Sunday, January 31, 2010

Do You Want to Shoot Cupid?

Valentines Day is approaching. This thought leaves you with joy and planning, or tears and hiding. It is a great day to express our love and receive love, but what if you don't have someone in your life due to being single or you just experienced a divorce or death?

Valentines Day was always Hell On Earth for me. Remember when the teacher would have you buy a box of cards and give everyone in class a card whether you liked them or not? I didn't have many friends, so I considered these the pity cards or I have to give you one because someone told me to cards. My mom and step-father even quit giving me a card and a box of chocolates somewhere around the age of twelve. I never dated in Jr. High or High School and got to watch all the girls get flowers and cards and candy.

I finally got to participate in the holiday when I met my first husband. For sixteen years I got to receive and give love. I no longer hated the agonizing holiday -- that was until I was divorced and single again. Six weeks after moving to a new city and starting my life over again, I had to deal with Cupid again. I still had the gaping hole in my heart where my love arrow had been recently pulled out.

I remember walking into a store and seeing all those cute bears and happy roses and boxes of chocolate and I started to cry. Then I wanted to tear through it all and scream. I even wondered if I could put a hit out on Cupid. I ended up celebrating my day by driving to work with the radio off, not wearing makeup and crying all day, then ending it with a frozen dinner and going straight to bed.

So now that I have experienced both horror and joy during this time, I am hoping I can help you and help you help those in need of a little love in their lives.

Advice for Singles/Divorced/Widowed:

  • You are loved by the Heavenly Father and by Jesus Christ.
  • Take yourself out to a dinner and a movie.
  • Take another girl-friend out with you to a dinner and a movie and make it a girls night out.
  • Buy yourself some fresh flowers and a box of chocolates. Hey, at least you'll get what you want.
  • Do something meaningful and special for yourself, go to a spa, get your hair done, etc.
  • Go on a trip somewhere
  • Church events

If You're Married and know someone that fits the description above:

  • Buy them friendship flowers and/or a card to let them know they are appreciated and loved.
  • Do something special for them, gift card, spa, etc.

In other words, just because you are getting loved and pampered by your husband or boyfriend, don't forget about that person out there who needs to feel valued.

When I met my new husband and we were dating, I had a roommate who was single and resented Valentines Day as much as I had when I didn't have anyone in my life. She was a crafter, so I went to Jo Ann Fabrics and got her a gift card and a card and told her how much I valued her friendship and for being a great roommate. It brought her to tears. Please be a blessing to someone this year. You never know the difference you will make in someones life.

Be blessed, know you are loved.

Author of:
The Confident Butterfly
Making Lemonade -- A Spiritual Journey Through Pain and Divorce
Discover Your Wings

Friday, January 29, 2010

What Do Women REALLY Want?

I found an intriguing question posted on Facebook today: What do women REALLY want?

It seemed the majority of the 52 comments were love, respect and to be seen for who she is and not what you want her to be.

I can’t speak for all women, but I can tell you what this woman really wants. At the end of the day I want to know I am loved fully and unconditionally. As Aretha Franklin sings so well, respected, my thoughts and dreams valued.

Even in the midst of tragedy and sorrow, I need someone who can make me laugh. This past year has been filled with financial worries. After losing my job in 2008, we lost our home last year. Yes, we had moments where we argued and blew up at each other due to the emotional stress, but we found comfort in each other and we could still find ways to laugh. Whereas most marriages are being tested and destroyed, ours was tested and endured.

To have someone look deep into my eyes and fall in love with me more and more, even when I’m trading my halo for horns, and to live in my heart.

Honestly, I don’t want Mr. GQ.  Men like that seem too interested in hair number 300 being out of place rather than in me. I want their full attention.

One woman on the post said she wanted a good sex partner. Compatible sex is important. But what happens when the sex drive is no more? There will come a day when you both come home tired, life gets in the way, children are born, you get sick, and you get older. I want someone to have a deep conversation with, to cuddle with on the couch under a blanket while watching a movie. These days a foot rub gets me more excited than a romp in the bedroom. Intimacy is more than just physical sex.

A giving heart is important to me. I volunteer and give my heart to helping people improve their lives. There is no room for selfishness.

I want to be accepted for who I am and when I gain a few “happy” pounds while we’re married. I may wear Victoria’s Secret, but they’re not going to come ask me to walk down their runway.

Thankfully, I have these things and more. A few years ago I wrote a poem to my loving husband thanking him for all he means to me.

When the World . . .

When the world
Seems a lonely place,
You wrap your arms around me and hold me close.

One the days
The world seems bigger than I am,
You hold me in your world and lift me higher.

When I wish to inspire others
And people close me down,
You inspire me.

On the days
People hurt me,
You love and encourage me.

When others
Give me a black eye,
You take away the pain with your tender kisses.

On the days
I want to be so much more,
I realize I am when you look at me.

When others
Have not seen my worth,
You treasure me.

When the world
Seems so dark and I cannot find my way,
You are the light in my life that I can look to when all seems lost.

When I believe
God does not answer our prayers,
I have to remember, He gave me you.

I love you for all you do and for who you are.

