Callouses  (one among the many things about divorce no one wants to talk about)

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I remember being a small child holding my father’s rough calloused hands, his knuckles swollen from a day of hard work. I would press each calloused spot and ask, “Does this hurt?” and he would gently reply, “No.”

Over and over, I would repeat the process till my Father grew tired of my childish ways and sent me off to help mom by setting the table for dinner.

 

I have a post that sits in my draft section titled: Things about divorce no talks about. 

This beautifully crafted piece of written word sits waiting for me to click on the button that says: PUBLISH.

While today I may not be quite ready to hit that button, I choose to write about the callouses that can occur in life. (One among the many things about divorce no one wants to talk about)

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See as a single/divorced mom of three children there is one aspect of my life that is exhausting. I do it all. I keep life going, organized and successful for three other humans. Often times imagery suggests a women trying to keep all of the plates spinning and I must admit that I feel that way on many days.

 

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BUT in truth most days, I feel like I am holding on to a rope with all of my might. Deep callouses appear year after year as I firmly hold on to this rope.

All in hopes that by holding on I keep it all together.

 

letting-go-quote-via-la-la-lovely.jpgI have never stopped and looked at my callouses until today. Upon reviewing them I see that my heart is a bit callous, my expectations are callous, even my dreams are a bit callous.

I feel like that small child poking at my father’s hand asking…………… “Does that hurt?”

Callouses are definitely not a hot topic among our society, let alone in regards to divorce. This is where as a christian, my faith reminds me that I am not in control and I never have been.

The callouses are there because I choose to hold onHold on to what? My expectations. My dreams. The way I thought my life needed to be. My financial security.

So here is my prayer. For myself and for those seeing the callouses for the first time!

Lord, it is hard to let go of things that are comfortable and familiar, even when they’re not good for me anymore. I need your strong power to release my grasp, finger by finger, on the things I cling to so tightly – like unhealthy ways of thinking or relationships that are not bear fruit. As I release them to You, give me the courage to receive all You have waiting for my empty, trusting hands!

The changes within me.

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This week I have been overwhelmed with changes. 

  • New Car
  • New Couch & Coffee Table
  • New Flooring on the front porch
  • The Biggest of all is that I am in my last few weeks of my first year back in college.

As the quote above says, “They say “don’t look back” but sometimes it’s important to see how far you’ve come.

See, looking back hurts……because my past hurts. There are aspects of my past that causes me pain when I reflect on them. The loss of financial security, the loss of an ideal, loss of a companion, having to go back to work, plus taking the steps to go back to school.

With each grimace of pain, there is also a tinge of pride. I have worked hard to get my kids and I back on solid financial ground, we have a home that we adore and suits our needs, while stepping into the workplace after many years with kids is complicated…there is also a lot of self-worth created! And going back to school to work in a career I am passionate about that will benefit my family financially is HUGE!

So why feel overwhelmed?

Mostly I feel like who I am is so incredibly far from who I once was. I created this image of a stay-at-home mom with three beautiful children, loving marriage, pinterest worthy home and drove what all other stay at home mom’s drove – either a minivan or SUV with seating for a small army. Those images are gone and in their place is a hardened, single mom who stays up till 1 am doing school work, lives in a small home, works hard to provide financially and drives a car! LOL!

18847956054x640As I have made changes to who I am, the one thing I have noticed is that these changes to some seem like less….but in truth are so much more! See,  I downsized from a large SUV that seated 7, to a small hatchback car that seats 4.

One thing that surprised me was the amount of criticism and comments I have gotten from other mom’s. Oh my goodness….the comments I have received from other moms are scorching!

“There is just no way I could do a car with three kids. My kids are so messy that we would drown in all their garbage and stuff they leave behind.”

“So you’re going the environmentally friendly way now. Good for you!” (Insert eye roll)

While I don’t need to justify my decision in going to a smaller car, I would need to justify myself if I ever lost my cool and slapped some of these women. I really like downsizing to a smaller vehicle. The smaller space is easier to keep clean, the gas mileage is AMAZING and it is a dependable, safe car that is fun to drive!

As I have reflected back, the other thing that I have noticed changing is my personal style. From the way I dress to how I decorate my home. Functionality is what I am all about all while looking good in the process.

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This looks just like my living room except I have a sectional that is blue! (Which is crazy because I am not a blue person but I love it)

I downsized our couch from this big overstuffed faux vinyl couch to a smaller sectional sofa. We traded out a dark big coffee table for a round one that has stools underneath. In truth, I think it is one of the ugliest coffee tables I have ever seen BUT my kids love it! We pull out the stools and play cards, Bonkers, or we just sit around and have a snack….IT IS WONDERFUL!

These are just a few examples of things that have changed in the last few years!

I bring all of this up because there are women out there who are going through a difficult season in their life. They are looking at the road before them overwhelmed and wondering how in the world they will do it.

