If I'm doing anything that would make someone look at me that way, then they should give God the glory for it. I know I haven't done anything to feel worthy of admiration on my own. The only good that comes from me is what God leads me to do.

I'm so blessed. I'm so honored to be a part of the best church on earth. THE church, the only church that is true and of the Lord.

How was I picked to be the daughter of Primitive Baptists? Something that happened by chance has been the most amazing thing in my life.

I am so blessed, and I hope others in my church realize that they are too. Don't take church for granted. Drink it up, soak it up like a sponge. Make it the most important thing in your life. Don't just assume that it will always be there. Do your part to make sure that it will be.

What a wonderful weekend. I want to hold onto this feeling and never let it go.

My heart is very full tonight.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The first hurdle

I have many hurdles ahead of me when it comes to teaching the boys about God and faith. I know it's not going to be easy, especially if their Dad has anything to say about it. But, if I can keep him out of the issue then my job won't be as hard.

You see, sometime during our marriage he figured out, or decided, that he was an atheist. He stopped going to church with me, and turned his back on religion altogether. He mocked me when I would try to teach the boys about God, and he would get annoyed if I prayed before a meal or read bible stories to them.

So you see why this is going to be an uphill battle....

The first hurdle, to me, is belief. If I can just get the boys to believe that there is a God, I will achieve that first hurdle. Once that is established I can move onto teaching them about faith and following after Christ. The good part is, I think I'm just about there. I try to find at least one situation everyday that I can incorporate God into our conversations. The more tangible - or available - I can make Him, the more they will believe. I try to tell them when God doesn't like their behavior. We thank God when one of us was watched over in a certain situation, and ask Him to help when we have problems.

This may seem like pretty simple stuff for an 8 and 5 year old, but given our 'previous life' we are basically having to start from scratch.

Thankfully, I think they are starting to catch on.

Tonight at supper we were talking about a loved one who has passed away, and my oldest said to his brother "It's ok, we'll see him again when we die and go to Heaven." And the good part about siblings is, the younger follows the older in everything. I hope that is the case when it comes to believing in God.

I pray I'm over my first hurdle.

Now on to the next...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Alone in a crowd

I take back what I said about lonely nights being the worst. Instead I think nights like tonight are.

Nights that one of the boys have an event...

Nights that their Dad comes to the event, and brings his friend...

Nights where Moms, Dads and other family members come to watch their kids...

Nights that the boys will be going home with their Dad after the event.

...and I will go home by myself.

I watch as family after family clumps together in groups to cheer on their little ones. And then there's me. I end up sitting awkwardly a few spaces down from the boys' Dad so I can see my youngest son while his big brother is out on the field. It becomes very clear to me that I don't have anyone. Not even just a significant other type person, but anyone. I don't even have any family that lives close enough to come to events like this. I'm there - alone in a crowd - clinging to my youngest son. Hundreds of people in the stands, and I've never felt more alone.

After it's over, the larger clumps of families break off into smaller clumps to get in their cars to go to home. I say goodbye to my boys, and they go with their Dad. And I walk across the lonely parking lot to my car.

Nights like tonight are tough.

Choking back the tears kind of tough.

Monday, August 26, 2013

More good stuff



I've just about got this one set to memory. I love it.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Reading

Some people won't write in their bibles. I'm not one of those people. My memory is so terrible. I somehow have to keep track of the verses I want to remember. This system works for me. But sometimes I get a little highlighter-happy...


I guess the 3rd chapter in Colossians was exactly what I needed to read this morning. It's good stuff.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The battle of good vs. evil

I've been looking at this battle of good and evil a lot lately with myself. But, this time I'm looking at it in reference to my boys. Whether the boys know it or not, they are in the middle of a battlefield. I can see their little minds being pulled in two different directions and there are times they don't know which way to go.

Most days of each month the boys are with me. I'm trying very hard to have a positive influence over them. I take them to church as much as possible. We pray more. We have a bible verse and manner of the week that we try to work on here and there. They are getting better with pleases and thank yous, and a new one they've been working on lately is "yes, and no Ma'am". I've never required them to say this until just the past month and it's slowly starting to sink in. Slowly.

When they are with their Dad they have nothing expected of them. They do not have to speak respectfully, they are not around good, God-fearing people. They are subjected to foul language, selfish attitudes, and adult behaviors that make me cringe just thinking about it.

The two worlds they go back and forth between are on two totally separate ends of the spectrum.

I'm to the point where I've had them in church so many times I feel there are certain things they should be doing. Mostly holding their song books, starting to sing some, not laying down, etc. And they do these thing pretty well sometimes, and then sometimes it's like they are rebelling. Like they don't want anything to do with church at all. They fight me tooth and nail about it.

Perseverance - That is my mantra lately. I know I just have to keep at it, and do the best I can without pushing too hard.

The things that make it all worth it are the glimmers of hope that I see every once in a while. Like when I hear one of them humming or singing a church song. Or like the other night, both of my boys were having a 'scary' night where they were over-tired and everything was frightening them. My oldest asked me if I would pray with him for safety from the things that were scaring him. I kept my cool, but inside I was jumping for joy. What an encouragement to keep pressing on with everything I've been doing.

I look at the other kids in the church that are their ages and I watch the way they act. I try very hard not to compare my boys to them, or to get upset when mine won't act as well as they do. I just really have to keep things in perspective and compare them to how they were acting last year at this time.

My boys are exposed to things the other kids in the church don't have to deal with. I don't want to use this as an excuse to let them get away with acting ugly, but rather as a reminder for me to be patient with them, and to persevere in my guiding of them.

Lord, please continue to help me in this difficult process.

Lonely nights are the worst

I seldom have a really lonely night anymore. When I don't have the boys during the week I use those nights to catch up on everything that's been piling up. I would ideally like to use those nights as a time to relax and regroup before they come back the next day, but I'm usually so busy with everything that hasn't gotten done that I end up more exhausted than the nights I have them. I finally call it quits about eleven o'clock and fall into bed.