I hope this helps men out there realize what women really want. Treat us well and treasure us and we’ll give you our heart, the most precious thing you can give someone. Love isn’t complicated. It’s pure. It’s honest. It’s simple.

If you loved my poem, you may purchase it as a Greeting Card at*

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chapter Seven of Making Lemonade A Spiritual Journey Through Pain and Divorce

Baptismal of the Phone

Results of planning our last Thanksgiving dinner together turned out much differently than I thought. I was so tired of my husband calling her while he went to and from work and late at night when he thought I was sleeping. My anger got the best of me.

Two days before Thanksgiving, I couldn’t sleep. Thoughts of breaking his precious cell phone consumed me until I gave in. I crept out of bed and went into the guest bathroom where I ran it under water until the screen went blank, dried it off and went back to bed.

Okay, this wasn’t the most “Christian” thing to do, but I was sick of him cheating. I was sick of her. I was sick of his lies he told me before he was leaving me. To me, the phone represented his infidelity, and I wanted to kill it. Many mistakes were made on my part during this time and during the marriage. It takes two to keep a marriage, as well as cause a divorce.

The next morning he discovered what I had done. Apparently, I didn’t dry off the phone as well as I thought, and he came into the bedroom enraged. Pulling the covers off me, he told me that I better have his phone replaced by the time he got home. I still had to live there until I finished school, so I did as I was instructed. That night he began sleeping in the guest room with the door locked.

We had turkey dinner, but no movie played. No conversation filled the room. Hatred seethed from him in waves. Not the hottest day in Hell could melt the igloo that was now my home.

Two days later, he flew out to see her for a week. Unbeknownst to me, he cleared out our bank account. I had gone for a massage for my birthday present, which he endorsed, and discovered my credit card had been cancelled, and I didn’t have any money in checking. Embarrassment and panic spread across my face. How was I going to pay for my service? How was I going to pay my bills that were scheduled? How was I going to eat until he came home? I promised him that I would never clear out the account. He could trust me. My sincerity backfired.

Racing home, I called him. He didn’t answer. Reluctantly, I called her. She didn’t answer either. I left messages for both of them, then called his mother, who was angry at his actions and said she would take care of it.

That afternoon I went to the mailbox and found a birthday card from his mother with a check enclosed. I knew it was God covering me because every year she was late giving me my cards. This year, it came early. The next day, his paycheck was deposited into the account, and I could pay my bills on time.

Finally, he called me. Although I was angry, I spoke to him in a calm manner, explaining the situation he put me in, and he said he would transfer the money back into the account when he came back, provided I take my name off the account and sign the Quit-Claim Deed. I reluctantly agreed.

Friday he returned. He took me out to dinner for my birthday. We apologized to each other for Thanksgiving. The next day, however, wasn’t so great. I was having a difficult time with my emotions and with the agreement on the bank account. It put him in total control and me without money. It also aggravated me that I was signing over my rights to my home.

While Steve went over the deal with the Quit-Claim Deed, I was taking out money and removing my name from the account. Agitated, I sat at the desk and let the tears flow. The lady started laughing at me. Not sure what my husband told her, I took the paper and as I signed it, I said, “You know he cheated on me? Now he’s taking my house away and all you can do is laugh at me?”

She continued laughing as they made eye contact. I wanted to jump across the desk and make her eat her smirk. How could she laugh at someone’s pain like that? How could that bank be so rude?

I cried on the couch. He filled out the divorce papers.

Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chapter Five of Making Lemonade A Spiritual Journey Through Pain and Divorce

Keep this in mind as you read this chapter. I had no one to stop me from the course I was on to commit suicide. I didn't have friends I could talk to. I didn't have family near me, and I wasn't communicating my intent to my mother or to the members at my church. I only had one person to stop me, to save me. I should have died.

I'm posting a picture of what I looked like two months AFTER the attempt to show how thin and sickly I looked. My ex took it when I moved to Mesa. Enjoy chapter five and most important, believe in chapter five.

Meeting God

So where was this miraculous being called God everyone told me about? I was raised Catholic, went to church off and on, and knew about God and Jesus. Something happened to me as I ambled along the Jasmine-scented path where fluffy bunnies hopped merrily among the lollipop trees. Somewhere in my journey through life, the fluffy bunnies grew fangs, and the lollipops became poisonous. Somewhere something had gone horribly askew, and as I walked with God, I became angry with Him.

God was supposed to fight for me. So where was he? Was He angry with me? Most of my life I had forsaken Him because I thought He abandoned me during my darkest hours as a child. Never did He rescue me from the people who hurt me. To me, God was an absentee landlord who couldn’t manage the world He created. I needed proof that God was real and living and wanted to be a part of my life.

“All I ever wanted was unconditional love and for someone to not be disappointed in me,” I cried out. I didn’t expect an answer.

Suddenly, this warm, loving feeling overwhelmed me. My tear-filled eyes looked to the ceiling. This feeling wasn’t foreign to me. So many times when I was in pain growing up and called out to God, I felt this same sensation, but didn’t understand it. Now I finally did. I knew God was hugging me, and it was the most wonderful feeling I had ever experienced. For the first time, I realized God had always been with me even when I thought He was absent.

