Friday, August 29, 2014

August 22, 2014

My dearest Audrey,

I had been looking forward to you spending the night with me all month, so when you finally arrived Friday evening, I couldn’t open the front door fast enough. And there you were, on the hip of Aunt Courtney, your blonde hair aglow in the August sun, smiling from ear-to-ear and reaching your little arms my direction. Nonni’s heart all but exploded with joy.

The next few hours zipped by as we sang old songs and learned new songs, and read old books and new books, and laughed, and laughed, and laughed some more. Your smile is totally infectious, and when you laugh, it’s straight from the heart.

Aunt Dayle popped in to see her “pie,” and my, oh, my—there was dancing in the foyer. I mean, really. Aunt Dayle could’ve won a prize or something. I’m thankful you have Aunt Dayle in your life. You’ll be thankful, too, as the years go by.

And then it was just us again.

After dinner was done, we washed our hands at the kitchen sink. You love running water, and you promptly decided an all-out splashing was what you really needed, feet and all. So, Nonni canceled plans for a bathtub bath, and a sink bath quickly ensued. And what fun you had with my less-than-inventive bath toy of a small plastic bowl, filling it up and pouring it out again.

Once you were dried off, I put some smell-good lotion on you and dressed you for bed. It had been a long time since I had been with you at bedtime, and even longer since you had spent the night at my house, so I was a bit anxious about how the evening would go.

With your bottle and favorite blanket in hand, we climbed the stairs to your room. As evening shadows gathered outside, I sat in the rocker, hoping you would let me rock you for awhile. And you did. It was heaven on earth. I sang and hummed one of your favorite songs until your little eyes grew heavy with sleep. Once I laid you down, you drifted off into a peaceful slumber.

As daylight sifted through the bedroom curtains, I heard you jabbering in your crib. There is nothing any sweeter than the sound of you jabbering, and I am sure heaven’s choir stopped to listen in. Another day was about to start, and sunshine was in abundant supply. ♦

Saturday, August 9, 2014

12 Years Post Divorce - God Is Faithful

Although I don't celebrate divorce, I have celebrated God's faithfulness to me every year since mine, and this month marks 12 years of living on my own. Some years have been especially difficultjoblessness, physical challenges, stupid personal choices and troubling realities beyond my control. But the good years have outnumbered the bad, and for that I'm truly grateful. As I've said before, in feast or in famine, three things get me through life: Faith, Family and Friends.

Without question, God has blessed me with wonderful FRIENDS. Some live near; some live far. Some are old; some are new. But all have made this journey a little easier in some way. A meaningful card, a caring phone call, a timely text message. Lunch, dinner, breakfast. Even if we only shared a cup of coffee, your outstretched hands meant more than I can say, and I am honored to call you friend.

Thanksgiving - 2013

Having a FAMILY to love and listen when times are hard is something money cannot buy, of course, and I'm beyond grateful for mine. Each member holds a special place in my heart.


My parents have always epitomized unconditional lovemeaning they haven't always agreed with my choices in life, but they have always loved me, and have always been there for me when I was in need. I have given that same kind of love to my child, and no child should ever be without it.

After my divorce, Mom and Dad were pillars of strength. Not only did they open their arms, but when things didn't go as I had planned, they opened their home. Day, after gloomy day, while I tried to focus and get my footing, they reassured me that the rain wouldn't last forever. The clouds would surely part. The sun would shine again. Sometimes you just have to walk by FAITH.

And walk by FAITH, I did. My journals tell the story. I revisited them this week.

When days turned into months, and I couldn't find a job, I wrote of how faithful God is. When I was barely making enough money to put food on my table, I wrote of how faithful God is. When disappointments came, I wrote of how faithful God is. When I felt betrayed by those I trusted, I wrote of how faithful God is. No matter how bleak the days were—and there were many bleak, bleak daysI was never without hope, as long as I had my FAITH


And my FAITH didn't go unrewarded, of courseAs the old hymn says, "All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!" I don't know what my journey would look like without my FAITH, but I know how favored it's been because of it. 


Likewise, I don't know what my life would look like without my two sisters, but how rich it's been because of them! They are like giant sequoias in life's national forest, rooted deep and soaring skyward. Even in the midst of their own battles, they still lift my head when needed and help me find courage to fight another day.