Saturdays are different, though. One Saturday each month they are with their Dad. He picks them up at noon, and I get them back on Sunday sometime. So I have the whole afternoon and night to myself. I always look forward to it, and try to plan projects to keep me busy. But I usually finish up everything in the afternoon, and my nights become very quiet. This is where Saturday night church services are handy. I get to be where I want to be, and with the people I want to be with, and I'm not sitting at home by myself.

I actually don't mind being by myself. I'm the introvert type, and my alone time is actually very important to me. So it's not like I'm bothered by being alone. There's just a really fine line between alone and lonely. I usually cross that line sometime around nine o'clock. Every other hour of the day I'm happy to be where I am, and confident that I'm doing the best I can raising two boys by myself. But then night comes and I wonder if I'm meant to be alone forever.

I scroll through pin after pin on Pinterest looking at all of the meaningful craft projects that people do for their families. Charms with the fingerprints of everyone, Framed art with everyone's handprints, all these ideas that involve a Mom, a Dad, and the kids. No one want to see crafts of just the Mom and the kids. Family pictures aren't something I want to have made. Even though I'm good with it being us three, doing things or making things to immortalize this time in our life is sad to me. Not that I'm ready to be more than three yet, I don't know. Maybe I am... I guess for now I just feel like we're incomplete.

I know I shouldn't feel that way. I should be happy with this time I get to myself to heal, to learn to trust again, and to take time to find myself and figure out what I want.

Trust. That's a loaded issue. How do I trust again? Are all men the same? Are they different? How do I know? Since spring I've had three married men try to hit on me. How is this supposed to help? I still have glimmers of hope that I can trust again, but they seem to be getting dimmer and dimmer with every scumbag I come across.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm better off alone.

Like I said, lonely nights are the worst.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Momentary relapse...

This evening has been very nice. I don't have the boys, so I decided to get a little painting done.

I'm at a very good place right now. I have fought a battle within myself to trust in God when it comes to my future. Before, I felt it was always my job to be on the look out for Mr. Right. I felt I couldn't even leave the house with a hair out of place for fear of not being prepared for whenever I met him.

Well, I'm thankfully a whole lot smarter now, well maybe not a whole lot, but at least a little. I sometimes look back and think about how dumb I was. These days I'm just sitting back not worrying about a thing. I have so many other things going on in my life to concentrate on. Worrying about my future is just a waste of time. Besides, I've made up my mind that it doesn't matter where I am or what I'm doing, if an attractive man acts interested in me and isn't in the church, I just need to move on. They are not worth my time or energy. If God means for me to be with someone that is not in my church, then I will trust Him in that situation.

But.... sometimes I relapse.

Back to my painting....

I was painting some chairs and ran out of paint, and I decide to go to Walmart to get some more. I'm in my paint clothes, hair in a ponytail, and my make-up is non-existent at this point. But I'm not worried about it. It's all good. There is no one at Walmart that I need to impress.

I go into the store, and the sun is hitting me in the eyes. When my vision finally clears, there he is. This tall, dark and handsome man staring right at me. I seriously had to catch my breath. Where did he come from? Could he really be from my little town? Why is he looking at me?? I'm trying to think of other things I need to get while I'm there so I can see him again. We make eye contact a few more times while I'm in there. My subconscious is telling me "He's a man of the world, let it go." "He's going to be just like all the others, it will only end in heartache." The other side of my brain (that doesn't like to listen to my subconscious) is ignoring all those thoughts, and trying to come up with something I need on aisle 7.

When I get in my car, I decide to look in the mirror to make sure I looked at least half way decent...

...and I see that I have black paint on the end of my nose.

Yep... no wonder he was staring.

That's about par for the course.

My future is back in the hands of the Lord. As it should be.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Moments from the past few weeks

I got to thinking I never put pictures on here and I should. So here are some random pictures from the past few weeks:


This is me and my oldest son. He really wasn't looking forward to me leaving him for three days. I'm thankful he and his little brother both did well.


My boys playing basketball with my Dad. It's one of their favorite things to do at their house.


Before I left for Texas we all went out to eat and for ice cream. My youngest LOVES ice cream, he really gets into it... and gets it all over himself.


My niece and my Mom in the background at the restaurant we went to.


The next morning I headed south. This is what the area looks like where I grew up. Flat. Beautiful, but flat.


More beautiful flatness... and the sunrise.


I didn't take many pictures while I was in Texas, but when I got back to my parent's house my youngest wanted me to take his picture... he wants so badly to be like his big brother.


When we got back home we started practices for football.... Momma is still uneasy about this decision.


This picture was taken by my oldest son. It's hard to see in the picture, but where the arrow is pointing looks just like a fist is coming out of the clouds. It was really cool.


And last but not least, the jalapeno beer bread I got at the Czech bakery in West, Texas. If you ever pass though there, stop. It's really amazing. I added some cheese to mine because I am my father's daughter and can't leave well enough alone. It was really great.

There you have it, thanks for stopping by!

I really dislike my TV

The entertainment industry is starting to make me feel sick to my stomach.

There are now shows on TV with names like "Mistresses" or "The Betrayal" glorifying the act of infidelity. It makes me sick. Somewhere out there, someone just watched a show like that and decided that cheating on their spouse wouldn't be such a bad thing... and BOOM another marriage is over. I can't take shows like that - I lived it. I don't want to relive it again through a TV show. The very thought of that makes me want to throw up.

When did things start going so very wrong?

I think about getting rid of my TV all the time. Unfortunately, there are still things I need it for. My computer isn't good enough to stream movies or even a weather doplar radar, so I definitely need it, especially for the weather. My boys and I both like to watch sporting events on TV, especially when it comes to a certain university we love, so I feel it's not an option to get rid of it altogether. If I had more electronic "smarts" I could probably figure out what I needed to do to get Netflix or Hulu on my TV, but this girl was an art major in college.... electronics are not my strong suit. I'm lucky it's all hooked up right as it is.

Most nights we just leave it off unless I know there is something we want to see. Which means most nights it doesn't get turned on at all. I like those nights.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fear and trembling

Well, I did it!

My trip was a success, and I'm so thankful. It was wonderful to be able to go to a church meeting of that size. I've never heard singing like that before. Ever. It was beautiful. I know if the boys had been there they'd have covered their ears because it was so loud. I loved it!