Over the next two weeks God began to whisper, Go find a church. It was the last thing I wanted to do. I wanted nothing to do with hypocritical, fake Christian people who only wore their halo one day of the week. I wanted nothing to do with the institution after the PTL scandals or ritualistic bondage.

God won the argument. I got in my car and drove down McCulloch to find one. The first two I came to were closed! What, no one works during the week? Frustrated, I decided to go home. I saw the sign Abundant Grace. Figuring it, too, was closed, I continued on; however, God directed the steering wheel into the parking lot, carried me in and placed me before the pastor’s wife as if saying, “Take care of my child.”

Abundant Grace became my home for three months. In the beginning I went in the afternoons to talk to the pastor’s wife, Aletha, or just simply sit and talk to God. Feeling stronger, I joined the women’s Bible study group, then Sunday morning services. I felt at peace in the little sanctuary and not at home.

I believed God was working on Steve when he admitted he was confused and wanted us both. We decided to go away to Las Vegas for the weekend, but it was a disaster. On the way I took a wrong turn, and we got into another fight. He e-mailed his ex-wife right in front of me on his cell phone at the hotel. I didn’t know which one I wanted to throw out the window first. We stayed the night and drove home in silence. He ordered the divorce papers. I stopped eating again.

Steve was called to Peach Springs to work in their clinic for the week. I lay alone once more in my Charmin-quilted bed. I now was a frail ninety pounds and still losing weight. With each beat, my heart withered in agony. Pain coursed through my veins like razors. If I departed from my bed, I fell to the floor after five shaking steps. Death felt only hours away.

“God, I don’t want to live. I don’t want this life,” Cupping my hands on my heart, I presented my life before Him and dumped it upon the bed. “I’ve failed at everything I’ve ever done. If you want me to live, then you have to take over my life. You have to fix it.” I fell asleep believing I would not wake up.

Something is going to happen, the voice repeated as I woke up.


Something wonderful.

Okay . . . . What could possibly be so wonderful?

The entire day I anxiously waited. Feeling like a child at Christmas, I imagined picking up my present. It had no weight. I shook it, but there was no sound. Carefully, I pulled at the tape, but God’s tape was secure. I put the present down and just stared at it all day, waiting for the thing to open. Finally, I went to bed.

Hanging my cross from the lamp in front of my candle, I turned out the lights. The soft, reassuring glow illuminated my cross, comforting me. Wearing both wedding rings, I stretched my arm across the bed where my husband should have been and closed my eyes.

My ring hand began tingling, and the hair stood up. I kept my eyes closed. The “electricity” went up my arm and down my back to my toes. Whatever was happening intensified. I thought my body was going to burst from the immense love and peace pouring into it.

A smile stretched across my worn, tear-streaked face as I soaked up the feeling. I had hope, for the first time since the divorce began, that I had a future. During the midnight of my life, God took away my melancholy sack cloth and breathed new life into my dying body.

Are you ready for the ride of your life? Only it wasn’t a question.

“Yes, God, and it’s about time!” Then, “Use me as your vessel. I am yours. Bring me the sick, the hurting and the dying. I want to do for them what you just did for me.” I had no idea what made me ask. I had no idea what I was even asking. It just came from my unselfish heart.

I was reborn.

Walking the peaceful foothills of Lake Havasu the next morning, I looked up at the azure canvas above. Circling me were countless Angels. Every cloud actually resembled an Angel in flight. Was I the only one seeing this? No. I’m not seeing this. This is ridiculous.

I want you to inspire people. I want you to gather an army of souls for me.

“Inspire? You want me to inspire people? Are you kidding me?” I laughed in frustration. How could I inspire someone when I needed inspiration myself? I looked like an Auschwitz poster child.

To purchase a copy of the entire book:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Chapter Four of Making Lemonade A Spiritual Journey Through Pain and Divorce


When I came to Lake Havasu, the circumstances surrounding this move were supposed to be happy. I cried myself to sleep for two months. I missed my husband so much and regretted abandoning him. I never expected it would take so long.

For several weeks I called the Public Health Department to find out where Steve was in the process. I was polite, but insistent in trying to get his career on track and get him out of the place we didn’t like. I kept my mind occupied by renovating the house.

My anger with God, something I had always struggled with, grew in me again. Why, God? Why can’t we just start our new lives together? Why is it when I cry out to you, you ignore me? Finding one of my Cross necklaces in my jewelry box, I hurled God into the closet and slammed the door as if saying go back in the box you came from.

In July, Steve finally came. Things were looking up. By the end of August, I was in school and working for a housecleaning business so that I could have weekends off.

I floated lazily in our pool soaking up the afternoon sun. Paddling to Steve, I gave him the look of love. What he returned nearly toppled me from the air mattress.

“Do you ever think of having a boyfriend, and he could come live with us?”

My blank stare answered the question.

“You could have someone,” he continued obliviously. “I could have someone. We could share the bills, the responsibilities. You could have a friend to go shopping with . . . .”

