.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}


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

Monday, May 29, 2006


When I was in High school, I betrayed one of my best friends. I’m not going to give the specifics (to protect the innocent) – use your imagination – just about anything will do. This friend never yelled at me. Never cursed me. Never did anything to harm me. She had every right to hate me. I learned later that she spent a number of moments crying with another friend in hurt and pain. I never saw it.

This weekend I learned that a longstanding friend of mine betrayed me. I was furious with him. I was hurt. I asked for the truth and he gave it to me. I saw him hurt. I was in shock, in pain and overwhelmed with confusion. This was someone I cared about, someone I thought would always be honest with me. He wasn’t. I left his house, swearing that I would never talk to him again. Who needed a worthless friend like that?

On Sunday morning, I went to Church. Of course, this had to be the morning Amazing Grace was on the song line-up. My mind went back to High School.

I don’t think my friend from High School has any idea the impact she had on me. We are still friends. I had dinner with her not too long ago. There are not many people I keep in contact from High School – she is a rarity, in more than one way. She gave me grace. She loved me. She was a true friend. I know that what I did impacted her in a number of ways – some perhaps she still grapples with today – that’s a guess, because I really do not know.

I know that my betrayal of her impacted me tremendously. It hurt. I had to face her and others with what I had done, secrets I had kept. It hurt to know I had hurt her. I cried many, many tears.

I stood in Church yesterday and realized that the way in which she had handled our friendship was how I wanted to behave. What really mattered to me? Knowing this person or my own hurt? Who was hurting more? It’s a toss up – I know that because I know how much I hurt when I caused her pain.

I left Church (just as they were playing my wedding song – I decided that was a good time to leave) early and went to his house. I did not go alone. I know that. Christ was next to me. My friend was not happy to see me. I suppose he figured I was there to rake him over the coals again. This friend has done much for me over the years, while I was in crisis with the Ex. I hit a point where I did not want to live. I sat in my car with the engine on and the garage doors shut. He is the one person in the world that answered the phone when I called. He told me to shut the car off. He was there in five minutes. He sat with me in the middle of the night, when I was absolutely desolate.

So I sat down in his living room and told him things I had been keeping from him. Things I never wanted to talk about. Things I was ashamed of that I have told no one. I shared myself with him. I told him that all I really wanted to know was who he was. I was his friend and that would stand, no matter what. Just as my friend from High School did. He has thanked me a million times. He is amazed at God’s grace and my friendship. The transformation in him in the last couple of days has been incredible. A humungous weight has been lifted from his shoulders.

I know that I handled my friendship with him correctly and with honor. I looked myself in the eyes before I went to his house Sunday morning and I liked whom I saw. But I struggle with his dishonesty. I’d like to think that it would never happen again, but that’s impossible to know. I never did anything like that again – I learned my lesson. He tends to function much like I do. But then, I hear my pastor/counselor/friend tell me my biggest flaw “You believe everyone is just like you. They aren’t.” No, they aren’t.

My ex-husband cheated on me repeatedly. I forgave him once. He knew the second time was not something I would have been able to get beyond. He was correct. I would have tried, but I know I would have failed.

My heart is heavy with grief. I need to go to God with it. This betrayal has brought back many feelings for me, which are painful. I am dealing with more than just this friend’s betrayal: suddenly I’m dealing with a marriage full of lies, too. What I am feeling is confusion. If I feel rejection, I’m not sure which situation I am reeling more from.

I am happy that my friend and I are able to talk. To be friends again. He says he is very humbled by my actions and words. Oddly, I am humbled by the fact that he feels that way. I know I am no better than he is. We are all in the same boat. Eventually, I will screw up. I will hurt someone I care about. I hope someone gives me grace, too.

