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It’s been 560 days since I left my ex husband and changed my world.  In that time I’ve grown and become different in so many ways and I think most all of them are good…

I’ve learned how to “mow” the lawn with my weed wacker, lol!  I never had to do yard work before and I’m still not quite sure this qualifies but there it is.  I move the sprinkler around my little patch of trailer park lawn and swing the weed wacker around  – I can count that as exercise too, right?

I’ve lived within my means and yet been able to spend money on myself.  At first it was very difficult – two months after I left him I spent $120 on four new bras.  For our entire married life I had only been able to purchase one or two bras at a time and it felt scandalous, extravagant, vain and almost sinful to spend that much money on a basic necessity for myself.  (And they were practical, not even pretty!)  I did get over it and have been enjoying finding clothes, outer and under, that are both comfortable and good for the level of professionalism required at my job.  (I work at a classier salon than most Asian nail shops I’ve ever been in, I wear clothes there that I would have previously worn to church on Sunday mornings!)

Speaking of church, I stopped going to church right about a year ago.  Yes, this is one of the not-so-good things and really needs to be the subject of it’s own blog post.  I have reasons, I promise, and I fully intend to attend church faithfully with my father and step-mother when I move up there with them but for now I’m not attending church anywhere.

I’ve come to realize that money spent on fun is not wasted and as long as I am staying within my budget it is not wrong to buy myself things I enjoy, try new foods that I may or may not like and do activities that will do little more than make good memories.

I’ve also been able to spend money on others and I enjoy that very much.  I’ve been able to bless others with gifts, meals, clothing, rides, a vehicle and even a place to sleep.

I’ve gone places and seen people!  I used to do a lot of road trips, I would pack up my girls and we would go places to see people and experience things, for some reason our adventures quit happening about 8 years ago, I’m not sure why.  But in these last 560 days I’ve taken 7 road trips and 1 trip by airplane!  I’ve seen my dad, brothers and best friend more since I left my ex-husband than I had in years and I also got to go to the ocean and Las Vegas – so much fun!  I’d forgotten how much I like to drive and take trips…

I feel safe.  All the time.  My Vietnamese family has played a large part in this because they all take such good care of me and none of the guys are even a little bit romantically interested in me.  Especially, bless his heart, my flirting buddy (who has been the more than occasional subject of my post-divorce junior-high-like infatuation) is a man of such high standards that while he could have easily taken advantage of my damaged heart he has never even come close to crossing that line.  I am as much a genuine part of their family as a chubby white girl could possibly be and thanks to that treatment I am no longer worried that a male touch or look is going to end in a request (or a demand) for sex.  It’s so hard to explain but being adopted by them has been so freeing – and very healing – for me.  God knew what He was doing to put me with them and I am so grateful.

I’m sure there are more ways that I’ve changed and grown but these are the big ones for now.  Sweet dreams!

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My trip to see my brothers was fascinating.  I found out that my father had to have three stents put in the week before Labor Day so I changed the order of things and went to see my father first.  He has aged considerably since I last saw him over a year ago, it scared me.  He seems so frail and, well, old now.  Sitting at the kitchen table, looking at him and hearing about his heart procedure my purpose rang out to me loud and clear and I knew what the next thing I am being called to do is.

I am going to move to Montana to be with him.

I got really excited because for the first time in my life I can just up and move to be nearer to my father and get to know him.  He still lives in the town I grew up in and I have good memories from there. I figured I could move as soon as the middle of January.

My daughter doesn’t want to come with me.

My excitement began to die down.  I’m really enjoying living with my daughter and getting to know her again, and she me, both of us finally free to be ourselves and discovering we like who we are.  Most of my money is tied up in my trailer, my car and her car so I would be arriving in Montana and truly starting over from scratch.  I doubt I would be living with my father and step-mother for more than a month while I find a place so I would wind up living alone again and the only people I know there besides my dad and his wife is my step-sister and while she’s a very nice person she seems to be constantly drunk.  Montana is cold and a completely different world than what I’ve lived in for probably 30 years now.

