Courtesy of Wedding Window

Friday, December 30, 2016

Ramblings...

For the past two days, I've been consumed by the phrase "being present".  Being present... what does that really mean?  Don't I live in the present every day?

For starters, I've never had a problem going to sleep.  Many of my friends have struggled with that.  I know people that lie awake at night, dwelling on troubles, issues, problems, even just stupid stuff.  When my ex left, for three nights I laid awake, unable to sleep. At all.  I wondered what would happen to me and the kids.  Where would we go?  What would we do?  Would we survive this loss? On the fourth night, as I lay there worrying, God spoke to me.  It was so clear in my mind.  I felt like He said, "If you got up right this minute, could you fix anything?  At the present time, is there anything at all that you could do, right now, in the middle of the night?"  And honestly, the answer was "No".  There truly wasn't anything I could do right then.  And I felt a calmness, and a peace come over me, and I closed my eyes and went to sleep. That was the last night that I remember having trouble sleeping.

Many times since then, as I've lain down to sleep, I've had a worry or two creep into my thoughts.  And immediately, I will ask myself, "If I get up right now, is there anything at all I can do about this situation?"  Sometimes, the answer is "yes", like make a to-do list or something but almost always, the answer is "No". On the rare occasion that the answer happens to be "yes", I will get right up, do what I need to do, then lay back down and go right to sleep with peace of mind.  At those moments, I feel that I am truly "being present".  I deal with what I can, and then leave the rest for later.

As I've considered "being present" lately, I've come to realize that I am really only present while I'm working on a task, as I lay down to sleep, and in those first few precious moments when I first wake up in the mornings.  I've also come to realize how many times I am NOT truly present.  So many times as I'm chatting with someone, my mind is going in all different directions, sometimes even thinking of what I'm going to add to the conversation, or thinking of a story I'm going to tell.  I'm NOT truly present when I go out to eat with someone.  My phone sits on the table beside me.  Any time it lights up, either with a call, text message, IM or email, I look at it/answer it/deal with it, no matter who I'm with. Even though it only takes my attention for a second, I'm not truly present with my family member/friend/co-worker or whomever I'm eating with.  I'm NOT truly present when someone comes into my office because my mind is often on twenty different things at once.  How hard would it be for me to just really stop and listen to the person in my office?  I mean, really stop and listen... put them first. Be PRESENT.  Why can't I leave my phone in my purse while eating a meal with someone?  In an emergency, someone will call me.  I can miss a text or two.  After a friend's passing this year, I have really regretted not being more present when I was with her.

Even at this very moment I am struggling for presence.  I am writing/typing this blog post, listening/watching the tv, scanning the tabs at the top of my browser, noticing that I have 5 Facebook notifications, 4 Pinterest notifications and 3 unread emails, all the while wondering where Sophie is, how my friend's new cat is getting along with her dogs, what time I need to get up tomorrow,  how Wade's trip is going and what Sheridan is doing. I mean, I'm present, but not really present.

My 2017 resolution is this:  to try harder to be present.  For my family.  For my friends.  For my co-workers.  I think it will make me a better person all the way around.  I think I will be a better listener, a better communicator, a better friend. I think I will remember things better, because I've paid more attention when they were happening.  I think I will be more productive.  I honestly think that I will savor the moments and that 2017 will not rush by near as fast as 2016 did. As I get older, I have more of a desire for time to slow down.  Maybe time is not the problem... maybe it's me.  Maybe it's this busy world we live in...

I'm up for the challenge.  And I challenge each one of you to "be present" in 2017.



Matthew 6:34 says: Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.

Let's do this... 2017, Here I come!


Thursday, March 24, 2016

An open letter to my ex...

After seven years, you'd think I'd have it all figured out, right?  Wrong.  I'm still learning... a work in progress.  This morning I woke with a strange sense of... realization? understanding? clarity? I can't exactly put my finger on the word I'm looking for.  Clarity might be it. 

I was lying in bed, thinking of all the good things in my life and I realized... I owe those good things to you.  So, from the depths of my heart, "Thank You."

The two very best things I received from our marriage were our kids.  God knew exactly what I needed in this life, and they are it.  Without them, I could not have gone on when you walked away.  So, first and foremost, thank you for them.  They are my heart and soul, and I wouldn't be me without them.

Also, thank you for the many enjoyments and times we had in our marriage. Even though it ended so, so badly there certainly were good times and I have many fond memories.

Thank you for giving me Grandparents.  My grandparents had all passed by the time we met, and yours took me in as their own.  They loved me and cared for me so genuinely.  And I felt the same exact way towards them.  I will always be grateful that our marriage brought me the blessing of them.

And now for the... other stuff.  

