September 2014

Because Adverbs are Important

by Priscilla on September 26, 2014

I can’t remember exactly when my elementary teachers began instructing my classmates and me in the way of differentiating between adjectives and adverbs. I do remember the list of questions that each one answers though. I can also show you where to place adjectives and adverbs on a diagram, but, alas, many public schools no longer teach diagramming thanks to the powers that be who have determined diagramming does nothing to boost achievement scores, (which is a bunch of hooey to use my father’s term for s***) but since I’m getting ready to write about grace, I’ll save my diatribe for the political leaders in the state of Indiana for later.

ADJECTIVES

Which one?

What kind?

How many?

Whose?

ADVERBS

How?

When?

Where?

Why?

How often?

To what extent?

I’ve been thinking a lot about Romans 12:5 But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. That’s the King James version. I don’t read the Bible in that version a lot anymore because when I do I feel the urge to run to my mother’s basement, dig out a pilgrim costume and don a bonnet. I do recall a lot of verses in that version though since it is the one I grew up with and memorized from. I looked at many other versions of the same verse and the adverbs are pretty similar . Where and more. The verbs changed up a few times…multiplied, increased, but where and  more stayed the same.

Yesterday, I was struck with the thought that Paul didn’t use the word if because if I were writing a church, I’d like to make things a little easy on them, and when it comes to the effects of sin on all of us if is much more palatable than where. But I’m not Paul, (even though my namesake was a business owner/seamstress who helped fund his travels…and probably did a little preaching and teaching herself. )  If means maybe. Where forces me to accept its presence.  I’m a 43 year old woman sitting in the middle of a situation WHERE sin abounds. Not if. The battle for positive thinking is an ongoing warfare every minute of every day. My kids have found me crumpled, crying alone in the closet – not the model of a strong woman I want them to witness. I make up long, eloquent, angry speeches in my head that a certain person will never hear, but keeps the folks in cars passing me on my bike guessing about, Who in the world is that woman talking to? My, she’s animated. I hope she doesn’t run into that tree up there.

So where does sin abound? In my home. In the world outside my home. In super market lines and highway lanes. It peeks out of orchestra pits and glares down from 747s leavings trails across the sky.  From courtrooms to arenas, indoor swimming pools to outdoor arid deserts. It’s in my heart, mind and motivations. Sin Abounds. It’s enough to push down hard on my chest daring me to try to push out another breath. Whispering into my ears and further into my soul, What’s the point of fighting me?  I’m everywhere. I will crush you. I will steal your joy and your laughter. I will snatch your humor and your pride….your blessings and your future I. ABOUND…

…but then that adverb…that one little word pushes through the cracks of hope and screams MORE!  My names is GRACE, and I am MORE! There’s a song that sings, Your grace is enough. That’s nice, but enough sometimes doest cut it. Right now I need grace to abound and about MORE.

When I open my eyes and look around, really look, it’s happening even though I may not see it. Grace is present. It starts small, but keeps growing with every acknowledgment that I makes and every tip of the hat to its presence.

It’s in the practice of celebration…sharing with friends the joys of eating caramel apples after two years of abstaining due to braces.

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It’s the dog at our feet, waiting for a mistake…just one little mistake that works in her favor.

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It’s a simple craft made by melting crayons with a hair dryer…

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…or the expectation of something wonderful using only needles and yarn.

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(Yes, I am aware that, that enormous exposed safety needle is one giant safety hazard. Get over yourself…this is a nice spiritual post about Grace after all.)

It’s Twin B teaching herself koinos Greek…

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…while Twin A sits for hours repeating French words and phrases to no one but herself. IMG_4282

If I am going to beat back the where of sin, I must make an effort to recognize all the mores of Grace.

This morning, just getting the words tapped onto my keyboard is yet one more sign.

Grace is out there for each of us. It’s more than the where that lurks around every corner. Look for it today. Seek and you will find…more.

(See, a little English lesson now and then can be a good thing.)

 

 

 

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Tears of Joys

by Priscilla on September 23, 2014

I’m a crier.