The best part was how the boys were while I was gone. Neither of them had a single melt down the entire time. My parents actually used the word "Angels" to describe their behavior. What?? Are you sure you're talking about my kids?? I'm so glad they were good for them while I was gone.

The hardest part for me was socializing. I'm frustrated with how much I struggle in that area. I know that the more meetings I go to, the more people I will get to know. But for now I don't know many people, and it's hard for me to talk to people I don't know. My self-diagnosis is that I have a form of Social Anxiety Disorder. Whether I actually have it, probably not. I just wish I could go up to anyone and strike up a conversation. It sounds so easy, yet it's the hardest things in the world for me to do.

I'm slowly getting around to what this post is actually about.

I'm learning that the most important things we do in life are ones that scare us. There is a wonderful quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that says "Do one thing everyday that scares you." I love this quote. I've basically lived it for the past year and a half. When all of the changes started in my life, I was afraid of everything. I don't like change. Change is scary. But you know what? Sometimes scary things are wonderful. Sometimes scary things are what make us feel alive! I enjoy my comfort zone, but when I'm forced out of it, it's exhilarating! My heart beats faster, my hands shake, and my voice trembles.... that means I'm living. Not just alive, but LIVING! I love it.

I've received courage through the Lord to do the scary things in my life. Last January I felt the desire and need to be in church every single time I could. I'd never gone to some of these churches before because I didn't know many people in them. But the Lord gave me the courage to go, and now the number of friends I have in the church has grown by leaps and bounds. Something that started out so scary has turned out to be so great.

Going to the far off church meetings where I don't know very many people really scares me. Last weekend really scared me. Sometimes I'll fail and end up hiding in a corner not talking to anyone... and sometimes I'll succeed and make a new friend. But the important part is that I did it. I went out on a limb and I did it!

I like my comfort zone, but it's wonderful to feel alive too.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

What was I thinking?

I had this brilliant idea three months ago. I decided I would take some time off from work to go to an out-of-state church meeting in July. But the kicker is that I'd decided to leave the boys with my parents and go with a group of women instead.

"It will be so fun!" I told myself...

"The boys will have a great time with their cousins." I said...

"You'll have a great time being a 'girl' instead of a 'mom'." I convinced myself...

Well, it's almost here, and I'm starting to freak out a little. I've never been away from my boys for that long. At first I was just worried about how they would be without me.... now I'm worried about how I will be without them. I'm picturing myself huddled in a corner somewhere, rocking back and forth, mumbling gibberish like "Must....see.....boys....".

Deep down I know this will be good for them and for me. I'm just... I don't know....worried I guess. My youngest still has some separation issues since the divorce. He used to be so independent, but now he's very clingy and always wanting to keep me in his sights. So I know this will be hard on him, but good for him too. My oldest I think will be fine. He loves spending time with his cousins, but tonight in a moment of sleepiness he asked me if I really had to be gone that long. That about made me cancel the whole thing.

The truth is, I don't know who I am without them. It's been so long since I had any sort of identity that didn't involve being a mom that I don't know how to act without them. Even just this weekend I went to a beautiful wedding by myself... and I was lost. Utterly, and completely lost. I felt like I was missing something and was looking for it the whole time. Social situations are hard for me to handle, but they are even harder for me without them. It's almost like they are my social safety net. If I don't have anyone to talk to, it's ok, I can just go watch the boys. I'm not going to have that on my trip. I will have to be social no matter how awkward I am. That scares me to death.

Not to mention the fact that I will miss them like crazy. The nights they stay with their dad are good for me, I get a lot done, but by the next day I'm ready to see them again. I'm ready to hug them and be silly with them. I'm ready to have them back with me at home. So I'm just worried I'm going to get two days into this trip and start begging for a ride home, like a motion-sick kid on a carnival ride begging the conductor to make it stop so he can get off. I'm really afraid I'll be that frantic.

I need to just breathe, and pray. I keep thinking back and trying to figure out why I thought this would be a good idea. But I have faith that it will all be ok.

I just need to take it one little baby step at a time, and try to occupy my mind with other things while I'm there.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Do-over

There are times that I would really like a do-over. Not in everything in my life, just in the raising of my kids. I really wish I could go back to the day they were born and completely start over with the mind set I have now instead of back then. Even though I was 28 when I had my first, I still don't think I was mentally or spiritually prepared to raise little humans. Now, unfortunately, I seem to be more consumed with damage control rather than the actual act of teaching them things they need to know. It's very hard to look back and not kick myself for not doing better.

I can't totally blame their father for the way they are... but I can a little. I really should've stood up to him more, but I didn't. I won't go into all the gorey details, but whether we liked it or not, the kids ran the show. Squeaky wheels got oiled, and idle threats were never carried out. His stand was always "Give the kid what he wants so he'll stop screaming" instead of teaching him that throwing the fit was wrong. Every lesson I tried to teach them ended with an argument between he and I. He wanted good kids, but he didn't have a clue how to get them. Not that I really knew at the time, but I had a better idea than he did.

The hardest part is trying to teach them to respect when they've never had to before. If they had learned that from the beginning, it would make things a lot smoother now. I'm really struggling and praying for guidance in trying to go back and teach fundamental things they should've learned years ago. I get so caught up in teaching them stuff they should know already, that I can't teach them the things they need to learn now. I'm so far behind I feel like I'll never catch up.

I can still tell I'm doing more things wrong than I'm doing right, and that's frustrating for me. So since I can't have a do-over, I continue to pray for guidance, and I hope I can somehow do the right thing when it comes to raising them.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Memories

What a blessing it is to have our memories. Pictures can only show you so much, it's our memories that really take us back to certain times and places.

I'm thankful for the memories I have of certain times. I lost both of the boys' baby books when the house burned. I keep telling myself I need to replace them and fill in what I can remember... but I'm afraid I don't remember much anymore. I don't remember the exact days they started walking or eating solid foods, I no longer have the locks of hair from their first haircuts. It might sound sad to some, but when you're the one that goes through it, you realize you have what's most important. I still have my boys. I'd rather have that than some old book any day. My memories of those time are good enough for me.