For nearly seven years, he always talked about threesomes with his friend and his first wife, and now with his second wife. Visions of hedonistic cruises made my skin crawl. It got to the point where I was so sick of them talking about it I would ignore them and leave the room. I prayed so hard that he would stop and that God would change his heart.

Unlike the past pestering, this request was serious.

“What do you think?”

What do I think? Are you mental? My brain screamed as my tongue lay useless in my mouth. Finally, I managed, “I want you. I don’t want anyone else. I’m not that kind of person,” I knew he found someone. I could feel it.

As my fragile world descended to the bottom of the pool, denial bubbled up to drown my panicked mind. Imagining my life without him and the security he provided terrified me. I shoved the idea out of my head as quickly as it came. I loved my all too comfortable world of denial.

Sunday, September 18th, my boss called and left a message. I would only be working three days this week again instead of four. My husband was furious, which only resulted in an argument. I told him I was a wife and not a bank, and the job market was terrible in Lake Havasu. Not wanting to hear my excuses, he told me I needed to look harder. Yet, that previous Friday, I came home from the unemployment office with no job results and sore feet.

The argument turned for the worse, and I ran off to spend the rest of the day in the bedroom. That was when he told me he wanted a divorce. He was tired of the arguments and tired of my depression and mood swings that I attempted to fix, but had failed miserably.

Distraught, I left for work the next morning to quit my job. I got home as he got up for work, and I told him I quit my job and went back to bed. When I woke up, I saw his wedding ring on the coffee table. My eyes stared in disbelief. I fell to the floor, unable to breathe.

I thumbed through the phone book looking for marriage counselors. Unbeknownst to me, he was seeking a divorce lawyer. That night I tried to approach him on the counseling, but he said it was too late, he was filing. Many times, Steve encouraged me to get counseling, but it was always a one-way session. All the therapists wanted him to be involved as well, but he would never go. I was always the one who had problems and needed to be fixed. Marriage is work, and he never wanted to work at it. After a few pointless sessions, I would stop going.

Hurricane “Steve” hit with a mighty force, and I crumbled spiritually and physically. Twelve years of marriage and just starting our new lives, he was going to leave me, and there was nothing I could do about it. Well, what did you expect when he only married you so that you could get financial aid? mocked the inner voice. I expected so much more. I thought if he married me, we could have a normal, happy life together. But you cannot bargain for happiness.

The next two weeks he discussed what he was giving me and how we were going to file. A lawyer was too expensive. Continually I begged him to take me back. I promised him I would do anything he asked, including whoring myself out to his friend. I was that scared of losing him. I stopped eating and began willing myself to die.

I looked into his divorcing eyes as he told me how he cheated on me with his ex-wife. Betrayal dissolved my rose-tinted glasses and showed me new shades of muted colors as he confessed to me he had seen her twice while we lived in Florida. Never would I love anyone again. Never would I trust anyone again.

I felt dead. My entire body radiated with pain that started from my heart and coursed through my fingertips and toes. How could someone hurt so much and not die? Getting run over by a bus would hurt less.

I went to a therapist for the continual emptiness that grew inside my chest like a cancer. I even considered committing myself into an institution. My therapist agreed that if I wanted to get the further help, she would take care of it. I left with a script to help manage the more intense emotions, but who was I kidding? It was like patching the Titanic with duct tape.

Roller coaster emotions were so overwhelming, I couldn’t control when I would cry or become angry. All the while, Steve reminded me that he didn’t treat her like this when they were divorcing. We all handle situations differently. Later I learned what I was feeling was a perfectly normal response to grief and loss.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chapter Three of Making Lemonade A Spiritual Journey Through Pain and Divorce

Chapter Three

The Place We Didn’t Like

I hated the constant rain and partly cloudy skies. From the first day to the last day, I was fighting terrible colds and allergies. Moreover, I hated the ignorance of racism.

This particular place became a true test of our marriage. Could we survive without the external environment and material things for our happiness? No. Rather than finding comfort and strength in each other, we let our bitterness divide us. It was always a competition on who hated it there more.

Deployment to Iraq didn’t help. I was stuck in a place I didn’t like, by myself. He was stuck in Hell. I supported him the best I could, short of teleporting to see him.

The week he left, I decided to order him a new computer desk and make him a computer room. He knew about the desk, but not of the loving gesture of making him a room that was to be his sanctuary.

For several weeks, I reorganized and moved storage boxes from the small bedroom to the storage area in the carport, stained the unfinished desk and made it his retreat. I was exhausted from the labor, but I couldn’t wait to see his face when he returned.

Yet nothing I did fulfilled his preconceived ideas of how I should have acted, and he picked fights with me. It hurt deeply.

Steve was supposed to call me the morning I left to see my mother in Montana. He did not. I worried that something had happened or that he was hurt. I e-mailed him as soon as I got to her house. He didn’t e-mail me back immediately. When he did, he said he didn’t feel like calling because I was supposedly not giving him the emotional support he needed. My mother was upset with the mind games he played with me the week I stayed with her. She claimed a sand flea crawled up his shorts. He controlled my emotions the entire time he was over there.

