Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Year In Review

2012 is drawing to a close.  I have never been so happy to see a year ending.  This was a rough one for me.  I think I will do several cartwheels at 12:01 next Tuesday morning, yes I can still do cartwheels.  

This year started with a miscarriage that lasted far longer than it should've.  Was immediately followed by the reveal that Jonathan was, well... Jonathan.  And has dragged on interminably with detail after painstaking detail of my divorce, moving, being homeless, carless and jobless.  I have lost friends, quite a few.  I've lost weight, not as much as I would've liked.  And I've lost a life, the only one I knew for 8.5 years.  Not to mention the car, house, source of income and good deal of pride.

I would be lying to say it wasn't a lot to lose.  I had to grieve a lot in this process.  

But there are some things that have been really great to lose:

-- In laws, I will not be in a hurry to get another set of those, nope.

-- Definitely one of the worst husbands ever known to man.

-- Guilt, shame and confusion about my marriage failing and not having any idea why.

-- The burden of trying to keep Jonathan on his feet and working and functioning!  Woo hoo for freedom from co-dependence.

-- The need to please everyone all the time, always be the one giving and never asking anything from anyone.  I have had to ask for a lot of help and that has been good for me.

-- My house, it's been hard to move on and lose it, but I knew I couldn't manage it by myself and it's very freeing to be somewhere I can manage.  

-- Fake friends, the friends that are still standing, let me tell you, they have gone through the fire with me, baby.  Thanks guys or rather... girls.

-- The need to not speak honestly about my life.  Before, I could never tell people what it was really like, I couldn't be totally honest.  Now, I shoot completely straight.  I don't tell everyone everything, but if I want to speak, I do so frankly.

-- The need to tell EVERYONE why I'm getting divorced so that all the goody two shoes won't judge me.  Judge away people.  I'm divorced.  Whatev

What I have gained:

-- A more complete picture of Christ's grace for me.  I confess that I knew what grace was before.  Now I have to LIVE in that grace.  All the time.  I fail and I need to swim in it.

-- More friends!!  I am not alone.  My circle has changed a lot over the last year, but there are people and they love me and they are not afraid of my story and me talking about it.  And, best of all THEY BELIEVE ME.  If any of you have ever experienced not having your pain or experience or abuse believed you know how incredibly painful that is.  It's pain and betrayal all wrapped in one.  

-- A freedom from fear.  I still occasionally get scared of things.  But I know what it's like to lay that down and I can say that I feel free from it.   Which is partially because I'm free from crazy man but mostly because I've found God in my fear.

-- A passion for writing.  It's a hum that my brain, spirit and fingers get.  It rocks.  I love it.  

-- A stable home. Where everyone knows what is expected and people do what they say they're going to do and if they don't; there's a cost.  Sort of like living in the real world is for most of us.  

-- Peace with myself, with God and with my family of four

-- Clarity about life and a focus for it.  And better boundaries for what are acceptable and unacceptable ways of interacting with me.  

God, I'm so thankful for the way  you have charted our course over this year.  It has been so hard God and I have cried so many tears.  But I have seen you Jesus, Spirit and Father.  I have seen you in the faces of my children.  The hands of those loving me and the feet of those who have brought us the good news.  God, you have come for us.  You have loved us.  You have helped others to love us.  Chart our course God and guide our steps.  Help me remember to point others to you each and every time I fall short and when I succeed.  Protect us Lord, keep your hand upon us.  And God please keep evil far from us.  In the precious name of Jesus.  Let it be so.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What to say, what not to say

Right or wrong, God's will or not, we've experienced a lot of tragedy in my family.  People always say the most unhelpful things.  If you're wondering what to say and what not to, here's an article that is right on.  

 What to say

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Evil is Rampant

As most of the rest of the world did this week, I spent a good portion of it in shock.  Then angry, then in tears and then praying.  It shocked me that yet again someone would exact such violence upon children.  CHILDREN.  I had an extreme amount of compassion for their poor parents that lost their babies so close to Christmas.  I have buried a few family members including my sister and I know that it doesn't matter what part of the year that they die it will always be hard.  But this type of grief so close to a major holiday is like turning the knife a little quicker, pushing it a little deeper and holding it in a little longer.   Partially because they don't have any time to prepare before the next emotional heartache they will suffer.  Also because the families will feel the need to normalize this Christmas for the rest of their families and there is no way to do that.  The need to create that illusion is an innate drive but the ability to create it and remain emotionally present is a farce.  I remember the first Christmas I had after my sister was gone.  I remember knowing my mom was trying to make it normal and she failed so catastrophically.  I remember seeing her pain and wanting to comfort her and let her know that it was okay not for it to be normal.  Because it was so far from normal for me too. 

