No Regrets

I couldn’t help but throw this in here… this was a great movie. Who doesn’t love a little Scotty P? Know what I’m sayin?  Ha ha!

no regrets

On a more serious note…

My husband once asked me where I was years ago. We didn’t find each other until later in life. We were both in our thirties when we met and started dating, each with one marriage already under our belts and him with three children. His thought in asking the question was why couldn’t we have met sooner and had more time together? We have a wonderful relationship and have enjoyed so much in the eleven plus years we’ve been together and I know we’ll do the same for the next forty or so years. But, why couldn’t we have had those earlier years together as well? Why dd it take so long for God to bring us together? He had His reasons.

stupid

My answer to his question was this, I wouldn’t have dated him if we’d met years earlier. We were two completely different people back then. Knowing who he was, I wouldn’t have liked him. He was far from the God fearing, caring and supportive man he is now. That’s not a put-down, it’s just to say he hadn’t had the experiences in life that made him into who he is now. And it wasn’t just him, I was nowhere near the person I am today either. Life has a way of causing us to recreate ourselves.

trials

 

Everything that happens to us, everything we experience in life, has an affect on who we are and who we become. I’ve learned from the things life has thrown at me. The pleasant things taught me how to be appreciative. The not so pleasant things, well, they taught me how to cope. For me, the things I experienced before I met my husband prepared me to be a better wife to him and I believe the same is true of him. Our first marriages taught us what kind of husband and wife we didn’t want to be, as well as what kind of husband and wife we didn’t want to be married to. It wasn’t easy, but we made it through and were better because of it. Unfortunately, others are not so lucky. The things that they have been through could have a more negative affect on who they become. I believe it’s all in your determination to make lemons into lemonade. It’s your choice how you react to every situation. You can choose to sulk and throw yourself a pity party when things are going wrong. Or, you can pick yourself up, deal with the situation and move on. How do you find the strength? I turn to God. He doesn’t promise life will be easy, but He does promise us that we don’t have to go through it alone.

Thanks to God’s perfect plan, I know I am who I’m supposed to be. Did I have to go through all those tough times to get where I am today? Absolutely. In Romans 8:28, the Bible says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

I made it through. I survived all the trials of the past and they’ve made me who I am. I am happy, I am with the man of my dreams, I have a wonderful family and job, amazing friends and a life that is as close to perfect as possible. There’s nothing I would change about the past, I have no regrets.

Happily_ever_after_by_jucylucyinspired

 

D*I*V*O*R*C*E

Once upon a time; long, long ago… lived a beautiful princess. And that’s about where the fairy tale ends.

I was married once before. I was nineteen years old, young and stupid. I actually thought I was in love. In truth, I believe I was more in love with the idea of being in love. We had a big wedding, four hundred or so guests. A reception that would have been fit for a king. It was a day long event that started with beauty appointments and brunch and ended with dancing the night away. There I was, in my beautifully long, flowing, white dress. All eyes were on me; I was lavished with attention and I just ate it up. I savored the sweet, flavorful taste, that lasted about twelve hours.

And then the party was over and real life set in.

for_better_or_for_worse_by_northgeorgiatattoos-d5u2ko8

I’m not going to go into great detail about the problems in my first marriage that ultimately led to my divorce. I will say that I tried to make it work, for four long years, I tried. I didn’t believe in divorce, until it became a reality.

I tried ‘playing the field,’ but that just wasn’t me. I wasn’t the dating type. I was the girlfriend type. So, for the next eleven years, I was in three long-term relationships. I just couldn’t seriously consider marriage again and the reason will probably surprise you. When I would think about getting married, my thoughts would always lead to a) if it doesn’t work out, there’s always divorce and b) it’s so easy to get divorced. There it is, the sad truth and it’s still sad today.

divorce

Our society has made it so easy to get divorced. From easyfastdivorce.com to one day divorce or separation by phone 1-877-***-****. Of course, when I got divorced almost twenty years ago, it was a little more difficult. It only cost $325.00 and took six months (only because that was the law of the state). The thought process being that if you waited six months, you might change your mind. It didn’t work on me. Now that waiting period is no longer mandatory. In my state, your divorce can be granted within twenty days after filing. Yep, that’s the problem with society today. Sin is so easily acceptable and therefore so readily available.

Whatever happened to ’til death do us part?’ I understand that, in certain circumstances, divorce is necessary. What I don’t understand is how people place such a small value on the vows that they make to each other. Look, I know I once broke my vows too. My only excuse is that I was young and I don’t think I truly understood what I was vowing to do, but I learned from that mistake. I didn’t get married again until I understood that it meant forever. Divorce is not an option for me. Unfortunately, there are those that feel it is an easy fix for their marriage. As soon as things get a little tough, it’s easier to run than to fight for the relationship.