Maybe I don’t really need to go so soon as January…  Maybe I could wait until next summer when Tina has finished her online high school.

When we got back from the trip I didn’t tell my bosses that I was moving away like I had intended to.  Curiously enough, everything has changed at work.  It started slowly, I just noticed a few things at first but every day in the last week things have only gotten worse at work, not better.  My emotions have been all over the place, ranging from anger to giddy to severely depressed.  And I’m pretty sure I’ve made a great big fool of myself with Hank today when I texted him under the influence of a fever after I went home sick.  Honestly, it feels like one door after another is slamming in my face and I’ve lost my Favor from God to be there, working in this place that has been so wonderful to me in this new stage of my life.

I’m going to contact my doctor tomorrow and see if I need a higher dose of my happy pills.  And then I’m going to pray and wait until the beginning of November to make a decision about moving to Montana.

I made it home safe but exhausted on Thursday and was greeted at the airport by my husband and younger daughter who immediately started talking smack about my younger daughter.  Too tired to argue with them I went to bed and stayed home from work on Friday to rest.

Back to work on Saturday and then church and work on Sunday.  Sunday evening, last night, I finally let my husband have it over his attitude regarding our younger daughter.  For the first time in our entire marriage I did not mince words about how I felt and he sat there and took it, apologizing left and right.  I let him know that I do forgive him but that does not mean the damage he did is magically undone and I am still going to have to work through my feelings and these circumstances and I need some space to do that.

Monday, today, I realized that if I was really going to leave him, that now is the time.  And so I left.  I wrote him a goodbye letter, packed up a couple of suitcases and moved in with my sister.

I feel so strange.  I “know” that he is not going to come and find me and drag me back by my hair but I’ve got major, almost paralyzing anxiety that that’s exactly what he’s going to do.  I am surprised at how deeply it grieves me to wound him by leaving and yet I know that if I stay he will continue to wound me and I’m already suicidal more often than I’m not.  I thought I didn’t care anymore what my family (aside from my sister) or his thought about me leaving him and have found that a little, tiny corner of my heart truly is bothered by the negative view I’m sure they’ll have of me now.  Furthermore, I don’t plan on airing our dirty laundry (except for here, because it’s anonymous) to make him look like the bad guy even though I know that will just cause it to look like it’s all my fault to the casual bystander.  There’s a feeling of great relief to be done with him and quite frankly, to be done with my older daughter as well but that feeling is conflicting with my feelings of guilt for destroying my marriage, except my marriage has been destroyed for a long, long time now (and not by me) and we have never, ever had a healthy relationship because neither of us knew how to communicate when we got married over 20 years ago.

I expect my emotions to be at war with each other for a while.  I really wish I could find some movie magic that worked in real life, just press a fast forward button and wake up a year from tomorrow instead of tomorrow morning.  But each journey begins with a single step and I have started a brand-new journey today.  We’re still going to have to find a way to communicate soon because both our names are on the mortgage and we have two children… and who knows, miracles can happen and maybe we’ll get back together someday.  Someday as in years and years down the road after lots and lots of (productive) counseling.

Getting out of an abusive relationship is always the right thing to do whether it’s at school or work, church or the home.  Believing that our marriage qualified as abusive because I was never physically beat up took a lot of convincing for me.  Believing that I’m worth an abuse-free life has required that I change the way I think of myself and has not been easy at all for me to see myself as having value – to me, much less anyone else.  I know a lot of people will paint me black and say I’m an ice queen but I just want to get away and find some healing for myself…

And so I shall.

She woke up about 11 am.

Her sister hugged her goodbye before she left for work but didn’t say “Goodbye” or “I Love You” and acted like she couldn’t wait for her to leave.

We took her to lunch at her favorite restaurant before going to the airport and my sister joined us.  We all had crab, pleasant conversation and laughter filled the air.  It felt like a normal day.  We had some time to kill so we stopped at a second-hand furniture store before heading to the airport.

On the way there we noticed a fire truck in a hotel parking lot.

