Friday, October 31, 2014

Daily Gratitude(24)

1. Diane and my momma being kind enough to keep me stocked in Sprite and crackers so I could make it through the school day without a sub.
2. Reruns of the TV show, Blue Bloods. Allows for a couple of hours of "escape".
3. Silliness and fun of "pajama day".
4. The love of my 2 puppy-loves, despite the neglect over the past few days.
5. Of course, TGIF. My cup is empty---so grateful for the weekend.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Daily Gratitudes(23)

1. Calm day in returning to work
2. Enjoyable grade-level meeting with Jenny and Deidra
3. Opportunity to spend some one on one time with Kaeden after school.
4. Fun afternoon of visiting with Sheryl & Amber
5. Dinner with my mom, Sheryl, and the boys
6. Molly's pumpkin bread surprise waiting on my desk
7. Randy's uncompromising friendship and his ability to "hear me loud and clear" even in the midst of confused mumbling.
8. God granting me enough wisdom to know NOT to respond to a card I received in the mail from someone who presumes to know much more than she actually does. Blinding, hot tears of anger were immediate along with seething words for my journal alone that I know wouldn't serve any good to be shared.
9. An evening in which going to bed early is a very doable action.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Daily Gratitudes(22)

1. Safe travels to and from Abilene
2. The fun of Fall Festivals
3. Co-workers who are willing to "pick up the slack"
4. The blessings of the songs on Kerrie Roberts' self-titles CD. EVERY song speaks straight to my heart while also putting words to the feelings I often find hard to express. 

Unbelievable! Grrrr...

Miserable day.
Miserable attitude.

I must do something to get my immune system back on track.

Infuriating that I missed yet another day of work but it's impossible to be with approx 20 four-five year olds while having to periodically rush to the bathroom.
Frustration doesn't help much but frustration it is!

Step 1 is to go to CVS and get some Vitamin B and C supplements then figure out how to incorporate more protein into my day. I am such a carb addict(!!).
I need a crash course on nutrition that will take into account the supposed food allergies.
Intimidating area but obviously a necessity.

I am too young to feel this worn-out and to repeatedly get this sick.

Now taking action!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Moments of Safety & Daily Gratitudes(21)

Today was an interesting day. I was not as easily agitated so that's always a good thing.

Another student has moved. That's the one thing I really dislike about Title 1 programs/schools; the students lives are often so transitional. Some years, it feels as if the classroom door should be one of those revolving doors.

Our campus had "crazy hair day" today which frightened one of my little loves who simply does not like change. About 1/2 way into the day, he seemed better and acted as if he felt a bit more secure. Lord help him with costume day tomorrow(!!)

His fearful reaction prompted an interesting lunchtime with co-workers conversation about our own individual fears (as children and adults). I was definitely more of a listener than a talker but the talk did set my mind running.

When I was a little girl, whenever I was in the presence of my mom's dad (my granddaddy), I felt so safe; especially when I sat in his lap in the recliner. He is the only man that I saw my dad show sincere respect for. When Granddaddy was around, my dad even gave up HIS recliner. I was awestruck. When cancer took Granddaddy's life when I was 13, safety ended for a while. By the time I was 15, David was my ultimate safety. Simply knowing that I would see him at every church service made the tough days in between much more bearable. He remained a place of security and safety until his death in 2008.

For reasons beyond my comprehension, God has always allowed loving, caring people to be a part of my life. Mamaw and Papaw D. right next door, Wayne and Becky across the street, David and Coralee through church along with Keith and Vickie just to name a few. I didn't have many friends growing up that I considered "close" except for Bobbie, Kelly, Kristina, and Elaine but even those "BFFs" were guarded relationships because of my situation regarding my dad and his chosen lifestyle. Even more so, after the deaths of Kelly and Elaine.

There were always adults (in my childhood, teen, and young adult life) that kept a special eye on me and helped me to overcome some seemingly insurmountable  situations. I will never be able to fully express my gratitude for the love and care I received from those "angels in disguise".

When I was finally able to leave my childhood home, I did so immediately (within 8 hours of my high school graduation ceremony). That task would have been IMPOSSIBLE without the God-loving folks who worked behind-the-scenes to make that a reality. Even though I may never fully understand the personal sacrifices that were made to give me a chance at a better life, I will ALWAYS be fully appreciative.

When thinking about the times that I have felt as if I were 100% safe, with absolutely nothing to fear came down to 5 distinct memories.

#1: While in college, I shared a disturbing childhood memory with a much-loved friend. He lovingly held me within his arms as I sobbed. If my memory serves me correctly, he and I were in a car outside of a movie theater. That was the first time EVER that I openly cried in front of anyone, beyond just having tears gradually fall from tear-filled eyes. I could have stayed within the strength of his arms forever.

#2: In an Oklahoma hotel room with my college roommate in the dark, early hours of morning. She knew that something was deeply bothering me. It took me several days to 'open up'. I was beyond scared of the my potential reality and possibly even more afraid of her reaction/response. She was immediately comforting, reassuring, somewhat took control of the situation and never faltered until the potential "crisis" had passed.

#3: In a small Arkansaa IHOP/Waffle House style cafe in 1995 after reuniting with the much-loved friend mentioned in #1.