Sometimes memories are a good thing, and sometimes memories are a curse. There are a lot of times something will trigger a bad memory... And it's unstoppable.

I seem to be having one of those weeks. I guess I have things going on right now that are triggering memories that I haven't had in months, or even over a year for some of them. Memories about everything that's happened over the past two years. Memories that bring back my anger and frustration of unanswered questions. Memories that make me feel like I should've done more, or just should've done something differently. I start to feel the hostility or regret, and I don't like it.

I've dealt with these problems already, why are they resurfacing? I'm supposed to be moving forward, not backward.

I had a good long stretch about this time last year that I would pray from the verse in Jeremiah... The Lord said "I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." That was all I wanted. I wanted to forgive my ex-husband for what he did to me, but mostly I wanted to forget everything that happened. I want to forget everything I saw, or read, or heard. Every fight. Every evil or defiant look that came across his face. I just wanted to push all of those terrible memories out of my head, and never remember them ever again.

I've already forgiven him, and we get along well enough these days. I just want to forget it now.

Please, Lord, take the memories from my mind and let me remember them no more.

I have faith that when this week is over, and everything goes back to normal, I'll be fine. I just have to make it a few more days. Church tomorrow night will help, and there is a meeting this weekend that I'm looking forward to. Thankfully, there will be lots of other wonderful things to occupy my mind.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

My real life... maybe a little too real

Their Dad lets them stay up till 11:00...
...I make them go to bed at 8:30.


Their Dad puts a TV in their room...
...I refuse to put TV's in their rooms.


Their Dad lets them watch rated R movies (of which I can't say a word)...
...the most vulgar thing we watch is Duck Dynasty.


Their Dad doesn't watch his language in front of them, and rarely gets onto them when they repeat something...
...I won't let them say anything ugly. I mean anything.


He is their friend, and I'm the bad guy. It's been that way since the day they were born. Just because we parent from different houses now doesn't change that. I could dwell on things like this that keep me up at night, or I can turn it around and list what I am thankful for:


I'm thankful they are exposed to him only 5-8 days each month.

I'm thankful I'm able to teach them that love cannot be bought, and neither can happiness.

I'm thankful I get them most weekends so they can go to church.

I'm thankful they see their dad in a stable relationship, and not the alternative.

I'm thankful she is a nice girl who is good with them.

I'm thankful I can spank now.

I'm thankful the Lord gives me the strength to hear all of the "But Daddy lets us.."'s, and I can still make them do what they are told.

I'm thankful for the positive changes in their behavior over the last year and a half because I continue to be the bad guy instead of babying them because of what all has happened.

I'm thankful for positive male roll models in the church that they can look up so they can see how a family is supposed to be.

I'm thankful we can now read the bible and pray without being ridiculed.



I wish after a year and a half it would get easier for them to go back and forth from my house to his, and it has a little. But still, the day after they stay with him is rough on them. It's like they have to change gears... or change motors for that matter. It's hard on them, but it's also hard on them when they have to go a long time without seeing him. We always have behavioral issues when they don't get regular time with him. So I'm thankful for the days they do see him, it brings balance to their lives.

I'm thankful I don't have as many days of worrying as I used to. My days of worrying are made better with prayer.

This is my real life. It's not always pretty, and there's a lot that happens that only the Lord and I know about. But He helps me through these days, and I'm so thankful.







Monday, June 24, 2013

Positive thinking


I've been thinking a lot lately about my attitude. It just seems most of the time I'm very negative, and I'm not sure how to fix it. I keep telling myself if the thoughts in my head were more positive, then eventually it would spill over to my words and actions.

I just don't know how to change my thoughts.

Just when I think I'm on the right track something happens to change them back.

For example, let's say I'm driving, and I get cut off, or another driver just pulls some boneheaded stunt. I can't help but think "What an idiot." How do I stop that thought? Even if I never said it, I still thought it. How do I change my thought to something that would try to understand why they did what they did. I'm not in their car. Maybe their child just poured their drink all over their little sister. Maybe the driver is really sick. I bet 90% of the time there is a good excuse for a boneheaded stunt. I wish I could give people the benefit of the doubt and cut them some slack. Besides, I'm sure I've pulled those stunts myself a time or two.

It just seems like I'm always on the verge of irritation. At my job I answer the phone all day long. I guarantee at least half of the calls irritate me, even though they are just asking questions about our company and the services we offer. Things that are obvious to me, aren't obvious to people in different lines of work. It's my job to explain it to them happily. And I do, till I hang up the phone... that's when I let the fumes of irritations escape.

I'm supposed to be quick to listen. Slow to anger, and slow to wrath. Even though I'm not actually showing anger or wrath to them, I still have the emotions. I keep telling myself that I'm only human and everyone has these thoughts. But I'm also trying to do better and to be better. This 'self improvement' phase I'm going though has hit a road block with this one. I want nicer thoughts in my head, and if I can do that I think it will help in every aspect of my life.

I'm afraid this problem is out of my hands. It seems the more I learn about myself, the more I have to pray about.





Monday, June 17, 2013

Peace, Acceptance & Independence

I seem to be having the best month. I'm so happy with my life right now.

Maybe it's because it's finally summer and we can get outside more. The winter was so dreary, and it seemed like it would never end. Then spring came and it either still felt like winter, or was raining everyday. We've finally hit a time when the weather is nice, and I'm loving it.

I've finally stopped worrying so much about my future, and that's really nice. It seems every month that passes I continue to change and heal in ways I didn't even know I needed. I have peace and it's a wonderful thing. But then again, it makes me wonder how I will change even more next month.

A few months ago I really thought I'd hit my moment of acceptance, but now I look back and realize I hadn't. To me, acceptance is when I can truly admit what happened, and own up to my labels and be ok with it. In my post about not being good enough I called myself a single mom for the very first time. I'd never uttered the words. I'd never typed them unless it was to say how much I despise the term. But I said them, and for the first time I smiled. Not because it's something to be proud of, but because for the first time I was content with it.