We all need words of encouragement sometimes, and when you hear them from someone who has faced and fought their own fires of adversity, they aren't just hollow words, my friend. You can take them to the bank.

Of course, my journey would've been much lonelier without my beloved Leslie at my side. Her very existence kept me going when death seemed less painful. She is truly God's gift to me, and I love her without measure.

Regardless of why parents divorce, all children are innocent victims, often taking on roles they weren't intended to play, and their struggles can last a lifetime. It's easy for both parents to lose sight of that. One parent is usually focused on self-survival, while the other parent is usually just focused on self. In both cases, the children get lost in the rubble, like war torn refugees.

After it became clear that Leslie and I would be living on our own, she made this poignant collage for me pictured below. She was 16 at the time. Today, it hangs in my bathroom and is a priceless treasure.

If you look closely, near the bottom, you'll see the words, "You can lean on me." I remember the day she gave it to me, and how my heart ached and tears welled up in my eyes when reading those five little words. In fact, tears still come when I read them. Why? Because no child should ever feel the need to shoulder the load of a parent.


Undoubtedly, I could have been a better mother during the stormy years following my divorce. More times than not, I was flying by the seat of my pants, with the wipers on high, trying to see the road and stay out of the ditches. And although that doesn't excuse any failings on my part, I can't change what happened in the pastnone of us can. All I can do is focus on today.

Photo by: Megan Ella Photography

Yes, Leslie is grown and has become a strong woman in many way, but she still needs her mother. I never realized just how much until recently, and I want to take whatever steps necessary to be the best mother I can possibly be. In the words of Mother Theresa, "Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin."

Photos by: Megan Ella Photography

If you know me at all, you know that becoming a grandmother last year added meaning to my life in countless ways, not to mention more joy than one heart can old.

Like most mothers and prospective grandmothers, I suppose, I had hoped a husband (to love, protect and provide) would be a part of my daughter's baby plans, but from the moment I heard the heartbeat of the child she carried, I knew grand-parenting would be a breathtaking experience for me.

And I was right, of course. Loving Audrey Emeline is like no love I've ever known. Whenever she's with me, any burdens I'm carrying are merely feathers in the wind. No, I can't shield her from storms (just like I couldn't shield my own child), but I can be a godly grandmother of FAITH, who prays for her every day, and offers a soft place to fall if she ever needs to come running.

♦    ♦    ♦

And that bring us to August 2014.

As of today, I have a great-paying job, live in a nice house and drive a car that I paid for. I don't know what tomorrow holds, of course, but wherever it leads, my FAITH will go with meand hopefully, friends and family, too. ☺

Someone recently suggested (for the umpteenth time) that I get married again. I admit that 12 years is a long time to make your own coffee and drive your own self, but I'm pretty sure that marrying again isn't something I want to do. However, for the sake of this blog (that just might never end) let's pretend that it is. We have the issue of where to look.

Oh, I've had dates and some would-be suitors, but for the most part, women my age aren't a hot commodity in the dating sceneand quite frankly, men my age aren't such a hot prize either. However, for the sake of this blog (that's becoming a novel as I type) let's pretend that none of that is true.

And let's also pretendsince we've now officially entered the land of make-believethat there is a castle filled with handsome kings who all want to marry me. We then have the issue of what I'm looking for. And therein, my friends, lies the real rub: I have no idea.

I mean, it varies from day to day, depending on my mood, my desires, or my immediate need or crisis. One day, it's a carpenter, the next day, it's a chef. One day a mechanic, the next day a masseur. The other night, after helplessly watching a butter knife go clanging down the kitchen sink, a pea trap expert sounded mighty good to me. (Are you getting my drift here?)

And of course, when twin sister and brother-in-law board Cloud Nine and head to faraway places, the only man I'm interested in is a financially sound one, with a penchant for travel and a big RV.

Perhaps I'm over-thinking thingsas I have a tendency to dobut the way I see it, until I can firmly nail down what I want in a man, I should continue making my own coffee and driving my own self. Maybe in another 12 years, I'll have figured it all out. ♦

Linking with Spiritual Sundays.