#4: In 2004, when I fully realized that my life was not anything that I had envisioned or hoped for. I was beyond devastated. I wasn't even able to force words. I went straight to Randy's office, used my key to wait for him in the reception area. He walked out a bit later, simply looked at me and I don't even remember immediately afterwards. My next realization was his arms holding me tightly as I mumbled nonsense and bawled. I'm glad that I didn't know then what that awareness would lead to.

#5: Shameful and embarrassing memory of what I had planned to be my final goodbye. I had spent close to a year of expressing gratitude and repentance to those in my life either in personal visits, phone calls, hand-delivered letters and hand written letters that were to be read afterwards.  All finally seemed to be in order so I drove to  Greenville for a "surprise visit" with Dave & Cora. After worship services, we went out to eat at IHOP.  We sat there for hours talking, laughing and even shedding a few tears. By the time we left the restaurant, it was well into the night. They didn't want me to drive back to Tyler that night & encouraged me to spend the night at their house. My husband knew that I had taken the next day off of work and thought I was spending the night at my parents home. I lied to Dave for the 1st and last time that night. No one knew of my real plan. Coralee, the kids and I said our goodbyes and they walked on to their vehicle. Dave walked me over to my car. He lovingly tapped my chin to look directly into his eyes and questioned me again about spending the night. I reassured him that I would be fine. We hugged goodbye. He walked away and the tears filled my eyes. I called out to him. He walked back, placed his arm around me, and I laid my head upon his shoulder as I had so often done before. Ironic that I was inwardly in such turmoil that death seemed the best option yet as my head rested upon his shoulder, I felt such peace. I knew, at that moment, that death wasn't what I truly wanted. My deepest desire was to actually feel and be safe in the presence of ones I loved and that loved me back.

Today, the "Daily Gratitudes" come easily.

1. For those who've "seen" the real me and chose to love me anyway.

2. For those whom God allowed to be a part of a deeply-wounded and exceedingly fearful girls life.

3. For those precious, treasured moments of peace and safety.

4. For hope becoming real in the midst of seeming impossibilities.

5. For the mercies of forgiveness and the graciousness of 'second chances'.

Monday, October 27, 2014

What A Day! And Daily Gratitudes(20)

I'm not quite sure what was going on with me today but DAAANG!! High-strung is an understatement. I woke up feeling like I hadn't slept at all but once I got up and going, I felt like I had an adrenaline rush.

I'm usually pretty laid-back but nope, not today. I set two classroom parents straight without much diplomacy. Hoping I won't have to pay for that later. I don't regret anything that was said but my tone could have been kinder. The co-worker who overheard the conversations assured me that all was fine. My sister laughed and said that what I feel like is a "roar" is usually just a "meow" but it seems worse to me because I've gotten used to just "squeaking like a mouse". Hmmmmppff. I hope she's right or else there may be some repercussions. I just don't understand why folks can't take of their child's transportation issues after school. Grrrrrr...

One of my classroom loves moved away, unexpectedly, over the weekend. I hate losing "my babies" before the end of the school year.  My new student with special needs began today and all went GREAT! He is such a tenderheart and the other kids welcomed him with open arms. Yet another child has my heart in their hands. I was so relieved to tell his mom what a wonderful day he had. I can only imagine her relief. Parents have such a hard job!

By noon, the adrenaline rush ceased and I came crashing down with a migraine. 2nd Grrrrrr... of the day. Thankfully, I caught it at the start so was able to prevent it from becoming a full-blown misery.
I'm hoping the cause of the tumultuous day is still the hormonal system trying to regain a balance.
Grateful that the work day did go by quickly and the evening has been laid back.

Daily Gratitudes:
1. How well all things went with the new student. So glad to be proven wrong :)
2. Spending the afternoon with my most favorite 8 year old.
3. That the new RX for migraines worked effectively with very few side effects.
4. My mom surprising me with a yummy home-cooked dinner.
5. Rhyder's sweet silliness and his precious giggles.
6. Calm evening and the opportunity for an earlier-than-usual bedtime. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Daily Gratitudes(19)

1. Convenience of online bill payments.

2. Readily-available resources for assisting students with special needs.

3. Safe-keeping of all after a break-in & robbery at my hometown church congregation.

4. My sister, Teresa & Scott surprising us all by getting married today. So glad they re-found each other after all this time. Two amazing people who deserve much happiness.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Baby Steps and Daily Gratitudes(18)

I'm not even sure what "normal" means anymore but I do know that I am in need of some sort of normal---whatever that may be.

I didn't simply crash and burn today so that's an improvement over the past several weekends. I didn't  "accomplish" much but did get out and about socially. I still feel incredibly awkward doing so but took that step, regardless of how small it seems.

Sheryl, Mom, the boys and I went to the movies then sat outside at Sheryl's and visited for awhile. Amber invited us all over for dinner this evening. After first declining, I changed my mind and am glad that I decided to go. Amber & Rob had some more friends over and it was nice to meet them both (Lisa & Kevin).

I made it through the entire day with only 2 instances of tearing up. I am beyond ready for my emotions to level out. Sigh.

I'm now sitting at home trying to make a mental plan for tomorrow. There is SO much to do in my classroom and at home but I need to prioritize because there's no way to get it all done in just a day.

This week, I am focusing on prioritizing tasks and pacing myself. This all or nothing/crash-n-burn scenario is wearing me down physically and emotionally.