At the airport we printed her boarding pass and checked her bag in.  It was painfully obvious that she had no prior experience with air travel and fresh pangs of fear and worry pierced my heart.  She’s so trusting, is she going to be OK?

Her father gave her one last lecture in a desperate, final attempt to get her to change her mind right there in the airport and then handed her $50.  He gave her a hug and didn’t say another word for most of an hour.

One of her friends skittered in just before she had to get in the security line for a final hug.

I gave her a hug and squeezed her tight, told her I loved her and tried not to cry.

She made it through security without being strip searched and turned to give us one final wave before disappearing from sight.

We turned and went back to the car for a silent trip back home that seemed five times longer than usual.  The fire truck had left the hotel parking lot but now it was filled with police officers and the contents of a hotel room were spread on the ground outside of the hotel.

My husband apologized for whatever he did to make her leave.  I mumbled something.  I sat in the chair and watched a movie, trying to think as little as possible.

Her sister called from work on a break and said she was relieved that her sister was gone because now she didn’t have to wonder about whether or not her sister was telling her lies.  My husband did not chastise her for her attitude.

She texted me that she arrived safely on today’s leg of the journey.  Tomorrow she arrives at her final destination to live with her fiance’s family, get married and start a new life.  I called her just to make sure she wasn’t alone and that she was OK.  She said he was with her and everything was fine.  She didn’t sound as excited as she was when she left but maybe she was just tired…

Tomorrow I will talk to her sister and address her attitude and I will also let her know that I know she used to physically abuse her sister and that I am angry with her.  I will tell the high school she will not be graduating this year and clean out her locker.  I don’t know what I will say to my husband, at the moment I want to say as little as possible.

My brave, sweet, trusting girl is gone.  I can only hope and pray that she’s safe.

OK, so maybe it started in August and ran over a bit into October…  Here’s the rundown, and my apologies for not having blogged for so long but I think you’ll understand:

August 27th – I turn 40.  (Not entirely bad news, it’s just a number, right?)

August 30th – Our washer and dryer died.

September 1st – Our hot water heater caught on fire and needed replacing.

September 4th – I lost my job and signed up for unemployment.

September 9th – We are not eligible for food stamps.

September 13th – GOOD NEWS!   I signed up to attend a beauty school’s Nail Technician program with my husband’s somewhat skeptical blessing.  I’m tired of the office life!  I have wanted to be a Nail Technician since I was in my early 20’s but the money and the time to go to beauty school never made it to my house at the same time so to make money I did what I was best at, answering phones and office work… for 20 years…  and now the opportunity of a lifetime, a miracle has come my way!

 September 16th – MORE ABOUT THE SAME GOOD NEWS!  My first day “back to school” and it was soooo weird after over 20 years.  I brought my paper, pen and pencil and I was so excited that my girls made fun of me and I didn’t care a bit!   I should graduate sometime in January of 2014 so it’s roughly four-and-a-half months and almost every day so far has flown by – I go home feeling like I had FUN at school, I really love what I’m learning!

 September 20th – My unemployment claim was denied.  (I am appealing it.)

September 21st – Our oldest daughter turned 18 and we had this HUGE party planned for over 3 months with 10 people invited… guess who spent money, lots and lots of money, that we didn’t have?

September 24th – I lost my phone.

October 2nd – My car died.  Dead.  Seized engine dead.  Over-sized paper-weight dead.  Tacky Red Neck Lawn Art Dead.  Walk to school and be late and then wonder how I’m going to get home dead.  Dead dead.

