H-A-P-P-Y Spells Weekend

It started with my new-found passion – photography – on Saturday morning. I was lucky enough to have the joy of a one-year old DOLL as my latest participant. The best part was the hugs I got to steal. Then, showing him how to car dance while we drove behind his mom to the park. He got a kick out of that. There is nothing as enchanting as a child’s belly laugh. It’s really hard to capture a roving toddler (almost like puppies), they move and turn so quickly. I really felt I wasn’t getting any good shots, but when I got them on the computer, I was surprised. His blue his eyes turned out stunning and I ended up with about forty favorites. Here a are a few.




My second venture was to the mall – on tax-free weekend (ahhh!). I wanted to take advantage and buy the girls their flower girl dresses. Yes, they actually got to take them home. Not to mention we got the hair wreaths, hose, and shoes to match. *Today I found matching flower girl baskets for $5 a piece at Party City – squee.*

Then since the day wasn’t over……Jason took us car shopping. Yes! I know, the dreaded car shopping. Except it wasn’t that dreadful for me. I knew what I wanted. I had to get a car since Sydney will be taking my car as soon as she gets her license. She is ready. She is driving unbelievably well and can parallel park like a champ. However, our quest to the DPS didn’t pan out. Too many last-minute rushes to get their license before school and not enough DPS officers available to give road driving tests (required in Texas now). I was in TEARS. We worked soooo hard the last few weeks. Driving and parallel parking EVERY SINGLE DAY. It just killed me that she didn’t even get a chance. But, we will get try again Wednesday! In the meantime we went car shopping for me to cheer me up. Yay!


I had it narrowed down to these two. A black Toyota Prius. A gray Toyota Venza. The whole famdamily test drove these babies. We had to make sure we all fit. We did. Yes, even in the Toyota cracker car Prius. It’s actually pretty big and has a very cool dashboard. The girls LOVED car shopping. They especially loved the Scion in the showroom. It became their personal play car. They only got out of it to test drive with us. Seriously, I asked if they’d throw this sucker in with our car deal for the backyard. Heh! 🙂

After, much indecision on my part, because honestly? My practical side wanted to go with the Prius. Fifty miles to the gallon is a lot of trips home to see mom with very little cost. Gas will rise again to four dollars or more. Do I plan for the future? It’s the number one selling car that Toyota has. Obviously some people are planning. The Venza was luxury. The Venza was smooth and sleek and lush. It fit the family better, roomier; length and width. It wasn’t just good for me, but would be a good car for long family road trips as well. The cost was the same and it was more car for the money, but less savings for gas. Although, it does get very good gas mileage.

I chose…..

The Toyota Venza and it felt good to make a decision for the family. It had FIVE MILES on it when we test drove it. Bigger than what I am used to do, but I love it! Jason financed for me, I’ll make the payments. It bothers me not at all that my name isn’t on it. In fact, I am very proud of myself for being dependent on him. The old me would have tore myself to pieces for NOT taking care of myself, by myself. It takes a lot to let go of that need (fear). Letting someone else take care of me? Well – it feels pretty darn good.

Now, for all you techy geeks like me. Check this out.

A USB plug-in for your iPhone/iPod down in the console.

It then comes up to stand that holds your phone upright.

You close the middle and it’s all hidden. Coolest thing ever. It plays all your music and has blue tooth (call by voice command) in the car. Completely hands-free, you just talk over the speakers of the car. It is VERY swift. I am still trying to figure it all out.

I drove all over the place since I got it. I put 100 miles on the car in ONE day. HA.

Finally, for all you puppy fans. I walked into the living room to see this. My black lab Salem (almost 9yrs old) being used as stool. Of course, I grabbed my camera. What a trooper she is. She wasn’t around little kids most of her doggy life and she takes it in stride. Labs are the best. Love her face on the last shot (ha).



Sunday photo shoot with my Shih-Tzu. I got Brownie a new bow at the same dress shop where I got the girls dresses. Isn’t she stinkin’ CUTE??