I've finally accepted who I am, and it's a good feeling. I think I'd put it off for so long because I didn't want to be one of those women who proudly say they're divorced. And I still won't be like that. To me, it's not something to be proud of, it's like you're saying you gave up on your marriage. I didn't give up, nor did I do anything to cause it. I fought for it more than I could ever put into words.

It's such a breakthrough for me to come to terms with who I am. I even make jokes about it to myself now. - By the way, have I mentioned I talk to myself? Well, I do... sometimes I'm the only company I have. I even laugh at my own jokes. - Like this weekend when I was mowing my lawn I kept thinking about the lawn mower as my "Single-Mom Treadmill". And my new weed eater that I just got is so girly they should've made it pink. It's my "Single-Mom Arm Machine". I love it. I've never loved a piece of lawn equipment before, but I love this thing. Anything that adds to my independence is awesome. I don't like trying to do a job, and feeling like I'm not strong enough or unable in any way.

The way the world is these days is a good thing and a bad thing. Companies are making products that are suited more for women because there are so many divorced couples now. It's sad that there are so many, but I guess I should be thankful that they are helping me be independent. I can't imagine what it must've been like 50 years ago for women in my situation.

Considering how things could be, it's easy for me to see how blessed I am. The Lord takes care of me and my boys, and provides for us in ways I'm sure we never even see. I'm so thankful for that.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Second chances

There is a story in my family. It's about my grandparents.... and it's a true story.

It's amazing, and I love to tell it.

My Grandfather was married to a woman, and together they had my uncle. Sadly though, she passed away some time after he was born.

My Grandfather was a widower in his early twenties.

It is told that my Grandfather was sleeping one night, and in his dreams he saw the portrait of a beautiful young woman. Some time later he was walking down the main street of my hometown when he passed a photography studio, and in the window of the studio there was the portrait he had seen in his dream. It was the senior picture of my Grandmother.

My Grandfather went into the studio to inquire about the picture, and to hopefully find out who she was. In this day and age they would never have released that kind of information, but things were different back then. They obliged him with the information, and even told him where she worked. As it turned out she was working at the department store not too far away.

He went to her work, asked her out, and she said yes. They saw each other every night but one for the next six weeks. On the one night they didn't see each other my Grandmother went to break off a relationship she'd had with someone else. After six weeks my Grandfather asked her to marry him, and she said yes.

I've known this story my whole life, and just recently I started thinking about the second chance my Grandfather got. A second chance that turned out to be the best thing in his life. He and my Grandmother were together till his dying day. In fact, the day my Grandmother finally passed away was on his birthday. She had missed him so much for years, and was finally going to get to see him again.

I often wonder if the best thing in my life hasn't even happened yet. I'm getting a second chance like my Grandfather did.

Just the thought of what is to come gives me butterflies.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Never good enough

Sometimes I feel like I'm struggling to stay afloat. Not financially or emotionally... just in keeping up with life. It's moving so fast these days I can't keep up.

First and foremost, I'm not complaining. Not by any means. I don't want anything in my life to change. In fact, I like all of the responsibilities I have. I just wish I had more hours in the day to get it all done. I'm still trying to get used to people wanting to help me. I feel like I have the attitude of a toddler sometimes. I just want to say "I can do it myself."

I had a friend tell me once that they don't know how I do everything that I do. I guess I'd never really thought about my life being busier or harder than anyone else's. I'm just a working single mom. You do what you gotta do to get by. But now, after hearing that, when I think about everything I have to do, I have two conflicting emotions: 1. I feel like I have an excuse if one of my tasks doesn't get done... Which I really don't like, because then I use the excuse of not having any help rather than trying harder. And 2. I have a small sense of pride in knowing I CAN handle my life. I don't want to say that in a boastful way, but in a way that gives me motivation. I have more drive to do more everyday because I know God has made me strong enough to handle it. If He gave me the strength to do everything I have to do, then I don't need to make excuses or complain. I need to just get off my duff and do it.

The only time I get frustrated is when I feel like I've done all I can do, and it's still not good enough. I work all day at my job, then come home and work all night at home, cooking, cleaning, working in the yard, going to baseball games... and still try to do what I can to squeeze in a little play time with the boys before they go to bed. Something always falls through the cracks. Carpets won't get vacuumed regularly. Laundry will pile up, both dirty and clean. My lack of weed eating was apparently too much for one of my neighbors to handle, so they killed all the grass on our adjoining fence. Talk about feeling not good enough, that made me feel awful. Thankfully I have a new (and easier to use) weed eater now, so I can hopefully prevent future grass killings. And somehow in the midst of all this craziness I'd like to cook healthy meals and workout. If I could do all this and still diet and exercise, I'd truly be super woman.

I just constantly feel like I'm not good enough.
I don't play with my boys enough.
I don't read my bible enough.
I don't keep my yard up as well as my neighbors would like.
I don't make healthy meals all the time.

I just feel like the standards I've set for myself are so high I'll never live up to them.

Some days I just want to throw in the towel. But I can't. I have to learn to live with what doesn't get done till I have time to catch up. It will eventually all get done, I just have to be persistent, and forgive myself a lot.

It's like the saying goes: "You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have."

That's me.

I don't have a choice. I can't give up. I have two growing boys that need fed and played with and disciplined. I have to keep going and pray that God will give me the strength to stay afloat.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Just another day.

Even though I'm doing really well, there is still a day that's hard to forget. Not hard to think about, or even hard to get through... just hard to forget.

Today would've been my 12th wedding anniversary.

But now it's just another day. Life goes on, and I'm excited to see what's in store for my future. I'm sorry, June 3rd, I no longer have any warm fuzzy feelings toward you. You are just like every other day on the calendar now.

Have I mentioned how happy I am, and how better off the boys and I are?

I thought so.

Thank you, Lord, for healing. It's a great feeling.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Less talk, more action

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18

One of the things I regret the most from a couple of years ago is that I was so wrapped up with everything going wrong in my life that I wasn't able to be active in the boys' lives. I was basically enough of a Mom to make sure they were fed and in bed on time, and other than that I was just trying to hold myself together. I feel like I lost two years of their childhood. I can't tell you much of what they did during those two years, and that makes me sad.