Thank you for leaving me.  Thank you for making me stand on my own two feet. Thank you for causing me to be brave.  Thank you for helping me to find myself again.

If it weren't for you I wouldn't have:

1) My Job.  After 17 years as a stay-at-home wife and mother, I found myself lacking.  I lacked confidence.  I lacked motivation.  I simply lacked.  Because you left me, I had no choice but to seek employment.  Man, it was so scary after being out of the workforce for all those years.  I started out at a very part-time job, just to get my feet wet.  And then God directed me to sub at the school. He helped me to be good at that, and to find favor with the administration.  And voila! Here I am today with a great job, and guess what?  I'm good at it!  I really am!  What a pleasant discovery.  So, thank you, for the confidence I have in myself now.

2)  My House.  When you left, I was adamant that the kids and I were going to stay in OUR house, that you would not force us to leave.  I won that argument, and stay we did.  For a year.  At the end of that first year, I asked the kids what they thought about moving in to town.  They were both super excited and on board.  With the help of The Lord, we were able to sell the house and build this one.  Talk about empowering!  I'm still amazed to this day that I waded through all the decisions, whether it be financially or physically, that got this house built. When I think about it, I almost faint in my mind it is so unbelievable. So, again, thank you, for the strength I found within myself.

3)  My family.  You didn't have strong family ties.  Your family wasn't typical when you were growing up, and you didn't feel the strong pull to be with your family like I did.  Unfortunately, being your wife and believing that you had the final say, I missed out on a lot of times with my own family over the years. There weren't very many family trips to see relatives.  We didn't spend weekends at my parents' house just to visit them.  We went when there was a "happening", but we missed a lot of just simple enjoyment with them, and with the rest of my family.  After you left, obviously, I clung to them.  And they were there for me... more than you ever were.  They loved me with a pure, unfailing love.  Since then, I have enjoyed so many times with them.  So, thank you. Thank you for giving me back my family.  Thank you, sincerely, for granting me the gift of time with my Dad before he passed away.  I will forever be grateful for that.

4)  My friends.  It's a funny thing when you are married.  Married people want to hang out with other married people.  Well, at least that's usually the way it works.  We hung out with EVERYONE.  People of all ages, whether married or single.  And yes, it was good.  Really good.  But, you know what?  I didn't feel like I had very many friends.  There is a difference in being friendly with people and having real, true friends.  You know, those people that will have your back, no matter what?  The ones that will be there for you, in the good times, but also in the times when you are a big bawling, slobbery, crying mess?  Yeah, those kind. Thank you so much.  When you left, I discovered who my real, true friends were.  Although I was so sorely disappointed to discover how many I did not have, I was also so incredibly happy to discover who the real ones were.  They know who they are, and I cherish them to this day.

5)  My cat.  Yes, I know, we always had cats.  You were very willing to allow me to have all the cats I wanted.  But never, in any reality, would you have let me have an indoor cat.  So once again, thank you.  Thank you for leaving me.  I love my Sophie-girl so much.  I feel real, honest joy when I look at her.

6)  My free will.  As a child, I grew up totally knowing that the day would come that I would marry, and when I did, that my "job" and "role" was to be in subjection to my husband.  I knew that he would make the rules and the decisions in our home.  So, I willingly gave up my free will and my freedom of choice.  I lived without it for over 17 years, sometimes not so willingly.  So, thank you, for giving that back to me.  You can't imagine how freeing it is to decide whether I want to cook or go out to eat on any given day.  You can't imagine how it feels to think, "I want to watch tv" and turn on the cable that you would never have allowed us to have.  Or even to type this letter... I couldn't do that without the internet, which is also something you wouldn't let us have.  If I want to go bowling, or to the movies with friends, I can.  If I want new clothes, I can go buy them without having to ask anyone.  I can wear all my junky jewelry.  I can dye my hair.  I can go get a pedicure if I want to.  I can make friends at work, I can travel, I can do anything I want to do. There is no way that you can understand that because no one has ever taken away your freedom of choice, your free will.  So, thank you.  I love having it back.

You know, many times over the past seven years, I have not wished you well.  I have been unable to feel kindness towards you.  Thankfully, I kept most of that to myself.  I tried my very best not to say cruel things about you in front of our kids.  You might not have deserved that kindness, but our kids did.  But this morning, as I lay in bed considering all these things, I can honestly say that I wish you well.  I hope you find happiness in this life.  I really do. 

Once again, thank you for leaving me.  If you hadn't, I would never have been able to become the woman I am today.  I'm strong.  I'm smart.  I'm confident. I'm capable.  I'm genuine.  I'm sincere.  And you know what else?  I'm okay... and it's a good life.