I’ve been one since the moment I took in that first breath of life. I cry at marching band formations. I cry  watching kids run around the school track.  I cry when the voice at the other end of the phone says, I’m sorry. She’s gone. I cry at kindergarten graduation ceremonies (and not just because they are two hours long, although, yes, that was one reason.) Flowers make me weep. The wide pan out at the end of Steel Magnolias causes me to wail.  Closing A Prayer for Owen Meany left me gasping for breath. Hellos in the airports. Goodbyes at the front door of the school. Walking into church. Walking out of church. Dashing through sprinklers and hurtling through horrible big city traffic. Both That’s What Makes You Beautiful and  Appalachian Springs reduce me in a puddle of tears.

Today was no different. Today when I looked up to see Twin A’s smiling braces-less face, I was just….got. Thirty minutes later I walked in to see Twin B sitting with her big black nerd glasses resting on her tiny nose beaming up at me revealing the most beautiful, missing metal grin. I couldn’t stop them…the pesky tears. You’d think after all these years of water works I’d have the good sense to remember I need to carry the tissue with me and leave the mascara at home.

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When it comes to my daughters, my reasons for the tears go much deeper than the toothy grins. A few weeks ago they stood in front of several hundred people at church and read the familiar passage from Romans 12 about all of us coming together with our different gifts to share in the work that is God’s. I don’t know what it is about those two, but whenever the congregation sees them walking up the steps to the larger platform, they settle down. They lean in. It’s The Girls. There is something special about them. No one can put their finger on it…even their mother, but when The Girls speak, it completely explains why Jesus told the disciples to lay off the little kids. Really, is there anything more beautiful than children repeating God’s words? I’ve worked with them a little on things like stage presence and projection, but the rest is their doing. Twin A speaks with power and authority while B fills in the spaces with perfect pregnant pauses and soothing tones. It’s as if they spent nine months in my womb working on their duet acting skills.

I teared up…of course. An usher came over and said, I know that look…it’s pride. Those are some great girls. 

While I was appreciative of his kind words, I can honestly say what I was feeling was not pride.

It was awe in a realization that God inclined his ear towards me over 11 years ago when the nurse  practitioner in the little room where I lay splayed out on white sheeted bed at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital at Fort Campbell, KY, looked down at me and uttered quizzically,  Your uterus has really grown..let me go get the ultrasound machine out in the hall. 

From the time I heard, There are two babies, I cried…and prayed.

Not pretty prayers either. Prayers like, God, please help me not screw up these kids.  God, I have no idea what I am doing as a mother so if I’m missing something, just do it for me. God, help me not kill them. God, helpmehelpmehelpmehelpme! HELP!ME!

One prayer keeps coming back to mind, however, that I think must have pleased God, because it’s come through in spades. For nine months I prayed two things: God, give them discernment. God, make them the kind of girls who light up every room they walk into so that Your love is shared with anyone they meet.

For the life of me, I cannot explain that prayer. It’s not words that I would have come up with. I would have asked for health and beauty and smarts. I would have asked for popularity and athletic prowess because I’m pretty shallow like that. The only thing I can think of was that I was just so shocked by the news of twins, that, for once, all the words running around in my mind and out of my mouth, crashed together and landed in a jumbled mess of letters that made no sense so God sneaked in and placed just the right words in just the right order, and they came out just as He wanted to hear them.

Two weeks ago at church and this morning in the orthodontist’s office looking into my daughters’ eyes and taking in their now perfect smiles (Wait a minute. That’s not right. Every child’s smile is a perfect smile. Let’s say not-so-crooked-very-expensive-smiles.) I cried because it’s been a long 10 years. Those little beings and I have been through a lot together, but God has answered my prayers. Ask anyone who meets Twin A and Twin B,  and they will tell you there is something very special about The Girls, and it has nothing to do with their genetics and everything to do with the generosity of their Maker.

Their Maker who came alongside me when I couldn’t muster up the strength to mother alone as I did for so many years. The Maker who sent ShaSha and Grandma and Aunt Celeste. The Maker who commandeered Yolanda and Julie and Lisa and Leah and Genie and Heather and Erma. The Maker who teamed with the best preschool and elementary teachers both in school and church. The Maker who corralled up childhood pals like Marty and Katie and Lily, Olivia Harley, Bubba, Charlie and Kieran. The Maker who whipped up the right coaches at the right time in the right place.  The Maker who provided  men like Crazy Mister Steve and Uncle Greg and Coach Mike who caused grins wider than the Nile. The Maker who plopped down neighbors like Ken and Joanna and Nikki and so many others who wrapped us up in their loving kindness.