Because I am from a family of educators I couldn't help but think of the teachers.  So sure that they were terrified and knowing that if my family members were in that situation they wouldn't hesitate to place themselves in front of their students.  I have gained a marine for a family member recently and I have done a lot of contemplating about what it means for Nick to be willing lay his life on the line for us.  This tragedy helped me to consider how many other professions there are where we are called to protect and serve.  It's obvious that those who carry weapons to defend us do that.  They are called the sheep dogs, we are the sheep and the 'bad guys' are the wolves.  But occasionally a simple sheep stands in front of their fellow sheep and protects them.  I am sure there are many heroes to draw attention to and to honor in this situation.  The stories are coming to light hourly of these brave people. 

I also am thinking of the men and women who are our 'sheep dogs' who had to care for the victims as they died and afterwards and those who notified the families.  I can't imagine their suffering right now.  I can only pray that God can ease their pain.  But I cannot imagine anything that would.  I cannot find any comfort in this situation.  Knowing that Heaven is a better place is little comfort in this type of grief. 

And like you, I have wondered.  How does this happen?  Is this a product of our 'gun hungry' society?  Is this tragedy a product of a lack of attention to mental illness and proper treatment of it?  If there had been an armed educator in the building would that have stopped it?  If we didn't allow the legal sale of guns in our country, would that have prevented this tragedy?  

I don't think so.  I don't think any of those things are the issues.  The issue is evil.  Evil rules our world.  It is rampant and Satan is in power.  For sure, God will return and He will make Satan pay.  But for now, we live in a world of our own choosing.  We have chosen sin.  We choose it now, today and for millenia our predecessors have chosen it. 

And like sheep, we are duped.  We think we can control evil.  We think we can place it in a box in our lives and only allow it to go so far.  We are wrong.  There is only one thing that can stop evil in our lives and our world.  That is the relentless, passionate pursuit of God.  He is the sole antidote.  


I am duped every day.  I do not say this to throw stones.  I swallow the lie as well.  I think, well, this sin isn't that bad.  If I swear and profane things, and think to myself: at least I'm being honest.  It's better than being a liar.  But God is clear, James 3:10, we should not bless and curse out of the same mouth (my paraphrase).  I know it's wrong and yet I do it anyway.  I think I can control the evil.  As if disobeying God is an option that won't lead to more disobeying.  To be honest when I swear, I'm more prone to anger, I feel it more completely.  But I think I'm letting it out which is better than keeping it in.  So I'm duped into thinking it's okay for me to release my anger into the big wide world.  Which is also a whole other sin that makes me more important than you in my mind, another sin, pride.  And therefore evil.  Yet I choose to ignore it.  I choose to believe that Satan is not as powerful as he is and that I am in total control.  That there is no such thing as giving Evil a foothold.  

But I'm wrong and deluded and so are you.  To be fair I think that the man that committed these atrocities is mentally insane.  I don't have another explanation for how someone could do something like this.  And I am no expert on mental illness and evil and God and how that all works out.  But we should heed the warning just the same.  If you give Satan an inch, don't expect him to be satisfied with that.  He's always going to want more.  He's come to kill, steal and destroy.  If you let him have part of you, he's going to want the rest.  And to take out your family, friends and loved ones while he's at it.  

Relentless pursuit of the Holy, that which is good, right and godly.  Of God, Himself.  This is what our antidote to evil is.  Please pray for these victims for their families, community and those that serve them.  And please pray for yourself as well.  That you can hold tightly to Christ and make Him first in your life.  I will pray for you and for us as well. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

The First Christmas

Christmas is coming.  I'm currently typing with a sleeping snuggled baby girl on my shoulder.  She's pretty cute and snoring, btw.  Multitasking at its best.  ;-) 

It's going to be an interesting, different Christmas for my family of four.  I've decided to cut myself a little slack in the "we need do EVERYTHING we've ever done for the holidays" pressure.  We have done a few things, we'll do a few more and it will be simple.  Simple is good and not at all the style that I was used to living with.  This is not the year for me to be the hero and do every holiday tradition known to man. 


With 11 days to go I have been contemplating quite a few things about Christmas.  

1)  What was the birth of Jesus really like?  Mary and Joseph were alone after all.  She had never gone through this before and was all of 14 years old thereabouts.  He had never gone through this before (presumably, the men weren't exactly present for a lot of births 2000+ years ago).  How did they know what they were doing?  Birth isn't as straightforward as the inexperienced hope.  Believe me, I've done it a few times.  And a first birth can be heroically difficult.  I've settled on it being not that silent of a night AND on Mary and Joseph being amazing people for navigating that alone.  The birth of God and only two were present.   That is an awe inspiring thought.  How many more were present anticipating your birth or the birth of your child?  But God, he had two.  And the hosts of heaven looking on, wishing them well, praying for their best.  Sometimes less people is good and more heaven is always better. 