Today, I'm especially thankful for:

1. The enjoyable time at the movie theater.

2. A beautiful afternoon to sit outside and visit while watching the boys play.

3. The realization that I made it through the first month on the new job with the ability to meet all financial obligations. I may need to rethink simply walking away from all financially. Making ends meet is a bit harder than I anticipated BUT all needs have been met and the 1st month was a success.

4. An enjoyable evening with family and friends.

5. Coming home to a house FREE OF GECKOS!! I think I finally figured out how the harmless but creepy little critters were getting in the house.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Daily Gratitudes(17)

1. Yummy lunch from the Runaway Train Cafe with thanks to Deidra and her husband.

2. Technological issues that looked to be a real pain turned easy. Whew!

3. A calm evening leading into the weekend.

4. The gift of having access to David's book. It's been almost 6 years since we lost Dave and I'm just now ready to read his words. While printing out the pages, "hearing" his voice through words he shared was comforting and heart-breaking at the same time. I imagine it will take me awhile to read in its entirety. I know that I'll need to pace the reading to avoid complete emotional upheaval. Bittersweet task. I never imagined life without him would be so hard but I will never regret a single moment.

5. For the weekend. This past week has been tough on so many fronts. I'm grateful for the break and MUST figure out a better way to pace myself because what I'm doing obviously isn't working. I don't think I should be THIS wiped out at the end of a work week.

(While reading through the "gratitudes" of today, I realized there is underlying negativity in most. Thus making me thankful that God has enabled me to hold each thought captive and to only rely on the Truth of the thoughts.)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Daily Gratitude(16)

1. The district's diagnostician being willing to meet with before school so I would be fully prepared for the group meeting. What will be, will be. Praying that the concerns I have will be proven wrong.
2. The convenience of having less than a 5 minute drive from house to work.
3. The absolute privilege of being "Aunt Stacy". I love my niece and nephews more than I ever imagined possible. So proud of each of them.
4. Having the opportunity to read aloud with Kaeden after school. That boy holds my heart in his hand!
5. Having a few moments of cuddle-time with Rhyder. Those moments have diminished in the midst of  his 'independent' phase.
6. The arrival of my purchase order items. I can finally finish setting up the classroom.
7. Netty's professional and personal support, encouragement and prayers.
8. My momma's loving hug.

For KJ in Australia

I've included that link below because email is not being cooperative tonight.
See! You are NOT the only one who has felt the way you described.
I doubt either one of us was the first or will be the last.
Remaining in prayer for you.
ONLY hold on to what you know to be TRUE.
I wholeheartedly believe that TRUTH will set one free!

A Simple Question

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Daily Gratitude(15)

1. The safety of a student that we feared may have been a victim of a family abduction. A VERY long 7 minutes of awareness, investigating and resolving.

2. The willingness of the district's diagnostician to respectfully listen and discuss the concerns I have regarding imminent classroom changes.

3. Sonic's "Happy Hour" which helped ease the chaos for several of us at work today.

4. For being able to find the book I needed in Abilene rather than having to wait for it be shipped via the internet.

5. The discovery of the Mardels store. Wow!! I have a new most favorite place. Books, CDs, DVDs, home decor, jewelry, school decor, etc. I thought LifeWay was fabulous but they've definitely been replaced. (Also, thankful that it is located at least 1 1/2 hour        away. Hehe!)

6. Kurt's willingness to "deal with" my tears, encourage, support, pray and his ability to actually make sense of my words.
I'm especially grateful that he told me that he truly believes that I am "...much stronger than I believe, braver than I think, at an optimally healthy place, where hope does exist and the hurts can be healed..." He also added that I was emotionally healthier than I've been in my entire life yet also in the most painful state ever. Oddly comforting and maddening!! I really appreciate the way he directly asks questions, kind-heartedly replies and is able to catch me in less than a second if I start to veer off topic. Finding his services at this point in time has truly been a God-send. My prayer is that I will make the most of every opportunity and remain willing to share, WITHOUT fear, whatever God lays on my heart, regardless of how difficult disclosing some information may be. Regardless of the "healthy" assessment, the shame runs deep for things I was made to be a part of, even though I cognitively know that I was a victim of the choices, demands and actions of others. I get that, yet still wish I had been smarter, braver, etc.

7. Finally finding a replacement for my long-lost Kerrie Roberts CD. Now to find the CDs by Susan Ashton.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Daily Gratitude(14)

1. Back pain being much improved.
2. Ability to go back to work.
3. Hanging out with my favorite 8 year old after school.
4. Kind and helpful employees at Ag-Mart.
5. Blue Bell ice cream. Yum!
6. Enjoyable and productive meeting with all of the PreK Teachers in the district.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Daily Gratitude(13)

1. Availability of ice packs, heating pads, and Advil. Grrrr...
2. A principal who is kind and understanding.
3. My sweet momma for coming by and picking up my laundry so that I don't have to physically deal with a laundromat.
4. Opportunity to join in an online Bible Study.
5. Privilege of doing a blog-style book review.
6. Having DVR capability for without such, today would have been overcome with boredom.

