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Location: Wisconsin, United States

"There is a secret set within each of our hearts...It is simply the desire for life as it was meant to be... Seasons may pass until it surfaces again. And though it seems to taunt us, and may at times cause us great pain, we know when it returns that it is priceless. For if we could recover this desire, unearth it from beneath all other distractions, and embrace it as our deepest treasure, we would discover the secret of our existance." -John Eldredge, The Journey of Desire

Saturday, January 28, 2006

A Narrow Path

I've long since accepted that I'm a drama queen. In serious situations, with major unhealthiness, this can be a bad thing. Most of the time though, I prefer to believe it means that I feel honestly and openly and passionately.

Sometimes, I can be just the opposite. I can become withdrawn and self-involved and not even know it. Busy. Confused. Separate from my God, and by extension, the people I care about.

Many months ago I found myself on my knees in a place where I go to pray. I realized that I had just emerged from something rather traumatic and that I hadn't gotten there by accident. Not really. I got there because I didn't get something I needed from my father emotionally, while growing up, and I went looking for it someplace else. And continued looking for it. And continued. Even when it was so obviously a bad thing. I let someone treat me poorly, horribly, because I valued myself based on what I didn't get.

While on my knees, Jesus told me to put HIM there. To allow HIM to be my husband. To be in that place. He told me he knows my needs before I do, that he can give me everything and will never, ever let me down. I was not alone. I had not heard sermons about this, I had not read books about this. I did not know this was a Christian principle. It amazes me because this message was so incredibly personal, just for me.

So I did this. It gave me great comfort. It has allowed me to view the man that I've been dating as a human being, rather than someone who is supposed to just give and give and give. Rather than someone who is supposed to be infallible. Rather than someone who is allowed to mistreat me because I have given him God-like qualities.

I try, every morning, to spend time with Jesus, to remind myself of these things. To keep balance. Sometimes I get so busy that I lose touch with this side of me. I feel the emptiness, the hole this creates. Jesus has become a living, breathing entity. He has become my friend. I require time with him. When life gets too busy for me to find time on my knees in the morning, I feel it in every corner of my life. I begin to live life differently, less passionately, less thoughtfully. Less lovingly to all those close to me.

Oddly enough, when I look back on my history, the happiest I ever was, was at Bible camp the summer I counseled. I had lots of time with my guitar, the lake and prayer. I had woods I could tromp through and knew my way around like it was a city block. I felt close to God. But I moved away from God that summer and never came back to him until now.

And now he wants something more from me. He demands I walk a more faithful line. He demands I behave like a Christian. He demands I open my heart up so that it can be healed in the places it is still dark and scary. I am frightened. I was frightened months ago when he so gently, but so obviously, cornered me. I have received nothing but gifts since then. My God calls and though I resisted at first, I will not anymore.

I go. Truly worshiping God seems to be similar to marriage. It's constant work. Constant vigilance. We fall away, become less then present and have to find our way back. I have never walked this path before. Never been with someone who refuses to walk away from me, who walks with me even when I push them away. I am continually amazed that there is someone this incredible.

Last night I had an argument with someone. He said some things that hurt. Some were true, brutally honest. I reached for Jesus's hand. I heard him whisper in my ear. He sat next to me while I listened and helped to keep my ears open. Helped to keep my heart open so that it would not close off in defensiveness. My humanness failed me. Because of His gift, I get up, I am forgiven. I try again.

Everyone struggles with pride, with forgiveness. Sometimes, though, we are hardest on ourselves. I spent several months hearing nothing but "Humble Yourself". Being humble got me through divorce, of all things. And now, as I begin to take credit for having survived an insane situation, or give credit to those who have supported me, I find myself failing. Missing the point. I can't take any credit. I survived by the grace of God. I go back there, now. Hand myself over. Drop to my knees. Ask Him to reach in and stir my heart. To forgive me and allow me to forgive myself for my errors, in my history and in my present. To help me move forward with more care, to live intentionally. To slow things down so that I can tend to the important things, to remember to place Him first, every morning, where He wants to be.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Money and Control

Life is beginning to take shape. It's an odd shape, not one I expected, but one which is working for me.