2)  I have had a lot of people in my life who have been bringing Christ's love right to me lately.  Almost wrapped in presents with a pretty bow.  The needs of my family have been pretty great and daunting for me to meet solo.   There have been others, some times I know them and some times I don't, that have felt called to help us in a myriad of ways.  I cry almost daily when I think about these people and how much God has provided to us through them.  We are still struggling, it continues to be hard and we are maxed out.  But God is taking care of the sparrows through people like you.  When I have the privilege of meeting one of these blessings I often feel like I am staring at a miracle.  I want to say 'who am I that you would care for me?' and then I remember Jesus' words in Matthew 19, 'whatever you do for the least of these my brothers you have done for me.'  We are the least and you have made us great in your sight.  Thank you.

3) And of course, I've been thinking about my kids.  Their first divorced family Christmas.  I hate that they have to own that word in anyway, but the reality of this life is that this Christmas will be different than all of their previous ones.  And it will be a model of Christmases to come.  I'm not worried about how much they will or won't like Christmas.  I'm not worried about dealing with tears or tantrums or tempers.  I'm not worried about whether or not I will get it all done because our situation has greatly limited what I have to do.  I just want them to know they are loved and what Christmas is really about and to show some gratefulness.  These are the same things I have wanted for them for every Christmas since they were born.  It's no different now.  So I know I will create a Christmas where they are loved, I will teach them to the best of my ability the meaning of Christmas and I am relatively sure that they will not show as much gratefulness as I think they should.  AND in that way it will be just like every other Christmas.  


Friday, November 23, 2012

Great (NO) Expecations

Why do my lips choose resolute silence as if to speak would be to be a traitor to myself?    To never say when something is not okay?  To not speak up for myself, or to speak up for my kids?


I'm learning that in relationships I seem to have no expectations of anyone.   I seem to harbor the belief somewhere deep within that everyone will bail on me.  I seem to expect nothing of anyone.  I can thank Jonathan for this unwelcome gift.  


I am learning that I do this as a defense mechanism.  I do it so that I can never be hurt.  It's like a powerful fiberglass insulation.  Do you know how irritation fiberglass insulation is to the person who installs it?  You itch and itch for days.  It seems to stick to your skin and doesn't feel like you can get it off.  This insulation guards me against pain, because if I expect nothing from anyone I can't be disappointed when they don't do what they say they're going to do.   In a grave admission, if you say you're going to do something for me, I expect you not to do it.  I lived with a guy who couldn't pick up milk at the grocery store for nine years, and yes, that is an excuse. 

The trouble with this is obvious, I don't invest in relationships I'm not really receiving in or I invest and never have a voice to express my hurt.  Because I'm not even really sure that I'm hurt in the first place. I have this annoying numbing thing that goes on.  When people disappoint me, as they are wont to do, I almost don't even notice.  I just sit there and accept their excuses.  I, in fact, will excuse them for failing their obligations to me without their cooperation. 

This is really bad people. 

It's co-dependency. 

And yet people continue to not follow through.  I continue to need people in my life.  I continue to be ignorant of how I help them to understand that I am not okay with them not following through. 

I am not okay if you don't call me back when you say you're going to... repeatedly.

I am not okay if you don't show up when you say you're going to... all the stinking freaking time.

I am not okay if you don't do whatever it is you say you're going to do... consistently.

But instead I usually say something like, I understand, you're busy, you're working, you've got kids, your husband is never home.  As if I'm not busy, I'm not working, I don't have kids, and I have anyone who comes home to take my kids, so certainly since none of those things are true I can pick up your slack.  Because even if that were true that still doesn't negate someone's word.  I don't become absolved of my word because my life is hard, I'm a single mom with three kids and money is beyond tight. 

The other grave consequence of my co-dependency is that I believe everything I say should be a blood oath.  As in, I'd rather die than not do it.  And I'm quick to commit to things if I believe they will serve you.  So, if I said I was coming to your house and bring some food over, and one of my kids gets sick and I can't come.  I'm very likely to stay up all night cooking food and come and drop it off even though I've been dealing with sick kids all night and all day long.  THIS IS NOT HEALTHY PEOPLE.  And I need to stop it. 

There are some reasonable excuses for not keeping your word, provided you don't do it all the time.  Puking toddlers is a great excuse.  Please don't bring food to my house if your toddler has been puking, I don't want those germs over here.  I'm sure you don't want my puking toddler germs at your house either

I want to let my yes be yes and my no be no.  But I need you to do the same for me.  Please people, do what you say you're going to do.  You don't have to commit to much.  But a 5 minute phone call, surely isn't that much, right?  I'll endeavor to keep my word reasonably as well.  And if you continue to bail on me, expect your role in my life to be greatly limited.  I've had just about enough of that. 

With love and humility,

Shannon

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ow, ow, ow, ow...


I threw my back out.  It appears that I am getting old.  I have no idea how this happened.  But I have officially reached the point in my life that I can now not move any piece of furniture I want by myself without consequences.  I knew it was coming.   I could actually feel myself over doing it.  I kept telling myself, you need to stop, in my brain.  But I also knew that the house wasn’t livable yet and I felt like I had tapped all the resources of help I could and I was out of spare hands.

Ohhh Rowan and Harvey you have no idea what it’s going to be like once you can really lift things. 