Book Study: Life After Divorce

(Life After Divorce: Create A New Beginning written by Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse)

Chapter 1: Divorce Possibilities, Action versus Fear

I. Introduction

  • We may feel we have failed.
  • We may question if this is the end of the world or the beginning of a new world?
  • One must own their personal experiences and use those to turn your life around.
II. The Event of Divorce

  • "...the shattering of fondest hopes and fantasies..." that will prompt a wide variety of emotions
  • For one to heal from the trauma of divorce, they must let go of self-doubt and work towards gaining the confidence to pursue your life's new direction
  • # 1 contributing factor that leads to divorce is the lack of basic emotional connection (emotional intimacy)
  • Divorce may introduce you to yourself, especially if you've been partially hidden in the process of adapting to the needs and personality of someone else. 
  • Only by doing something can we discover how string and capable we really are. If you don't know who you are, you won't know where you are going. But if you don't start going, you won't start finding out who you are.
III. Practical Steps

  • Accept that full singleness does not occur at the same moment for everyone. 
  • Comparing your feelings and actions to another isn't helpful. Remember that we are each unique.
  • If we are to be fully alive, we will actively live with the changes that are occurring.
IV. Affirmations

  • "...Today is the only day that really exists...When I allow the past to become very powerful, I will miss out on what's happening today...Dwelling on the past drains energy I could be using to focus on the present...I won't forget but I will say good-bye. I will use what it has taught me to fashion a key to the future---a tool to help, not hinder...I am not who I was yesterday. I am not who I will be but I am getting there one day at a time.

Upcoming Delight!

After a pain-filled night with my back, I am home today alternating ice and heat and physically laying low so this aggravation may be put behind.

As I was catching up on some blog reading, I was excited to come across a new online Bible Study that begins this week. Wendy Blight  is the author of the study book and she will also be leading this study. I was unfamiliar with Wendy so I called upon google to see what her testimony may be. I found this interview. After listening, I knew that God was leading me to this study.

Overcoming fear.
Living abundantly.
Relying on the very words of God through any and all circumstances.

My body is tired.
My emotions are erratic.
My mind is muddled.
But my heart is hungering.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Daily Gratitude(12)

1. Having the time available to rest and hopefully allow my back to fully recuperate.
2. Timely words shared from friends through Facebook and email.
3. Amber's friendship
4. Sheryl's loving support
5. The neighbors returning to unexpectedly weed-eat the yard.
6. "Resolve" upholstery cleaner after a sickly dog this evening. Yuck!

Living with Regrets

My aggravated (and aggravating!!) back have prevented much of my weekend agenda. Sigh.

But since I've been homebound for the most part, I've been able to get some little things done around the house and a lot of reading.

Earlier this week at work, a discussion came up about regrets, accepting God's forgiveness and having the ability to forgive ourselves.

One of the ladies shared this quote via email today and once again, I'm amazed at how another person's words can speak so directly to my heart, at a most-needed time.

"If you regret some of the decisions you made in the past, don't be so hard on yourself. At that time, you did your best with the knowledge that you had. At that time, you did your best with the experience you had. If you were to make those decisions with the wisdom you have now, you would choose differently. You would handle life's challenges in more effective ways. So give yourself a break and forgive yourself. Time and experience has a wonderful way to make us realize that we prosper, grow and learn to make better choices today, for ourselves and those we care for." (~Brigitte Nelson~)

When I read those words, my only response was AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! Actually more along the lines of 'I knoowww, right!?!'.

My youth minister, Keith, used to tease me about how there wasn't much of a need to reprimand me because I was harder on myself than anyone else ever would be. That he only felt obliged to redirect me to something more appropriate then remind me about the importance of forgiveness even to ourselves. That's one thing that hasn't changed over the years though the self-hatred times are far shorter, less intense and forgiveness comes much more easily.

Thankful for the insightful reminder and for my co-worker's willingness to share.

Declaration of/for Life (Part 2 of 2)

While in that hospital, I confided in one of the doctors about an early-in-life-experience and some situations regarding my marriage. I was pleasantly surprised by his immediate response and continued care. Another piece of evidence that openness and vulnerability would not be the end of me or the end of those who showed their care, concern, and/or love for me.

From that point onward, I was able to allow a select few into that inner circle. Not all handled it as I'd hoped; I was ultimately betrayed by 3 people (DKG, TMH, TBS) which hurt like hell BUT the world DID keep turning and I came through those hurtful  experiences stronger than I've ever felt.

Because of that newfound strength, I was able to begin counseling that has been an on-again/off-again process with openness and no games. I was able to offer "legal testimony and evidence" that prevented the further harm of others. Through that, I realized how truly powerless I am, especially in attempts to control other people and situations yet I finally realized that God was and is powerfully strong enough to get me through whatever comes my way, even if it means I'm a weeping mess that He has to carry.

In that same time frame (2008-09), I began yet another attempt to confront the issues in my marriage in the hopes that 'things' would get better. Being met with resistance would be an understatement. I was basically told 'sorry about your luck...your problem, not mine."  Not what I had hoped for but I wasn't shocked by the response. That was the moment, I began to accept responsibility for my own life.

I enlisted the help of physicians along with the counseling to better care for myself regardless of the circumstances, situations or repercussions. I trusted a chosen few to stand with me in prayer for God's wisdom, discernment and guidance. I never imagined at the time that choosing to do so would ultimately result in the end of my marriage. Though the ending has been horrifically painful, I have peace in my heart knowing that I did everything I knew to do to salvage the relationship but it wasn't enough or simply may have been too late.

I wasn't a perfect wife, by any means. I made plenty of mistakes along the way but I know that I gave it my all and that's all I could have offered.