The best thing I have learned over the past year is how to be completely and totally "present" in their lives. I try to limit my phone usage when they're awake, I try to avoid anything that takes my attention away from them. Sometimes it's unavoidable, but I try to do the best I can. I want to be an active part of their lives. I want to be able to say 'yes' every time they ask me to play something. I want to snuggle on the couch and read books with them, or sit with them at the computer and google funny animal pictures. I want them to know that I'm here, and that I'm never leaving them. I don't want them to have abandonment issues after everything thats happened.

Even though I know I'm doing this for me and the boys' sake, I sometimes feel like I have an ulterior motive. There are times that I make the effort to do more things because I know their dad won't. Which that in itself isn't a bad reason, but deep down I want them to remember which parent did more with them. I want them to see his lack of interest in their lives. I want them to be disappointed that he doesn't make it to their awards assemblies when he promises he will. I want them to eventually see how selfish he is. How horrible is that? I know it's wrong, but I'm just so scared that one day they will decide to follow in his footsteps. Not in his profession...but in the way he lives his life.

When they were born I worried that they would stop breathing in the middle of the night. When they were toddlers I worried about them bumping their heads or putting something in electrical outlets. Now that they are in school I worry about what they are learning from the other kids that I don't want them to know. These days I worry about their future. I worry about it so much it hurts.

What if the boys decide not to go to church when they grow up? What if they decide to become racecar drivers like their dad, and become so self-centered it tears their families apart? What if they do to their wives what their dad did to me? After all, he was just following in his own dad's footsteps. What if they give up on their marriages when the going gets tough? These are questions that keep me up at night.

When I hear their dad talk to them, and make empty promises that he has no intention of keeping, it breaks my heart for them, and at the same time drives me to be that much more involved. When I see a missed opportunity by him, I swoop in and get it for myself. If he's not going to enjoy this time with his boys then I will.

Love isn't about saying you'll do something... it's about doing it without saying.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Be still

...and know that I am God.

It sounds easy, right?

Most of the time I feel the opposite of still.... which is restless.

Why is it so hard to understand that God is in control, and if we just turn our problems over to him and 'be still' He will help us and provide for us? I'm definately more prone to being restless than still. When I have a problem, I come up with about eighteen different ways to solve it, and then I take action. I do whatever is in my own power to try to fix whatever's wrong. Without praying about it first.

My mantra in life has always been "If you want it done right, do it yourself." I live by this saying daily. I don't trust others to do a job right, so I just do it myself. Then I don't have to worry about it. It takes a lot of trust, and faith, to be able to turn my problems over to God for help in solving them. Especially when my nature is very stubborn and independent.

Everywhere we look these day, especially on the internet, we see pretty words that are telling us that if you want something, don't wait for it to come to you... go out and get it for yourself. Make things happen. Everything in the world tells us to rely on ourselves to fix problems and not God. I guess because I see this stuff so much it starts to creep in. I try to do too much for myself without praying about it first. I just assume I know what's best for me.

Lately it seems everytime I try to take thing into my own hands and "make things happen" I quickly find out that wasn't the path for me. I can't count how many times I've kicked myself for making a bad decision, but deep down I know I didn't pray about it first. Sometimes I even know it's wrong and do it anyways. It takes an enormous amount of faith to not take action and to pray. And wait. And be still.

It all leads back to patience.

That's my one achilles heel that I can't seem to overcome. However, the past week or so I've felt very happy and content with my life. I hope that is the Lord's answer for my prayers for patience. The more content I am, the more I can be still and I like that.

Even though all the saying on the internet usually rub me the wrong way, there is one cheesy one that I keep seeing that I kind of like. It says:

Until God opens the next door, praise Him in the hallway.

I know it's just another saying that someone came up with and now it's overused... but I can relate to it. I'm just here. In a hallway. Being still... or at least trying.

The ironic part is that my favorite church hymn is 'Be still, my soul'. Now I just have to live it.







Monday, May 13, 2013

Walks with my Dad

My poor Dad.

I know I've given him more grey hairs in the past year than in all my other years combined.

I know that the more I talk to him about my life, the more he stays up at night worrying about me.

I used to be very closed off about my life, especially growing up, but these days I'm an open book with large print. When everything started going wrong, I tried to keep everything hidden until the problem went away. I had this terrible secret in my life that I didn't want anyone to know about. I felt if I kept it to myself, then when the problem was fixed there wouldn't be any ill feelings toward my husband, and we could carry on with life as usual.

Well, once I realized the problem couldn't be fixed - and was only getting worse - I started opening up to my family. Since then, I've been able to open up and talk to my parents about everything. It's kind of strange. Like I'm back to being a single teenager, but I'm able to tell them about everything that's going on in my life. Kind of like an out-of-body experience. Very surreal.

Last year my Dad and I started taking walks in the mornings whenever the boys and I would go visit them. Usually it's still dark outside when we go. Our main purpose for walking was for exercise, but we also got a lot of life's problems worked out on these walks as well. We've discussed so many topics on these walks. Each time I would visit there would be a new issue to hash out. We've used these walks to work out everything from the custody of my kids, to buying my new house, to scriptures in the Bible. It's a time for just he and I to discuss things.

It was on a walk that I had to explain to him why I didn't want to keep my old house that he felt I was entitled to. It was on a walk where he felt he should give me the do's and don'ts of dating... again. It was on a walk that I broke down in tears because I knew everything had happened because of something I had done.... and it was on another walk that I, thankfully, started to believe that maybe it had nothing to do with me at all.

It's amazing how clear your mind can be very early in the morning. Watching the sunrise and talking about God makes problems easily solved. It makes it so you can solve the problem the way it's supposed to be, instead of it being clouded by the judgements of the world. Most walks ended in laughter, some ended in tears. But either way, a problem was solved and a new day was starting.

The best part is what I've learn from him through these walks... and that is how I should walk. In my life.

These are priceless lessons that can never be taken away from me.






Friday, May 10, 2013

It's a good day.

On this very Friday, I am totally convinced that I am in such a better place than a year ago, and that I haven't let what happened to me define who I am.