But I digress.  So a week into moving my body finally realized it was its chance to snap and I got the full blown flu and my back went out over the course of two days.  Chiropractor and medical doctor later, I had a script and was adjusted.  But still really sore.  The flu passed eventually as it always does.  But the back, man, no dice.  I was careful tried to lift less and then I picked up a basket of laundry.  AS IN ONE BASKET.    And it went completely out, screaming on the ground tears in my eyes.  I headed straight to the couch as soon as I could move.  But a two year old, five year old and seven year old don’t understand their mommy not being able to move.  How exactly do you think she gets in her crib at night?  I put her there.  Duh! 

So, I recovered enough to move and hold Eowyn if I held her very, very, close to my body and didn’t move very much.  Next on the agenda.  Thanksgiving grocery shopping; with Eowyn in tow.  Right before the boys get off the bus.  We were rushing, bad plan on my part.  One misguided pull instead of push on the grocery cart and DAMN.  There I am again, tears, stifling a cry of pain in the middle of Giant with its insane holiday grocery shoppers.  I knew I was in trouble that time.  More care, more trying not to lift, more couch time (which has its benefits by the way)  I read a lot more to my kids when I can’t get off the couch.  But there’s also a lot more frozen pizza. 

And today, yep, I did it again.  Trying to clean the bathroom.  Hello, there are people coming over!  Trying to get the last little bit of stuff in the house put away.  Trying to cook for Thanksgiving and DAMNIT , there it goes again.  This time there was no getting up.  I called my dad and said “I can’t take the boys to get measured for their tuxes today, I’m not sure I can drive.”  And called the doctor, apparently this is called spasming and there’s another whole prescription they can give me for that.  So, I drove, to Giant, the day before Thanksgiving, with my two year old, to get that prescription.  I basically felt like I needed a medal for making it back home again with my child, the needed drugs and not having anyone hit my car. 

Did you know that today is the #1 drinking day of the year in the USA?  I guess we’re all really looking forward to tomorrow.  ;-)   And starting our holiday celebration a little early.

On another note: my grandfather is in the hospital.  The prognosis is not great but not terrible either.  And today I cried.  I’m not someone who really cries when old people get sick and die.  I more think of the mercy of them going on to such a better place.  I never want to be that old, my pride doesn’t want my body to break down… cue hysterical laughter here, and I figure my grandparents don’t like having everything break either.  But it struck me today that my grandpa could be dying, like, right now.  And he’s known me for my whole life and I don’t ever remember him speaking a harsh word to me.  What a legacy.  I was sad and crying on the phone telling someone about it.  These tears feel good and healing for me.  I never used to be able to express emotion when I wanted to or needed to and now it flows freely.  Granted there’s a trade-off, now sometimes I can’t stop the emotion if I wanted to.  Which can be awkward and sucky.  But I really like having access to my tears; it feels like I have access to my heart.  Provided that the tears aren’t associated with pulling too hard on a shopping cart. 
Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Just some words

Feeling the need to write tonight and not sure exactly what will come out.  

New friends are being made at school, Harvey loves kindergarten although he says he plays with a fat kid on the playground.  I'm not really sure how to moderate that with him.  I've explained the importance of kind words but he legitimately doesn't know his name.  What is the mental block with boys and learning names?  Mine literally seem to have an aversion to it. Rowan comes home one day talking about Jennifer, when I ask about Jennifer the next hour/day later he looks at me like he has no idea what I'm talking about.  Aversion to names I tell you.  Will they out grow this?

I actually have all of my laundry done for once and put away sort of.  But I have no idea where they are/if the boys have any jeans that fit them for fall.  Thankfully after a few fallish days we have a warm snap again.  I guess Mommy has the job of sorting clothes for the weekend.  Can I tell you how much my boys HATE trying on clothes for season changes???  In the spring, I totally roped my mom into this job.  They really hate it.  I've been known to persuade with chocolate, homemade cookies or hours of our favorite movie.  Anything to get through the daunting pile of clothes.  Did I mention I hate putting away laundry?  Their dislike of this process and my dislike of putting away laundry doesn't make this one of our favorite things to do together. 

Eowyn peed on the potty again today.  Not shocking but not a routine yet.  What is surprising is that Eowyn knows Rowan's teachers name and asks to go visit her class.  Her verbal skills are way above where my boys were at this age.  She can converse on just about any topic.  It's hilarious.  Just when I'm thinking there may be a conversation I'm having that's above her she joins right in.  Needless to say, be careful what you say around the baby, she's growing out of the baby status.  Despite the fact that one of her nicknames that has stuck is Baby Girl.  It's such a common nickname that family members of mine will text me the abbreviation BG to ask how she's doing. 

It's been a crazy week but I have much to be thankful for.  All three of my kids are sleeping upstairs and happy.  I have friends and family that love me more than I ever knew.  I'm consistently surprised by how much people step to the plate when I need it. 