The application and interview process that resulted in my new job in Brownwood was, without a doubt, orchestrated by God. I went into the interview with "my plan" in mind which consisted of certain topics being off-limits and an anxiety pill readily available. Apparently, my plan didn't coincide with God's plan. The interview committee asked very direct questions that couldn't be glossed over. A single crunchy Cheerio broke away the initial nervousness (lol!), thus no meds needed. That hour+ long interview will forever be one of my favorite experiences. I answered honestly and directly with no apologies and no hiding. MUCH more was disclosed than planned(!!). My closing statements at the interview were along the lines of being grateful for their time and the opportunity but to please not hire me if they didn't feel that I would be a "good fit" because I was coming out of situations that I wasn't best suited for and I wound no longer accept anything less. They thanked me, I received a few hugs and was told they would be in contact with me in 4-6 days. Four to five HOURS later, I received the call that I had the job if I so desired. ABSOLUTELY AN AFFIRMATIVELY ANSWERED PRAYER.

Each day holds its own amount of difficulties that I've been assured accompany the steps of separation, divorce and basically walking away from the life I had known.

The sadness is deep. The grief is real. Yet I have an inexplicable sense of peace because I will no longer hide. I will no longer self-protect by trying to force others into or out of my life. I trust that God will bring ALL things together for HIS good and albeit, ever so slowly, I am beginning to appreciate that is an amazingly wonderful gift.

I will speak honestly. I will allow my heart to be open. I will base all on the premise of Godly love. I will be vulnerable. I will be grateful for all things, even if it hurts. I will live authentically and genuinely.

Jesus sacrificed too much for me to choose a life of caution and fear.

I will choose to trust God above all and continually seek His will and rely upon His promises.

I will no longer hide for any reason or for anyone. Those that can handle that, I welcome with open arms. Those that can't, I let go with the Trust that God's plans will prevail against all.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Declaration of/for Life (Part 1 of 2)

I no longer hide.

A friend posted the link noted above on her Facebook page and what a wonderful, timely reminder it was.

I've spent the majority of my life in hiding---shrouded in fear.

As a child, I feared that my thoughts, feelings, actions, and/or words would result in being repeatedly abandoned by my dad.  As a teenager and those college-age years, my fear was in causing others to be hurt in physical or emotional ways---a by-product of observing what had happened to others who had become too close to my family (therefore me). People I had cared about had been incarcerated, placed in witness-protection programs and some had been emotionally and physically injured, even to the point of some dying or having been killed.

I wasn't so much protecting my own heart from others as I believed that I was protecting others from the harm caused by sharing in a relationship with me. Seems odd that I could feel so absolutely worthless, while at the same time, believing that I was powerful enough to control all.

A lifetime friend started me a turtle collection when I was in college as a symbol of how I hid and a reminder to keep sticking my neck out. Much of my adult life has been shadowed by the fear of disappointing others. So much so, that I lost myself along the way. I didn't dare think or speak outside of whatever box in fear of what the repercussions of doing such might have been.

In looking back, I think the 1st step in this un-hiding process was when I realized David's imminent death was inevitable (2008). Dave was the only person in my life that knew of my intense fears. He had been a down the street neighbor from 2 of my dad's criminal partners. David had witnessed car bombs, intentionally set fires, brutal fights and people simply disappearing from life. He didn't know all but he knew enough, by his own accounts, that he was the only person that truly felt safe. If something  bad did happen to him, I knew it wouldn't solely be my fault and in a very dysfunctional way, that allowed me to allow David  to see more of my heart than I allowed any other. His death was devastating. In our last viable communication, he strongly encouraged me to allow others to "see the real me" because he felt that anyone worthy of my love would see the beauty that he saw and not only feel pity or disgust. David's death rocked my soul to its core. I allowed his loss to harden me for a while. I believe that hardening was necessary for self-preservation and healing.

The next step occurred in 2009 just weeks prior to my dad's death. I had not spoken with him in a long while but knew that God was calling me to my dad's side, regardless of the discomfort, disgust, and disdain. I went into that day with my only prayer being that God would direct my every word and action; that God would strip away any anger, resentment, condemnation, etc. and truly make His presence known. That day was far from enjoyable but I had never been at such peace. I was able to see beyond my dad's theatrics, drama and manipulation. I almost felt like I was on the outside looking in and finally realized that I was not simply an extension of my dad's bad choices. I watched and listened and felt such sadness for him. His ensuing memorial and burial services were further testaments to a life not well-lived. The Lord sustained and guided my every step that day. And I tasted the sweetness of freedom and was beginning to realize I had nothing to fear. God was going to be with me regardless of place, time, or people involved.

In between David's death and the death of my dad, I spent some time in the hospital due to a life-threatening pharmaceutical mistake that took a few days to get straightened out. During that time, all barriers seemed removed because of the medicinal withdrawals and other meds to counter affect the withdrawal symptoms.

Apparently, I "opened up" quite a bit to both Randy and Angel as they sat with me at the initial stages. When I later realized what I'd said, I was horrifyingly embarrassed. Thankfully, both were surprised by these revelations but not appalled. They have stayed by my side, even more so since then. Further evidence that allowing myself to be me wasn't the world's worst thing.