Four months old. At least seven pounds already. She is the fattest, fluffiest, most cuddliest pup. I just adore her.

So there you have it, a BIG weekend. A NEW CAR! Enchantment and cuddly fun. What a perfect way to kick off my 39th birthday today.

H-A-P-P-Y that spells any weekend, but especially this one.

I’m not getting married

…again,” she said firmly, eyes flashing. “I mean never. I am not doing this again. Going through all this stuff. The end, after twenty-two years. Mark my words. It’s not worth it.”

The discussion dashed out, dancing angrily in the air, walking with us on the park path. She said it with such conviction. Not a shred of doubt in her voice. I had to look at her face to see the hardness in her eyes and the set of her mouth.

I sighed inside. It’s not what I wanted for her. Me, who divorced twice. Me, who knew the journey she was choosing included a darker path than the one we walked toward the woods. Destination agony. The light as far away as it was now, and just as hard to reach. The bitter battle boiling as she marched towards the front lines – divorce.

The trail became somber and dark. The only sound, a whispering of our foot scraps, a slight huff of our breath. I silently pondered what to say – how to say – I’m sorry…….

Or I’m happy for you…..

No words seem right in these situations. Especially when you are talking with someone you love.

I am responsible for this. Wasn’t she following my lead? Didn’t I make this divorced life seem fun and interesting? Hadn’t I given her all my books on self-help? Was it the novel, Eat, Love, and Pray by Elizabeth Gilbert, infecting her need to find herself? Journey off to Italy to banish the demons, meditate with a guru in India, and be whatever it took, to finally find her happiness. But would she? Would she really? Because it would be mighty easy to just be bitter.

To hate men for the rest of her life. She wanted a lover in her future with no strings attached. HER. Mrs. Goody two-shoes of all time. A so-called life of fling with someone who wouldn’t commit, couldn’t commit, nor love her. Is that what she thought she deserved? To be smacked with inconsideration, and heartlessness. This was her freedom?

She was certain this is what she wanted. “I’m not getting married again – ever” her speech stabbed the air sharply and just as quickly lost its punch.

“It’s too painful.”

Like knocking back a shot of suffering, she went on with a little too much cheer. She explained the joys of a single apartment. The endless trips to IKEA. The privacy. She would live right next to the hospital she worked at. The security guards she knew could keep an eye on her, and tell her which apartments had the lowest crime. She couldn’t WAIT. But still….it was so different. She had always been caretaker, and home keeper. She was brilliant at it. Entertaining, nourishing children, tables over flowing with guests, country crafts being made, and calendars full of nonstop events. To go from Susie Homemaker to the spinster aunt? It just didn’t seem right.

My heart broke for her decision. Not because I didn’t want her to not marry again, but because even though I was fresh from divorce, I didn’t feel hate towards marriage. I knew it could be a glorious thing with people who jointly wanted to work at it. That sought God above all else – without selfishness, without blame, or worthlessness. That chose to sacrifice for a love that fills every hole. But she was tender. A fresh shoot, so fragile and she needed me to listen and to understand her angst.

I felt it was my fault. She admired my strength and felt weak in that towering shadow. But no, it wasn’t me. It was her life. Her choice. All I could do was support her through what she was going through. Be there with her, through every stinging barb, and every cry. Eventually the darkness would fade away. Eventually the pathway would brighten. Eventually the wounds would heal and there, on the other side, we would meet. In the bright light of sweet peace with arms wide open to welcome her new life.

My dear sister….you glow today and I haven’t even seen you yet. I am standing in that ring of light – so happy for you. I knew you would find your way to your true heart path. I knew, you’d be here as hard as it was. Today, you marry your best friend and soul mate. Today, a man opens his heart to you after being scared and widowed for long, long time. Today, you become step mom to young Leighann and beautiful Chelsea; a critically ill special needs child that only someone like you would accept and love as your own. Today, we celebrate the light in you both, that found its way from the gloom of despair and devastation – from loss and divorce – to the wonders of amazing love. Today, we celebrate………………………again!