But tomorrow is going to be a hard day for me.  Finances are beyond tight.  Bills are due, my car's in the shop and the computer still hasn't been fixed.  I have so much to do this weekend and yet, I'm going to endeavor to take a walk in the woods, smell some roses or take a bubble bath.  And try not to borrow trouble that hasn't happened yet.  Maybe spend some time with a friend of mine. 

Happy almost Friday to you.  :-)


 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Homeless Hooker, who's loved...

In a recent interaction with someone I was both compared to a hooker and told that this person loved me all within five minutes.  This left me spinning and feeling like I was going to vomit.  A wise sage of a friend said to me her obvious reply to that would be then apparently love is not enough.  My response was something less stellar more like, "that is not okay."  In fact, that is exactly what I said.  I wish I would have had Becky's words to speak but while I'm often witty, I'm never one with a quick admonishing retort.  Can't ever think of them in that moment. 

To be honest I haven't been able to let this go this weekend.  A hooker, he compared me to a hooker, while writing me a check, to put gas in my vehicle which drives his children.  A hooker, someone, compared me to a hooker.  I can't let it go.  I felt so defiled. I know that the rational response is that anyone who would compare you to a hooker and tell you he loves you all within 5 minutes is crazy.  Duh!  I get that.  But it's one of those phrases that I don't know how to let go.  Like that knife stabbing phrase you heard on the playground in elementary school.  You haven't forgotten it, have you?  I know I didn't.  Green Giant, they used to sing to me, or they called me the Shenandoah Mountains.  All for obvious hurtful reasons.  I was tall, my last name was Green, and I developed before anyone else did.

My heart is hurting, I need to be released from this shame.  Why should I carry the words someone decides to throw at me?  I don't need to own it.  I will put it at the feet of Jesus, where my pain belongs and try not to pick it up again.  I will fail and then I'll try to remember to put it down again. 

Also, at the feet of Jesus is the pain of not knowing how much longer I have a home.  Things are far from stable and I know I have plenty of family members that would take us in so I'm not worried about literally having shelter.  But if something doesn't change soon, we won't have a home, a place to call our own.  I'm taking steps to figure out how to solve this, but the problem is insurmountable for me.  Without God's divine intervention the children and I will be kicked out of our house.  I'm not sure how long that will take to happen but it seems inevitable right now.  I have yet to find work that offsets the cost of daycare for Eowyn although I continue to look and we are desperate.  The sad thing is it doesn't seem to matter to their father how desperate our situation is.  He will still go out and spend thousands of dollars on a new computer or go shopping at the outlets for clothes with the kids.  I appreciate the clothes for the kids, but what we really need is for him to pay child support and the mortgage.

There is something called honor in this life.  It is like integrity, something that lots of people don't possess.  It involves keeping your commitments, fulfilling your responsibilities.  "Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."  1 Tim 5:8  It really bothers me when people throw around the name of Jesus and don't do what he says.  I do this in my life, there are many ways that I fall short but hopefully it is apparent that I'm striving.  If it isn't I endeavor to make it more so.  But it sickens me when parents say they love their families and Jesus and don't provide for their families most basic needs.  Food. Clothing. Shelter. Transportation.

I don't expect Jonathan to do otherwise.  He has never been a man of character, I don't expect that to change.  It hasn't thus far.   But I do hope that God will rescue us from this train wreck.  I believe that is something I can hope in.  And if he delays his rescue I pray he will also give me wisdom for every step I can take to be a woman of character and honor.  Regardless, I am thankful for my three littles today.  That they love Snow White and for lunch with a friend today.  Dinner on the table tonight and a good friend of mine is having a baby very soon, so I'll have some newborn sweetness to snuggle soon. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Someone's Everything...

I've been listening to country music lately, I realize many of you are cringing right this second!  I know I know, it's not the best music out there in the world.  I will freely admit to that and yet I listen to it, often.  I feel like I am admitting this in a 12 step group right now.  Hi, I'm Shannon and I listen to country music and take bubble baths, I'm a writer and yet I just finished a Nicholas Sparks' book.  Wow, maybe I do need a step program.  ;-)

I went through an Adele/Sara Barielles/Piano Guys phase a while back and now I'm in a country phase.  Maybe it's because it's nice enough to drive with windows down blare music and I don't know enough rock and roll to sing along to that.  NAH, it's because I honestly like it.  I was raised in North Carolina, what do you expect?  But to be honest if you are sad there's nothing like a country song to drown your sorrows in.  Well, maybe whiskey but I'm not a drinker.

So, there's a point to this post, although not presently clear and that is what I'm learning from country music.  I'm learning that men actually love women.  Shocking, I know.  I had no idea.  Either that or they really really want to get laid.  No, I think they love them.  The way the men who sing country music sing about women gives me this bizarre, irrational hope.  They talk about all the things they love about the women in their lives and let me whisper you a secret: all the things they love about us, they're the things we're the most insecure about.  Well, would ya look at that?!  That's amazing. 