Oh, the Maker who showers down tears of joy on all of us, not satisfied with a single joy, knowing I was going to need joy upon joy upon joy in order to carry on, the Maker rained them down.

The Maker inclined His ear towards me, and I did what I alway do….

I cried.

 

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Intentions into Actions

by Priscilla on September 22, 2014

I’ve been challenged recently in my reading and in my prayers and meditations to live more intentionally. I’ve always been kind of a go-with-the-flow kinda girl. Maybe it’s because I’m the youngest of so many kids that I never had much say in family activities. It was just the nature of the beast that I rode along to wherever we were going to watch one of my siblings do whatever fill-in-the-blank activity he or she was participating in. Maybe it’s because for so many years as an Army spouse my life was dictated somewhat by folks in the Pentagon moving troops and their families around. Maybe it’s because motherhood knocked me on my tush, and when you are staring down at two babies looking back up at you, you figure out really quickly who owns and operates the control panel in this picture.

Whatever the explanation, I’ve never been much of a goal setter or intentional liver…(not to be confused with an intentional esophagus…sorry…bad joke…I thought of my childhood friend, Kristin, though when typing it. I bet she giggles when she reads it.) but now there’s no flow to go with. Divorce is allowing me all kinds of choices and demands that while I’m not necessarily unprepared to meet them, I am in quite a state of flux. My future rests entirely on me…and my faith. The flow dried up, and I’m on a sand bar in the middle of the river, and it’s up to me, and me alone to figure out how to get out into the boundary waters of life again.

So, how does someone like me, a sure, okay, that sounds good, whatever,  kind of life liver morph into a You know what, the course changed, and that’s okay. I’m going to chart a different one, and here’s what it’s going to look like, big time dreamer?

Simple.

I’m going to learn to crochet.

You read me right. Crochet.

I know that sounds ridiculous on so many levels. Those of you who know me, know that I can barely tie my own shoes. You can imagine the damage I can do with a needle and a mass of yarn, but last week my daughters expressed an interest in crocheting and knitting, and knowing that something this simple could offer them a much needed distraction from the disruption that divorce brings into a child’s life, I figured I should do something about this interest.  It also could be a conduit between us to bridge some of the emotions we all fear feeling and discussing. Maybe sitting and being and creating together could act as a healing balm.

Oh, sure we run together, but that usually ends with Twin A zipping a mile ahead of Twin B and I, and Twin B stubbornly slapping her feet on the ground growing angrier with me each step because this 10 year old has better things she’d like to do with her time than exercise with her mom, and I’m sure if I peeked in her diary I’d find a list of 139 items to be exact. I’d probably find as many names for her mother as well.

My friends who crochet and/or knit enjoy it, so last week the girls and I headed to the store and bought yarn and needles, and just like any good mom I told them to go online and see what they could find as far as instruction. They weren’t surprised. When it comes to learning how to do things, these girls realized very early on  they weren’t dealt the best hand when it came to moms who knew how to do things. Youtube videos have taught them everything from how to braid hair to proper French pronunciations. This time, though, it ended with Twin B announcing she never wanted to knit and Twin A holding up some kind of crocheted looking two inch geometric square.

So much for intentional living, right?

Enter the Heroine…our school librarian who heard of my endeavors and offered to help anytime…and for once, instead of thinking, That’s a nice offer,  and then forgetting about it, I intentionally messaged her, set a time and a date for our first lesson. She showed up with a huge bag of yarn, various needs, some beautiful finished projects to inspire us, an enormous amount of calm and patience along with secrets and tidbits she’d collected over the years, perfecting her craft.

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(Her shirt tells you the kind of person she is.)

Twin B picked up crocheting pretty easily…

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while Twin A favored knitting.

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The cat liked all of it.

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Their mother…well, she’s a left handed mess and managed to crochet, unweave, crochet, unweave…you get the idea. But for once she decided she’s not quitting. Not this time. Not with the promise of a new friend for herself and a mentor for her daughters. Not with the potential a seemingly simple new Sunday night tradition may hold. Lessons continue next week along with discussions of great books and controversial writers.