Randy did set some up some new boundaries in our relationship because he felt like it was unwise for me to so heavily rely upon him when I was "scarily adept at hiding the deepest parts of my heart". These boundaries angered me at first but I am now so thankful that he had the insight to do such because that false-feeling of abandonment and ensuing irritation opened up opportunities for professional counseling experiences that have opened up my heart. Throughout the counseling, many deep-seated beliefs have been challenged and changed. My heart is healing (not necessarily in the ways I would have imagined) but the healing has graciously been accented with "kisses from heaven" along the way and I've never known such peace and hope.

Daily Gratitude(11)

1. Opportunity to sleep in this morning and have a restful day at home.
2. My kind neighbors mowing both my front and back yard for far less than it would have cost to hire a lawn care company.
3. Beautiful sunshine-y day.
4. Contemporary Christian music that so often ministers and soothes my soul. "Plumb" has some poignant lyrics!
5. The privilege and power of prayer
6. Friends and family who not only speak truth to me in love but allow me to do the same
7. Coming across the book I began reading today while at Hastings just killing time. Life After Divorce: Create A New Beginning written by Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse offered perspectives I hadn't considered, options to consider, hope for a better future and a means of encouragement and healing. I could relate to so much just within the first couple of chapters. I underlined and highlighted and will create notes of reference for reminders. It was nice (for lack of a better term) to see some of my thoughts/feelings that I haven't openly expressed being written by another---put normalcy into perspective  and comfort in knowing that I'm obviously not the only one who has felt or thought certain ways.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Daily Gratitude (10)

1. Friday! Friday! Friday! I may be relying a bit too much on Saturday morning sleep-ins. ;)
2. Precious performance of my classroom students at the 1st Six Weeks Awards Ceremony.
3. Support of classroom parents when dealing with discipline issues.
4. The presence of so many families showing support for their children and our school.
5. Yummy lunch from Doc's Pharmacy.
6. Honest, no pretense, straight-from-the-heart conversations.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Daily Gratitude(9)

1. Availability of chiropractic care. Boo to an aching back!
2. Kindness of my next door neighbors who are assisting with lawn care.
3. Sonic ice. Yum!
4. Hope of possibilities to come.
5. Support from a classroom parent in dealing with a child's inappropriate behavior.
6. Being able to meet the testing deadlines when that looked to be an impossibility. Would have been impossible without Diane's assistance.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Daily Gratitude (8)

1. Honest conversation with one I admire and respect.
2. Kind-hearted text from my new principal who has also become a friend.
3. Professional support from the campus special ed dept.
4. Encouragement from the Ladies' small-group Bible Study
5. Fun field trip with my classroom cuties to see the high school play.
6. Gorgeous afternoon that I spent outside playing with the dogs, reading & journaling.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Daily Gratitude(7)

1. Safe-keeping of my phone after I left it ON TOP OF my sister's vehicle. Still can't believe that it didn't fly or fall off as she drive home. Whew!!
2. Good rapport with the parents of my potential new student with special needs.
3.Honest answer from a friend.
4. Jenny's hug and words of encouragement.
5. Eating dinner with Sheryl, her boys and my mom this evening.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Daily Gratitude(6)

1. Love and support from my mom and sister.
2. Diane's ability and willingness to graciously step in and help with classroom responsibilities as I began the state-mandated testing of students.
3. The cooler temperatures.
4. Kindness, encouragement and prayerful support from Deidra, Diane, Amber, Jenny, Kimber & Debbie O.
5. Convenience and quickness of email.
6. Smiles and hugs throughout the school day from Kaeden, Cole, Molly, Lyla, Kenzie & Austin.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Daily Gratitude(5)

1. Beautiful day, weather-wise.
2. Opportunity for a day of rest and relaxation.
3. Afternoon nap in the warmth of the sun.
4. Availability of items needed for my new student.
5. The power of a song to remind me of what I know to be true.

I Am NOT Alone 

When I walk through deep waters
I know that You will be with me
When I'm standing in the fire
I will not be overcome
Through the valley of the shadow
I will not fear

I am not alone
I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me

In the midst of deep sorrow
I see Your light is breaking through
The dark of night will not overtake me
I am pressing into You
Lord, You fight my every battle
And I will not fear

You amaze me
Redeem me
You call me as Your own

You're my strength
You're my defender
You're my refuge in the storm
Through these trials
You've always been faithful
You bring healing to my soul

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Daily Gratitude(4)

1. My mom and Sheryl coming over to do what I was, obviously, having a near-impossible time doing---finishing up the decor touches on "my new home". Definitely, bittersweet.
2. The kindness of my neighbor & her children as they helped me round up my 2 pups on the loose.
3. Rhyder's sweet, "I wanna hold you, my Sha-Sha" that helped me to get a grip on the tears that were about to fall.
4. Kurt's willingness & ability to reschedule appointments.
5. Kaeden's desire to spend time with me even when I am definitely not being a fun-filled aunt.
6. A day to simply be and rest. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Daily Gratitude (3)

1. Today being a Friday!!!
2. Opportunity to spend some fun time with Kaeden after school at DQ & Coggin Park.
3. Deidra's kindness and encouragement as I had a mini melt-down over report cards. Grrr...
4. News of being approved for the School Loan Forgiveness Program. Not certain of the amount but paying close to $400 a month for the past 20 years has grown ridiculously tiresome so any amount would be welcomed.
5. Encouraging and loving email from Randy. I am so blessed with folks who have known me "for a lifetime" and remain my friends.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


As I was driving home from meeting with "my counselor" this evening, it dawned on me how much Kurt reminds me of David. That explains why I've found it to be significantly easier than usual in sharing life details that generally are hard for me to share and express. 