A month before he was to return home, he sent me an angry e-mail that I wasn’t sympathetic to his plight. It sent me over the edge. I felt like he was blaming me for him being in Iraq. Well, everything was my fault, right?

I replied back calling him an ungrateful jerk, in polite terms, and tore into him. I didn’t care. I was tired of his attitude. I was tired of the verbal and mental abuse while I was falling apart waiting for him to come home. I sent him episodes of his favorite television shows, books and other items he asked me to get. I took late night phone calls. I e-mailed him every morning and night. Nothing I did met his expectations.

My nasty e-mail was apparently sent to several people, including his ex-wife, as if to illustrate that I wasn’t a good wife or a good person. I’m sure they all felt sorry for him. I was always made out to be the one at fault. We both were, but he never took responsibility. In the e-mail, he told me to pack up and leave before he returned home. Four days went by. I didn’t eat nor did I go into work. Finally, he called me and I explained why I was angry at the e-mail he sent. Nothing I did was ever good enough.

When he returned home, our relationship was better than it had been in a long while, but he believed I created the computer room after the fight out of guilt rather than before and out of love. And making me feel worse, his reaction wasn’t what I had envisioned. No thank you was spoken, no smile of gratitude given.

Deciding he didn’t want another tour to Iraq, he started the process to enlist in the Public Health Department and relocate to Lake Havasu, Arizona. Weeks went by believing the transfer was being processed. It was not. A second time documents were submitted and lost. Taking matters into my own hands, I walked into the General’s Office and politely told his secretary of the failures on the department’s part. Miraculously, the process finally began.

Believing nothing else could go wrong, we purchased a house. Yet, more government blunders between the two organizations held him up from leaving. I was sick again. We were fighting again. Twenty-six months of feeling trapped, I left in March to go to Lake Havasu. I felt if I didn’t leave, our marriage wouldn’t survive.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chapter Two of Making Lemonade A Spiritual Journey Through Pain and Divorce

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to take . . . .” only it was not a prayer, it was a plea. My twenty-fifth birthday left me in tears. Still working retail jobs after graduating college and my marriage not turning out the way I thought it should have, I was indeed how God promised I would be—miserable.

Living in Spokane, Washington wasn’t easy for me, so when Steve was accepted into the Air Force and we were moving to Tampa, Florida I was ecstatic. What a dream come true for someone who always wanted to travel and who loved the ocean!

For six days we drove with two dogs in carriers and all the clothes we could stuff into the car. I devoured the sights as we traveled through states I only knew on a map and saw famous attractions such as the Elvis Presley estate and the U.S.S. Alabama.

Before Steve left for Officer’s School, we purchased our first house. Oh, it was so beautiful, with a lush landscaped yard and pool. I felt blessed; even our marriage seemed better. Steve was so affectionate at first, but soon he lost interest in me again. But now I had my castle to preoccupy my loneliness. If living in paradise was worth the price of being ignored, I bought the entire parcel. Being allowed to buy anything I wanted in place of intimacy, I filled my house with material love. These objects, over time, would mean more to me than any relationship.

Shortly after moving, I became ill. I would watch the veins in my hands disappear, then nearly black out. Doctors kept misdiagnosing my symptoms as panic attacks and low blood sugar. I only began panicking after the symptoms, and that was to force myself to breathe and keep from fainting. It was so bad I feared I was having a heart attack.

Steve was understanding to the point where he agreed I needed a new diagnosis, but didn’t offer me the emotional support during my episodes. Yet, with his help I did get the right doctor, and it was discovered my scoliosis and stress were causing my muscles to constrict so tightly it was cutting off my blood supply and my oxygen. Given muscle relaxers, I never experienced it again.

When I was injured in an auto accident, however, he had no compassion. I suffered from dizzy spells and nausea due to whiplash and sought treatment for nearly six months. Although the x-rays proved my injury, my husband didn’t believe me. My boss didn’t either, and it was a trying time for me as I slowly healed.

The letter arrived from his ex-wife like an apple dipped in poison. Spells of enchantment were woven into each line to her lost lover. Curious, I opened it, read the letter and looked at the pictures of her and her children. This time I didn’t let it bother me. Somewhere over time I no longer considered her a threat. Maybe it was because Steve brought me with him to Tampa; maybe it was because he hadn’t mentioned her name for a long time.

I let him know she wrote him when he came home from work. Scooping up the letter and the pictures, he said I would never have to deal with it again. Yes, he did instruct her not to send anything to the house. Instead, he secretly opened another e-mail account.

Divorce was threatened by Steve several times over the years, but in the end he always apologized. There were times I wanted to leave him, but love and fear held me prisoner. Most of our fights stemmed from the fact that I didn’t make enough money or from my unhappiness.

Four and a half years later Steve got orders, and I had to relinquish my home in paradise. Hopeful of orders to San Antonio, we were the lucky winners of a new life in a place we didn’t want to move to, but marriage is about supporting the other person, and I did fully. My life was him and all about him. We had a great life, and it came with being uprooted to places we didn’t want to go.