That is my intention.

(And this week, may you live out your intentions as well, my friends.)

 

 

 

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If I had never married….

by Priscilla on September 17, 2014

Two days ago I woke up, and something was different. I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t numb. I wasn’t…well…anything. I was.

I am.

What a glorious thing to recognize that I am. In all my writing classes I was taught to use strong verbs and not fall into the being verb trap, but at this moment in my life to be is pretty darn awesome, because to be means I survived. I am surviving. I will survive. I not only am…I will be. 

Riding bikes with my girls to school this morning I thought of the whole scene as it unfolded before me. We travel a beautiful road  bordered by beautiful old homes with manicured lawns and lush shrubbery and flora. We travel into the sun. We pass and greet walkers, bikers and runners every morning, and every morning we all greet one another. We are serenaded by birds and bugs and sometimes excited dogs. Life teems as we whiz by. It’s like one big moment of am, is, are, was, were, crammed together into a single space, and it is good.

Riding home, my thoughts turned to my girls and my marriage, and I chose to think about the good things, and there are so many good things. If I am honest, the good outweighs the bad. It’s just that the bad was the last thing to happen, and we humans tend to be creatures that focus on the last thing that happened. My last post was a list of bad things. Very bad things. I don’t know what to do with those things so I lay them at the cross and sit there with Jesus above me taking on all the evil, hatred, bitterness and brokenness of the world.

Today I am reminded of the resurrection.

The Very.Good. Thing.

In order for the good to happen, the bad had to occur. Before there was bad for Jesus (Forgive me if I sound trite about the crucifixion, that’s not my intention. I know the word bad doesn’t begin to cover it.), there was good. There were weddings and dinners. There were long walks and discussions with friends and family. There was a resurrection or two. There was a temple education. There were brothers and sisters and a mother and father.

I,too, have had much good despite the bad, and I have my soon to be ex-husband to thank for this. (In the midst of all of the sadness, he and I still haven’t lost something we’ve shared and always will share…our senses of humor. I told him I hated the term ex because it sounds so tacky or mean or pedestrian (had to throw in a pretentious word there.) Neither he nor I are those things, but what is the right term? I told him I liked the word former husband, but that made him sound dead…then again….ha!  I also offered up the term He Who Must Not Be Named. He chuckled, and I think something was said about being a smart ass. )

If you’ll humor me, I’d like to share it with you – my list of things that are good that wouldn’t have happened had I never married.

  • I would never have lived in and traveled Europe as a 20 something and met so many wonderful people and friends.
  • I never would have continued volunteering with Young Life.
  • I never would have switched careers several times proving to myself that I am capable of adapting and growing.
  • I never would have learned to lean hard on God. Really Hard.
  • I never, ever would have learned the value of female friendships.
  • I never would have birthed two amazing girls who teach me something new about myself and God and His grace every day.
  • I never would have had the wonderful extended family I do in my in-laws…especially my SIL, Gina, who will always be one of my dearest and best friends. Always.
  • I don’t know that I would have reconnected with my childhood chums…some of whom have walked the same path and offered nothing but love and support.
  • Oh, the pets. I never would have gotten to share the house with some of the best dogs and cats ever.
  • I never would have gone back to places of healing and hope, and I certainly wouldn’t be working where I am now.
  • I don’t think I would be nearly as empathetic.
  • I wouldn’t have learned the value of ethnic and cultural diversity and that one’s skin color can greatly affect how the world is viewed and how the world views us…and can’t we just please sit and listen to one another about this, not argue or debate…just…be…together.
  • I never would have learned all the ranks in the Army. I don’t know where it will get me, but I know them.
  • I never would have learned all the Emily Post’s do’s and don’ts. Do I demonstrate them on a daily basis? I think that’s an obvious no, but darn it, I know them!
  • I don’t think I would have learned to feel so deeply – pain or love or guilt or pride or joy or any of it. I like deeply. Deeply is good.It reminds me that I’m not dead.
  • I wouldn’t have learned that no matter what, my mom is there for me, and I’ll always be there for my girls.
  • I probably wouldn’t have taken in a Bengals game in Cincinnati or a Tigers game in Detroit. Oh, the teams weren’t much to talk about the stadiums were pretty amazing.
  • I wouldn’t have coached swimming or run in those ridiculous looking toe shoes or learned about the hotbed that is the Middle East.
  • I never would have attended a West Point ball.  Oh, honey, all those fiiiiiine men in uniform.
  •  I know I wouldn’t have traveled to the Philippines and seen the Underground River,  one of the wonders of the natural world, something most of America doesn’t even know exists, but so much of Asia travels to see. Also, my fried rice and lumpia are pretty darn good, but I don’t think I’ll ever make puncit like my aunt’s.