Look, I don’t know the ins and outs of everyone’s marriage. All I’m saying is that I wish people would think before they get married and think twice before they consider divorce. When two people break up, they are not the only two people that their divorce affects.

divorce-effects-children

 

 

 

The Real Mom

I can still remember the conversation that we had almost five years ago. My oldest son had just turned eighteen and was preparing to start his career in the Army. We had just finished a three mile run together and were walking to cool down. I stopped him mid-stride and asked him if we could talk.

“I’m sorry,” I began, “if you thought I was too hard on you.”

He turned to me and said, “Mama, you don’t have to be sorry. I know you just wanted and still want what’s best for me.”

use this one heartWhen my kids were younger, I used to have this fear. I think at some point, all stepmothers have the same one. One day, one of the children that you love as your own will turn and look at you and shout, “You’re not my real mom!” Of course, you know it’s just out of anger and/or disappointment and they don’t really mean it. But, it doesn’t matter. The words prick at your heart like a thorny rose. And once said, they cannot be unheard and you cannot stop your heart from breaking.

 

It’s been nine and a half months since we’ve spoken. I tried to reach out to him, several times, but he will not respond. It hurts. You have no idea how much it hurts. I continue to pray for him, every day, I pray that he’s happy and healthy. He’s with his real mom now.  I hope she’s watching out for him… like I used to do.

 

 

 

 

To Speak Or…

I have this friend, she’s pretty amazing. I truly admire her, but I’d never tell her to her face. Not that she doesn’t deserve to know what I think of her, but because it would just embarrass her. This friend, she’s an awesome mom and wife; she’s a great daughter and sister. She’s just an all around wonderful person. But what I admire about her most is her penchant for speaking her mind. I truly believe this is a gift she possesses and I feel I must learn from her! Ha ha! Honestly, I’ve picked up a trick or two from this friend already, but I know there’s much more to learn.

yoda

I used to be shy, but I’ve come out of my shell quite a bit. I used to be scared to speak up, but I found my voice. It just takes me a little while to, uh, well… get comfortable with what I need to say. Who am I kidding, it takes me a while because I have to over analyze and over think every situation. I have to go over my words in my mind before I actually allow them to come out of my mouth. Then, after so much time has passed, I am not even sure that it’s worth speaking up after all.

But, like I said, I’m much better than I used to be. It seems the more passionate I am about the subject, the more likely I am to ‘speak before I think.’  I don’t know if that is necessarily a good thing, but it definitely seems to be accurate in most situations. And, truthfully, things do usually turn out for the best in those instances.

speak your mind

So, to think or not to think, that is the question! I’m just not one hundred percent sure what the correct answer is. I think, maybe, I should try to find a balance between emotionally blurting out my thoughts and feelings and overthinking, which usually leads to talking myself out of saying anything at all.

I have plenty to say. I have thoughts and opinions that matter. The most important thing to me is to be able to verbally articulate my thoughts and feelings. This means enough to me to try to find a way to make people listen to what I have to say. This may not be an easy process, but it’s definitely worth working on.

I’ve finally faced the fact that I am a work in progress. I look back at the past and realize how far I’ve come and then I look at the present and realize I still have a long way to go! I know I’ll get there… one day.

 

 

 

 

 

Who Put the Wicked in Wicked Stepmother?

Lady Tremaine is probably one of the most well-known fairy tale characters of all time. Perhaps you know her better as Cinderella’s wicked stepmother.

Evil-Stepmother

We all know how she earned that title. She ordered her stepdaughter around daily and Cinderella knew there would be consequences should she choose to disobey. She was terrible to Cinderella, she was wicked and therefore, very deserving of the title she was given.

Not all stepmothers are like Lady Tremaine.92fcb636f8e9d1a4e7ade24f644dd0e4--evil-stepmother-step-parenting

There are some awesome stepmoms out there and they seem to get a bad wrap right from the get-to! They’re actually called wicked or evil or stepmonster. The good ones; well they have to overcome a stereotype that’s been going on for generations. And why? Because there’s bad blood between the biological mom and her ex? Because there’s jealousy and anger and bitterness between the bio and the step? Could it be that there are some stepmoms out there that are wicked and evil and stepmonsters? I’m sure it’s a combination of all of these things and then some; and it’s sad that parenting has come down to the feelings of the adults instead of the well-being of the children.

 

As a mom who didn’t give birth to her children, I would ask this of all ‘step’ moms; love them like they’re your own. You’ve been entrusted with an invaluable gift, a blessing from God. Your husband chose you to be a caregiver and protector of the people he treasures the most, his children. Once you say I do, his children become your children. Always love and treat them as such.