I discovered today that there are people who will lend me money to refinance my house, with cash out to catch me up and pay off some bills. I have put this off because I was afraid to move on my own. When I refinance my car - in my own name, this December, I realized it's the very first loan I've ever had in my name, alone. And now I own a home and will have a home loan in my own name. I'm being forced to grow up. I'm not complaining, just shaking in my boots.

Someone will lend me money to finance my home? Just me? Weird.

I made the decision to put off school until this summer or next fall. I need instead to get my finances in order and create some semblance of predictability in my life and in my children lives.

This bizarro job I found, merchandising, is so STUPID, but so incredibly enjoyable. I just love it. I set my own schedule. I am busier than I ever dreamed I would be. It doesn't take a college degree, but I'm WORKING and am able to work around the kids. Because it is such an easy job, I am able to relax. I enjoy people. Maybe I'll just go into management in this stuff. Who knows?

It just might all be coming together. Maybe.

The ex decided to leave a huge credit card open in both of our names. I closed it today. Or rather, the bank ladies who have all been through divorce closed it with my permission. They simply looked at me and said "It's better for you this way." Well, alright then. Do for me whatever must be done. The ex is having a fit. Something about property taxes I was supposed to pay in 2005 so that he could claim them on his income taxes. Instead I will pay them before the end of the month and be able to claim them on MINE next year. Oops. I didn't even think of that. Sure am glad he pointed that out. Oh, what? He doesn't want to pay his attorney to respond to the garbage I've paid my attorney to draft? Oh well!

I can not wait to have my home refinance. I can not wait to have him off the mortgage. I can not wait to make him have that much less control. Every day I thank God I am not with him. I was so miserable and did not even know it. I wake up and realize I am living an honest life, with no secrets and am delighted. No secrets, no shame, no guilt, no abuse. There is joy in my life, something missing for years.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Who's Dumber II and Growing Older

Four days later and I finally talked with Mr. Boyfriend. He has called every day for the last three days. Not left messages, but called. Today, he began leaving messages.

Early this afternoon it was anger. Frustration. Blaming garbage.

Later this afternoon (while I was in the clinic discovering my blood sugar is high) he left a variety of messages using different goofy voices, like a Bill Clinton impersonation. Which was actually pretty good and very funny. Humor is my soft spot. I can't stay mad when something is funny.

So he called and I picked up. We chatted. He apologized for being a jerk, but basically said that it's who he is. OK. Whatever.

I had to get off the phone and when I asked if he'd like me to call him back, he could not give me a straight answer. "If you have time and I'm not busy I might answer the phone but maybe you need time or maybe I need time..."

So I'm not calling him again. I'm not playing games. Or maybe I am. I don't know. I asked a yes or no question and in order to not be vulnerable he again made me feel unimportant. I've just had enough.


The ex and I are learning to live in a sort of peace. Learning to like it. The interesting thing is that we will bounce back to civil very shortly after this evening. We have childish conversations whereby he says something completely inaccurate (I have documentation to this effect - this is not an irrational argument yet) and I call him stupid, tell him that I don't have time to argue with him and hang up.

I know. I am not a nice person. But he was being stupid and I've had a bad day. At any rate, I knew I shouldn't have said that. I picked up the phone, dialed his number and said I was sorry. He said something else stupid, like the fact that we weren't getting along was all my fault. At which point I said something like..."That's why I'm apologizing." (Dummy.)

We probably exchanged four phone calls each about 30 seconds long. The last statements made are hysterical, if you have a childish sense of humor. I called him back and told him his arguments were still illogical and full of BS. He told me he liked his argument style just fine. I said something to the effect I was glad someone else had to listen to him if he was still going to argue that dumb. Then I hung up.

When you've known someone as long as the ex and I have known each other, you know how they react. He must have needed to argue with someone, too. The last convo was immensely satisfying in a very childish way. He felt the same way. Now he can say bad things about me, they will be true and he'll feel better about himself. And I got to yell at someone and it's all still ok. I think.