“Success in marriage is much more than finding the right person; it is a matter of being the right person”

-Anonymous

Congratulations Roger and Deedy. June 12th, 2010. Stay tuned for photographs through the tears. You might even recognize the flower girls.

Our Participation: The Levity Project

First let me explain where this idea comes from. It comes from Katie of THE LEVITY PROJECT.

Here is what her post said,

On November 7th, at 12:00 CT, will you laugh in a public place with us? Grab a friend, your iPOD, a good book and sit somewhere in a public place and laugh for 5 minutes. Just start by saying “Ha Ha Ha” or humming ha ha ha to yourself. Then keep getting louder and louder. I like to envision a bubble of laughter in my belly and chuckle quietly as I imagine it rising up in me through my chest, throat and out through my mouth. By the time it escapes my mouth, I let out a big laugh in celebration. Do this for 5 minutes (it will feel like a workout!).

That is all I am asking you to do. Go somewhere in public and laugh. And then, watch what happens around you. Sure, there will be the people that look at you oddly and like you may have a problem. But there will also be the people that look you in the eyes and start to smile. And even the few that start to laugh with you. After 5 minutes, notice how you feel. Do you feel a little lighter? Do you feel a like the outlook for the day is brighter? Enjoy making the ripple effect in the world around you.

Katie- The Levity Project

I thought this was a great idea and decided to take part. The more laughter the better. I recruited my daughter Sydney to laugh with me, trust me, she has the BEST laugh. Since this was decided last minute, my other recruits did not have the ability to join us. I’m sure they will want to have some WICKED fun with us next time.

I decided to go to The Parks Mall in Arlington. It’s probably the most crowded place I know. Jason opted to film the event. Thank goodness too! His height and steady hand was spectacular!

I have to admit, you feel a bit like a mad hatter, walking around laughing your head off. But it’s also very freeing. Just let go, laugh, and have a ball.

Without further ado, here is how it turned out.

Angelia: I think it turned out great! We had a lot of funny looks but some people smiled and waved.

Sydney: It was great seeing their faces. They couldn’t figure out what we were doing.

Angelia: I think my favorite part was knowing I was participating in an event going on in other parts of United States. We were all spreading laughter together.

Sydney: My favorite part was Santa waving and pointing – I mean smiling.

Angelia: I will definitely do it again. Maybe wear a smiley face shirt, hold a sign, or wear a silly hat. It was great fun!

Sydney: I’ll do it again, just to see everyone’s surprise. I wonder what we will come up with next, and if the cops will shut us down again. HA!

 

Carry laughter with you wherever you go. ~Hugh Sidey

Taking hold: Overcoming-my divorce(es)

OK. Time to dig down deep and pull up all the thick black crud buried deep down in the pit of my gut. Scrape away the residue and explain to you —my deepest darkest crime.

Not only being divorced ONCE. But to reprehensibly do it TWICE.

The shame is profound.

I have beat myself up over them, so many times, I have permanent bruises. I have HUGE indentations on my heart, that, one would call scars. No, I don’t think I will EVER forget the pain those created, nor will the pain of those divorces, ever truly be abolished. They will always remain intricately woven into my very being forever.

Have a I learned to live with them? Yes. Will I ever marry again? Yes. Have a I grown and learned from them? Yes. Would I be who I am today without them? No.

My divorces, explain who I am and why. They represent, an unchangeable, growth I had to endure.

First off, my life of divorce did not begin with my own divorce. It began with my mother’s divorce, before I was even born. My brother and sister have a different Dad. Then, my mom married my Dad, and my brother and I were born. Finally, she married my step dad when I was about 5yrs old. I was BORN into divorce. My life was swallowed up by it and produced from it.

