The Goodness of Life 

Recently I made a very deliberate effort to limit my time on facebook. Even though I thought I had already done a lot to filter my newsfeed, I was finding myself feeling disheartened, anxious, sad, or discouraged much of the time after being on it. I also knew that it was taking up portions of time that I could be using in much healthier ways. 

At first, it was difficult.  I was used to filling free time, waiting time, and times of boredom with scrolling. But, each day got easier and easier. I found a peacefulness and even joy return.  I spent that time focusing on affirmations and positive thoughts.  I spent that time going for a walk or reading. I spent that time praying or journaling. I found myself remembering and focusing on all the good in my life that is already there.  It felt so good.

Now, I am experimenting with spending a little more time there,  because there are also things I missed about facebook.  I really enjoy feeling connected to people.   I miss positive and inspirational posts. But, I don’t want to allow it to take up so much of my time again. So, I will keep checking in with myself about this. 

All I know is that at this stage of my life, I choose to do more of what brings me joy and less of what sucks the joy out of life.


Still Healing

I think I am finally finding some healthier perspectives about my kids. I am so blessed to have some very wise and supportive people on my life who have been reminding me of important truths. It’s hard to see those truths when you are in the midst of the emotional turmoil of your own real life sometimes. 

My kids have gone through a lot of trauma, as have I.  And, at the same time, I am still a good mom and they are still good people. We are all working through our own healing journey in our own ways and on our own time lines.  I  can’t rush theirs or make their journey take a direction that is more comfortable for me. I need to keep working on my own healing. 

In the meantime, I have taken control of my own journey by setting and communicating much firmer boundaries with them. That is for their good, although they don’t completely  see it that way. There was some push back, but that was to be expected.  At the same time, they also expressed understanding of why I needed to do it. 

I do need to trust that they will find their way through this. I will provide unconditional love and support along with healthy boundaries in the meantime. 

Mother’s Day Roller Coaster

Mother’s day.  There were some real highs.  I won a fabulous gift package for my mom and it felt so good to bless her with that. My extended family was able to get together for lunch and enjoy each other’s company.  The guys took the initiative and my guy was able to be there. Two of my three kids came as well. Those were all very good things. 

There were lows. One of my kids chose not to come. He said he was job hunting but later also said he feels he can’t be himself with my family.  I think they are pretty accepting and they really love him. But, that’s how he feels.  And, apparently how he feels is more important than attending something important to me on mother’s day.  None of my kids gave me even so much as a card. I received a verbal “happy mother’s day ” from each of them at some point in the day. But, that was it. No one made any extra effort at home or to do anything for me. I have all three home with me and am supporting them and it’s a lot for me on every level.

To receive no appreciation yesterday tipped me over the edge. The younger two that were home got an earful. I let them know exactly how much that hurt and also how much I have been worrying about them both. In the end, they both apologized.  My daughter ran out to the store and got one of the few remaining cards and a few gifts.  She wrote some beautiful things in the card. They both told me they will work on some changes. We will see. My boyfriend called my oldest son and apparently my son responded very well. He apparently felt terrible about forgetting to acknowledge mother’s day.  Later that night he made a beautiful facebook post.

I realize my kids are at a very self absorbed age. But, enough is enough.  My patience finally came to an end.  I haven’t felt that hurt and disappointed in a long time.

I know there is a lesson for me in this. I have been tolerating too much for too long, as I tend to do. We all needed it to come to the surface and be addressed. 

I still struggle with why and how my kids seem to be more “screwed up” than any other children of divorce I know.  And the discouragement I feel about that just takes me down sometimes. But, I guess I just need to focus on the good and hang on to hope.

The good is that all three responded in a positive way to being told how I felt. The good is that I do know they love me. The good us that my boyfriend was so quick to step in in a fatherly role with support and firmness. The good is that I finally reached a limit which has facilitated change.

I am exhausted today. I hope I can maintain the changes.

An Imperfect Masterpiece 

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to do a photo shoot.  It was an amazing opportunity,  as I won a contest and the hair, make up and sitting fee was all free. I said “yes” to the opportunity immediately, and was so excited! I have grown a lot in the past few years and I was excited for the chance to honor my growing sense of who I am through this.

However, as the weeks went on, the self doubt started to creep in. I had done a previous photo shoot with this studio (decoroportraits) and they had done a wonderful job. The couple who own the studio are friends and are both talented, gifted people who do amazing work. They are trustworthy and good business people as well.  But, the last time, it was a photo shoot with my daughter, and I had been really focused on her and my hope that it would be good for her and her self esteem as a teenager. Even though I had individual portraits done as well, my focus was on her.

This time, it was going to be about me and me alone. Aack! That made me nervous.  The negative voices in my head were saying,

“Oh come on. You’re 48 years old with adult children. Who do you think you are?”

“People will think you are vain and full of yourself ”

“You need to lose weight and work out for months before you should do that”

And on and on…

I almost cancelled so many times.  I would look in the mirror or step on the scale, and the negative self talk would start. It was a battle for weeks.