The list goes on, but you get the idea. My father always taught me that I can get bitter or I can get better. His world was turned upside down when he was about my age…three boys and no wife or mom. Instead of looking back, he looked forward…forward to all the good that he could accomplish…and he did…and I am…and I will.

Much love, gratitude and thanks to you all.

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A Grateful Reminder

by Priscilla on September 10, 2014

So, there’s a Gratefulness/Thankfulness Challenge making its way around the Facebook world.  You’ve seen it. Someone tags you, and then for several days you list all the things for which you are grateful. (I for one am grateful that even though it is now acceptable to end sentences with a preposition, I still have the choice to follow the rules of better grammar and use words like for which and with which….because as I’ve said before, grammar is pretty much all I have.)

Thank heavens my FB friends have had the good sense not to nominate me because you can imagine the bucket loads of snark I am capable of writing, but I am having a good time reading what others post. Lots of good husbands, good jobs, good families, good coworkers, good experiences….

…but what about the not so good stuff?

The cancer.

The abuse.

The lack of income.

The infertility.

The divorce.

The death.

The addiction.

The fire.

The mental illness.

The flood.

The beheadings.

The plagues.

The lack of water.

The bullies.

The singleness.

The sex trafficking.

The feeding tubes.

The wheelchair.

What are we supposed to do with this shit? While I know some of you cringe of the use of the word, shit, it’s pretty much the one word in my vernacular that covers all of these injustices occurring in the here and now. I’m sorry, but the words It will all make sense in heaven, or This will make heaven so much better, and  Someday this will all make sense,  are a little too trite for my tastes. Tell that to the mom watching her three year old undergo another round of chemo or the Dad standing in line for food, ashamed he can’t provide for his family even though he’s skilled and smart and hardworking.

Paul wrote the church at Thessalonica, Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 

Some days I don’t care for Paul and all his stupid letters.

Awhile ago I read  and wrote about the Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans. One chapter that stuck with me was her writing on the story of Jepthah. Remember that one? The man in his revelry of winning, foolishly promised God he’d sacrifice the first thing that came out his front door on return from battle…and then his little girl rushed out to meet him. What in God’s name is there to be thankful for in that situation? Why is that horrific event even recorded?

Ms. Evans goes on to write that in these situations maybe we should simply sit and think and remember these victims – the many, many victims of injustice in our world. Weep for them. Pray for them. Love them. Walk with them. Am I supposed to be grateful for this story? Can I be? Paul said All Things with no sign of a disclaimer anywhere.  So if this is true, here is some shitty stuff for which I am to be grateful:

I am grateful I am getting divorced.

I am grateful my dad died.

I am grateful my friend and her children were killed.

I am grateful my former church tried to unjustly discipline me in the midst of one of the biggest trials of my life.

I am grateful that I miscarried my first child on Christmas Eve while my husband was deployed.

I am grateful that several of my friends were abused as children.

I am grateful that I’ve seen children living on the streets in Manila.

I am grateful that my once joyful children are now acting out the hurt and pain they feel thanks to their father’s decision to leave.

But I’m not grateful…for any of it. Oh, I try to tell God that in whatever situation I am, I will try to be content, but I’m a hot mess of a human, and as soon as the words leave my mouth the pain re-enters my heart. I pretty much live on the simple prayer Christ in me. Christ before me. Christ behind me. Christ above me. Christ below me. Christ around me. Christ through me. (Being the grammar geek I am, I’ve come to call that the Preposition Prayer.) Somedays it’s even shorter. It’s simply, Christ.Christ.Christ.Christ.Christ.