Back to Basics

Back to Mr. Boyfriend. I miss him. But I can't put myself out there for someone to blow a gasket at whenever the urge strikes them. I mean, I'm not his ex-wife!! Right? (Even I'm laughing...I am truly PMSing, here...and unrepentent.)

I don't know. What I DO know is it feels like when he gets called on certain behaviors he admits to them and then says it's just who he is. Which is sort of a cop out. (This is who I am. If you are with ME, I'm going to treat you badly sometimes just because that's who I am. Live with it, or go away.) I guess I'm just going to leave him to struggle with this for a while.

Health...The 36th Year Looms Large

I've gained about 10 pounds or so since I quit smoking. Atkins had been my weight adjuster because it WORKED. The last couple of months it hasn't worked at all. I can't get my body to go into a state of Ketosis - similar to Type 1 diabetes. I measure this by using Keto sticks - it's a personal thing I'm not going to explain. Needless to say, the Keto sticks tell me I still have plenty of sugar in my urine.

My dad has type II diabetes. I worry that I am pre-diabetic, or insulin resistant or any number of things. My doctor pretty much blew me off. The nurse ran a quick blood test and my bood sugar was high. I haven't had any carbs or sugar in three days. Tomorrow they do another test. I may switch doctors. Plus, as childish as THIS sounds, I have a gland on my throat swollen that this same doctor just wants to "watch" before checking my white cell count. I smoked for over a decade.

I worry.

And with that, I'm going to crawl in bed, go to sleep ASAP and hope tomorrow is better!

Monday, January 09, 2006


Teenage daughters can be horrendous and wonderful at the same time. I'm having some major trouble with my oldest. She doesn't realize it - because she is a great kid. But her attitude is ANGRY and her grades reflect it. Outside of that, she has great morals and lots and lots of spunk. But I worry about her. A friend of hers managed to get horribly drunk the other night and then come to MY HOUSE. I, of course, can remember being that age, but also know that if it was MY KID, I'd wanna know. So I informed the friend she had to tell her mother. And that then I wanted to talk to her mother. I'm so mean...forcing communication between a parent and a child.

My daughter is now furious with me - a risk I took because it could eventually save someone’s life, from my view. She says she will never talk to me again about anything. She is withdrawing, spending more time on the computer and in her room painting. I keep reaching out - works for a while and then she pushes me away. I'll just keep reaching as long as I can.

Her friends say I am "weird". All of my children’s friends say this. I half feel bad for them, and I half don't. Most of the parents of kids my children’s ages are ten years older then me. I realized when I had my oldest that I would never fit in with the other moms. I don't. I don't worry about it anymore. So on some levels I have a very close bond with my children, and in other areas I work hard at being "motherly". I cook, clean and car pool. I never, however, could bring myself to join the PTA. I drove a mini-van for a few years and hated it.

I feel like an imposter in the grade school - like I shouldn't be there rubbing elbows with the teachers - still. I have to stop myself from always addressing teachers with a Mr. or Mrs. before their name.Not so in the Middle School or High School. I feel right at home. Bizarre. Maybe this is because inside, I am still half teenager. And therein lies the problem.


When I realize this, I am gripped with fear. Here, I will write what I am deathly afraid of - that which I will not mention to anyone else. What if I never grow up? What if I never enter the realm of being a normal grown woman? I am to be 36 in a couple of weeks...closer to 40 than anything else. I feel like I'm at MOST, about 30 years old. What if I never progress beyond this in terms of emotional or financial maturity? I know that I strike people as immature. That's because I am. I used to simply present myself as mature. Now I've given up worrying about presenting as a grown up with it all together. I just don't care anymore. Is this a step in the right direction or not? I don't know.

I realized the main reason I'm so annoyed with Mr. Boyfriend isn't because he was kind of a creep the other night, it's because he got in the way of my fun. How childish is that?Am I being childish or have I simply realized an essential part of my personality? I like to have fun. I don't want anyone getting in the way (except my children). I don't want anyone wrecking a perfectly good evening for stupid reasons. Life is short. There is too much to be miserable about - why give misery one second more than it needs? Be happy. Have fun. Enjoy life.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Who's Dumber?