My first marriage, I was very young. I met my first husband when I was 18, married him at 21, and had a baby daughter at 22. We were young and immature and barely starting our own lives. So, when things didn’t go EXACTLY as I wanted it, when my marriage faced many trials, and losses, I fled. I just checked out. It was easier to run than to work through the problems. What did it matter? I was a child of divorce and I survived. My child would survive. My life would survive.

The breakdown happened when I began conversing with a client. He was young, cute, and cool; something different, something new. I had a big crush. Rather than let it be that, a crush, and  just fun. I entertained the idea of a “relationship”. And that my friends,  knocked my marriage off the proverbial rails. Once the idea was entertained, I couldn’t keep my mind from it. And it was ALL I thought about. I pulled away from my husband and father of my child. I spent as much time away from him as I could. Hanging out with my crush and my single girlfriends. Frequently, we met out for drinks at pool bars or clubs in Deep Ellum. It gave me a distraction from the LOSSES I faced in my marriage.

The loss of life from losing pregnancy after pregnancy. The loss of a motherhood, that a husband, an emotionally challenged man, could not understand.  An unwillingness to work through it,  but rather just move on to someone else. I was 28yrs old. I’d like to say I really didn’t understand what I was doing, but rather, just imitated what I knew from my life experience. I’d LIKE to say that, but truth is, at any age, we know we can do better.

GRANTED, it was not ALL my fault. Yes, he was distant at times. He had stopped visiting my family with me. We had stopped doing things together. He was mesmerized by ESPN sports center which came on TWICE a night. He would take jobs out of town and be gone for a MONTH. I was taking care of a baby all by myself. I wasn’t happy. I was lonely. WHY, if I’m doing it all anyway, should I even bother? So I didn’t.

My marriage slipped through my fingers. The immediate bitterness and pain was enormous. What made it worse, I didn’t even want to TRY counseling. He was upset (understandably). I was defiant. I told myself I was doing him a favor. That he deserved someone that truly *loved* him. Man– what a crock. I destroyed a perfectly good marriage that could EASILY have been fixed. I ripped a baby’s father out of her life, and his, because I didn’t want to *work it out*. Instead, I chose to have fun with my new guy and my fun single friends.

Fun I had all right, barhopping, and carrying on when I didn’t have my daughter. I went to New Orleans with my crush. We hung out, drank, danced and clubbed. It was awesome. I was with who I wanted and it was a dream come true. In the long run? It was so NOT worth it.

He never committed. He couldn’t commit. Not to me anyway. I was great. I was a challenge. I wasn’t anything *serious*. How could I be? Didn’t I cheat on my marriage with him? Didn’t that make me untrustworthy from the get go?

He moved to Boise, Idaho the next year. I saw him one other time when I drove ALL the way to San Antonio while he was there on business. I keep in touch long enough to know he did eventually marry. I think he has two kids now. Point is, he never had my best interests at heart. If he did, he would have not pursued me either, out of respect for my marriage. Period.

In the meantime, I partied and partied and partied and partied and partied –it’s no wonder I didn’t die driving drunk thank you God– and partied and partied until, I met my 2nd husband in a bar Feb. 9 ,2001. I was 30yrs old.

He pretty much took possession of me right away. I was too nice to realize it. I was waaay too nice to catch all the red flags. He pretty much moved in right away. *why did I let him around my child? wasn’t he a stranger?* Needless to say, my judgment was on ice in a cooler of beer, and certainly not in my head. He told me the day after I met him, that he just got out of prison, not jail, PRISON. I thought he deserved a clean slate.

We had unbelievable chemistry. He spent every moment with me. His control was showering with me affection, and playing on my sympathies. He told me about his rough childhood. I felt bad for him. I just wanted to hold him and make his life better. I wanted to fix him. *I just knew I could*  He told me I was beautiful every single day.

We married one year later on our anniversary meet date, Feb. 9, 2002.  I felt out of this world, most of the time, until he had a bad day, which happened more and more because honestly? Bad luck followed him around. His attitude attracted many adversities.  I became distanced from my family. He wasn’t all that wonderful to them. He began to rage. We started using “recreational drugs” on the weekends. For him, I know it was to numb his pain inside. It didn’t work, he raged more.