To the biological moms that automatically think another woman’s going to take your kids away, I ask you to rest easy. Don’t let fear and insecurity lead you to make snap judgments. Know that your child loving your ex’s new wife is a good thing, it doesn’t mean that they love you any less. Be thankful that there’s someone that loves your children as much as you do.

Co-parenting can be difficult for the best of people. If you put the needs of the children before the feelings of the adults, it becomes much easier.

 

Coffee, Community and Catastrophes

I had my first cup of coffee at 3:24 this afternoon. Normally, I would consider this a tragedy, but not today. Of course, like most, I enjoy a steaming hot cup of coffee to start my day. There’s nothing quite like the aroma of freshly brewed beans to wake up the senses. Add in the tasty array of flavored creamers and what more could you ask for? As that first sip makes it’s way through your lips and hits your tongue, you feel like you could accomplish almost anything.

coffee

Today was a little out of the ordinary. Yesterday, we experienced weather like nothing I’d ever seen, at least in person. Yesterday, Hurricane Irma hit Florida. We lost power around 1:00 this morning. Sleep was extremely elusive, due to the loud winds and the rain that battered at the windows all night. I was up many times, checking on my kids and the house. I think I drifted off on the couch one last time, around 5:00 AM and was back up at 7-ish. All I could think about was COFFEE! Then it hit me, the electricity was still out. No way to brew that heavenly drink I so desperately longed for. To make matters worse, the city was practically shut down, so there was not a store open anywhere. I realized I was not getting my coffee any time soon.

Once I accepted the fact that coffee would have to come later, I splashed a little water on my face and began to inspect the house for any damage. I started in the kids’ rooms; 1) to make sure they were okay and 2) to make sure that no water made it’s way through the windows or ceilings. They were still sleeping peacefully and not a drop of water on anything. After surveying the inside, I stepped outside to check the trees and roof. The rain had stopped, but the wind was still blowing forcefully. I was happy to see that our roof was in tact and not a shingle was missing. I stepped out back and noticed that one of our smaller trees was leaning at a forty-five degree angle and a much larger tree, next to the pond belonging to the adjoining community, was beginning to crack. I knew, without a doubt, that tree was coming down any minute. All I could think was how fortunate we were that the tree was leaning away from our house and not towards it. Ten minutes later, my psychic abilities proved true; the tree fell.

fallen tree

Once I realized the disaster we had avoided, I did something I should have done before even thinking about coffee… I prayed. I was overcome with the thought of possibilities, the thought of what could have happened. I had prayed the night before, I had asked God to keep His hand of protection around everyone in the midst of this storm and I had faith He would answer my prayers. But yet, this morning, I hadn’t bothered to thank Him. I stopped, then and there, dropped to my knees and cried out to God in thanksgiving.

Now, it was time to check in with the neighbors. Thank God (again) that my iPad was fully charged. We have a residents’ page on Facebook and everyone was sharing pictures and information. I was relieved to see that the damage to our streets and homes was minimal. What made me happy was the sense of family that was evident in every post and comment. We are part of an amazing community. Neighbors who truly care and look out for each other, neighbors who are willing to help with anything; anytime. Again, I was feeling extremely blessed!

Others weren’t so fortunate. The damage and destruction caused by Irma was felt throughout the entire state. There is damage to property caused by wind, debris and fallen trees. There is flooding in varying degrees in different parts of my city. People I know and love and absolute strangers have lost so much. My sympathy goes out to all of them.

 

With everything going on in the last few days, the fact that today is September 11th hasn’t escaped my memory. Sixteen years ago, we experienced another devastation. The only difference is, today’s catastrophe was an act of nature. September 11, 2001 was an act of terror carried out by man. Either way, there are lifetime affects that all of us will have to deal with. Please pray for Florida, pray for the American people and please pray for our country.

It’s sad that it often takes a tragedy to put things in perspective. This morning, all I could think about was coffee. Tonight, I’m reminded of how important it is to always count your blessings. Tell loved ones how much they mean to you. And always, always remember to thank God for all He gave and continues to give to all of us.

 

 

 

 

Hope and the Movies

We’ve decided to hunker down at home and wait out the storm. Every channel on television is continuously showing the ever changing path of Hurricane Irma. Women, they can be so indecisive! So, what’s one to do when work and most of the city has shut down for the next few days? Get cozy on the couch and start a movie marathon. Thank God we haven’t lost power… yet.

Movies have always been one of my favorite past times. I love the way a story just comes to life on the screen. You get caught up in the lives of the characters and the plot. The next thing you know, real life ceases to exist; if only for the next two hours. I guess you could say that movies are a form of escape, if you so choose to use them for that purpose.