You know, sometimes so many bad things happen in such a short amount of time that all you can do is sit back and giggle hysterically.  That’s pretty much where I’ve been.  To tell the truth I’m kind of sitting back wondering what else could go wrong and thinking I might want to grab a soda and popcorn to watch the next disaster go down…

But in spite of all that something really good that has happened through all this.  I’m actually  very happy right now, strangely happy right now given all the above circumstances.  I don’t think I need my depression pills any more kind of happy, weird huh?  Somehow, for the first time since I was a child I 100% believe that God is fully in control and everything is going to be OK.  Not Never-Going-To-Have-Another-Problem-For-The-Rest-Of-My-Life-OK but All-My-Needs-Will-Be-Met-And-Taken-Care-Of-OK.  I actually have more peace and trust in God more now than I did when I had my job and was making good money!  Have you ever heard “Blessings” by Laura Story?  I feel like I’m living it…  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CSVqHcdhXQ  I KNOW everything is going to be OK and I haven’t felt that way for a long time.  I guess if this is what it took to get me to this amazing, emotionally stable place then I wish it would have happened earlier!

What my life looks like now:
I’m looking for a job I can do after school and on weekends.
I’m trying to get my Pampered Chef business to make us some money.  (I had two shows last month, whoo hoo!)
I’m wondering how I’m going to make up the two house payments and numerous utility bills that we’re behind on.
I’m driving the car my nearby best friend is selling me on payments.
I found a cheaper phone plan and my entire family has new phone numbers <aggravating> so now I don’t have to find my other phone, lol!
We replaced the washer and dryer with used ones but unfortunately had to buy a new hot water heater.
Starting next week I’ll be ready to give manicures and pedicures to paying customers at school now so hopefully I will start getting tips!

Life is life.  God is God.  God is bigger than Life.  Life is going to be OK.   🙂

It’s official, I am now seeing a Psychiatrist.    They’re very kind and call their facility a “Mental Wellness Center” but still… I’ve entered into the Needs-Seriously-Professional-Help Level of Mental Illness now and I’ll be seeing a Counselor once a week and a Psychiatrist once a month.  Apparently the Psychiatrist will make sure my medications are appropriate for my situation and the Counselor can help me deal with my stress.  I’m telling my boss that my appointments are with a “Stress Management Specialist” and a “Medication Specialist”, ha, ha…

I had an hour and a half appointment with my counselor, a much more thorough session than I’ve had with any of my other counselors and even though it was an evaluation she seemed to pick up on what was important to me and what topics would be good to pursue in future appointments.  The week after that I had an hour appointment with my psychiastrist and she asked me many of the same questions – without looking at the counselor’s notes – so they could see if they both got the same or similar diagnosis after the evaluation.  They did.  While I didn’t recive any “official” diagnosis at the end of my appointment with the psychiastrist she did say that she agreed with the counselor on my being depressed and having General Anxiety Disorder.  The counselor said I am Hyper-Sensitive to Criticism (true) and the psychiatrist thinks I am borderline Bi-Polar II.

I have to say I’m somewhat relieved.  Half the battle is knowing the name of your enemy.

The psychiatrist also said there is no pill to fix my stress (I knew that…) but that the counselor would be teaching me coping techniques to deal with it more effectively.  And speaking of pills my “Medication Specialist” drastically changed my meds.  She upped my anti-depressant, ix-nayed the Xanax completely, and cut my other anti-anxiety in half with an eye towards quitting it completely.  and the psychiatrist is leaving my sleep med the same, which is a real bummer because my regular doctor had cut my sleeping med down from 10 mgs to 5 so I haven’t been sleeping well for most of a month… I was really hoping for a change in sleep meds.

After giving my boss an update from my Specialist visits he has extended my Performance Improvement Plan until the end of August because “of the efforts I am making to ascertain whether or not a reasonable accommodation is necessary” (to do my job because of my health/stress issues) so now I don’t have to worry about whether or not I’ll be fired any second now – at least for another three or four weeks.  Whoo hoo?

Today I’m feeling exhausted but OK, which has been the norm for the last three-ish weeks.  I am doing my job as best I can and I feel like I’m making less mistakes and improving my speed.  We’ll see how August goes and what they say on my evaluation.  My birthday is at the end of August, hopefully I don’t get fired as a birthday present…

The psychiatrist also said “Maybe this isn’t the job for you”.  (I didn’t tell my boss about that part.)  Maybe she’s right but at the moment all I want to do is go home and sleep – not get another job – and sleeping won’t pay the bills.    At any rate, I’ll keep my eyes open.  This job has excellent benefits and great pay but if I’m sacrificing my health then I’d be better off being a greeter at Walmart eh?