My friend, I hope you realize what you did for me when you did not condemn me. You have helped to keep my heart soft. Showed me what love and friendship are. It is 18 years later and I still have not forgotten it. I never will. I am old enough now to know that I can’t go charging into situations that might harm me. But I will never be too old to know that forgiveness and friendship should stand first, if at all possible.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Mr. Boyfriend and I have been having trouble again. He is intensely jealous of any other male in my life. We are talking extremes. It’s been ongoing and frankly, the source of most of our conflicts for the last year.

I have broken things off with him. I still love the man. I did not still love the ex when I divorced him. This is difficult. We may work through it, Mr. Boyfriend and I, but I don’t quite know how we can. I am not unfaithful and to be accused of it because of women who have cheated on him previously does not seem fair to me.

There’s more then just that. There are other things. This situation has been going on for about a week now. This morning I called and checked out. So he’s mad – and because he is tremendously insecure, he assumes I have dumped him for another man.


I am not afraid to be alone. I spent three years basically alone, with the ex popping in and out every other weekend, when he felt like it. I can handle being alone. I can amuse myself. I have hobbies like gardening and auctions. I have work. I have kids. I have friendships to foster (see previous post).

It’s this love thing I’m having trouble with.

I’m sad. I’ve been sad before, right? I had plotted out a course, envisioned a life, imagined growing old with someone before, right?

But this is a good man.

I can’t handle the ongoing conflicts anymore. I need peace. My neck hurts. My intestines are spasming because I’m not hungry and not eating properly. Food tastes like sawdust.

Then, you know, I miss him. But I don’t want to be chewed out anymore. I don’t want to be wrong anymore. I don’t want the hurt anymore. I just want peace.

The problem is this:  I just want peace with HIM.

I don’t see how I will ever have it. I have actually hit a point where I don’t think he likes me very much. He keeps a checklist of things I’ve done wrong and reminds me when he gets mad.

The Brother Speaks

My bro, bless his heart, had advice for me. “Put a stamp on that one and send it away.” This would be why I missed him. He met Mr. Boyfriend once and thought he was an incredibly nice guy. But all I had to do was say half a sentence “…a problem with other men…” and then I got the “stamp” advice.  And the reason? The reason he knew? “Been there, done that.” Internally I was rolling my eyes. More pity-party from my brother. But, wait…no, listen…HE was the insanely jealous creep. I witnessed this on a number of occasions – even at one time told him in no uncertain terms he was being a really big putz. ‘Course, the sister-in-law was placating him, so the vicious cycle just kept going. There in lies his advice. It won’t get better as long as I allow it.  It was really rather freaky. I did not have to say much, be very descriptive, comment much on my relationship or anything. My brother just started talking about the things he used to do and say to all three of his former wives. They are things that I have heard a great deal of – out of Mr. Boyfriend’s mouth. The brother? He had lots of sympathy for Mr. Boyfriend. He said, “It’s a HORRIBLE way to live.”

And then…”You see, Kim, he doesn’t believe that you really love him. He doesn’t really know who you are, either, because if he did, he wouldn’t feel that way, because you aren’t going to cheat on him. But he can’t see you because all he can see is his own insecurity.  And it’s just going to get worse. He needs to realize that he’s worth loving. He needs to realize that although life has taught him that woman cheat, it doesn’t make it true for everyone, nor does it mean he is not worthy. And he’d better figure it out quick, because I KNOW you, you won’t tolerate it very long. It becomes controlling (to which he gave me examples of more sick and twisted things he did) and you‘ll see red flags a mile away because of what you’ve been through in that area.”

At which point I realized I already was.  The last tirade was in response to me wanting some feelings of my own addressed. It felt punishing. Punishing??? RED FLAG. I said I needed to get off the phone, I was upset and wanted to go? Threatening rumbles about what would happen if I did that.  RED FLAG. (I hung up anyway. That’s the beauty of the phone. You can walk away real fast. Take this from a formerly abused wife. Phone = safe.)

He even suggested perhaps Mr. Boyfriend had driven women to cheat, by sending them looking for comfort elsewhere. I have thought this, but never said it. I still think it’s a terribly mean thing to say. Or think. Well, if the Ex couldn’t beat me into falling in love with someone else, I don’t suppose Mr. Boyfriend can argue me into it.

