Monday, December 6, 2010

I'm grateful for that boy genius, Mark Zuckerberg

What did we ever do before Facebook? :o)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What's Wrong with This Picture?

My daughters are going to their dad's tonight for their new blended-family Christmas pictures. I have lots of friends and family with blended families. This is not a new concept to me. It just feels really odd that my girls will be in a family picture without me!

I struggle with this perception: This man took a vow to be faithful to
only me, till death do us part. He slept with numerous women while we were still married (all the while pretending to be the good husband). Now he skips off into the sunset with a new wife and family. Something is truly wrong with this picture.

And it's not just me. I see this happening in today's society all too often. People are throwing away their marriages with a casual toss at the slightest sign of boredom or problems. Where is the commitment? Are there none that are faithful and want to work out their problems anymore in this day and age?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Beyond Thankful

A scene from my early morning walk

Thanksgiving is fast becoming my next favorite time of year after Christmas. What used to be just a prelude to the big holiday season, has now become a time of reflection and gratitude for me, finding myself thankful even for the difficult times. I continue to be amazed at God's goodness and how He is turning a tragedy in my life right around into a most beautiful thing.

And why did I try to hang on so long to something that made me so miserable? Because change is difficult and requires us to stretch ourselves and move beyond what we are used to--even if it's uncomfortable, cramped, and suffocating in the little box of life we resign ourselves to.

The horizon before me ever widens as time moves on. And this inexplicable sense of liberty keeps expanding as I move forward. There is still much in me that needs to change, and I'm not disillusioned to think everything will be pie in the sky. I know there will be difficult times ahead. Such is life. But I like the view I have in front of me, and I'm looking forward to the surprises God has in store.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Symbol of My Life

This is my "tree" that my ex's grandmother gave us in the last year of our marriage. It looked different then. It was tall, ugly, and gangly. I wanted to leave it out on the deck in the winter to die, along with my marriage. But I didn't. And the next spring, along with my new life, I hacked away at all the old crap. There was new growth at the bottom, and this is what it looks like 3 years later. A symbol of my life. Oh, and I love the tree now, by the way! And my life. :o)

You can see in the background the gangly ugliness of the tree in its previous life (and we won't talk about the guilt flowers from my ex when I had NO CLUE he was being unfaithful to me, but I digress!)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Let Me Eat Cake ;o)

Last Friday night, I enjoyed a delicious slice of my ex-husband's wedding cake.

Yes, you heard that right!

The wedding and reception were held at the couple's house so my daughters, in their beautiful bridesmaid dresses, brought home enough leftovers for us to host a small dinner party ourselves. As I stood in my kitchen and partook of the delicious chocolate and cream cheese cake (home made by the bride herself), I smiled and thought of how far I have come in these past few years.

In fact, as hard as it is to explain, I felt a sense of elation that my ex was remarrying. Even though we have been disconnected for some time, this day seemed to pronounce an even deeper sensation of liberty in my life. It makes no sense, I know, but I think someday I will see.

Forgiveness is quite a beautiful thing. It is indeed a gift from God as I never ever could forgive that man on my own. Harboring anger, resentment and the bitterness that stems from it only served to make me a miserable person. As time passed, I realized how much better my life has become as a single woman. This sense of liberty arose within me, a freedom like I never knew.

I remember talking to God several years ago, feeling so trapped in a miserable marriage, wondering, "Is this all there is to life? I made a vow, 'till death do us part,' that I will adhere to, but God, is this as good as it gets?" The simple reply I got and didn't understand at the time was, "Just wait."

I received my own proposal of marriage a few weeks ago from a lovesick man who just isn't my type. His affection is endearing, but makes me realize what an independent woman I have become. At one time in my life, I felt I needed a husband to make me worthwhile. I took the first best thing to come along, even though there were many flaws and it wasn't a good match. There was true love for awhile, but it was short-lived (on his part anyway) and it left me in the cold, wondering what in the world I had been doing.

So I celebrated that night with that sweet slice of cake, wishing my ex and his bride all the best in my mind (and lots of good luck to her!!)

The path before me opens ever wider. Unlimited possibilities are within reach.

Dreams really do come true, Cinderella, and they don't always revolve around a prince.

