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.