Friday, July 25, 2008

Peace and love on the earth

Today I was craving a sandwich from Subway so I went there on my lunch break. There was a sweet, older Greek man running the register, full of vigor and life (like most Greeks I have met). As each customer approached the register, he would ask what the phrase of the day was and point to a note taped to the register that read, "Peace and love on the earth."

When he saw me grinning at him, his face lit up as if he knew me. "Heyyyyy!!" he said, face crinkling. "How are you?!" We bantered on about how peace and love would solve a lot of the world's problems. He told me that everyday he writes a new phrase of the day. I don't remember what his name tag said because it was filled with words about peace and love!

I pointed to the stack of medium-sized cups, asking if that was what came with my meal. He raised his hands up as if to embrace me were there not a counter between us. "You take this," he pointed to the larger cups. "You are my girl!!" He laughed.

That man just made my whole day! As I walked up the street, unable to contain my joy, I noticed a lot of people smiled back at me.

Peace and love on the earth. :o)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

That's just the way we roll!

Nick, Joe, & Kevin Jonas a/k/a The Jonas Brothers

Emily at the concert!

I really didn't want to go, but Barb dragged me along to the JoBros concert here in St. Louis last night. Emily was already going with her dad. Since he had to leave early to go to work, I was able to come down and sit with Em. It turned out to be a really fun time and Em had a blast since she got to see her beloved Nicky!

Nick Jonas

Barb has a serious "mom crush" on Joe. As for me, I was like their mom thinking they were probably too hot in that heat and thinking they were going to get hurt jumping around the stage like that and that some frantic fan was going to pull them into the crowd!

Joe Jonas

Jonas Brothers: Band-In-A-Bus Series Announcement

Okay, I admit it. I didn't want to go, but the Jonas Brothers concert was fun! :o)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

"It's very Greek!"

We just saw the MOST fantastic, albeit cheesy movie tonight: Mamma Mia! Based on the music of ABBA, set on a small island in Greece, has Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, awesome music, dancing, singing, and silliness. What more could you ask for? Go see it - it's FUN! Plus next to Italy (literally), Greece is probably the next coolest place on earth!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Contemplating. . .

I usually don't like pictures of myself, but this one I do. This is me: wet, messy hair and all. Contemplating, planning, thinking, looking forward to the future. You can see the joy about ready to burst forth out of me at any second! ;o)

Does anyone know a word for, "Little things that make me really excited and happy?" For me, it would be blank journals! I guess because I flip through the clean pages, really hungry to know what they will say someday. I've been journaling daily. It has been very healing and inspirational for me. It's stirring up a lot of creativity that has been dormant for a long time.

I don't normally buy books (because I have a bookshelf-full already!) Although we visit either Borders or Barnes & Noble weekly, my money is usually spent on a cafe mocha. I must have been in a book-buying mood last night because I couldn't resist these!

Here is a glimpse inside the Italy book. I sat in Borders last night and got completely LOST in this!!

Just some thoughts on my life since my divorce became final last week. . .

There has been nothing but RELIEF. I expected to feel a little sadness, but I think I worked through all that in the long months of the separation.

This week I had to meet Mike at the bank one last time to split our stimulus check from the government. I think he was a little disappointed in my genuine happiness.

For the last 10 - 12 years, I have worked SO hard on saving my marriage. On the surface everything appeared fine. I realized several years ago that Mike wasn't going to try, so I carried all the weight myself. I even tried to make him change. But the more I pushed, the more he drifted away. Even when I backed off, it made no difference. But I was bound and determined to make this marriage work.

I think the relief stems from the fact that I no longer am working to attain the unattainable. I'm really set free. Although I want to just fly forward into my future, I know this is like a waiting phase for me, to gather my bearings, to get my ducks in a row, to enjoy life to the fullness, to appreciate each and every moment of each new day.

( I made this plate at a ceramics night organized by my sister-in-law, Jeneane. We had a great time, and I was really pleased with the outcome of this!)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Twilight Teaser Trailer #2 [HQ]

Yesssssssssss!!! I CAN'T WAIT!!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

My friends are cool! :o)

Sunday after church my friends took me out for a celebration lunch at my favorite Asian food place, Stir Crazy. Sue even brought a cake that said, "To a Blessed Beginning." She really wanted it to say, "Move On, Mary Jo," but her friend with her at the time didn't think that would be appropriate. I thought it was great, however! So we'll just read between the lines of this nice, polite cake to see what it really says!

Thank you Sue, Patty, Betty, Mary, Lesia, and Brenda. You girls are the best! :o)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Happy Dance!

It was something I feared would happen for years. It was something I dreaded and worked so hard NOT to allow it to happen. I fought against it and never realized how miserable it made me.

But as of about noon on Thursday, July 10th, it was officially and legally declared that I am now a single woman. I never knew how absolutely relieved I would feel. I'm free from the bondage that had me for so long. On the surface life looked good. I fought the good fight and did everything possible to force the marriage to work....but it didn't.