I don’t know if I can post this one. It’s too stupid and embarrassing.

Mr. Boyfriend and I have been humming along – he’s turned a corner somehow – maybe he knew he had to or things would fizzle. Long story short, I’ve been introduced to his kids, our relationship has been acknowledged, we were moving forward.

Then last night he got stupid. This one I KNOW is him. We visited for a bit at his house – I’d had a particularly draining “Teenage Daughter” day and he was a wonderful balm for my soul. Went to dinner and had terrific conversation. Went dancing and it simply tanked from there.

Here’s where it gets embarrassing. He was mad because he said I was making too many faces on the dance floor. And I screamed when he did a particular fast and deep dip. He doesn’t want to dance with me unless I’m can go “full throttle”. By the time we left he said he was “never going back”, this had to do with his “boundaries” …

I, being my incredibly tactful self, said, “You are being REALLY DUMB.” I went on to explain that a man should not rip a woman’s’ dancing apart if he wanted her to be comfortable with him on the dance floor. He tells me that I simply need for something always to be wrong in order to be happy.

Back at his place and my car. He parks his in the garage, shows me to the door and tells me not to bother him for two weeks. I climb in my car…laughing. Oh, the drama!

Reason Fails Me

I can’t explain this one. I won’t excuse it. And I can’t HELP but LAUGH at it. I am so indignant. I am the first to admit that I do not know formal dance steps. I skipped all that garbage in Phy Ed in High School and Middle School. But I compensated by always being involved with things that were music related. Church Choir. Piano Lessons. Oboe lessons. Ushering at the symphony. Radio Club at school, being a DJ at the college radio station, DJ’ing sock hops in High School. And then later, directing the youth choir at church, playing hand bells, DJ’ing weddings for a summer, again DJ’ing at a local radio station, following the local band circuit. What does this have to do with anything? I am comfortable dancing. Even without ballroom experience. I’m not afraid to move. I don’t care how I look. I just want to have fun. Music tends to equal fun for me.

The X – he had one dance move which he learned in college nearly 20 years ago. He worried about how people looked at him. Previous to him, I JUST DIDN’T. Music and dancing meant FUN. It meant I could forget about myself for a while and just give in to being a manic fool. And now this dumb head thinks he can take that away because I didn’t behave the way he wanted me to?

I’m snickering. “Full Throttle”, indeed. That’s generally how I live life – I’ve recently given up trying to de-dramatize my responses to things, I’ve given up being serious all the time (Lately I’ve been so happy, felt so free, that I just want to SKIP anytime I’m outside). I’ve remembered whom I was before marriage – screwed up on some levels, but I responded to life by having fun. Especially when things were tough. Then, of course, it might have been dysfunctional fun. Now it’s not. I’m just not going to get all wrapped up in the garbage anymore. God is too good. Life is too short. There is too much fun to be had. Too much joy in all things. So my internal response is that he simply should not have gone where he’s gone.

I don’t know how he’s going to save this one. This ought to be good, watching him figure this one out. Because (and I’m laughing) I simply won’t play in the interim. Argue? No. Go straight to the apology.

So I’m embarrassed. Posting this is not easy because he treated me poorly but I still love the man. I know that I won’t walk away because he was a big creep. I wonder if the closeness spooked him to the point that he had to run off at the mouth and be a bull in a china shop.

The whole thing is just too damn stupid to be real.

It's a God Thing

Donna Vera was kind enough to offer a commentary on religious hypocrisy, our idiotic tendency to rate sin, judge others and not focus on what is inherently important in life.

This has made me think of my own hypocrisy, my own belief system and finally, how absolutely generous God has been with me.

My faith has always been deeply rooted, but it was never anything incredibly personal, nor something I carried with me on a daily basis. Since September it has been evolving in that direction. I doubt that I will ever become a "Holy Roller" (as I grew up believing people who talked about their faith OUTSIDE of Church, to be). BUT...