So, deign I to hope?  For myself?  For love?  Like that?  Maybe, probably not most days.  But here's a song that I identify with because it contains some of my insecurities.  I thought the fact that he describes his wife this way with such affection was so stirring. 

She's a yellow pair of running shoes
A holey pair of jeans
She looks great in cheap sunglasses
She looks great in anything
She's I want a piece of chocolate
Take me to a movie
She's I can't find a thing to wear
Now and then she's moody (yep, I admit it, I'm moody sometimes)

She's a Saturn with a sunroof
With her brown hair a-blowing
She's a soft place to land
And a good feeling knowing
She's a warm conversation
That I wouldn't miss for nothing
She's a fighter when she's mad  (I fight hard)
And she's a lover when she's loving (ahem)

[Chorus]
And she's everything I ever wanted
And everything I need
I talk about her, I go on and on and on
'Cause she's everything to me

She's a Saturday out on the town
And a church girl on Sunday
She's a cross around her neck
And a cuss word 'cause its Monday (still haven't broken that habit)
She's a bubble bath and candles  (recently discovered the gift of caring for myself, how did I miss this?)
Baby come and kiss me
She's a one glass of wine
And she's feeling kinda tipsy (and yes, I can barely finish a whole glass of wine without feeling, hmm, sleepy)

She's the giver I wish I could be
And the stealer of the covers
She's a picture in my wallet
and my unborn children's mother
She's the hand that I'm holding
When I'm on my knees and praying
She's the answer to my prayer
And she's the song that I'm playing

[Repeat chorus]

She's the voice I love to hear
Someday when I'm ninety
She's that wooden rocking chair
I want rocking right beside me
Everyday that passes
I only love her more
Yeah, she's the one
That I'd lay down my own life for

And she's everything I ever wanted
And everything I need
She's everything to me
Yeah she's everything to me

Everything I ever wanted
And everything I need
She's everything to me

"She's Everything" Brad Paisley

I would love to be loved like this by a man here on this planet, who wants to see all my little imperfections as gifts but, I'm hopeful that what I learn now in this season is that God loves me imperfections and all.  He cherishes all of my little idiosyncrasies even when others find them annoying.  Including the fact that I laugh WAY TOO LOUD. I don't seem to be able to fix that, darn it.

I was going to bring more God into this post, to let you know how much I desire for him to be the center of my heart.  But I'm not going to filter for y'all tonight, even though that is the truth.  I want to be loved, well, here on this earth and single motherhood is lonely, my body is ruined and I don't feel like anyone will ever want me again.   My mounds of evidence that this is the truth don't help my lack of confidence. read here: my ex husband would rather pay hookers for sex, than sleep with me.  No, this is not my focus in my life right now, but facing the next four decades solo is scary.  I don't feel like I can do it all alone tonight, I want someone to come home at the end of the day and to chase away the reoccurring nightmares of Jonathan.  Someone to hold me.

Is this too much for you guys out there in the blog-o-sphere?  Single, not yet divorcee, admitting she would love to be romanced.  I understand it's a lot to take, but it's a lot to feel.  It's a lot to bear.  It's a lot to carry.  While my energy is elsewhere, like getting food on the table and gas in the car, 8 to 11 every night is hard and it's always alone and it's way too quiet. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Desiring God's Will for Their Lives

...and believing it includes each other.


I'm going to a wedding this weekend.  It's about 3 hours away one way and I'm going alone, stag, to the first wedding I've attended since my marriage ended.  This is insanely awesome for my normally basement level self-esteem. 

I was really excited when I received this wedding invitation a few months ago.  I know the groom better than the bride and he was connected to my ex, so I wasn't sure I'd get one.  I know Jonathan will not be there because he wasn't invited, so that's also good.  But alone to a wedding, ugh, humph, okay. 

I've figured out the gift and what I'm going to wear and how long it will take to get there.  I think I'll probably have a ton of fun and the bride is darling and gorgeous I can't wait to see how she looks in her dress.  The groom's not bad himself but be honest, who looks at the groom at a wedding?  Um, no one, well the bride does.

I reread the invitation this week in prep of figuring out how far away it was and I saw the opening line of their invitation for the first time  I hadn't noticed it before.  "Desiring God's will for their lives and believing it includes each other."  This was the exact first line of my wedding invitations, this EXACT line.  You coulda knocked me over with a feather.  Whew, that was hard to read. 

Now of course, I am no longer young and in love so these words mean something very different to me now then they did then.  Also, I have really positive feelings toward the couple that just used them in their wedding invitations so how do I reconcile that?

