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.

Sunday Healthy Reflection-Struggling to find your voice

It is the path of least resistance that makes rivers and men crooked.

– B.J. Palmer, father of chiropractic

Struggling to find your voice

In the face of conflict we might be tempted to just go with the flow and not make waves. The path of least resistance is saying “yes” when you want to say “no” and that road is always paved with regrets and mistakes. While compromise is good and a necessary part of healthy relationships, no one should have to fully deny their feelings and remain voiceless while others dominate a situation. It might feel easier to nod your head and passively agree, but in the long run you are being cheated. While there might be a whole list of justifications and excuses for stepping off the path of your principles, staying true to yourself reaps countless more rewards than selling out to appease someone else. Reconcile today the negative passivity you have displayed in the past.

Brought to you by Sparkpeople’s Healthy Reflections.

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Staying true to myself. A very difficult thing to do. I am not a selfish person by nature. I want to please everyone. I want to make THEM happy, even at the risk of being unhappy myself. I might give up something I want just to make the situation peaceful, without conflict. And I know….it’s not right. It’s not the best for me. My friend over at The Grown up Child, a blog about children of divorce would say, my nature is to be pleasing, because it is how I coped when my parents divorced. I bent. I agreed. I pleased. I wanted all my parents to be happy. I didn’t want to rock the boat.

In later years, my teens, I would deal with alcoholism from both sets of parents. Whatever boundaries I might have tentatively established were pretty much wiped out during those trails. Welcome to co-dependency. It took until my mid-thirties to really come to terms with me. Discover healing, standing up for myself, being selfish, and truly leading a life that I wanted. One with boundaries and principles. It was very difficult. That wasn’t comfortable for me. And I couldn’t do it completely on my own, my strength wasn’t just mine. I had a lot of help with God next to me, guiding me, and giving me the courage.

I say all that because it is SO easy to knock it all down. One yes. One turning the other cheek. One compromise. One pleasing moment too many. It all trembles. YEARS of work. YEARS of building come to a crashing cliffhanger. The difference between then and now? I understand what is going on. I can plug the hole, move the stone, and stop the tremulous swaying. But it takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of faith. It takes overcoming the FEAR of failing. The FEAR of rejection.

Right now, this reflection speaks to me because I have conceded one too many times in the last few years. Maybe I pursued the wrong choice. Maybe I compromised my convictions. Let things go one too many times. Whatever the case, it has produced negativity and strife in my life, not to mention utter passiveness, which has spilled over – personally – affecting my nature for the worst. I have dishonored my work ethics. I am not reaching my best, nor am I staying true to myself, and the integrity I hold dear. Integrity I worked YEARS to build.

I have also ignored signs of boundary struggles that my daughter is having. She is only fifteen. This is a very important time in her life. I don’t want her to go through the struggles I had. Thankfully, I can talk to her. My experiences can help her understand what she is going through. I didn’t have anyone at her age to help me with that. Of course, I won’t make decisions for her. I will only help her know she has choices and she does not have to say yes when she wants to say no. To anyone. Not even family. Not even me. She has a voice.

And I remember something else too, I have to turn up the volume on my voice. The one that speaks for me. My values. My honor. I will not settle for less. I might not make a lot people happy with what I choose, but I have to stay true to me. True to my family. True to what will give us the greatest life possible. Jason, Sydney, Molly and Bridget are worthy of that. And do you know what that is? A healthy, happy me. Sound selfish? You bet. I only have this time, this moment, these years to make a positive impact on the family I love. I will not be passive. I will not cheat myself for any means. I have justified my situation for far too long and it’s time to change for the better.

So tell me, how do you find your voice when it seems lost in the roar of life? What affirmations do you tell yourself to stand firm in what you believe?

My Wishes for You

I got a card from my mother that I have kept for over four years now. It’s been on my fridge the last three. I read it every so often to remember what those words meant to me at the time. How they still resound meaning after all these years. I guess we all have a card like that.

The card poem came at a time, I really didn’t believe in myself, or in my dreams. I was hopeless and resigned. In fact, nothing I did would have mattered. I was as far down the pit of despair as you could go – trapped with no way out. But this card, it sparked a shining hope in my heart. The words lifted my spirit, and I began to dream and seek.