To purchase a copy of the entire book:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chapter One of Making Lemonade A Spiritual Journey Through Pain and Divorce

Chapter One
His Divorcing Vows

I heard the divorcing tone as he recited his vows. I thought I found my fairy tale. For me, it was a once in a lifetime love; for Steve, now my ex-husband, it was a financial arrangement.

At the stroke of the twelfth year of our marriage, my carriage turned back into a pumpkin and my horses into mice. Illusion crumbled, and reality of what my marriage was came to pass, a nightmare masquerading as a fairy tale.

I wanted to sue Disney for false advertising, maybe even my fairy godmother. Our marriage was like living in a snow globe. It all seemed perfect with the pristine water, the white virgin flakes of snow swirling around a home filled with love and peace, and evil could not penetrate the protective glass bubble. But loneliness marred the crystalline world, eating, devouring my perfect illusion. Reality drank up the lies I told myself all those years and exposed us for what we really were. The pure water was nothing but tears of frustration and heartache; everything inside, cheap plastic pretending to be a home. Glass slippers were stripped from my feet, my home given to another.

This book is my journey and growth through an unhealthy marriage, a devastating divorce and a celebration of my new and wonderful life that God bestowed upon me. I hope that in the lines of my testimony you will find answers for your own life and learn to live free, healed and victorious. Sadly, bad things happen to good people, and we have to learn that the bad things are only occurrences or incidents during our expedition.

I met Steve in college. We sat next to each other in a math class and spoke only once until one fated day during finals he found me sitting in the library.

Growing out of my awkward appearance, I never thought I would find someone. Geeky and shy in school, I never dated and was treated cruelly. I felt special to have him in my life and to be loved by someone.

As our relationship grew, Steve enveloped me in compassion and understanding; he elevated me. Cinderella met her prince, and she was ready for her happily ever after. He was six years older than I was and found my innocence alluring and respected my virginity and inexperience. He filled the hole in my heart, and I felt complete. After a childhood of emptiness and disappointment, I was hungry for love, and Steve was there at the right moment to offer it.

One night, after work, Steve shared his previous life. While he was in Florida serving in the Air Force, he married a young girl who recently divorced her husband and had custody of her two children. They were deeply in love, but unfortunately, they were divorced within seven months for her ex-husband guilt-tripped her into keeping the family together. Wanting to be a good mom, she sacrificed her love for Steve and went back to her husband.

A few months later, Steve’s enlistment with the Air Force was completed. Divorced and devastated, he returned home to pursue a degree in Nursing. She confessed to Steve that she made a terrible mistake by divorcing him and intended to leave her husband again after their children were grown. She insisted he needed to get on with his life and not wait for her.

Steve told me he loved her and wanted her more than anyone in the world. I deserved to know the whole truth about him. In hindsight, I should have kicked him out of the car. Instead, my compassion took over. I felt for him and wanted to mend his pain, to show him that I wasn’t like her and that I would stand by him forever.

She told Steve to get on with his life, but her actions proved otherwise. Having all the control in the tri-relationship, she attempted to undermine our relationship at every turn. She called him every time I came over to see him. I was angry at her for what she did, and I let him know.

By January of the following year, Steve was called into action for the 1991 Desert Storm war. Thankfully he was to be stationed in England rather than the Gulf. Still, I was devastated to learn the news.

We dated for nine months and wanted to get married when he finished his AA Degree. Now, with the war, I had no idea when he was coming home. His absence left me emptier than I had been before I met him.

For three months we wrote each other nearly every day, and he sent me a few gifts while I supplied him with books from the bookstore where I worked. Every day before my classes, I stopped at the post office hoping for some correspondence so I could read his loving words.

I received a letter in March. He would be home at the end of the month. Impatiently, I counted the days.

Falling into his arms at the airport, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. Steve felt the same way; however, every fairy tale must have an evil witch to break up the prince and princess. Shortly after he returned home, the ex showed up again. This time it wasn’t by way of phone calls; it was a plane ticket for Steve to come see her. I believed it was her way of keeping a hold of him so that he would always be available to her. In my mind, this was now war. I loved this man. He was now with me.

Steve still left to see her even after I protested. His excuse was that the ticket wasn’t refundable. I told him I would be happy to repay her for the ticket just to keep him from going. Looking back, I should have told him, “If you go see her, we’ll no longer be together. I’ll leave you.” When he came home, he was never the same; we were never the same.

In the midst of dating Steve, I was plagued with a recurring nightmare for months. Standing side by side, Steve and his former wife were laughing at me. Like a fun house mirror, they became distorted, growing taller as they fed upon my pain. The symbolism behind that disturbing dream came true. It foreshadowed my future; they would laugh at my pain.

We continued dating for four and a half stormy years. Several times Steve said he didn’t want to be with me because I deserved someone who could give me his entire heart. I loved him so much. He was the first person with whom I had been intimate. Honoring my faith, I wanted to wait until I was married, but my heart could not wait. Horrible fights should have been a sign we weren’t compatible, but I had no healthy relationships to draw upon. All of my relationships were toxic and conditional. If I hadn’t shared myself with him, it would have been easy to walk away. I kept seeing Steve for how he was in the beginning of the relationship and denied the changes.