I do desire God's will for my life and believe that desire it for theirs as well.  But my theology about how that is played out is a bit different than it was 12 years ago.  I am not sure I believe there is one person out there for everyone anymore.  In fact, I know I don't think that.  I'm sure my theology will change even more in the next 12 years and more after that, maybe not in this area but the thing about me and theology is that I like thinking about it and praying about it; so it keeps evolving.  Unlike the human species, I think we're regressing ;-)  (this is not a statement about evolution, it's a joke people)

So, as I prepared their gift today I thought about what to say on the card.  Most people say nothing and get a sappy card or fill a still sappy card with advice, thoughts, and bible verses.  Instead I chose a card with a picture of an open door on it.   I encouraged the couple that they are walking through a door together.  That they are awesome and that I'm not one to give marital advice, since I sucked at being married.   I did tell them that I'm sure they have hopes and dreams for their lives and that God has many more than they could ever have for themselves.  That marriage may be hard and takes three (Jesus) people but that they will figure it out. 

I hope you desire God's will for your life, I desire it for mine and for the bride and groom tomorrow.  I desire it for my children.  God tells us in his word what His will for us is, it's not a trick or a guessing game and we don't need to lay fleeces out like Gideon.  God makes His desires for us clear, Micah 6:8  - do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.  That's just one of many passages where His will for us is made clear. 

Sometimes we worry about whether or not we are marrying the right person, doing the right thing for a living, going to the right college, or potty training our kids the right way.  I'm not sure that if you seek God on the big things and the small things and then you obey His word by doing justice, loving your neighbor and so forth that He is all that hung up on whether you go to Etown College or the University of Hawaii.  He's more hung up on your heart and your soul.

Does that mean I don't believe Erin and Kevin were meant to be together, no.  Not necessarily.  What it means is that I believe both Erin and Kevin and you and I and my children can follow the will of God regardless.  Please don't stop desiring to follow His will for your life.  Just to be clear, He may not care whether or not you eat at Five Guys or Red Robin tonight.  He cares more about how you treat the people you're there with. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

FYI

I'm writing tonight to give y'all some clarity.  I'm going to give you a play by play on what this blog is really about and what it is not about.  Why it's here and since I'm it's creator what it's purpose is and what I will and won't use it for.  

This is not a 'mommy blog.'  A few of my recent posts have been a bit mommy blogish.  There is nothing wrong with mommy blogs I love them, read them almost daily and I enjoy them.  In fact I wrote some of those posts because frankly that's what people want.  But my blog is not a mommy blog.  My blog is about suffering, it's about joy, it's about life and death, and God and relationship and the presence of evil in our world.  It's about how all of those things have been present in my life and my process about them.  This is the place where I process through them.

This means a couple of things:

- this blog is heavy, if you come here for a lighthearted laugh; you've come to the wrong place.  Oh, we laugh here but often it is through tears. 

- this blog is about my life.  unfortunately my life sucks a lot right now.  I occasionally use coarse language, that's probably not going to stop any time soon.  I have actually practiced restraint in that so if you're already offended by my language, you might get more so.  If you don't like that my life sucks and I talk about it frankly, then don't come here.  That's not going to change.  My life doesn't suck nearly as bad as some people and I am aware of that.  I plan on speaking out against all types of suffering and evil in the world.

- I have strong opinions.  I express them.  Get over it.  It's my blog.

-  Jesus means the world to me, how I process my relationship with him and his involvement in my life is sacred ground for me.  Attack that and you will be thrown out.  

- I plan on sharing the happy stuff too.  We have a lot of good stuff in our life, we have awesome friends and family, a roof over our head, and the kids are loving school.  These are great things.  There will be many more great things and we will celebrate them here as well as in our home.

- If you're attempting to use my blog as legal leverage against me; you're an asshole - Jonathan and minions.  You are continuing to prove your profound lack of character.  (I just practiced restraint in not using a whole lot more four letter words ;-)  see told you we laugh here.

- I am NOT a photographer.  I share pictures because I like pictures, please don't grimace too much photographer friends.  AND I would love a photoshop elements lesson since it is loaded on this computer and I just don't know how to use it.  I'll make you a pie!  Or the best brownies I've ever made - dark chocolate brownies with vanilla icing.  Heaven in a brownie may I tell you!

- My views on spiritual matters I discuss are not always presented.  I often desire to have more of a discussion than a sermon (no mDiv over here) so if I don't flush out a position on something theological, it's because I want YOU TO THINK, not to tell you what I think or what you should think.  You are welcome to ask what I think any time.

- Comments are welcome, even if you disagree with something I've written.  Please just do so with respect.  This is my space, I moderate it and if I feel attacked I will not publish you comment.  Smash bloggers are also assholes (see above note about Jonathan) 

- If you copy and paste my words onto your blog you are violating my copyright.  Please don't do that.  You may however link if you'd like and you're NOT a smash blogger. 

- I love you, I appreciate you reading, I love to write and probably would do so even if you didn't read.  But I really love my readers.  I'd love to know who more of you are and I'm thankful for your presence in my life.  

How I'd like to be ending my day...






  

School Days



I did the first day of school thing again this year.  This time putting two kids on the bus instead of one.  How did this happen?  I have a kindergartener and a first grader.  I am home alone with one child (until something changes in my situation).  I have not been home alone with one child since 2006 and really I was pregnant with Harvey for 3/4s of that year so that doesn’t really count, right? 