But I can leave. I can do that. I absolutely adore this man. That’s what’s killing me. We have the same values. Very similar belief system. We like the same music (mostly). We get each other’s jokes. He is the first man I ever felt physically safe with. He’s funny and sweet and smart and absolutely flips my switch physically.

I just love him to bits.

I was reading about jealousy in a book about love. It talks about jealousy and anger stemming from feelings of rejection – Cain and Abel are the example given. No, I’m sorry, no Bible story tonight – but it did a good job of laying out a case for rejection being a primary source of those things.

So Where’s Mine?

So where is my anger? The bonehead ex says he cheated on me with seven different people. He was violent and mean and extremely manipulative. He seriously messed with my head. Where is my anger?  When he crosses lines with me now, I get mad – about everything.  I don’t say anything to him. I go home and I rage and I pray and I listen to music and eventually it goes away – I am no longer with him. I am healing. Nobody hurts me anymore. I am happier.

Well, he rejected me. He had a number of affairs.  Why do I not feel mad? Where’s my anger? I just feel disgust. I feel like he’s a halfwit. I was embarrassed more than anything. My husband cheated on me. If it comes up in conversation now, it’s cause someone else brings it up. I don’t think about it. I don’t really focus on it. I’m more liable to giggle at the stupidity than feel suspicious of someone else.

Maybe I’m just too busy being grateful I won’t have any more stitches!!  Probably. Yep, I think that’s it.

So, although I sympathize with Mr. Boyfriend because I know what the uncertainty, the hurt, the betrayal and the agony of a cheating significant other is like, I can’t understand living there. Staying there. What my brother was telling me is that it isn’t something Mr. Boyfriend is choosing. And it’s terrible. I imagine it absolutely eats him up inside.

That really bothers me. I hate for him to be in pain. My inclination is try and fix it. OK, I won’t hang with that person alone ever. Ok, I won’t go out with THAT friend dancing because she’s having marriage problems and therefore looking for trouble.  OK, I won’t converse with the guy who is attempting to date my bro’s soon to be ex. I will protect our relationship. It isn’t working. All he did is step it up, the requirements. I suspect it will be ongoing and never-ending. I will never get it right – I STILL will never cheat, but I will pay for all the women who have, twenty-fold.

No. I don’t pay for other people’s mistakes anymore. The ex – he’d screw around on me and then come home and go into a violent rage. He screwed up – I payed. Some chick was unfaithful – I pay. No. I can pay, to a point, because Mr. Boyfriend is my FRIEND and I want to be there for him, be supportive, love him, make him feel secure. But I can’t go on arguing about it anymore. I can’t be punished for what others did. My life is not about punishment anymore. It’s about joy.

So maybe, without me, Mr. Boyfriend can deal with his garbage and not be in pain when I talk to the mailman for longer then he feels is necessary.  I’m being sarcastic, really.  But I worry that it’ll progress to that point. It did for my brother.

I can’t live like that. I need peace.

Again, the problem: I want peace with him.

(Fade to The Rolling Stones…”You can’t always get what you want…”

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Funeral

Torch to shredded paper words
     Dried roses, still fresh carnations
Black smoke curls from sweetness lost
I, a maiden widow
     Stand in silence, grief familiar
I will not die.

Demons spit and hiss, catcalling
While silent waves lap gently at the sand
     Pulling and pushing
     Gently crushing hope
Beside me, a silent figure
My ever-present companion
I will not die.

I hesitate to send the boat to sea
The feel of skin and warmth
Chameleon eyes and strength
Love flutters in my chest
Compassion and forgiveness warms me
Death smiles, sensing victory
Filthy words and blame
     Bony fingers point
I will not die.

My foot extends to golden wood
     Now marred and scratched
Push gently, fragile cargo shaking still
I will not die.