This week I’ve tried to focus on one thing – the image of Christ on the cross, and in so doing, something has struck me that never has before – his nakedness. I’ve always thought about his physical anguish, but what about the mental anguish – the anguish that comes from being stripped down and paraded around naked? NAKED. Were thankful thoughts going through his mind at the time?  What the hell kind of Facebook Grateful list was he coming up with?

Please understand that I am in no way bashing those of you posting these lists. Uplifting things are good.  I need to read uplifting things, and I am so thankful for my friends sharing the good things God has done…but what about the not so good things? Why aren’t we sharing those? Why aren’t we saying, God, I don’t understand…I’m not there yet…but help me to be grateful.

I just got off the phone with a dear friend who is a minister. I shared with her what I’m writing about, and she said simply, If we didn’t have all the bad, how would we ever recognize the good?

And there it is…TRUTH…and she isn’t even Protestant like me.

So, here’s what I am grateful for. I am grateful for the Facebook Thankfulness Challenge. Some things, because of where I am were hard to read because inevitably I’d ask, God, why can’t I have those things? Not going to lie – jealousy creeped in. But I’m thankful just the same because all the posts caused me to reflect…and ponder…and query….and wrestle….and cry….

….and once again end up at the cross at the feet of my naked Savior who promised that if I only came, he’d give me rest.

So, here I am, Lord…

…and I am so grateful to be here with you.

 

 

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My emotions aren’t the only ones all over the place. Last night Twin A balled up on the couch reading Rick Riordan’s The Red Pyramid, and when I announced it was bedtime, she continued in her slump. She’s not normally a slumper so I sat down, put my arms around her and said, Tell me what you are thinking. She resisted at first, but then she climbed on top of me, wrapped her scrawny body around me like a pretzel and whispered into my shoulder, I’m so mad.

What are you mad about?

The divorce. Also, of all the gods in the world, how do we know our God is the real God.

Seriously? I’ve got to deal with a life changing event for my kids AND handle the big life questions in one evening? Now, I was mad, and the object of my ire was nowhere to take responsibility for this hot mess.

She hung on when I told her that there was nothing wrong with being mad.  I told her just that afternoon I gave one of my best rants so far to a friend, and she got it, and let me rant. (It’s kind of nice to finally allow myself the gift of getting mad.)  She clung to me when I explained that God never promised us that everything would be smooth and easy, but He promised we’d never be left alone. She sniffed on my sleeve when I explained that the key to anger is to figure out what to do with it, and we always have a choice. Always.

I explained that real faith requires wrestling, and that God can handle all our doubts and questions. We read the story of Jacob wrestling a man who later turned out to be God.  Jacob had some issues with God, too. He’d screwed up big time and found himself completely alone. It’s when we feel most alone that God comes along and expects us to wrestle. Look at Jesus in the wilderness. I could feel her body unclenching. When Jacob was done wrestling, his twin showed up and instead of a big clan war, restoration happened. 

We talked about faith and what it means to have it, and we read one of my favorite chapters of the Bible (both from a faith and a literary standpoint), Hebrews 11.  One by one the giants of the Jewish faith began to tell their stories to my girls (Twin B had sidled up by this time.) One by one we recounted the ancients who’d been horribly wronged or who had done wrong themselves who played major parts in God’s plan of rescue for the Jews from the Egyptians. We talked about the fact that the Bible is full of regular people, not kings and queens or titans of industry, whom God plucked out of obscurity, dressed up in the team uniform and sent out on the field to make game changing plays. Joseph is kind of a biggie here. We spent a long time discussing Joseph.

The chapter was also an answer to prayer because just the night before she asked, Mom, why do we have to move forward? when I told them both we were not going to wallow in doubt and fear and self pity and that we were going to move forward. It was a fair question and a pretty darn honest one from a 10 year old. What adult hasn’t asked that one? Hebrews 11 has a theme, and it’s that all the people chronicled in the passage demonstrated extreme  faith. They had no idea what was going to happen, but they continued to follow God’s call on their lives anyway. They believed the here and now wasn’t the prize so they kept moving…forward.

I told them the story I’d just read in a book my friend gave me about a woman whose husband left and married someone else,  and instead of doing something constructive with her anger, she grew bitter and hateful and over the years chased away all her friends and lost her kids to their father for good.