Rowan was excited for 5 seconds when he woke up before he descended into the “I don’t want to go to school” funk.  Harvey popped out of bed like a jack rabbit (Aunt Meredith’s old phrase for them).  We were ready 45 minutes early.  I may have taken the punctuality and preparing ahead of time a little too far.  We had to kill time; that did not go well.  Watch, we’ll be late tomorrow.


Jonathan met us at the bus stop. I seem to have trouble even looking at him these days, but I’m very good at looking at the ground, or my phone or my children, or staring off into space.  It’s not that I’m feeling hatred in those moments; it’s just that I really don’t want him to smile at me or pretend to be kind.  Makes me want to throw up.  So, I look at the ground or my phone or give my children my absolute resolute compolute (so not a word) attention.  I needed another 'olute' word.  It was good for the kids that he came.  They appreciated his presence and I appreciated them appreciating it.  Even if I didn’t want to look at him, ugh.  

On a side note, there are a million children at our bus stop this year and almost all of them are kindergarteners.  I’m considering asking the house that we’re in front of if we can put a bench on their lawn?  It’s like 6 families and many of them have more than one child.  We may need more than one bench or a pavilion.  Speaking of which, there’s a perfectly good pavilion directly across the street at the park, why is that not our bus stop?  No idea.  Keeps us out of the rain, and has a whole picnic table, duh!  Who didn’t think this one through? I guess we’ll stand and wait and I’ll go buy a really huge golf umbrella that four of us, including a wiggly toddler who probably won’t stay put, can fit under. 
When you're 20 minutes early waiting for the bus is boring



Since she packed her own backpack with her treasures; it weighed more than her.

Eowyn wanted to wear her back pack loaded down with toys that I’m sure weighed just as much as she did.  She did okay when the boys got on the bus.  But then as I was carrying her back to the house she cried.  And once we got home she sort of just stood there and looked lost.  Poor baby.  “Where Harvey and Rowan?”  Awww, little lady I’m sorry.  They’re at school honeybunches. 


Tears for mommy even looking at this photo.

You can't see Harvey well, but he looks so lost.  More tears for mommy.
I think Rowan will be giving Harvey this look for a long time
Spiderman web shooters



And here's the look Harvey gives Rowan, am I doing it right?








I was not able to get them off the bus this afternoon, a whole other story that I had no control over, but Granddaddy did.  He even walked Eowyn down with him because he was watching her.  Shout out to Dad – Thanks!  I was dying to get home and find out how their days went.  I ran in the door shouting and looking for them.  They were playing contentedly on the third floor and ran to me when I got there.  Shouting with matched enthusiasm about how great their days were.  They both told me how much they loved school.  It warmed my heart so completely.  I don’t feel like in my current situation I have a choice to do anything but send them to public school.  I would say 60% of America’s population probably doesn’t really have another viable option.  But the reality is that if you take away the element of choice sometimes you can feel trapped and if you feel trapped and you’re worried about your kids being happy it’s a huge relief when they are. 
 
 I asked them too many questions.  I’m a mom of boys, please Lord help me learn this lesson before they disdain me anymore from asking too much.  This is something I can be thankful that their father is more verbose than I am.  He asks more than me.  I wonder if he gets a pass though because he’s a guy?  Hmmm, that’s not fair.  Regardless, I need to set a limit to the number of questions I pester the boys with when they get home from school.  Suggestions from the prolific population of men out there reading my blog are welcome, hahaha.  I don’t think any men read my blog, but I still need to figure out how many is enough/too many,  2, 3, 4?  Oh, I’m pushing it with four I know I am.  Can I do three? 
Did you have a good day?  Did you eat your lunch?  What did you learn/do/who did you play with/did you make any new friends/ what are their names?   Ughh, see how I do that?  I want to know everything and I’m clearly NOT a helicopter parent, how many questions are those parents asking???!!!!

Updates:   

This post did not go up last night as intended.  I was still ready 40 minutes ahead of time again today.  

Rowan greeted me at 5:30 so I didn’t get a shower but I did comfort him and we talked about bad dreams.   Thankfully it wasn’t a dream about school.  

Eowyn still doesn’t like the boys leaving.  She and I had a solo today and we are enjoying it!

And I bought the rest of the school supplies they needed today, school supplies are expensive. 

I also fixed a dinosaur today with super glue.

Eowyn has napped for 20 minutes today therefore I still haven't had a shower

I have no awareness of whether or what I've eaten for breakfast the last two mornings, that can't be good.  

Having only one child around is really weird.  

We are SOL financially and I'm starting to really stress about it. 

I am completely aware that I have not fulfilled my commitment for a really deep post lately.  Feeling a little chicken with expressing myself lately.  I’m writing it, just working up the nerve to share it. The truth is the truth right?  I should be able to talk about it even if I am attacked for it, I'm slandered and people distort what I say.  Corragio e la forza

Much Love,

Shannon