My eyes, heavenward seek
     I have sent the prince to sea
Empty, lonely as he goes
I turn away – I cannot look
Pick up the feet, sadness an irrelevant flaw
The village waits with children growing
I will not die.

The gravel crunches as he ministers
A soothing balm, a gift, this man
My love, my God
His hand on my heart, where I hurt
He assures me
I will not die.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

My Addiction

Today it begins.  

The weather has been cold and rainy until now. It has been alternately sunny and cloudy today, but the end is in sight. It’s not cold anymore and it is the middle of May in Wisconsin. This morning I gave myself permission to buy some new shrubs for the front landscaping and my first flat or two of flowers. I am beginning with the front of the house – the landscaping and the pots and bed near the front door. Then I will move to the beds in back. After that the window boxes (including the new ones I bought last year and never installed – Mr. Boyfriend has committed to putting them up for me). Then, the variety of pots I have scattered all over the place – the driveway, the patio, the porch, the stairs…

I wait impatiently all year long for this. Last year, money was so tight I could barely do the things I wanted to do – although I did get some bulbs in, some of which did not get eaten by the mole in my yard and are thriving.

I can barely contain myself. I’m pathetic. A gardening addict. I just want to go outside and play in the dirt. Work? I have to work?

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

Wednesday morning and I’m still rather pathetic. I ran a fever pretty steady yesterday – something I very rarely do. Mr. Boyfriend brought chicken soup (which he made himself) and flowers. He visited with me outside, on the porch, so that my germs would not infect him. I actually agree with this, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. At any rate, the chicken soup was just what the doctor ordered – Mr. Boyfriend has a penchant for spicy foods and this was no exception.  My sinuses were cleared out in no time and I could actually taste what I was eating.

The flowers made me feel like a girl even while I’m dressed in the most comfortable clothes I own.  I did, mind you, manage to take the bunny slippers and 11-year-old fleece robe off before he came.  But the trade off was athletic Capri’s, an oversized t-shirt and a sweatshirt. Not much to look-at. But then again, after he left, I simply crawled into bed and went to sleep.

I may be well enough to get my butt dressed and get to work! I’m waiting for the cold meds to kick in and then off I’ll go.

The Rant

Meanwhile, I want to talk about my brother. As you’ll recall, he left my sister-in-law and her daughter after a three-year marriage and a million dollar home building project. He swiped thousands of dollars from their joint account – money that really was part of her inheritance from her parents. Then, he proceeded to string her along.  He did all of this, while insisting there was not another women. I, of course, knew immediately that wasn’t the case, I even knew he’d met someone on the Internet. Go through the whole cheating thing a few times and you see the writing on the wall rather quickly (for other people, anyway).

My parents have pretty much disowned him.  My mother is deeply depressed because although it is her choice, she looks at it as if she has lost a son. She looks at his actions as a rejection of HER. This simply makes me shake my head. She needed to have one more child. That woulda learned her good.  With three or more kids you learn that you cannot control them – early on. Why? Well because you only have two hands. You can hold two children’s hands as you cross the street, but there is always one running amuck. You learn to let go. You learn to teach them to hold each other’s hands. And you certainly do not take it personally if they refuse to hold their sister’s hand or do what you tell them to do.

And I? Well, this is why I am writing. I only have one sibling. I love him. He and I used to be very, very close.  I have supported my sister-in-law through this process because I have been through it myself. She was totally, completely devastated. I saw the numbness and the denial and bafflement on her face that I, myself had felt at one time. I have been very clear with her that I will still have a relationship with my brother. It’s time for me to reach out to him.

How I feel about him is very simple. I am deeply disappointed in what he has done, in the choices he has made. But I have made some pretty stupid choices, too. We all do. And really, I believe that what he has done by leaving all three wives, by sabotaging his own happiness, is no different than what I did by staying with an abusive husband for 15 years.