  I go back to the counselor tomorrow and once a week for the rest of August and I’ll see the psychiatrist at the beginning of September.  I have to say that after a week of the new med dosing I am feeling better emotionally, although still tired physically, and overall my mental state is much more positive, yay!  Now let’s see if I can stay on top of my work and not make any mistakes until my review at the end of August…

Stephanie is right – I do love my family.  Stephanie, thank you for your note and the gentle rebuke.

Your comment has made me realize that I’m actually still quite mad at him (and I’m not at all offended with you!).  I have read your advice over and over again and I can see that I’ve become very selfish.  I’ve grown tired of waiting, I wanted him to do things for me, my way RIGHT NOW because I deserve it  and am tired of always giving and giving and never getting much out of this relationship.  That, however, is not unconditional love so now I’m finding myself wanting, ha!, demanding what I am no longer willing to give.  Oh the irony…

Now, in spite of having spent the last 7 – 8 years watching the slow, gradual change that God has worked in his life to bring him to the place he is today I had stopped trusting God to complete the work He started in my husband and decided it wasn’t fast enough to suit me anymore because “I deserved better than this”.

Essentially, this most recent bout with discontent can be tracked to one particular disagreement that happened almost two years ago now:  For various reasons I wanted to leave our church and attend a different Charismatic, Christian church.  I didn’t have any particular church in mind, just any other church, preferably closer to home so our girls could get to know other Christian kids that hopefully lived in the neighborhood and could connect at both school and church.

Now my husband is of the stay-where-you’re-at-until-you’re-given-new-directions-by-God-Himself opinion, basically he believes that until God speaks to him in a loud, booming, audible voice “You will start attending church such-and-such  at the beginning of next month”  then we are to stay where we’re at.  My reason for leaving is logic-based, that if we are not continuing to grow as individuals and as a family then just maybe we’ve learned all that we can at this church for now and should go somewhere else where our learning can continue to move forward.

We went back and forth over this for months.  Why did I want to leave, why did he want to stay.  Finally he told me we would go and try other churches just to see what was out there.  He was serving as an usher and they asked for a month’s notice to replace him so he gave his months notice and on our last Sunday we sat in the sanctuary for a really long time after the service ended.  Almost everyone had gone home before he turned to me and said “I can’t do it, we’re not leaving”.  With that statement and decision he broke trust with me.  He had made me a promise that we would go look for other churches and then decided that this church has a higher priority in his life than I do so that promise to me wasn’t worth keeping… and it made me feel like I was insignificant to him and to our family.   When I look at it carefully I see that what’s really happened over the last two years is that I became angry with my husband and I have let that anger build to the point where I was one conversation away from kicking him out of the house about two months ago.  We did manage to reconcile that day and avoided a messy separation but my anger stayed in it’s crock pot, tucked into a quiet corner while it slowly heated up again and all I could see were his faults, magnified.

This is what I need to forgive him for, and I need to ask his forgiveness for my staying angry with him for all this time.h

Once again, Stephanie is right – I need to forgive him and stop judging him so harshly.  He is as God made him, warts and all, and he is trying the best he knows how to love me, warts and all.

The fact that I haven’t had mushy, ooey-gooey or passionate feelings for anyone or anything for a super-long time probably just means that my “feeler” is broke.  I think I buried it along with my heart in self-defense a long time ago and the fact that I’m “missing” having feelings is – hopefully – a positive sign of something deep inside starting to heal.

Oh – and Hiddinsight, I have been referred to a psychiatric counselor who does both counseling and medication management while keeping my primary doctor in the loop so hopefully that will be more helpful to me than my previous counselors have been.

I’m going to wrap it up for now, my pills have kicked in and it will probably be hilarious to read tomorrow what I wrote tonight but the pills don’t seem to change what I think, they just free me to write more than I usually would .