In the end, I can look back with no regrets. I wasn't a perfect wife. In fact, I became quite a shrew in the past few years because I was tired of fighting to make something happen that just wasn't going to work. I tried to force Mike into a role he couldn't fulfill--that of a good husband.

It's an old cliche, but marriage is a two-way street. I used to say to Mike in frustration, "Do you see that one of my legs is longer than the other? It's because I am dragging this ball and chain all by myself!" Well the shackles have been cut and the chains have fallen! (Can I get a "hallelujah!"?)

When I first got married, I was young and naive. Back then I thought I didn't have worth unless my marital status was that of "Mrs." Because of low self-esteem, I thought Mike was the best I could ever find. I wrote in my journal back then that I was actually mad at him because he wasn't my ideal man. Yet I married him anyway.

If and when I ever decide to marry again, it will not be because I need the man to define who I am. It will be because we have a mutual respect, friendship, and love for one another and want to join together in a true partnership.

For now, it's nice to revel in this newfound independence.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Believe in Something Better

A few days after the tragedy in my life happened last August, the words, "Something Better" formed so clearly in my mind, I couldn't get away from it. I took it to mean that God has something better in store for my life after going through all the garbage I had been through these past several years. It was so strong in my mind, in fact, that I typed up the words and posted them in the office and in the kitchen to encourage me during down times.

One day I discovered Emily had decorated the sign in the office. This has been a source of encouragement for me these past 11 months.

Last week, I was pleasantly surprised to see a billboard while driving down the road. It's an ad for U.S. Cellular. It was kind of a confirmation for me, and I thought the timing was just perfect with the closure of my marriage this week.

Monday, July 7, 2008

How do you spell relief?

D-I-V-O-R-C-E (I hear you all singing like Tammy Wynette!)

Yes, FINALLY, after 11 painful months, and 3 long days, the divorce papers were signed today.

And Mike didn't go down without a fight. Every time my attorney left the room, Mike called me every name in the book, slammed my religion, you name it. But that's the person he's become. Point the finger at everyone and everything else so you don't have to take responsiblity for your own actions!

I thought I would be sad when it came to signing away 20 years of marriage, but let me tell you, I thoroughly enjoyed signing my name on every line.

I also know that I would not wish divorce on my worst enemy!

I feel like I have come out on the other side of a very harsh storm. I'm kind of numb right now, but am looking forward to a great future.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


We had a "blast" (HA!) at Barb and Brad's on the 4th of July. Everyone was there except for Lauren, who had to work. Our sweet girl, Aly, kept everyone entertained, along with Brad's step-sister, Mandy, and cousin, Riley ;o)

It was so much fun that we, along with Marty, ended up staying past midnight. Thanks to Barb and Brad who always put on a good party!

Aly's getting so big!

Return of Crazy Firecracker Man!

Marty, Unc, Chris, & Brad entertain the kids with snakes and parachutes.

Katie, Emily, & Melanie chillin' by the pool (the weather was surprisingly cool for a St. Louis 4th of July)

Stylin' Aly (Her dad doesn't approve of the two-piece bathing suit though!)

The only safe place from the crazy fireworks!

Emily makes a new friend (Riley)

Check out Aly's itty bitty pigtails!

Mandy, ready to hit the beach.

Me and my girlies!

The stars of the show: Riley (he's a lifeguard!) and Mandy. They belong to Brad's mom and aunt.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


July 4th will not only mark our country's day of independence, but also my own independence in a way. It will be the 11-month anniversary of that infamous day when I found Mike's journal that opened with the words, "I love Brandy......." All the fears that had cornered me over the last few years rushed at me and engulfed me. He finally, actually had done it. After all the threats and warnings that if he cheated on me again, it would be finally came to pass.

I remember that first night after I made him leave, Katie, Emily, and I all crammed into the same bed, all very frightened, none of us able to sleep. A part of me hoped Mike would walk back in the door and tell me it was all just a bad joke and a nightmare. That he was still the good man he was back when he married me. That he only loved, desired, and was faithful to me.

But real life doesn't happen that way. I can say I have been through every range of emotion in this, but here we are, almost a year later. Hopefully the divorce papers will be signed this week (now that Mike has finally fired his crazy lawyer who has kept this dragging on way too long). I also will close on the refinance loan this week that will put the house in my name alone.

Last year at this time, things were pretty tense around this household. Katie already knew about the affair and Emily had her suspicions. I was clueless although I knew something was severely wrong with Mike. He had already become a stranger and I was feeling really creeped out, but I just didn't know why.

All in all, we just don't know how our lives can change in such a short time, do we? It's making me appreciate each moment, even the bad ones. It's all part of the journey, and I have to say, despite all the heartache, I'm really liking the Mary Jo I've become (and am becoming). Who knows where life will take me next. Or what my journal entry will say a year from now. All I can say is that I'm looking forward to the adventure!

To all of you who may be going through it, whatever it is in your own life, hang it there. The bad stuff won't last and when you do make it through, there will be an incredible liberty like you have never known!