The Parents

I stated in an earlier blog around Easter time that my parents are crazy. Perhaps it is time to elaborate on this. My parents do not talk nicely to each other. Not lovingly. Nor do they talk that way to me. I used to excuse this behavior. Accept it as the way it was supposed to be – not the way it IS, but how it actually was supposed to be in a family. Guess what? No. They didn’t talk nicely to my brother, either. My father has the ability to converse with just about anybody – I have this same ability and so does my brother. So we are all pretty good conversationalists when we want to be. But my dad does not have the ability to be loving to my bro or I. He doesn’t understand what is needed. My mother lives so far down the path of denial that she has now taken on many of the traits she used to complain my father exhibited. I really don’t need to know what’s wrong with me physically, mentally or otherwise every time I see her. I don’t need a reminder of the things I haven’t gotten done around the house.

Here’s a funny one. My father has expressed serious disapproval of my choice to keep my house after I got a divorce. Or before, rather. He thought I should have sold my home, which is about 40 years old and bought something newer.  

Can we all remember what field I spent the last three years of my life in? Oh, that’s right! Real Estate Appraisal.  I knew I couldn’t BUY a comparable home for what I owed on the one I am in.  I don’t expect to ever pay off my mortgage. I expect to sell it someday and downsize into something more my size.

At any rate, after a recent, lengthy discussion about my expectations regarding expenditures around the house, repairs that needed to be made and the prioritization of these things, my father announced to my mother (not in front of me, mind you) that I knew a lot about houses. Personally, I think it was because I used the words soffit, capital expenditures, and whole house water heater versus and on-demand.

What would the man say if he knew how I could rip apart three years worth of profit and loss statements and make estimates for the next year, develop capitalization rates for comparable properties and apply them to a subject? Or knew what functional obsolescence was and could explain why something fell into that category or did not? Or knew what the states official sand/dirt is? Or could read a flood plain map? Or had meetings with city and county planners and real estate moguls across WI? And that’s just the easy stuff. Those are the concrete parts of appraising. I could get into appraisal theory and he wouldn’t be able to follow me. Not because I’m smart, but because it has it’s own language, just like anything else.

The man drives me up a tree. He makes me feel stupid. I don’t like feeling stupid. I imagine he made my brother feel the same way. And we are both nearing age 40. A little old to feel that way.  And a little too old to feel never quite good enough for my mother.

When I went on work/vacation to North Carolina, my mother’s response. “You’re going to miss a paycheck? That’s very hard on the children.”

I didn’t bother to explain that I had money in the bank to cover that particular loss. Cause, gee, I’m really not an idiot.

At any rate, watching my mother and father interact, watching the way they treat me, has explained in some ways, why I stayed with the ex. Why I thought barbs and sarcasm were equal to love. Now, finally, I have grown tired of these things. I want peace. I want love. I have discovered that I am actually a nice person, a person capable of great vulnerability. A girl that can be a girl and not need to add the word “tough” into a description of myself.

I need to stop now and get back on track. My brother. I was writing about my brother.

My Sibling

So, given my recognition of these things, I would like to be close to my brother again. Easter was particularly hard without him.  There were moments I had to get up and leave the living room because I was beginning to feel like I was nuts and I would walk into the kitchen. In years past, my brother would be there; a smirk on his face, a smart-ass comment and a drink in has hand just for me. I could relax a little, knowing I wasn’t in this mess all by myself. There was someone else in this world that had the same experiences I did. Who knew exactly how I felt. He and I would cook together, all the while drinking wine and giggling. We could exchange looks and know what the other was feeling. Shoo my mother out of the kitchen and enjoy being brother and sister.

Or the summer after he left his second wife, when he would come to visit nearly every weekend. The ex didn’t like it too much, but I did. I thoroughly enjoyed having him around. My brother, he can get kind of loud. We’d sit on my porch and B.S. and as the night wore on, my bro would get louder and louder. The ex would cringe and eventually go to bed. I would walk the tight rope of keeping the ex happy and growing close to my brother. Don’t have that now. I can have whomever I want in my house. I want to open my home to my brother.