It's a piece of cake! ;o)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

"Please.....what is do you say.....'carry'?" Arina from Kazakhstan asked with her wide blue eyes and shy smile.

I am beaming because I have found my calling, or actually I should say I knew my calling but am finally putting it into action!

Last week I began as a volunteer tutor in an English as a Second Language (ESL) class at a local high school. The certified teacher, Victoria, threw me right into the teaching on the very first day. It felt so natural for me to read a simple story to the class. I carefully a-nun-ci-at-ed each sound, asked the students to "repeat please," and had fun demonstrating what the word, "sway" means by moving back and forth as if I was a tree!

The class of 12 or 13 students range in age from early 20s to late 50s. Countries represented (so far) include Korea, Mexico, Ukraine, Venezuela, Kenya, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, and El Salvador. The very first evening I walked in, the students smiled and looked at me with respect. Within 10 minutes, Soon, an older Korean lady, called me "Teacher," and my heart melted!

All these students are here voluntarily to improve their English. It's awesome that they attend for free as the program is funded through the State of Missouri.

I love it when Antonio from Mexico corrects Boris from Ukraine on the correct personal pronoun he needs for a sentence. I love it when we, as a class, from different languages, cultures and parts of the world, can share a joke and all laugh together. I love to see the look in their eyes when understanding comes upon them.

I already knew, but have learned even moreso, that a smile knows no language barriers. I love it when I see the students from different countries partnering together in their workbooks.

I love it that at last I have taken one giant leap into my future!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'm Updating Just for You, Helen!

Um, yeah well. I'm rather embarrassed that I never seem to have anything to say here anymore. Maybe because I'm obsessed with the short-and-easy random statuses I leave on Facebook?

Kat's friend Helen told her to tell me to update, so here I am! TA-DA! :o)

I just survived another tax season. Strange, but good. My top week was 92.5 hours. The older I get, the more stamina I seem to have. Hmm. I imagine one of these years I'll just collapse for real! But I love my job. The overtime is great (and the extra cash, necessary) and the long hours are just short-term.

Now I'm in recovery mode, trying not to fall into the laziness trap and trying not to get overwhelmed by my very long to-do list. Today I made an excursion to this place. I used to be intimidated by such places back in my married days when I was a completely differently person and didn't realize that women could like this stuff too! I'm making a wishlist of cool things I want (yeah, they're really cool to me now!) leaf blower/vacuum, Shark steam mop, maybe a power washer. (I know - call me a freak!)

I've been following Dave Ramsey's program of paying off the debt I've accumulated because of and since my divorce. I haven't used a credit card since last November. Yeah! I'm anticipating being debt-free (except for the house) in three years. Then I'll be off to see the world (Lord willing!) Whee!

Another daily part of my life is this and what a HUGE blessing Brian Hardin and his ministry has been to me. I love his realness. God wants us to be REAL, not caught up in tradition and surrounded by a bubble to protect ourselves in. So many people are just too comfortable in their saved spot on the pew each week. WWJD? He got out in the streets where the real people were. I want that too.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What's in a Name?

My good friend, Kelly, posed a question on Facebook this morning: "What does your name mean and are you living up to it?" Interesting. I've always known the importance of names in biblical days, but today? I didn't give much thought to naming my girls Kaitlynn ("pure") Rose ("fame or flower") and Emily ("rival") Ann ("grace"). I just liked the beautiful sound of their names.

I Googled a name-meaning website and discovered this:

My first name Mary means "sea of bitterness" (I have swam in that sea) and "rebelliousness" (I have defiantly raised that banner high). I like the Egyptian meaning which is "beloved." My middle name is Johanna which is the female version of John which means "gracious" - So I shall call myself "Beloved Grace" and hope I can live up to that! :o)

Kelly told me that Dr. Gerald Jeffers recently spoke on the name Mary which comes from "Mariam" which originally comes from "Moriah" (bitter water). Jesus was born from something meaning "bitter" and He turned it into something great. I like that!

Which reminds me of one of my favorite worship songs, "So Beautiful" by Kari Jobe and Christ for the Nations. Here is the verse that always touches me so deeply:

Merciful Father
There is none that compares to you
Who can take my bitterness
And make something sweet?
Only You

This is a cool website to check out:

So what does your name mean? Are you living up to it?