But on rare days, when all was right in his world, that wonderfulness consumed me, and I lived for those days; those moments. I had to answer for everything. The wrong answer I was punished. This made me very careful about what I did and said. I never wanted him to preceive me as having a roving eye. I did not want to look or entertain ANY kind of other man idea. I learned that lesson already. But it didn’t matter, I was always under the microscope. One wrong move or decision that wasn’t up to his standard and he went OFF.

Life for me was a roller coaster. Constantly. I did everything I could to keep the peace. I kowtowed. I pleaded. I prayed for relief. I basically did everything I should have done in the first marriage but nothing worked. He was just adverse to being happy, helpless to help himself, and paranoid as all get out. Not to mention, so many other things that I just couldn’t FIX.

The drugs really affected our emotions. He could, after a few days on speed, go completely out of his mind. I was accused of cheating, taking trips with clients, bugging the house, and recording everything he said. He insisted I had two hard drives on my computer and would switch between the two while he walked up to hide my online “chats” with who knows who.

He broke that computer too many times to count, presumably, trying to find the hidden hard drive that didn’t exist. I was working from home.  I was so lucky I didn’t lose my job, which was the only means we had to live on. He was usually out of work or making very little money. Sleeping on the couch most of the day,  waking up long enough to turn the TV on loud, while I was talking to clients. I burned inside with the shame of it. The utter disrespect.

However, I didn’t want to be divorced again. I was determined NOT to repeat my first mistake. But I won’t lie, it was HELL.

One time, during an accusation, he knocked over a coffee table in front me, almost sending a splinter of wood through my eye. Another time, he was so angry he drove, recklessly, down a busy street screaming at me while I held my breath and waited for the crash that would probably kill me and leave my child motherless. It was the scariest and most hurtful time of my life. It was the DARKEST time of my life.

There were a few rays of light, that, were his good days. They were few and far between. He became more and more tortured inside. He constantly cycled; from begging me not leave him, to pushing me away, to being paranoid of his closure, to promising the world. I was dying. From the inside out. I thought I was crazy.

Crazy to live this way. Crazy NOT to leave. This new life affected my child too. My daughter turned ADHD. I would learn, later, that is a symptom of anxiety in children that go through a life change, like marriage, and moving to the other side of town. I thank GOD her Dad was there for her. He moved close to us. It saved her I just know it. She had some normalcy.

I did try to leave him. After a fierce blow up, I packed my car and my dog and I left. My daughter moved to her Dad’s. I actually moved in with my first husband’s mother and brother. That’s right, I moved in with my ex-mother-in-law. I was so grateful for her. She took me, and my black lab, Salem into her small house. I had no place else to go.

My second husbands mom had given us her house for our wedding present. She decided to sell it the day I left. She had never really given this house to us after all. At that point, in 2004, I knew my life was completely changed. I went from having my own place, all my bills paid off, money saved to marrying him and losing it all. As with anyone whose life is upside down,  I sought GOD and guidance.

I found it in The Bible and The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. I found it in my Uncle Bub, we had long talks nightly. His wife, of over twenty years, had left him. It careened his life a different direction. He didn’t take care for himself and lost his left leg and most of his right toes, to diabetes. He was in wheelchair for life. What happened to him, made me think twice about leaving my husband. I could see his pain and his heartache. It tore me up.

I, finally, talked to my second husband again after a month. I still loved him. He swore he would be better, change, get counseling, etc. I believed him (again). The Bible said to honor your husband, to love him, and to to not get a divorce. I truly thought I was doing the right thing. I thought it didn’t matter that he didn’t believe in God. I would do the “biblical” thing and abide by what The Bible said. I would submit to my husband and stand by his side til death.