Have a fabulous 4th of July, I plan on spending as much of it as possible in bed getting lots of rest before I have to go back to work on Friday.

Again, comments are always welcome, I’m learning and growing and I’m sure I can’t be the only one out there going through this kind of stuff.

Finally, the day you have all (most likely) been waiting for – I grew up a little bit!

I have come to realize that my search to define myself in the last year has been both beneficial and detrimental to me.  Beneficial because I have learned a lot about who I really am, not who I want to be or think I am but who I really am.  Detrimental because during this whole time I have been so focused on myself and all my own little problems that I haven’t taken the time to really “see” other people and their struggles with their own, every-day lives.  My self-focusing has caused me to miss out on my greatest joy – helping others.

I’m a helper, always have been.  I’m a great listener, a secret-keeper, and I love to help, even to serve.  If I go to a party at your house you’re more likely to find me in your kitchen, helping bring out the food and picking up the extra dishes lying around and bringing them back to the sink.  When I help other people I feel good, I feel so good that I actually get energy from helping others and leave feeling more alive than I did when I walked in.

I’ve missed that feeling.

I’ve missed helping others walk through their problems.

I was born to help people and I’ve missed that part of being me.

When I set my focus on “finding myself” I ignored several parts of “being” myself that I already knew I loved being.

I was wrong to let those go while I was searching for “something more”.

Today I am smarter, bolder, stronger, braver and more willing to speak out against what is wrong.  But I am still compassionate, loving, kind, helpful and caring.  I had thought I couldn’t be both… but I can!

I can be frustrated and upset without worrying that I’m going to lose my salvation.  I can be kind and sweet without being a doormat.  I can understand where my husband is at emotionally and respond to him appropriately without losing my marriage.  I can survive my teen-aged daughters crazy schedules and multiple health issues without going insane. (I am, however, going broke… ugh!)  I can say no to helping people without feeling guilty when I need to step back and take care of myself.

I was created to survive and survive I shall.  Not only will I survive but I will grow and blossom right where I am.  I will not allow life’s circumstances to stop me any longer.

I purchased some little metal puzzle pieces to hang on my key-chain.  They say:  I am Valuable; I am Grateful; and I am Authentic.  They help me to remember who I am.

From now on my relationship with God is first.  Taking care of my family is second. Meeting my own needs and helping others is going to have to be a tie for third.  When I can help you I will and with joy and gladness in my heart.  If I need to rest and take care of myself I will tell you I’m very sorry but can’t help you at that moment.  And life will go on for both of us because survival is just the beginning…

Now I want to learn how to live!

Well… not really.  But Dawn is the name my mother wanted to name me and my dad said no.

I hadn’t thought about that in years – I was so young when my mom told me that I had almost forgotten it completely.  Or more like it slipped through the cracks and landed on the “Miscellaneous Trivia” pile in the back of my brain that I shuffle through from time to time, for example, the other day when I was telling my own children what their names would have been if they were a boy… and the girl’s name I wanted to use but their father told me no with both of them.

What I do remember is I was young enough that when Mom told me she wanted to name me Dawn I thought “Why would you want to give me a boy’s name?”   That was so unlike her, she was very “boys should be boys and do boy things and girls should be little ladies and do girl things” so thinking she wanted to name me “Don” really puzzled me.  It also made me wonder if she had wanted me to be a boy instead of a girl – or maybe I really was a boy but something went wrong…  I’m pretty sure this is proof that I over-think things and always have. <sigh>

It “dawns” on me that this may be one of the few things that Dad said no to that Mom actually obeyed him on… hmm…  Different blog topic there…

At any rate, I started to wonder why Mom picked the name Dawn.