It stayed tucked in my car visor for a long time. No one knew what it meant to me. Only I could open the glow of a new life and seek it’s warmth, it’s growth, knowing it was more than just a card, but a proclamation of what lay inside me.

As my daughter approaches her sixteenth birth year in May. I’d like to dedicate this poem to her. My daughter, I wish for you to dream. I wish for your soul to soar. May you always be bright with the beauty of the world God has made for you. May you always know the awes of your heart and follow them true.

My Wishes for You
a special poem on your birthday by Emily Matthews.

I wish these things for you –
to be in love with life each day,


To keep your sense of wonder
and ability to play,


To always pay attention
to the dreams within your heart,


And always have
the faith to try
or make
a brand-new start….


I wish for you a world of joy
to share and pass along,


The gift of those
who make you laugh
and keep you going strong,


The knowledge
that there’s meaning
in the things you choose to do,


And the certainty
you’re cared about
for simply being you.

Everything that will make you happy,
everything that will keep you feeling fulfilled and in love with life – that’s what I wish for you on your birthday and always

My card was signed,
We love you and are so very proud of you.
Mom and Carl

The last thing I deserved in the midst of the mess my life was called – was pride. But man how it changed me just knowing it, hearing it, and feeling it. Mom, you may never know what a difference that made to me. You have always been there no matter what, but somehow you knew just what I needed to hear, to get me out of the rut. THANK YOU. I can only pray the gift is passed on, right when she needs it.

Timeless Deeds

Last Christmas, I was not glowing from head to toe from radioactive iodine thyroid testing nor from the sheer glee of getting engaged. In fact, I wasn’t glowing at all….well yet.

See, the sales representative for the travel company I work for decided to take me on a road trip to Austin. We were to meet a new client I would be assigned to. This was great. A whole day off work. A ride three hours to Austin and three hours back. Lots of time to talk and catch up. I have worked with Debbie over 17 years. We have been through a lot together. Grown a lot together. It’s not just a friendship. It is a history.

I soon discovered road tripping with Debbie was not all it was cracked up to be. She liked to stop – a LOT. I am a get there kinda gal (similar to a guy but not quite). So we stop. And we stop. And we stop again. I went inside the store and got a Coke to drink. I figured why not. I need a good caffeine sugar rush. I leave the store right behind Debbie. She goes to the driver side to get in. I am walking towards the passenger side.

I am looking at the ground. I remember thinking to myself the parking lot was flat. There wasn’t a step. Just as I thought that, I felt my foot hit not pavement but air. Unfortunately foot number two was already following close behind. Instantly, I had no footing and down I went. One hand held a Coke so it splayed outward, the other hand – my right – caught the concrete. HARD.

It was not pretty or graceful. It was SPLAT. I fell forward landing on knees and one arm. I ripped a hole in my pants on the right knee. My Coke was broken and spewing. I was really bummed about that. I was pretty stinkin’ poor and didn’t want to dish out another buck for a Coke. I stood right up and shook myself off. Debbie was shocked. The truck passenger next to us, also shocked. But I was okay. I WAS. I was embarrassed to no end, but just fine thankyouverymuch.

The nice lady in the store gives me a free Coke (bless you). Onward we go to Austin, and my wrist begins to swell nice and round. Then it hurts. Debbie stops so I can get ice. Debbie stops to get cookies from a bakery for the client. I can no longer open the car door with my right hand. We stop again at the clients place. I can no longer open car doors, office doors, and now shaking hands is a real booger. Nice to meet you. OUCH.

We head back. Debbie is extremely worried. I am still very much embarrassed. I feel like a dufus. I FELL OFF A CURB. I assure her. At the most it is sprained, please don’t worry. I wasn’t going to. And I didn’t. Back in Dallas, the swelling has not gone down. Now I am bruising down the inside of my arm. A friend comes by and sees it. He thinks I should have it checked out. Debbie is texting me, begging me to get it checked out.

Finally, I decide to go to the doctor just to make sure. I head to the CareNow clinic by Jason’s house. This is when I saw him again after a two month break, what a great excuse to see him. How could he resist? I was maimed. The doctor x-rays my hand after a quick diagnosis of movements. I could not lift my hand up, flexing from the wrist. (FYI-I was still able to text). She comes back into the room with the results of the x-ray.