For two more years, things did not change. The cycle continued, worse now, because he barely slept. He raged MORE. He began doing badly at work. I suspected he was doing drugs again but could never prove it. Maybe he was just bi-polar, a disorder I knew nothing about. By this time, we had a bought a house (my dream home). I was deeply in debt. For the first time in our marriage, I REQUIRED him to contribute to our living.

He never paid a thing before, but I could not pay a house payment, two car payments, all the utilities,  and raise a daughter. I needed him to financially survive, but he continued to bring home about $200.00 a week, which only paid for his GAS and food. He continued to do badly at work. It was financially devastating, the hardest time of my life. I loved my house and didn’t want to lose it. I didn’t want to move my daughter (again). I wanted him to get counseling, to get help, to find God even, to banish the demons that tormented him and made him sick. We tried a therapist. He made fun of him and disregarded him as a quack. We visited a Church. He squirmed in his seat, awkward, uncomfortable and never went back again.

Finally, I hit my breaking point. I came home on Monday night after volunteering, at Cook Childrens, in the NICU; my God place. I had my Cooks shirt on and my volunteer badge as I entered the kitchen. He looked me up and down, then hatefully barked, “What’s that red mark on your neck?” I answered warily,  “I don’t know”. I was exhausted from his constant dictate. Honestly? I have reddish skin. I scratch and get a mark but the way he looked at me, was like I did something BAD. It FLOORED me. My nephew DIED in that unit. Did he really think I would use it as an alibi? A cover story, while I went off and had an affair. SERIOUSLY? Do people really do that? And if so, HOW? The malice in his eyes struck me to the deepest part of who I was.

I was done.

It took me months to get out. I had no where to go and no money. I had no nearby relatives to stay with. I prayed and prayed and prayed. My heart wrenched over leaving my home; the one I paid every house payment on. In the end, it wasn’t worth the pain and the misery to be there. Each day, answers to my prayers were revealed in solutions, doorways , paths, directions, LIGHTS, oh the glorious, lights of hope and strength and a future BRIGHT not dark.

The day I moved, seventeen, dear friends showed up with trucks and trailers to move me, and my daughter, out of a four bedroom house in two hours. Praise God. It would not have been possible without their help. The most amazing thing was, I didn’t have friends married to him. He had alienated me, from them all, the last six years.

Strangest of all, it snowed in Texas that April. It wasn’t even a normal Texas snow, barely visible, with a flake here or there. It was actual SNOW. I can still see it, like a dream, floating down; sometimes slow, sometimes fast. HUGE white flakes of fluff, rarely EVER seen, particularly in April. It was astounding. To me, it was a sign from God. He was saying “it’s what I want for you”. He was saying –my struggles were over. The Angels were shaking their wings, as an ending turned to a beginning.

Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you, ” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give hope and a future.”

Truly, my life renewed on that snowy day in April. I was healed of the verbal, and mental abuse –suffered six long years. I was cleansed of my guilt, co-dependency, and my undeserving nature. I was given in it’s place, goodness, gladness, heartfelt JOY, and LOVE. Oh the wonderful LOVE I found. Love from a savior that WILL pick you up at your lowest point and give you NEW life. A savior that is always there, whether you believe in him or not. A savior that doesn’t just give you any life, but a life he CHOSE for you. One of peace and worthiness in his amazing grace. I found in myself, a life deserving and forgiven.

I now understand why abused women stay with their abusers. I now understand how hard it is to fight drug addiction. I now understand so many things, God wanted me to know. Needed me to know.

It’s been over two years since that last April. Today, my heart is full. My soul is at peace. I am truly blessed with ALL that life has to offer. I lost two marriages, but gained two lives, myself and my daughters. We are free. We are saved.

1 Timothy 6:19
Take hold of the life that is truly life.

May you always know true love………………………and true life.
God doesn’t want you to hurt.

If you are in an abusive marriage, seek help. If you are not abused, maybe just not happy in your marriage, know that it can change. Ask God into it. Let him perform the miracle of healing and restoring. Anything is possible, but not if you give up.

Believe and take hold.