Then, my friend suggested we watch a documentary called “Embrace” (which can be downloaded through itunes) . It is about a woman’s journey with her own relationship with her body and learning to love herself just as she is. It was timely, and caused me to realize how hard I was being on myself and how much I had allowed society to dictate the definition of “beautiful “. I thought I had come to a pretty good place in terms of my self esteem and self worth. And, compared to several years ago, I had.  But, this opportunity highlighted for me how unhealthy my own view of my body was. I came to the jarring realization that I had been at war with my own body and didn’t even realize it.  I needed to see that!

So, I went. As the photo shoot progressed, Kevan and Leah made me feel so comfortable. …not just with the shoot itself….but with ME. Their philosophy of honoring each woman’s unique beauty came through in their approach.  With each wardrobe change (some of which required me to be very brave and vulnerable), I began to feel more and more beautiful.  Just as I am. ..right here, right now.

By the time it was done, I was tired… but I was also at peace with myself. And thankful. I haven’t even seen the proofs yet. I know the quality will be amazing.  But, to be honest….that is secondary. The growth that came from pushing myself out of my comfort zone is priceless.

Letting go of “if only’s”

I am having trouble maintaining a healthy perspective about my kids and my role as a mom to adults. I am aware that I am battling some unhealthy perspectives, yet can’t seem to quite win the battle these days.

I watch them struggle.  This week has included some emotionally intense situations for all three. I find myself filled with so much remorse and regret about the past and everything they have been through.  I know that is wasted emotional energy. But, it’s so hard not to see my mistakes and failings and wish I had done some things differently.  It’s just so, so, so darn painful! It has hurt so much this week, that I have found myself just wishing I could run away from it all for awhile.

I keep trying to be their anchor in all the storms that keep coming their way. But, it’s not enough. They keep struggling.  

I have to believe and hold on to the hope that things will get better for them at some point. My oldest is almost there. He has matured enough that he is making really healthy choices for himself. The other two….well, time will tell.

Thank God for the wonderful man in my life as well as friends and family who are incredibly supportive. They keep telling me I’m a good mom and have done the best I could. I hear them. I know they mean it. I wonder why it is so hard for me to see and believe that? Sometimes I can. But, lately….not so much. 

This is one of those things I need to surrender.  It is more than I can do on my own. I keep praying.  I keep surrendering. I keep hoping. 

How to Help?

I am struggling in my relationship with my son. I am very aware that he triggers my past trauma with his Dad. Unfortunately, what was modeled for him regarding managing emotions, expressing emotions, and handling conflict was not healthy. In his attempt to set boundaries, he ends up saying controlling and harsh things. When he tries to express how he feels,  it comes out aggressively and blaming. Before I know it, my fight or flight response kicks in and my brain is in high alert. I end up physically shaking,  feeling completely invalidated and disrespected. I shut down and feel that old familiar sense of despair and hopelessness that was my constant companion in my marriage.  It’s been so long since I have felt that so it shocked me when it overwhelmed me last night.

So, the question is how I handle it from here.  I know that my son’s behavior comes from his own suffering.  That is not an excuse,  it is simply a truth. I do believe he needs help. But, he refuses to seek it. So, how can I help him? I know that he needs me to shift out of my trauma response and be able to respond to him rationally….with loving firmness. It has taken most of yesterday and still through today to shift that.  It is such a huge trigger for me. But, I am getting there. 

How else can I help him? I know that allowing him to talk to me and treat me that way does not help him. But, I also know that I need time to shift out of my trauma response and find the strength I need. I know that it will be healtheir for both of us for him to move out. He is an adult, and he needs to find his way in the world. But, he is also extremely sensitive to rejection. I need to find the words to lovingly and firmly push him put of the nest. I need to make sure he knows I am always here with unconditional love….but, that it’s also not okay to treat me the way he has. 

In the meantime, while my trauma response has been triggered, I need to be kind to myself and take care of myself.  I need to watch my thoughts so they don’t go to the old familiar places of self blame and fear.  

As hard as this is, I know I can do it. 

Great Things

I have noticed that the happier I am ,  the less I blog…or write in general. Writing has always been therapeutic for me. It is a way I process my thoughts and emotions and make sense of them. When I am content and happy, there is not as much to process.

I was thinking about the above quote. I have always had an optimistic nature. I am thankful for that! Even in the darkest times during my ex-husband’s affair when he was trying to manipulate me into taking the blame for his actions, and during the separation when the house got foreclosed on and I didn’t know how I would make it sometimes ,  I held on to a firm belief that I would be okay . 

Somewhere deep down inside me I have always carried a spark of hope and a belief in good things coming. I know that is in large part due to being raised in a loving, secure home. I am so thankful for that! I It is also because of my faith. I was taught to believe in God from the youngest age. But, more than that….I remember having no trouble believing there was a God who loved me from the earliest age. I remember having conversations with God as I lay in bed at night and as I played on the farm as a young girl. I always felt His love for me, like a warm blanket that was always there when I needed comfort . 

Thankfully , these foundational parts of my life have created a deep and firm belief that good things are always coming and will happen. 

And they do!

And they will continue .  I know that. 

Right now, I have experienced answered prayer and blessings . … in my relationships, my finances, and my family. I am feeling incredibly grateful for a man who loves me so unconditionally , kids that are healing and growing, a family that celebrates and loves together , a tribe of amazing friends who always have my back, and having more than enough.

Thank you God.