Like David was, (oh, how my heart still hurts using past tense when referring to Dave), Kurt is a quiet, gentle-speaking man who obviously puts much thought and prayer in what he chooses to say and do. Both have shown kindness and fearlessness in speaking the truth in love, not in judgment or condemnation. Both have shared thoughtful wisdom and I imagine Kurt to be as fiercely devoted to those whom he cares about as David was to those he held dear. 

Of course, I can't "read" Kurt's mannerisms and expressions as I could with David after having shared a much loved friendship for close to 27 years. But a certain calmness and familiarity are felt and very much appreciated. What I wouldn't give to sit across from Dave in a restaurant booth or sit out at his family's farm talking while appreciating the beauty of the moonlit, starry nights. How I would love to have his loving insight on all of the current circumstances. Time healing all wounds isn't true. The more time passes, the more I miss him and long for one more more hug. I will never regret the time I was allowed with him despite the intense hurt at losing him far before I ever imagined.

I find it ironic that so many people have offered to "be here if I want to talk" and that the one person I would most like to talk to right now about anything and everything won't communicate with me but trusting that there's a reason for all things regardless of how maddening it can be. I long for the day when all will make some sort of sense.

I met this afternoon with a support staff person for a new student that will soon be enrolled in my class. There seems to be a lot of "labels" on this young child and I am praying that he will be able to come be a part of our classroom family and simply enjoy being who he is while learning and participating with his peers. Looks to be a challenge, for sure, but I know that all is being done in the best interests of this child and I feel privileged to be whatever part of the process. 

After such a crazy, off-schedule week, TGIF will hold a much more appreciated meaning as the alarm sounds in the morning. 

Daily Gratitude(2)

1. The precious smiles & hugs of my cutie-pie students when I returned to work today after having been at a workshop.
2. Safe travels to and from Abilene despite kinda driving in auto-pilot.
3. The kindness, honesty, and encouragement shown by Kurt, especially when I'm fearful that my rambling is nonsense(!!)
4. DIET DR. PEPPER!!! I know, I's really not good for me but man, oh, man did it hit the spot today.
5. Surprise lunch brought to me by Sheryl and the fun of enjoying the time with her and her boys during my lunch break.
6. The support staff that seems to be accompanying the arrival of my soon-to-be-new student with autism. Looking forward to meeting this young blessing.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Daily Gratitude

1. Wonderful ideas shared at the workshop to implement in the classroom.
2. My amazing momma who always shares her love with me.
3. An unexpected $100+ refund at the pharmacy
4. Genuine laughter shared with co-workers.
5. Gorgeous moon this morning as I drove to work.
6. Safe keeping of my house and dogs since I absent-mindedly left the garage open with unlocked doors all day. (!!)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Counting Blessings

Enough is enough!
I may not be able to control the nearness of tears but I can and will control my thoughts!!

My heart IS broken.
So many trusts ARE shattered.
I have lost a large portion of a life I've known for a long time.
I'm grieving the loss of...
  • my marriage
  • my in-laws
  • the town I've lived in for close to 20 years
  • a job I once loved
  • students I had hoped to watch grow up
  • co-workers that I cared deeply for
  • friends I loved
  • my neighborhood and my previous neighbors
  • my home
  • the majority of my personal belongings
  • a lifestyle to which I was accustomed
  • financial security
  • the regular relationships I shared with fellow-believers
  • my much-loved pups
  • the man I had so hoped would be my best friend.

I'm grieving dreams that won't become reality.
I'm grieving a relationship that isn't even mine to grieve but grief I feel.
I've lost the relationships with caring health professionals.

I literally have to remind myself to breathe on a daily basis when the sadness presents itself in sobs and intense moments of panic and anxiety.

The darkness of night is the worse which is ironic for one who has always thrived at being a night owl.
Sleep is frequently impossible.

BUT I am grateful for the beauty of each morning; especially when it seems nearly impossible to face another day.

I am grateful for my family who have steadfastly stood beside me.
I am grateful for the friends who have shown their faithfulness.
I am grateful for my new job.
I am grateful for my wonderfully kind co-workers.
I am grateful for the precious students who have been entrusted to my care.
I am thankful for the medications that have helped significantly with all of the recent drama.
I am thankful for the new opportunities.
I am thankful for the privilege of joining a small group of women each week for Bible Study and prayer.
I am thankful that ALL of my daily provisions ARE being met.
I'm thankful for a safe house and a trustworthy landlord.
I am thankful for my two new puppy-loves.
I am thankful for the presence, power, love, and mercies of God.

I used to keep a journal of daily gratitude, in which I focused on 5 special "things" of that particular day.

I am not denying my grief but I will NOT be consumed by such.

Today, I am especially grateful for:
1. Jenny's willingness to drive us to San Angelo for the workshop. My physical fatigue would have made for a dangerous drive.
2. My teaching-assistant and her capable, loving care for our students in my absence.
3. The substitute who treats the children with kindness and respect.
4. My sister's willingness to run an errand for me that I failed to do in a timely manner.
5. The convenience of Dollar General stores for a quick trip for necessary items.
6. The time spent in getting to become better acquainted with Jenny, Loma, Angie, Serena, and Kathy.
7. The opportunity to meet Krissy, who is not only a district co-worker but also a down the street neighbor.
8. The power of music to calm and lift my spirit.