That’s just awful. Twin A responded. She’s right. It was awful. (BTW, this story is found in the book, From Ex-Wife to the Exceptional Life by Donna F Ferber. A dear friend sent it to me, and I’ve found it a great resource.)

Twin B reminded me that the opposite of this woman is Nick Vujicic, the inspirational speaker who, through no fault of his own, was born with tetra-amelia syndrome and has no limbs. He spreads the message of hope that each of us, through Christ, is fearfully and wonderfully made, and we all have a purpose to play out here on earth.

We talked some more and cried some more and hugged some more, and then we prayed that God would bless us with the faith of the ancient Jews and give us the strength to move forward. When tucking her in a few minutes later I told Twin A I was so happy that she was honest and told me that she was mad – that if she had kept all those feelings balled up inside, we never would have had such a lovely discussion. She looked up at me with a bright smile and replied, I’m happy now. 

Is the sorrow or anger gone for good?  No. Will the anger  be back again today? I’m sure. But hopefully the three of us will be able to do what the pastor of our church back in West Lafayette, Indiana, encouraged us to do.  When dark thoughts creep in,  I meet those thoughts at the front of my brain with Jesus, and I let him usher them out the back door. I’m paraphrasing; it was years ago, but I’ve never forgotten that advice.

Thank you for all of your prayers. I firmly believe this teachable moment with my girls would not have happened without them. I am so humbled by your outpouring of love and care.

TIS

 

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…all things beautiful

by Priscilla on September 1, 2014

I was dreading this past weekend. It’s the first official “two family” weekend when I watched my soon to be ex husband drive off with our daughters headed to his parents’ house for a family get together. Sibling. Cousins. Parents. Laughter. Food.  All the stuff I was a part of for the past 19+ years. I won’t go into the details, but watching the three of them back out of the drive and head off left me in a puddle of tears. His parents tell me I’ll always be their daughter, but the fact is he’s their son, and they can say all the want to make me feel better, but  He. Is. Their. Son. I get that. So while his family tells me I’ll always be welcome, and I know I would be, divorce is a game changer. When people say divorce is death, they aren’t kidding. What I feel right now is the exact same feeling as when I received word my friend Leah had been killed in a house fire and when I got the phone call from my brother saying my father wasn’t coming home from the hospital. I wake up in the morning, and my first thought is, I am divorced. I know the feeling will eventually will go away, but I’m not there yet. I decided to give myself the gift of self indulgence. I decided that for the next three days, I would allow myself a huge pity party, and then, when it was done,  I would put on my big girl panties, and move on. I sobbed as I went through pictures and packed them up in Mr. TIS’s things. I looked at Facebook posts of the family get together and cried over the fact that I should have been sitting in the restaurant with them. I sucked back the tears when the girls called to tell me how much fun they were having in the swimming pool and that they were going to the American Girl store.  I ate bad pizza and drank cheap wine. I talked to God… a lot….basically just asking for His grace to get me through this. I watched copious amounts of Netflix. God reminded me of all the beautiful things that surround me, and that I have the ability to create beautiful spaces….and maybe if I keep creating beautiful spaces around me that eventually the beautiful spaces will be created within me. So I sat our table, and instead of dwelling the fact that it was now a table for three, I was going to make it a beautiful table for three. IMG_4006 IMG_4008 I remembered the spray paint in the basement and the plethora of Ball jars in the kitchen so I dragged out my fall foliage decor and made something new on the mantle. IMG_4004 It was stormy most of the weekend so I checked on this little gal. (It’s either the basement or the bathtub. Poor kid.) IMG_3998 I started thinking about a Halloween party for the girls. Halloween is on Friday this year so we can do it up right. I pinned, and I planned, and I prepared lists. I also was reminded by several Facebook posts from various friends that what is ahead of us is infinitely better than what we’ve left behind. Later today, my girls will be back, and hopefully their mother will have used this gift of time to work out angst, anger, guilt, frustration, sadness and offer them an open, beautiful heart able to help them through all their thoughts and fears and feelings of confusion. Hopefully, they will see through me that God the Father (and Mother) in time makes all things beautiful. All. Things. Period.

PS. I’m going blonde again.

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