Then there are others who have never had to deal with situations of great magnitude….and for those ladies….you may be watching your friend going through a difficult situation and you see them changing.

unnamed.jpgFor those doing the changing – its ok to change. You may find just like I did, that you don’t like how you’ve hardened, developed a bit of a crusty exterior or the way you handle people. It may be that you don’t even see these changes till you start to look back and find you’re driving a car (not a minivan) your furniture is completely different from what you liked in your 20’s-30’s and you simply don’t have time for drama! It’s ok!

For those watching someone change – Thank You! Thank you for loving them through these changes. Thank you for keeping your mouth shut when you wanted to say something negative and THANK YOU for opening it when you genuinely meant that word of encouragement. b86b83570327bd7f4c305e32090d7113.jpg

 

A Single Word Perspective

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Like most 20 year old women, I developed this elaborate ritual of creating some sort of phrase or mantra with which I was certain defined who I wanted to become, things I aspired to do, or characteristics I wished to embody. It usually went something like this: that I may be like the moon, a reflection of something brighter……blah, blah, blah.

Like most 30 year old women, my elaborate ritual fell to the wayside.

Four years ago, I simplified the process to one word. Simple. Effective. For me it works.

2015 – Intentional

I desired more than anything as I entered 2015 to be more intentional with my words, my thoughts, my actions, etc. I wanted to emulate the scripture below by simply not listening to the word of God but living it out intentionally!

James 1:22-23 “But be sure you live out the message and do not merely listen to it and so deceive yourselves. For if someone merely listens to the message and does not live it out, he is like someone who gazes at his own face in a mirror. For he gazes at himself and then goes out and immediately forgets what sort of person he was.”

2016 – Strategic0822fa3c3825ff91da1401f93f0add28

I entered 2016 broken. My marriage was in ruins. I was dealing with a second bout of cancer and accepting the bitter truth that divorce was the best way forward for my three children and I……it hurt. I entered the year making strategic choices that I believe set the kids and I up for success. It was a really rough, scary and difficult year.

2nd Corinthians 4:8-9 Sums it up perfectly!  “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

Yes, it was a hard year but I never gave up!

7ac4cfc90f1951150b8912e42304e09d2017 – Fruitful/ Sow

In the beginning I started 2017 with Fruitful but quickly realized my error. To be fruitful in my life, I needed to sow seeds. Seeds of Kindness, Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Gentleness and Self-control.

I set a goal where twice a month I intentionally sowed seeds: I would write a card of encouragement to someone I felt needed it, I blessed my children’s teachers with a chocolate treat or gift card, or even somethings as silly as putting away all the carts in my grocery store’s parking lot!

Looking back, I see how each years word create a foundation for the next years word. I couldn’t sow my seeds successfully if I wasn’t’ intentional and strategic about how and where I sowed them!

Looking back I realize now, how amazing this season was, as I unknowingly exhibited to my children the importance of the fruits of the spirit and how to sow those seeds in the busy everyday-ness of life.

enjoy2018 – Enjoy

As 2108 makes its grand entrance, I want to Enjoy every moment!

Enjoy the little things!

Like my children snuggled in my lap during a movie!

Enjoy the big things!

Enjoy the blessings and appreciate the struggles.

I look back on 2018 with a fondness for the many adventures my kids and I took, games of Uno we played and snuggles on rainy days watching movies!

capable2.jpg2019 – Capable

I know! Right?!? What a word!

Capable means: having attributes (such as physical or mental power) required for performance or accomplishment.

This year I am in college full time, working part time and taking care of three kids with activities galore.  I am capable!

Capable of establishing myself financially! Capable of taking care of my kids and myself! Capable of working hard and maintaining my 4.0 at UND!

Capable of this and so much more!

 

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I am so excited for 2019!

God has amazing things in store for me and my amazing kids!

Have a word for 2019 you would like to share?

Comment below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lessons my children teach me

0f40f266b36c4452e8e5e21b4d9b690b.jpgI was hot. I was angry.

And the words that spewed from my mouth were awful, vile words that echoed my frustration.

My oldest son came up to me and said the following:

” Mom, do you know what you tell us when we start acting like you are now? Don’t answer. I am gonna tell you anyways…..Frustration and anger occur when your brain gets to hot. It gets hot because you are one of three things: TIRED, HUNGRY or BOTH. So when is the last time you had something to eat?”

Oh heavens to Betsy…..that boy nailed it! I had forgotten to eat during the day and drink plenty of water during the hottest part of day during our sweltering Midwestern Summer.

So often I get caught up in the important lessons I want to impart on my children: coping techniques to make life easier and helping them create a moral compass to guide them through life! Then a moment comes when I am hot, angry, hungry and tired where I realize that I need to listen to the words coming out of my mouth! LOL!

7bd63d5052974c60aba60cf746437060.jpgI try to teach my kids to speak KINDNESS.…..and then I scream my frustration at the person driving at a snails pace in front of me.

I try to teach my kids to take care of their bodies by counting calories, checking ingredients, and eating healthy meals regularly…….then at 2:30 pm I remember I haven’t eaten for the day and choose to gorge myself on a box of donuts.