“Do you think your injury is severe?”

I put down my phone with my right hand, stopping a text to give her full attention. I shrugged, “I think it’s sprained. I fell down. It’s really embarrassing.”

“Ms. Sims, your hand is fractured not just in one place but TWO.”

Oh yikes, suddenly my texting ability is gone (I switch to my left hand). My hand feels funny now. Not a good funny. “Are you serious????”

“Yes, I am. This is a very dangerous break. You have broken a carpel bone that has blood flow in it. If not properly casted in seven days the bone could die. You also have a buckle fracture to your radius bone in your forearm.”

WHAT? She slips a splint on. “You can take this off but don’t use the hand. It’s very important you see an Orthopedic doctor within seven days.”

Holy Moly. This is serious. I friggin’ BROKE my arm. My RIGHT arm. OMG!

Life as I knew it changed dramatically. I will ask you to try (just once) brushing your teeth with your left hand. Opening doors with your left hand. Pulling up, and buttoning pants ONE handed. And I won’t even ask you to try writing because..well, that’s just mean. I went from completely independent and freakishly strong to – a weakling. Not only a weakling, but a weakling incapable of the smallest tasks, a weakling incapable of the smallest tasks AT CHRISTMAS. Ahhhhhh!

And I am not going to kid you. It HURT like nobodys business. It hurt worse than anything should hurt. Not just pain, but an ache, a constant ache that no medicine could cure. I won’t go into the drama of getting it casted but let’s just say, two doctors, and a dozen frantic calls later. I get a cast. A cast that feels like it weighs FIVE pounds. A cast that I did NOT get to pick the color. It was yellow. Not just any yellow but like a highlight marker yellow. This picture does not do it justice.

I mean why not tape a caution sign to my back too. Let’s just announce what a hazard I am. Beep. Beep. Beep. Big yellow bus coming through. I always thought having a cast would be cool. NOT.

Well, I have to give myself credit. I can be pretty ingenious when I want to be. When I am faced wearing a bright yellow cast, I get ingenious. So, I decided to buy some fabric marker pens from Michaels and paint that sucker!

Here is the result.

Beautiful ain’t she? You could hardly see the yellow. I was pretty proud of myself. If I was going to get noticed for a cast, let it be for a purple one. Not a dang yellow banana!

I somehow learned to type (because my job depended it on it) with a casted right arm. I typed FAST. It was pretty incredible. It HURT horribly. My shoulders ached from the offset of the cast, then from having to hoist my arm up all day to type with the four fingers sticking out. At night was the only time I took a pain pill. I had to take baths. It’s really hard to scrub with just one hand. Go ahead, try squeezing soap, with one hand, on a buff or a washcloth. Nope, don’t cheat. ONE HAND. The other is in a cast wrapped in five plastic bags, you don’t even have fingers to use.

The simplest things were a challenge. Like washing my hair one handed. At first, I tried a friend washing my hair in the sink for me, but that did not work at all. Then, I figured out a system, in the kitchen sink, with small dixie cups filled with shampoo and conditioner. It worked quite well I thought.

Eventually, I got bored with purple. I thought..black would be better. Black goes with anything. Another portrait on my arm.

Yeah, uhh, black over purple over yellow. Eh. Not so good. You know what? Nothing I could do about it. I made it another week and colored it again. (well, first we tried to SAND the black off, then color it). I think my cast dang near FELL off from abuse. It didn’t. It ended up green. (yes I know I should have left it purple) In my defense, I was in a cast for SEVEN weeks. SEVEN.

My daughter and her boyfriend, so kindly, put up the Christmas tree. They hung every ornament. Every wreath. Every candy cane. They cleaned every week for me. They carried in groceries. Anything they could do to help me, they did. I can not even tell you what a blessing that was. There is not much worse than a broken arm, and the brokenness you feel as a person. To have two teenagers step up in compassion and care was truly amazing.

Last Christmas was NOT easy, but I will never forget the Timeless Deeds those kids performed.

Merry Christmas, may it be as bright and cheery as my yellow cast.

And just in case you wondered if a cast stopped me from trying anything fun……….I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness,heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made of; the heck with sugar and spice.

-Bethany Hamilton-greatest female surfer of our time.