On this very Friday, I realized that I went through the one year anniversary of my divorce date, which was Wednesday the 8th, without even thinking about it for a single second. I wrote that date on many pieces of paper that day, and it never dawned on me what day it was.

To me, that is a beautiful thing.

My life is not going to be defined by bad things that happen. My life will be defined by the wonderful things instead. I am too blessed to dwell on the storms of life.

I am counting today as a 'mental victory' for myself.

Score:

Leslye - 1
Leslye's Subconscious trying to get the better of her - 0


It's a good day.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

I might as well get used to it

This week while I was mowing my backyard, I had one neighbor sneak in and mow the front yard, and then another neighbor came over and totally weed-eated the entire front and back yard.

All in the time it took me just to do the backyard.

*sigh*

Looks like my oven will be working overtime this summer baking goodies for my neighbors.

I have to admit, it was really nice to have the help.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I'm "Un-cool"

when I was growing up, the word we used for someone who was popular was 'cool'. I still use that word to this day for lots of things... except myself.

I've come to the conclusion that I'm not cool at all. And I'm ok with that.

Being popular was never my thing anyway. Especially now. I don't listen to the popular music, I don't read the popular books or watch the popular tv shows and movies. My ideas of entertainment have changed a lot. They're still not all great, but they're better than they were. I just can't take all the negativity that is being fed to us everyday through the media and entertainment.

I can also guarantee I'm not the most popular Mom. For one thing, I'm not here to be my boys' 'Friend'. I'm here to be their parent, and to teach them how to live their lives. I don't let them play endless hours of video games, or say words that other kids are allowed to say. I take them to church and make them play outside in the fresh air and eat their vegetables. I know there are a lot of times they don't like it. But I've learned to deal with that. Kids aren't supposed to know what's best for themselves. They need parents, not friends.

The longer I'm out in the world, the more I realize who I should try to impress and who I shouldn't. The only opinions I care about these days are those of my famly, and my church family. If I'm living my life in a way that they have only good things to say about me, then I'm doing something right.

I still have times that I try to pretend I'm cool... I don't know why. My perspective gets a wrench thrown in it, and I forget who I am. Either I'm trying to impress the wrong person, or wanting to fit in with a group I have no business being a part of. But it all comes down to wanting acceptance by the world, and that's not something I need to worry about.

Lately I've been working on being strong within myself. Standing up for my beliefs. Saying 'no' to things I shouldn't do or say, and having the courage to do the right things. It's tough to do... but it used to be down right impossible for me. So for it to be a little easier now makes me feel like I've made some progress. I still have a ways to go, though. And I'm learning more about how to do that everyday.

Sometimes I feel like I've been in a bubble for over a year. It's like the Lord protected me from all these other problems in the world while He helped me through all the changes I was going through. Now, a year later, I'm slowly being re-exposed to all of the other outside problems in the world, and I'm being re-programmed on how to deal with them. I like this re-programming. I like myself more when I handle a situation the way I'm supposed to instead of the 'cool' way.

Striving to be popular in the world will only bring about more heartache, and disappointment.

I know. I've tried.

I'm glad my priorities are starting to get straightened out.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Home Sweet Home

It might sound trivial for something like a house to bring me such peace and happiness, but I have to admit, I just love my house so much.

This time last year I was hoping and wishing and praying for my old house to sell, and to be able to move. Now, a year later, I believe everything happened at the perfect time for all of us. Even though I was ready to be out of that house, and to be away from all the memories and nightmares, I don't think my boys were. I knew the move was coming sooner or later, so I was prepared. But for the boys, I think they needed the extra time to let everything sink in. I think when it finally happened they had heard me talk about it enough that they 'got it'.

My youngest boy loves our new house. I know he remembers the old house, for sure, but his little mind doesn't think back on it as much as my older boy. My oldest still has a lot of pent up feelings about the move. He misses the old house, but I think what he misses is how we were a family in the old house. He's associating that house with me and their dad being together. He's very stubborn when it comes to admitting things, but I can tell just by watching him how much happier he is now. He's still getting used to the ugly carpet, and the pink tub, but he know's we're home, and I like that.

This new house of ours isn't perfect by any means. But it fits us, and we fit in it. The house was built back in the 1970's, and has a lot of work that needs done. But I'm ok with that. The projects around the house are things that keep me sane. I've always wanted to buy an older home and fix it up, so this is a dream for me.

The boys are so much happier here too - whether the older one wants to admit it or not. At our old house they didn't have any other kids to play with, they couldn't go in the road at all, and taking a walk around the neighborhood didn't exsist. We lived on a dead end road off of a highway. Our new neighborhood is so great! There are kids everywhere, we can walk around blocks, and I don't have to worry about them going in the street. In fact, sometimes I feel like an old tv show when I have to go outside and call the kids home for supper.

I have everything I've ever wanted in a house. I have a covered front and back porch, a window above my kitchen sink to watch kids playing in the backyard, a huge window in the living room to put my Christmas tree in front of, and even a 4th whole bedroom just for me and my sewing and craft stuff. Now that spring is here, I have flowers blooming in every corner of my yard, and I have vegetables growing up a storm out back. It is truely my dream home.

All these 'things' about my new house are nice, but I think what I needed the most was a change of scenery. Somewhere that I don't have to think about the way things used to be everytime I turn a corner. The good memories were ok, it was the bad ones that haunted me. There were very few good memories made when we moved back into the house after the fire, so I really never got to enjoy living in a brand new house. It was tainted from the day we moved back in. My new home has no bad memories, and there are only good memories to come the longer we are there.

I'm so thankful it all worked out the way it was supposed to instead of when I wanted it to. That's my impatience getting the better of me again. I should always remember that the Lord's timing is always best... I think I need that embroidered on a pillow, or tattooed on my hand or something... or I'll just tie a string around my finger to help me remember that everytime I get impatient.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Whoa, Nelly...

I wish I could just slow down. I feel like everything for me is just a rush. I walk too fast, I drive too fast, I do everything faster than it should be done. I'm not patient. I guess I'm part of the 'have it now' generation. If I have a question, google is just a click away. If I'm hungry I could have 'fast food' if I desired. Call waiting? No way, just text. The world is served to us on a platter the instant we want it.