No matter where you try to look it up “Dawn” means “daylight, daybreak and sunrise” pretty much everywhere.  It’s a very literal word, not a lot of hidden meanings or secret messages found there.  For symbolism it represents things like starting over, a new day, hope, end of darkness and 99.9% of the time “dawn” is associated with good things.  Just hearing the word “dawn” usually brings positive feelings, right?  Unless you’re a night owl like me and someone says “We’re leaving at dawn”.  Then I just wanna cry and it’s not because the sunrise is so beautiful…

As her first-born maybe Mom was looking at my birth as the beginning of a new chapter in her life, the start of a different way of living, change, fresh hope, something good finally coming her way…

It would seem that she most likely thought of me as her new beginning, which is both eye-opening and sobering.  I wonder if my not meeting her expectations and failing to be the perfect child led her to withdraw herself from me, making me feel unloved by her and never good enough for most of my life.  Because that’s exactly what I’ve done with my own children.  My poor girls, they probably would have been better off if I had given them up for adoption at birth, God forgive me for being such a selfish mother!

Each time I became pregnant I expected to give birth to someone who would love me unconditionally.  I thought the mother-child bond was automatic because kids love their mothers, right?  I wasn’t being loved unconditionally by my own family so I guess it was rather unreasonable to expect it from my own children.  When I finally acknowledged that my children didn’t love me the way I wanted them to and it seemed that they barely even liked me, well, I just shut down and stopped pursuing a relationship with them entirely until just about a year ago.  Now they’re both in high school and I’m trying to stop being their mother and just be their friend so that we have some sort of teeny-tiny foundational relationship to keep us in touch after they leave home.

Looking back I see that is precisely what my mother did with me.  I shouldn’t be so hard on her, she did try her best.  I never wanted to be like her but look at me now, wow…

I’m afraid it’s too late – I’m afraid that my daughters will graduate, go to college and come home for the obligatory Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners with no phone calls or emails in between.  That’s a horribly depressing thought…

I need a Dawn of my own, a new beginning, a fresh start, a clean slate, light breaking into dark places and making them bright and free.   I am Saved but what I need is a revival, a fresh awakening, a re-filling.  I need dawn to come and break the darkness in my heart.

I think maybe I failed my mother by not being her Dawn.  I wish she were still alive, I think I’m finally brave enough to talk to her about these sorts of things now.

My dawn, my sunrise is here – Jesus is my new beginning.  All I have to do is Trust and Obey, Just Keep Swimming, stop living in the past and accept the gift of still having a future.

Oh Good Lord, save me, I don’t want to be this strong all the time…  actually, make that most of the time… or ever.  <rolling eyes>

I went to Dictionary.com for a definition of the word “Strong” and here’s some  excerpts (from the World Dictionary section):

Not easily broken or injured; having resolute will or morally firm and incorruptible character; intense in quality – not faint or feeble.

There are very few days when I actually feel strong.  Most of the time I wonder if I’ll make it through to the next day but when I look back on my life and what I’ve come through, I AM strong!  I am The Little Engine That Could (I think I can, I think I can…), I am Dory on Finding Nemo (Just keep swimming…), I am Winston Churchill (Nevah give up, nevah surrender!)  I have a strength that lives inside me like a teeny, tiny force field and it pops up just enough to protect the fragile parts of me through the hardest times.  The Bible says “The joy of the Lord is my strength” and while I can’t say I am always joyful, more like I’m rarely joyful, when walking the rocky roads I do know that strength didn’t come from me.  Jumping into Survival Mode when trials come is me, actually Surviving the trial is God.

I think that being strong comes from receiving strength from sources outside of yourself.  At the very least I know I can’t create strength in my own heart or will myself to be strong.  At any rate, strength has come to me recently in a few different ways:
1.  I’ve identified where my husband is at emotionally so now I have a better idea of how to communicate with him and respond back to him.
2.  I’ve been reading a book “Victorious Eschatology” by Harold R. Eberle and Martin Trench and it’s completely changed my view of Christianity and the world around me.
3.  I planned a road trip to Reno with one of my two best friends, whoo hoo!