The X has an Aunt whom the entire family considers to be completely wacked. She is now a Pastor of her own church out in rural Chippewa Falls. She went through a divorce and found God. That woman, as strange as I used to think she was, never pushed her faith on anyone and she carries herself with peace and ...well, joy. There is an inner light in her eyes, ALL THE TIME.

I have had a taste of this peace. It's absolutely wonderful. I am so grateful for the financial situation I find myself in. Every month brings new challenges...birthdays, Christmas, formal dances - extra expenses which I absolutely can't skip. These things are in addition to monthly bills and a small amount of debt I'm to cover as a result of the divorce.

Every month I worry. Every month I barely make it. Every month I place it in God's hands because I'm fresh out of ideas and am not sure what direction he wants me to go in. Every single month he provides for my children and me. The mortgage gets paid. The bills get paid. We have grocery and gas money. I can give the kids money to do things. Every month it's a miracle. It's happening again this month. A week ago I was stressed to the limit. Child support check was late..again, my paycheck wasn't as large as I though it should be. My son has a hockey tourney I'm supposed to take him to in another city and my daughter has her first high school formal. My car insurance had lapsed.

Somehow, it has all been rearranged and money is in my account that I didn't expect or wasn't supposed to be there yet. I can pay my bills and take care of my children. I've been given an additional temporary job this week and landed another position, which will add to my paycheck. Bit by bit - I might get caught up. It's God. It's not me.

There are those that would argue. Who might say it is luck, or logical if one thinks about it...but I just don't see it anymore. I can be in tears, terrified, and do nothing but pray- hand it over because there just is nowhere else to go with it. No one to ask for help anymore. Twenty minutes later, the phone will ring. My X has deposited $600 dollars in my checking account - my portion of his commission check. I can't explain it any other way. It's God and I am so grateful.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Dear Mr. X-Husband

Dear Mr. X-Husband,

After or during affair number one (of the affairs which I knew about, anyway), you asked me if I still got butterflies in my stomach when you came into a room, or if I sometimes got turned on just by looking at you. I was honest and I said that I didn’t. But I assured you that those things went away with time and we were supposed to settle into loving each other but not being “in love” with each other all the time.

I don’t think you believed me, because you continued to search out other partners throughout our marriage. Shame on you for doing so. At the same time, I say Thank You for doing so…for you have given me something that I might have gone my whole life without having. Butterflies in my stomach. A man that turns me on every single time I see him. And this is after knowing him for nearly ten years. I was incredibly wrong about the process – it just gets stronger with time.

Life did not turn out the way I thought it would. But as the minutes tick by into days, I suspect life will turn out the way I always wanted it to.  I was never a solid citizen, capable of residing in one place for extended periods of time. I never intended to be. I didn’t want to be. I wanted to be a traveler. You helped to keep me grounded and for our children’s sake, I appreciate that. They need a house, a home and stability. I need the wind. You could never envision riding the wind alone, let alone with another human. You are afraid of heights. You believed in one course of action. One vocation. I zigzag all over the place and learned to believe that was a bad thing. I fought my very nature so that I could be with you and make you proud of me, something not to be achieved.

Because you were so very critical of me, I am learning to be gentler with myself. I am learning that my nature is not necessarily something to look at as a problem, as much as just part of who I am. I do not need to be like you in order to be happy or successful. I do not need to measure my success against your criteria.

You and I grew up together and I will forever look at you like a boy, because of it. By divorcing me, you gave me the gift of a man. For this, I can be nothing but grateful, for there is nothing quite so enjoyable in the world as a full grown man. Lazy Sundays spent in bed, shots of Jose standing at the trunk because neither of us will drink in a car. Dancing for hours as if no one else is watching. Years of eyeing each other as something other than just friends, with no move to change it because we value the things that are important and respect each others lives and belief systems. Holding hands in church. There are countless other things that I would never have experienced, and I am only at the beginning of my journey.

I say thank you, Mr. X-Husband. Thank you for being unhappy and restless. Thank you for knowing you needed something more than you were receiving. I was so bound to being a mother and a wife, so respectful of my vows, that I would have missed the possibility of someday truly having a partner.

The X-Wife