I remind my kids that rest is important for their growing bodies……then I choose to stay up till 1 am watching silly kitten videos on youtube or I go for days straight not taking time to replenish and refresh myself.

fb8d7afae6e6a46f0ba8af6f439525ca.jpgLast but not least I try to teach my kids that mistakes are ok and as long as you learn from them and grow…..then it is ok! As the epic Thomas Wayne once said, “Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up!”

Looks like I need to listen to myself more often….I give some pretty good advice!

My Pastor has it wrong….

A few Sundays ago, my pastor was preaching a sermon on the importance of setting a day aside to rest. His key phrase that stuck with me was….’sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap!’

I Love This!!!

Since hearing this phrase I use it with my children when they are getting crabby, frustrated or are in need of some rest.

While I love this…..I kinda wanna tweak it a bit.

See I am all about a good nap but sometimes the most spiritual thing I can do is take my kids on an adventure!

And that is exactly what we did after church today.

North of our hometown along the Mississippi River is the savanna/Sabula bridge. Which is currently under construction. So the US Corp of Engineers has put a Ferry Service in place. The kids and I headed up there after church today. My plan was to play at the park, take the Ferry over and walk to the Ice Cream Shop then enjoy the Ferry Ride back!

Such a success and so much fun!

So in my humble opinion…..the most spiritual thing you can do on a beautiful summer day?!?

Go on an adventure, then go home and take a nap! Lol!

Birthday Wishes.

Facebook asked me to raise money for a cause because my birthday is coming up.

birthday wishes.jpgToday as I sat in the early morning hours , I thought about what causes I could ask my friends and family to donate to (There are many worthy causes.) I found myself shockingly honest, does asking for family and friends to donate to a cause help me as a single mom of three trying to get myself through school while working full time or does it just make me look good and socially seems like the right thing to do…..
Would it be the best for my kids and I…..So I asked myself what would do a lot of good?

What would be an amazing blessing for my kids and I….. is if those same friends and family, helped me raise the funds needed for my first year at University of North Dakota’s Social Work Program. This money would help me buy books, fees, etc needed. Any extra raised would be put towards getting myself debt free.
Why?
Because a lot of times, we don’t get what we want simply because we choose not to ask. 
So I am asking those who are willing to hear for help. Help putting my future and the future of my kids in better standings.

three kiddos.jpgI am a single mamma of three pretty great kids,  currently working full time and pursuing a degree in Social Work through the University of North Dakota. I am a cancer survivor….having two surgeries to remove cancerous nodules on my Thyroid. I have overcome cancer, divorce, financial nightmares and still choose to see my life with amazing blessings and opportunities!

My end goal is to be able to support my three children and I financially with this my degree as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Therapist. I want to help those in need overcome trauma like PTSD, Domestic Abuse, etc and develop the skills they need to live productive and happy lives!

Please help me by making a donation today!

Mr. Rogers is right on so many levels!

This morning, I failed.

My “mommy’s reached her limit’ button was flashing red from the moment I woke up after a rough nights rest.

My daughter took a half hour to eat one slice of toast. My middle son put his sandals on, then his flip flops, back to the sandals, then went in search of the elusive socks to finally settle on two mismatching pairs from the dirty laundry pile and slightly damp sneakers. (Keep in mind the mound of clean matching socks in his actual sock draw were left untouched!)

So when my oldest son felt the need to take over his brother’s chores because it wasn’t getting done right….well I reacted much like the geyser we saw on vacation.

As I rushed my children out the door, we came to a four way stop a bit down the road and this crazy lady to my left was honking and waving greeting me with the biggest smile! My heart was glad for my friend Ashley and her joy.

As I rushed my children into their summer day camps, one teacher took the time to ask about our vacation. Genuine interest and excitement as my daughter shared her favorite moments. My heart was glad for Paula and her sincere interest in our vacation.

As I rushed into my home, I stepped into the kitchen and noticed my oldest son had done the dishes before he left to work with Papa for the day. My heart was glad for Tobin and his act of kindness. 

I rushed to my phone and received a text that quite a few donations of time were made on my behalf. The result of that kindness is my heart hours for school were met! My heart was thankful for those who donated their time on my behalf.

Mr. Rogers said, “We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”

Today, I am so thankful for those who kindly and willingly share in the responsibility of raising my three children. People like my amazing friends: Anna, Ashley, Becca. My children’s grandparents: Papa & Nana House ~ their insight and help in understanding my child and why they are acting the way they are is worth it’s weight in gold. My sister, Steph, she sees when my stress level is reaching it’s peak and steps in to take the kids to give me a break. Her value goes much farther than that as she loves each of my kids in their own way. I  am so thankful for her. My children’s teachers: Paula V., Paula C., Becky and Connie. They love my kids and show it. All of you are truly my heroes!

Last but certainly not least:

To my children.

“Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” Mr. Fred Rogers

I wish I were the perfect mom for you. But I am not. I struggle. Thank you for loving me exactly the way I am right here and right now…….and loving me enough to do the dishes!

When my beautiful bambino’s get home, I am pretty sure a plate full of cookies will be waiting for them along with three tall glasses of milk and the Uno cards all dealt and ready to go!