What am I giving up if I give him up? My childhood? The only person on the face of the earth that might know where I’m truly coming from? Then, I would truly be an idiot. Perhaps my brother and I have something more to offer each other then just being related. All I know is I miss him. I have an undeniable longing to connect with him the way I used to.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


It’s funny how when we don’t blog we feel guilty, as if we are letting our readers and friends down by not keeping them up to date with our lives, our thoughts and our feelings. I read other blogs where people continuously apologize for the length of time since their last blog.

So I’m apologizing for how long it has been since I wrote. I was in North Carolina and South Carolina for about ten days and since then have been attempting to re-acclimate myself to my life.

This will be a brief post as it is early in the morning and I have to get kids to school and myself off to an appointment and work – and I am still in my pajamas. I went to bed last night and sneezed a million times. Pretty soon my nose was running and my face hurt because my sinuses were clogged by an incredible, sudden production of fluids. My youngest daughter gave me a cold.  I had trouble sleeping. I am pathetic. I rolled out of bed this morning and took cold meds. They are only helping slightly. I still feel unmotivated and yucky.

I have much to report about my trip, both from a professional standpoint and a personal one. It was incredible. I may be being a complete door-knobby thing regarding work: I’ll post that here later so ya’ll can think I’m an idiot.

Ye Gad’s, my body aches.

The kids are off to school and I have to get into the shower.

I intend to write about a number of things when I get the chance; my brother, work, my kids, Mr. Boyfriend, God, gardening, and lastly and perhaps most important right now, is my best friend. Last week I discovered she has skin cancer.

It’s hard to know how bad it is, because she presents things like they are no big deal. I went to visit her after surgery and discovered that the spots she had removed were only two among at least five others. They took two of her lymph nodes and may well take more after lab tests are run. I believe she is 34 years old. She’s young. She was a sun worshiper, on the pill and a smoker.

I don’t know anyone who has actually survived any kind of cancer. Skin cancer killed my Grandfather. Cancer killed a family friend, Carol, who was more like an aunt to me than any of my actual aunts. If I had to choose an adult who had the most impact me, it would be Carol.

I am deeply worried. Wendy has been my friend for at least 15 years. She was the ex’s best friend in high school. I won her in the divorce, so to speak. Actually, I believe I won her when he had the first affair and she took me to get stitches in my lip. She has always been there for me. It is now my turn to give back.

I have been so self-centered for so long – I had to be, I suppose, to survive the violence in my family of origin and then my immediate family. But I have none of that anymore and it is time to get outside myself. Recovery from divorce almost insists that we focus very closely on ourselves as we grow and heal. I know this process isn’t done, but it is now time to be truly open to others. Wendy in particular.

I have never been very good at friendships with women. I read a book recently that talks about how to foster relationships with women – this answered the question of WHY I’ve not been good at this. You have to nurture friendships. Give. Time. Small gifts. An ear. Thoughtfulness. See above paragraph about self-centeredness. I have not been a good friend.

Doing this is my new task. To be a better friend. If someone calls me and asks me to do something, I will say yes. I will reach out to my friends. I will give them time. I will not expect them to do all of the legwork to maintain our friendship. I will stand next to them when they go through things.

Donnavera has been a good friend for many years. We had not talked for a very, very long time, years actually. Oddly enough, the day she chose to call me was the day the ex moved out. I remember standing in my garage, overwhelmed, confused and desperate. She came to visit not long after, stayed for an entire weekend. I do not think she has any idea what that meant to me. I did not do this for her, at any point, with anything she went through. But she was there for me.

In the last year, I have recognized that God places angels among us. He does. Friends, loan officers, strangers. People that extend kindness, give of themselves when it is not necessary or required, for no other reason then they have wonderful hearts. Even my attorney, who knocked nearly two grand off my bill to help me get a “good start”, is among these people. Angels. I have been so overwhelmed with kindness that I want to give back. It’s time. And I start with my friends. I start at home.