Monday, October 6, 2014

In A Strange Place

In a strange place. Finishing up the 1st six weeks of school, decorating the house and going on a trip as an employee of my new ISD has made reality hit. And it has hit hard. People keep assuring me that I am doing well and that is all okay but I often wonder.

Is this sinking feeling normal? Are tears supposed to be this frequent? I can't even think beyond a week at a time which IS an improvement but still frustrating. I know that this is a time of grief but I NEVER imagined how grief-stricken I wound truly be.

I don't want others to be worried about me so I'm keeping a brave front or simply staying out of sight. Ironic that I desire so much to simply be with no pretenses, no masks yet fear that vulnerability leading to more heartache.

I was rereading through some of this blog over the weekend and was reminded of some important truths; especially the entries in July 2011.

I find myself missing husband and wanting to talk with him and see how he is doing but that doesn't seem wise since there isn't any desire to return to the way things were. I still care about him and know he feels the same so the silence is deafening and awkward. I was the one who demanded the silence with stipulations. I shouldn't be surprised that he isn't willing to stipulate anything. He is not a man of compromise and I've allowed him to have his way on everything for 19 years; I shouldn't expect anything new but his selfishness, though expected, still hurts all the same.

It's strange how in my mind's eye, I can easily imagine a life of companionship and joy with someone who isn't mine to have. I have prayed that if it is in God's plans for this person to be in my life that God will clearly show that path. And that if it's not in His plans, that He will take away that desire and help me to hold each thought captive and realistic.

I am finding that the weekends are the hardest so I need to make an action plan to not allow Satan to use that time as a tool of discouragement, despondency and fear.

I'm so thankful for a work day with no students tomorrow and for the opportunity to attend the 2 day conference this week. A 2 day week with students will do me good because I invest so much energies in my classroom that it has left little for outside of work. I'm striving to find a balance.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Sleepless Night

Zz-quil, warm milk, relaxing music, reading, praying and everything else I could think of has not helped with getting to sleep tonight (this morning). I am tired but the minute I get still, my mind jumps into overdrive.

It was 6 months ago today that I knew I wouldn't be returning to the same life I'd led for close to 19 years. I wasn't sure what all that reality would entail but I knew that serious changes had to be made before I allowed myself to be completely destroyed. There wasn't any way to foresee the changes that would take place. I never imagined the life I now lead yet am so thankful for the many ways in which God has, without a doubt, opened up the doors of opportunity.

I thought husband and I had a chance to work things out but I know now that isn't going to happen. As I was visiting with my counselor this evening, he assured me that I was doing far better than I realized. I have prayed for clarity and wisdom to know if and when to file for divorce. I don't have 100% assurance at this moment but definitely in the high 90% range. There are some things that I feel  I must tell husband and am remaining in prayer for the best words and proper timing. I know I can't go back. I'm just not sure how to move forward. Right now, my focus is to keep breathing deeply every day. I'm thinking that either Thanksgiving or Christmas Break may be the best time to return to my previous county and make arrangements. There isn't a reason to rush; just seems logical that the sooner this process is begun and completed,  the sooner the healing can begin.

I see it being uncontested and I am not after anything monetarily or materially, despite the ones who feel that I should insist on the 50/50 TX law. I don't want to purposefully hurt him in any way and I've already started over, without what may or may not be legally mine. Some don't understand my reasoning but I've no doubt that God will meet my needs in whatever ways He sees fit without me fussing over it all. This 'battle' has gone on long enough. Time for closure. Time for peace.

I am currently studying about the prevalence of autism and how this will effect our classrooms. I will soon be going to a 2 day conference in San Angelo. There is also an upcoming conference in Searcy (of all places!!) but I declined the opportunity. I don't think I could be in that particular area without wanting to reach out to a 'friend' who has made it clear that no further communication is wanted. I find it infuriatingly coincidental that this well-reputed nationally-travelled conference ends up being at my alma mater. Torn between laughing and crying at the irony.

3 1/2 hours until my alarm goes off. {grrrr...}
Guess I'll try again to sleep. If not, I'll get up, shower, and head on over to the campus and at least do something productive. Doubly-thankful it's Friday because it's looking like a long day ahead.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Feeling such relief! These past few days have been excruciatingly hard. I am so thankful for the power of prayer, the availability of medications and the blessings of supportive friends. Probably TMI for a semi-public forum but I have come to realize that there will be at least one emotionally erratic day each month due to extreme PMS. Blood work has shown that this is a hormonal reality and the best way for me to deal with it is to keep a calendar so to know the date range and prepare accordingly (take extra meds if necessary, increase nutrition, ensure sleep, make no big decisions, etc). The angst/turmoil is real, near-maddening, sometimes frightening but short-lived.

I was caught off guard this month because apparently my hormonal system has created a new time schedule that doesn't correspond with the calendar I've kept for the past few years. Aggravating but oh so relieving. I don't understand why but whatever occurs internally during this time greatly effects my thought processing, my physical energies and leads to overwhelming emotional upheaval. Once the cycle begins, I can actually feel a toxic release. .

So...I've altered the calendar with great relief that insanity is truly not occurring, will be closely monitoring my hormonal meds while praying that my body will get back into rhythm despite the stress of the past 6 months.