That's how I feel about my future. Everyone tells me how young I am, and that it won't be any trouble to find someone else. Sure, there are options out there in the world... but so far they haven't been good options, at least not ones that have shown any interest.

I always wonder why I'm in such a hurry to find someone. I just got out of something serious, why do I want to dive back into it so quickly? I racked my brain and came up with a few thoughts:

First off, I just don't like to be alone. I can do it, and sometimes I actually kind of like it, but I still wish I had someone around to talk to and to share my life with. I liked being married.

I think I'm also in a hurry because I really, really dislike being single. Not alone.... but single, there'a a difference. When you don't have a ring on your hand men treat you differently than when you do. It's sad to say, but am I really just ready to have the ring back on my hand.

Another reason is that my internal clock is still ticking. Right now I'm at a point where if I did re-marry I could still have more kids. I always wanted to have three or four. So, I guess the more time that passes, the closer I get to that door closing on me forever.

I will be the first to say that these are NOT good reasons to dive back into something so important.

I guess I just feel like my life right now is temporary. I wish I didn't feel this way, because there is no way to know how long I will be single. It could be one or two more years, or fifteen to twenty years, or forever. But I'm finding it very hard to be 'settled' in my life. I want to just relax and go with the flow, but I guess I'm expecting my prince charming to come sweep me off my feet at any moment, and I want to be ready when it happens.

See, that's how I am... That's my personality. I like to be prepared, or on guard, if you will. I'm always early when going places, I always have my payment ready before I get to the checkout, I always do whatever I need to do in order to not make people wait on me. It's just another quirk of mine. So I guess when the opportunity to meet someone new comes about I try to be as prepared as possible. Some may call that neurotic, I prefer to call it quirky. Even though I've thought about it, and I'm pretty sure if, and when, he finally does come along I'm probably not even going to know it's him at first. But for some reason I still feel like I can't even go to the grocery store with my hair a mess just in case he's out shopping that day as well, ya know? That sounds silly... like we're going to bond over fresh fruit or something.

I've always heard people say "He'll come as soon as you stop looking." But how do I stop looking? I'm seriously starting to wonder if it's in my genetic make-up to live my life with no reguard for my future. That would be like an OCD person mixing all their knives, forks and spoons into one big heap. They would go crazy till it was sorted and straightened. That's how I am with patience and preparedness. I am always mentally preparing myself for what might be coming, and I don't know how to stop.

I still have those times that I start to worry about being alone forever, they come almost like a panic attack. I'm just praying I don't let those feelings get the better of me and cause me to make another bad decision. I think that's one of my greatest fears is repeating my past. That's the thought that really makes me think to myself "Whoa, Nelly.... now wait just a minute. You're doing just fine on your own." Then I feel better, and I can calm down just a little. Till the next panic attack comes along. Then, thankfully , I pray about it... and pray about it again.

"Patience is a virtue".... "Good things come to those who wait".... I have to keep reminding myself of these things in this 'have it now' world. Maybe then I will stop being in such a rush. Because things like this will - and should - take time.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Just say No

Lately I've been analyzing myself almost to the point of exhaustion. I keep picking at all of my character flaws in order to make myself a better person. I know there are a lot of things about myself that I can't change. But there are some things I can.

I have this problem, or quirk you might say, that I'm hoping is something I can work on to try to do better at.

My problem is that I'm just too nice. I know that doesn't actually sound like a problem. But it is. I have a very hard time telling someone 'no'. It reminds me of the song from the musical Oklahoma. I'm just a girl who cain't say no.... This personality trait of mine comes out in my professional life and my personal life. If it's something to help someone else I always say yes, that's not the problem. It's saying 'no' to something bad that's the problem.

Now, just to clarify, I actually can say no when I have to. And I do often. I have my areas that are just non-negotiable. But there are other times that I find it hard to stand up for myself and what I think is right.

I wish I could find a happy balance between my niceness, and my self respect. I think it all comes down to wanting to fit in. 'Fitting in' is a horrible side effect carried over from childhood. It's something for teenagers to want to do, not grown adults. But it's true. There are sometimes that I just want to fit in. I don't want to be different. I don't want to be ridiculed for being good. The Lord called his people 'peculiar'. I like the sound of that, but it still just means we're different. When we try to be good out in the world, we get put down for it. It's easy to get up every morning and say "Ok, today I'm not going to do or say anything bad " But then we go out into the world and face problems and temptations. That's when it gets hard.

My main problem I have is a fear of hurting someone's feelings. I had a circumstance where someone from my past would try to flirt with me and touch me in ways he should not have been at all, especially since I was married at the time. Where I should've just told him to stop and have respect for myself I let it continue and just dealt with it whenever I had to see him. That was not the right thing to do at all. Where was my self respect? Thankfully he is now in my past and I no longer have to see him, but I was afraid of hurting his feelings. To me that is totally unacceptable. He wasn't respectful of me, so why should I be respectful of him. Why can't I respect myself enough to stand up for what's right in a polite manner? I wouldn't have had to slap him in the face, but I should've told him politely to stop. It should've been that easy.... you would think.

These days I'm learning there are a lot of men in the world that aren't respectful of women at all, and if we don't stand up for ourselves it will only feed their problem. It's very easy for me to get on here and say what I need to be doing, and what I SHOULD'VE done. But doing it is so much harder than it seems. I wish I could just say no when I need to.

I learn on Sundays that I need to be 'in' the world, but not 'of' the world. I wonder if my problem is my flesh side wanting to be 'of' the world. That's what 'fitting in' is, by the way. I wish I was strong enough to take the ridicule and scoffing that the world throws back at me when I try to say no to something bad. I also wish I was strong enough to stand up for myself when something is wrong, without worrying about the other person's feelings.

I feel like I've had to be strong for over a year now with everything that's happened... when does it ever stop? When can I stop being strong? When do I just get to just collapse on the ground and say 'Uncle'?

The answer is never. No matter what happens I'll always have to be strong in one way or another... That's why I need the armor of God.