So about my husband first – there was this big “Whew!” moment when I realized that he wasn’t emotionally all grown up like I had been assuming he was for the  last 20 years.  It’s like the feeling you get when you know you have a physical ailment but the doctors can’t figure it out and when they finally put a name on it – it’s such a relief!  You haven’t been cured and your problem hasn’t improved but now you have the name of your disease and you know how to fight it.  That was the feeling I got after defining his emotional maturity level.  Almost deliriously happy to have a diagnosis – and – I felt like I was Wonder Woman, able to “fight” his immaturity until he was “all grown up”, I can do it, da, da, da, da!  Those feelings of elation lasted… oh, just about a full day and then were immediately followed by “Oh crap, I’m married to a 40-year-old Junior High boy who still giggles (internally) and gets all excited anytime he hears the word ‘boobies'”.

Breathe, girl, just breathe…

The two-month “probation” period is over and things are noticeably better now than they were before but not as much was accomplished as I hoped there would be.  Tonight I will go with him to his counseling appointment – he actually invited me all on his own, that impressed me…  I am stronger now about being myself and not being a door mat than I was before and we are taking it one day at a time.  So far so good.  Only time can tell how this story ends.  (Update – I did go with him and it was very interesting for me.  My husband got a little bit upset because of something I said in the session but it looks like he’s going to think it over and we’ll talk it out later.  Still a big improvement from how it used to be so yay!)

I’m going to skip ahead to the road trip – I am so excited and this is a major infusion of Strength to me!  What started out as a very hurtful exclusion by the choir teacher (I told him at the beginning of the year that I needed to go on all of my younger daughter’s out-of-town field trips for her medical safety because she goes to the ER so often for migraines and he purposefully didn’t leave me a chaperone spot on this particular trip) has turned into a Girls Weekend Extraordinaire!  My best friend from high school is flying down to meet me and then we are going to drive to Reno and have ourselves a good time while (nearly) ignoring the annoying choir teacher.

We will go to my daughter’s performances and be as embarrassing to her as possible because I’ve reached an age where embarrassing my children has become one of my greatest delights in life, ha, ha!  And we will take lots and lots of pictures of her but other than that we will stay as far away from the high school group as we can and have fun on our own but still be a short ways away in case my daughter has to go to the ER while we’re in Reno.

What all is there to do in Reno any?  I could use some feedback on this…  Neither one of us drinks or smokes and I’m sure we’ll throw a quarter or two into the machines but that’s not how we’ll be spending our days.  I’m kind of thinking I’d like to come back with a henna tattoo of a butterfly on the inside of my left wrist to see if I would want a real one in that spot.

I see that Lake Tahoe is a short distance away but what’s really caught my eye is the California coast is only 2 1/2 hours away from Reno, aaauuugh!  Do I dare go that far away from my daughter just to satisfy my own longings to be at the ocean shores when the whole point of me going to Reno is to be there immediately if she has to go to the ER?  Grrr…  No.  That would make me a Bad Mom.  A title I have earned more than once before but right now I will sacrifice my saltwater cravings to be there for her.  Maybe someday she’ll even appreciate it…

At any rate, not this weekend but next weekend I’m going to Reno, yippee!

OK, now on to the book, which is actually the most strengthening thing of all to me, surprisingly enough.  Don’t ask me how to pronounce the second word of the title but it’s basically all about the “end times” and how the two authors are interpreting scriptures as to how the end of this age will come.

I’ve always been taught, my whole life, in all the churches I’ve been to, that life will only get worse until the 2nd Coming.  The earth will be filled with the most abhorrent evils ever thought of before Jesus can come back.  These two authors see, and explain very well, the scriptures quite differently. I think I’m going to need another blog posting to explain it but what it boils down to is that my heart had gradually, over the years, been going down a path of thought where “If everything is just going to get worse before it can get better why fight for justice in our nation?  Why try to get good politicians?  Why protest  our rights being taken away?  Why even try to move society towards more godly ideals? and biggest of all “Is my trying to make the world around me a better place standing in the way of Jesus coming back?  I’d better stop trying to make things better then.”  I was becoming apathetic and had lost my motivation for being a Christian.  Reading this book – everything made sense, being a Christian is still worthwhile, fighting for good leadership is important.  Sharing the Good News is fun and easy again!

I’m out of time but I just wanted to get this published.  Have a great weekend!

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