He married me so that I could receive financial aid. The government changed the rules on receiving financial aid after I finally qualified. I was denied the financial means to continue with my education under my current situation. The only way I would qualify is if I were married. Steve agreed to the arrangement so that I could have a future. I hoped to show him I was a good wife and could make him happy.

Two weeks before the wedding God spoke to me so earnestly, Please do not marry him, Angela. You are settling and will be miserable. You know what you want. I knew God was right. I was settling. But I wanted to be married. With all the chaos in my childhood, I wanted a normal life. Only someone else still held the key to his heart.

To purchase a copy of the entire book:

What's On Fire In Your Life?

When Your Hut's On Fire

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him.

Every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect himself from the elements and to store his few possessions.

One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. He felt the worst had happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger. He cried out, "God! How could you do this to me?

Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island! It had come to rescue him!

"How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers. "We saw your smoke signal," they replied.

The Moral of This Story:

It's easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of our pain and suffering.

Remember that the next time your little hut seems to be burning to the ground. It just may be a smoke signal that summons the Grace of God.

One night I went to my monthly networking group and heard our guest speaker deliver an amazing story of her journey to Arizona. It reminded me of the above mentioned story that I had just posted on my Facebook page only a few weeks earlier. This metaphor became real life to one family.

The couple walked through the Boston area slogging through snow and warming cold hands against their Arizona-filled visions. With their youth left far behind them, their bodies protested deeply. Finally the husband said, “That’s it! We’re moving. We’re going to Arizona.”

A smile indicated the wife agreed. But how were they going to afford to leave? The details were not yet in place, but they shared a single vision. They saw it and wanted it. They spoke about it as if it were already happening.

Another cold winter came and the couple found themselves walking down the same street. Yet they were still planning and putting the pieces together. Although their circumstances hadn’t changed they knew one day their coats and mittens would be a thing of the past.

A notice came in the mail. Tears fell as they read the letter from the storage facility where some of their valuables had been kept. There had been a fire. The building was a complete loss.

For weeks the wife grieved the loss of the many irreplaceable antiques and family heirlooms.

Another notice came in the mail. It was from the insurance company. The tears were quickly vanquished when she saw the amount the insurance company was paying them for their loss. They were indeed going to Arizona after all.

What’s On Fire In Your Life? When the smoke slowly drifts away, what tiny blessing lies waiting beneath those ashes? I don't send this with a light heart. I know what it's like when things in your life fall apart and you think you'll never find your smile again. I know what it's like to lose a marriage, a good paying job and lose your home because of circumstances that are out of your control. But through my losses I found my passion for helping people and thus became a Life Coach.

You may want to consider passing this on, because you never know who feels as if their hut is on fire today.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I Have a Dream, Now What?

Have you ever had a dream or a goal and told someone about it only to find they say, “Well, how are you going to do that?” Only it’s not a question? Instead it’s a deep sarcastic, dream-squashing comment.

There are people who will be threatened or jealous when you have a passion to succeed. They will criticize and try to sabotage you. Why? Because their life is a mess and misery truly does love company.

Have you had a dream or goal, but didn’t know where to begin or know if it was even feasible to accomplish?

Keep this one thing in mind, if you envisioned it, you’re the one who can make it happen.

To get started with your dream you need to write it down. Brainstorm ideas around it to include the who, why, what, when and how. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but be as specific as you can be at this point. You’ll fill in the gaps as things go along or compensate for new changes. So don’t be discouraged if you have more blanks in your specifics category than you’d like to see. Don’t let it hinder you from going forward.

You may find you’re a great ideas person, but you need help getting the project started and the specifics generated. Seek out friends, family, a person who is actually doing what you want to do or a mentor to help you along the way.

Are you great at figuring out what other people should do, but when it comes to your own life you get stuck? I’m great at ideas for my own life, but the planning may get a bit murky at times. You just need someone with a different perspective to analyze the situation. It’s like an artist who is too close to his painting to see a small detail that still needs to be created to bring the whole thing together.

Don’t procrastinate! You’ll only let fear and you’re inner critic win. And stop with the what ifs. You know, the “What if this . . . happens?” You can’t worry about what will happen. Eighty to ninety percent of what we worry about never happens anyway. And when it does, then you can deal with it.

Roadblocks are a part of any new challenge. You need to be creative in how to get around them. This is where you may need several people around you to generate fresh, new ideas. No one can do something alone and without proper support.

You may get discouraged along the way, and having a support group or networking group of like-minded people can help lift you up and keep you moving.

People always tell their goals, dreams and desires. You need goals, but your "WHY" is a big reason that will keep you’ll going. Know your why and you’ll continue with your dream even though you come across roadblocks. You’ll find a way to make it happen.

Keep asking these questions to find or remember your why.

Where's your fire? What do you love? What do you hate? What is really important to you? What do you really want? What situation in life do you want to get out of so it never happens again? Why is my project needed?

Why are you on this planet? In one form or another, you're here to change lives, touch lives and help people. What are you meant to do?

Stay away from the dream killing personalities—they’re literal dream vampires that will suck all the ambition and momentum out of you.