What happens when the movie ends? You remember; you remember the scenes and stories and you remember how they made you feel. You can recall those feelings when life puts you in similar situations. But, things aren’t always like the movies.

I’d say I choose my movie based on my  mood. A romantic comedy, action/adventure, suspense/thriller, or maybe a cult classic. There’s not a genre that I don’t like. It all depends on how I’m feeling at the time. The only ones I struggle with are the movies about family drama or discontent. Oh, I struggle with them, but I watch them all the same. I watch them when I’m sad or need a good cry. I guess I consider it a type of therapeutic torture. Can you say oxymoron?!

I tend to find joy in watching movies with dysfunctional families. You know, the ones where nobody can get a long due to some tragic event in the past, that you’ll likely find out about toward the end of the movie. I know what you’re thinking… what is wrong with her?! Trust me, I get it. It’s not that I like to see people (fictional or real) suffer, it’s not that at all. My joy comes from seeing those characters overcome the situations that put them in such a sad state in the first place. At the end of the movie, everyone is emotionally healed and realizes how important family is. They are all so full of love for one another that they can’t help but embrace each other while tears of joy and regret run down their faces. Joy for the relationship they have now and will have in the future and regret for all the time that they spent being bitter and angry.

Like I said earlier, life isn’t like the movies; there’s not always a happy ending to every situation. I guess, if you care to think about it this way, movies with happy endings give us hope. They give the single person hope that they can find true love. They give a child the hope that they can be a superhero to someone. They give someone struggling with finances the hope that they could find riches beyond their wildest dreams. Happy endings give me hope that I can overcome heartache from my past.

To quote one of my favorite movies of all time, The Shawshank Redemption,  “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” – Andy Dufresne

Andy-dufresne

The heart and mind often want different things. Which should you listen to? Today, my mind says to move on and let go of the past. There’s nothing there but hurt and heartache. My heart says to hold on to hope because maybe, just maybe… things will be different.

 

 

 

 

like mother, like daughter

My baby girl is in her second year of college and taking her first poetry class. This is her first assignment…

To An Awful Gardener And An Even Worse Storm
She was a raging hurricane
One that causes the most destruction and leaves behind the most debris
The kind of storm that creates wreckage strong enough to take out whole cities
Her debris always made its way into my city, my home, my heart
But in my heart she tore away at the ground and uprooted the flowers she once tried to nurture
when I was born
She planted daisies and roses but she never came back to water them, letting them grow weak
and die
Summer is the prime time for storms, hurricanes in particular
This is when she would show up
She would drop in, seeming calm and peaceful, only to crash and burn, leaving a path of rubble
so long you couldn’t see where it began
Perhaps this is why Spring is my favorite season
Spring is months following hurricane season
Leaving time to heal, after making it through the eye of the storm
Fall left time to put back together what little pieces I had left
Then comes spring
Bursting with life and growth, restarting rather than rebuilding
I then remember during this time that with the destruction of one thing coms the birth of
something new
In spring time, I plant new flowers
I watch as they blossom and bloom,
Like a rainbow after a thunderstorm
I am then reminded that the rainbow was once given as a sign to remember we would never be
flooded again

Matthew 18:15

via Daily Prompt: Yellow

Fear causes us to do stupid things and make stupid mistakes. The definition of a coward is a person who lacks the courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things. There are many synonyms for the word coward; yellow belly, chicken, lily liver, wimp, etc. No matter what you call it, fear is a part of human nature.

I believe one of my biggest fears is confrontation. However, as a Christian, confronting your brother or sister in Christ is something you’re told you must do. In Matthew 18:15, the bible says, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.”

We all make mistakes, I know I’ve made my fair share; but I’m learning from the mistakes I’ve made. I have hurt people, with no intentions to do so. Fortunately, I have been able to save relationships with some because they did the right thing. They came to me and told me how they felt and explained what I did wrong. I was told what I did and I was able to ask for forgiveness. Thankfully, I was granted that forgiveness.

One of the worst mistakes you can make in a relationship is involving others in your disputes. Again, the bible says to confront your brother between you and him alone. If I do something to offend, hurt or upset you, what good does it do to tell someone else? How does that help our relationship? It doesn’t, it just allows someone else to influence your feelings on the situation. Of course, I understand why people do it. I’ve done it myself, just one of the many mistakes I’ve made. You tell someone else so that they can confirm that your feelings are justified. Nobody wants to be told that they are wrong or they shouldn’t feel a certain way. But again, involving others in something that should be between just you and the person that hurt you is a sure way of ruining your relationship.

Fear is just a part of being human, but fear of confrontation is something I’m learning to get over; especially in the area of saving relationships that are important to me. It’s never easy, but the reward is so much greater than the alternative.