Keep moving forward despite the setbacks. I don’t think anyone ever got their plans right the first time. After all, it took Thomas Edison over 10,000 tries to create a light bulb, and in that process, he burned down one of his labs. He looked at the burned shell as a new opportunity to create a bigger and more advanced lab.

You are worth your dream, and your dream IS worth developing. Finally, keep your family and friends in the loop if they’re positive and supportive. This is especially true for spouses. If your dream takes off they may think you traded your marriage for the goal instead of being married to them. If they stay involved then they feel like it’s a part of them, too.

I hope you find this helpful!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I'm Getting a Divorce! Time to Hit eHarmony!

I’m getting a divorce. Time to hit eHarmony!

I’ve heard this so many times from people I’ve met and even from people in my divorce care class I help facilitate.

This is the WORST thing a person can do. You need time to heal properly, to rediscover who you are, and have something healthy to offer in your next relationship. It takes time and can be a lonely process; however, it is needed if you don’t want to end up hurt again.

When you become married, you really become one person. You are now two hearts that came together as one to share your joys, your sorrows, your beliefs, and a vision of the future you have together. Somewhere in that mix you lose your own individual identity.

So now you find yourself divorced or separated. There’s a deep identity crises which takes place. You find yourself asking, “Who am I now?” And it’s a valid question. When your relationship ends your very soul tears from each other; it isn’t a neat line that leaves both parties a whole person.

It’s a jagged, uneven tear leaving you with parts of each other. Your heart and mind have to sort out which part is you and which part is from your spouse. Then you have to find your old identity or even create a new one. Until this process of knowing who you are is complete, you have no business dating another person. You’ll only end up taking the dirty laundry of the last relationship and its problems with you into the new one.

You need to find who you are because you want to know what kind of relationship you really want and you certainly don’t want to repeat the past one.

If you find yourself repeating the same type of relationships, I have an exercise for you.

1. What kind of person or personalities are you attracted to? What were the red flags in the relationship? Why are you attracted to this person/personality?

2. What do you need to change about yourself and/or your life?

Another good reason to not jump into another relationship is because you’re an emotional, needy basket case! You need to completely heal from the pain and not cling onto the next person hoping they will fill that empty, hurting void you have inside. You cannot expect another person to make you happy or to fill the empty void in your life. You’re setting the relationship up for failure!

When my husband came to me and said he wanted a divorce and I knew it was going to happen, I thought of entering the dating pool again. As I started filling out the eHarmony site I stopped and asked myself, “What am I doing? Who would want to be around me? I’m broken, clingy, needy. I have nothing to offer anyone. I don’t even want to be around myself!” Honestly, if I could have left myself I would have done so.

If I did find someone, it was going to be someone who would most likely prey on my sensitive heart. That was the last thing I needed. To protect myself I prayed men would stay away from me. It worked.

Things you can do to help your recovery process:

• Find good support groups such as You don’t even have to be a church member to participate in this group. I help facilitate this group at my local church.

• Surround yourself with same-sex friends.

• Stay busy with your children.

• Keep focused on yourself and your healing process.

• I have a great devotional workbook that can be used for healing from both divorce and abusive, and I have written a book to help other people through divorce. Visit: for books and video testimonials.

Remember, you will heal. You will move on, and if you really want another marriage in the future, it will come. And when it does come, you’ll be in a better place in your life to enjoy it.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Arguing With Scales

Cookies, eggnog, pies and sweets. Every bite scrumptious; every bite going right to your waistline.

Do you have a love/hate relationship with your bathroom scale? I know I did. For years my body remained at a constistent weight, that was until I got remarried and my husband made me happy. Somehow I managed to sneak on an extra fifteen pounds! I couldn't zip up my skinny pants. Fretting about the weight and dieting only seemed to make it worse. I was uncomfortable to the point I felt claustrophobic in my own skin; my lower back hurt. My energy level dropped. I was frustrated and depressed.

Going to the gym was great for toning muscle, but that giggly middle, that was now my stomach, wouldn't go away. Then I found a food on the Internet that boast how you could burn fat and find your figure again. I think I tried all the foods and vitamins everyone was raving about and thought, this too, will fail. However, I decided to try it considering I liked the food and it wouldn't be torture eating it every day. The diet was eating 3 ounces (12) almonds a day. No more. No less.

For the first time in two years I started losing weight. I lost my stomach bloat and even became more regular (love my family genetics.) My pants fit better. The scale didn't have extreme differences in my morning and night weight. In fact, it was steady.

The real test was coming. Could I survive the holidays? I wasn't going to deprive myself of cookies and eggnog, but I would watch how much I ate. I can say I'm pleased with the results. I think I only gained two pounds, which is pretty good since I really didn't watch what I was eating. :)

I eat the almonds every morning when I get up to jumpstart my system. I can tell you this has worked for me. I feel great.  I think I can manage to stick to this tasty plan for a very long time. And I love all the other benefits this wonder food has to offer.

Almonds protect against cardiovascular disease and diabetes. They help in avoiding blood sugar spikes after eating carbohydrates. For more facts visit this website: