Category Archives: divorce

Take the Trips

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Not much I disagree with Dave Ramsey about, but I found something big a year ago. Three years ago, I started down the path of becoming debt free. Our family always took trips during the summer and one of the big ways to save money was cut those out. So we did. For two years. We were sad, but we had a goal. Flash forward and we found ourselves fighting to save our marriage.

We had been so busy balancing our budget we forgot to balance our marriage. Neither of us realized those trips rejuvenated our marriage and reconnected us to each other. The two thousand dollar trip was now small compared to splitting up a quarter of a million in assets and attorney fees. We committed to always take the trip and figure out how to save elsewhere or bring in more income.

This weekend we took another get away that on paper does not look all good, but in our hearts was so worth it. We laughed, cried, listened, sang, chair danced, told stories and enjoyed each other. Away from the house and the chores. Away from the kid. Away from our city and friends. Just.us.two.

My favorite part of the night might be eating at 11pm at a restaurant totally picked by me. Now if we fought about money then none of this would be a good idea…I dream of the day of not being a slave to the lender, but when that day comes I want to be celebrating with my first and only husband so some seasons you just need to take the trip.

Perfect on the Outside

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My husband and I are like a professional-make-it-look-perfect couple. We have mastered the art of pictures. We often look happy with our smiles. We serve and greet at church. We host a church group in our home. We make it look good. But like everyone else we struggle behind closed doors. We argue a lot. We hold bitterness and discontent inside. Silent treatment is a thing. We get jealous and resentful. We blame each other and shut down.

We are normal, but always striving to be better.  So do not look on Facebook or Instragram to really know the status of our relationship. Even going out with us will not say it all though you can probably learn more in our body language. We are the masters of disguise and we take it day by day doing what needs to be done to keep the family going.

If you can relate, then know you are not alone. If you read this and think this sounds absurd, then you might be a newlywed or need to share your secret.

July 7th,2016

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I have to go back nine years ago when my husband first entered the police academy for Dallas…July 11th, 2007 to be exact.  After a year of never ending tests, physical challenges and basically a boot camp style mental beat down–he finally got his badge.  Later came his recruit stage where he followed another officer…then two man and finally one man where he could officially patrol alone.  I was so proud of all his hard work and mental toughness, but then came the hard part where I had to be mentally tough.  He started his career working deep nights and has never stopped which meant I had to get use to sleeping alone and being by myself at nights.

I did not start off being very good at it.  In fact I was straight up paranoid.  I would pace the house and look out each window.  Turn the TV up loud so others thought there was talking..would jump at every sound especially when people would ring the doorbell and run (we had a few night of this-terrifying).  I would have my Bible handy at all times, recite scripture and kept the phone glued to me.  I was anxious, afraid and paranoid and had to get over it quickly or get sick from exhaustion.  With lots of prayer, I got used to it and have ended up pretty good about it now.  Many other wives tell me they could never fall asleep alone…but when you have no choice you learn to do it.

One way I learned to do this though came at a cost.  I could not watch the news at night and I could not watch crime shows of any kind either.  I learned that the hard way.  I would have nightmares for days along with hearing noises, so I learned to watch happy shows or keep the TV off.

Jump to this week…July 7th, 2016.  We now have a kid so my nights are not alone anymore which is helpful.  But now instead of worrying for just my safety I have a little one’s to worry about as well.  I always fear the “what if” emergencies, but for the most part we have relaxing evenings at home and do whatever we want.  On this night, I was watching recordings of Million Dollar Listing while my son played with the Talking Tom cat app on my phone.  We were going about our business happily until I took the phone to check for messages which I often do in case my husband texts while at work.  I saw three messages so checked them real quick.  All three were from friends or neighbors asking “Did Nathan have to work tonight?  Is he okay?”

I had no clue what they were talking about and replied with those words of curiosity.  They both seemed shocked and said turn on the news.  One even tried to call and tell me in person, but I hate talking on the phone and avoided it.  I turned to channel 8 and immediately saw what everyone was worried about…Dallas officers were ambushed and under attack.  The city was in chaos and all you could hear and see was panic with officers in position to find a shooter. Now, my husband does not wear a uniform to work so I knew the ones in uniform were not him, but he could be anywhere in Dallas at that moment.  His job requires plain clothes, but basically to do whatever is necessary and whatever is asked.  This job ranges from the very safe to the extremely dangerous so to speculate if he was there or what he was doing was beyond me.  I also had no clue when this all started, but I knew he had not contacted me whatever that meant.  With shaky hands, but trying to be positive and strong I sent him the text “I see the news.  Are you okay?”  In what would be the longest minute of my life, he finally responded.  “Yes…but can’t be on my phone right now.”

Those words were sweet relief followed by lots of questions that could not be answered for hours to come.  I immediately started to let the ones contacting me that I heard from him and he is okay.  I then went through the painful process of watching the TV to see what was going on, but not wanting to watch the TV because I had a son present that hears random things though is still too young to understand (thank God!).  In between that, I kept in touch with worried friends and social media.  Hour after hour the news stories, the death count, the injuries and the events of that night played everywhere.  I kept watching for my husband not knowing where he was at or what he was doing. One officer put in nicely “That would have been awful to be at home not knowing what was happening…at least we knew what was going on.”  Exactly!!   An hour later I texted again…”I know you can’t be near your phone but keep in touch.”  He would later tell me about more shots being fired and being in a car chase, but still okay.  At one point, I did not hear from him in a couple of hours and all I could think is “If he is hurt, would he tell me?”  He does a great job of shielding me from his job especially since he works nights and does not want me to worry.  I began to doubt if I knew the whole story or what parts he would tell me…trying to accept what is happening while keeping your mind on things positive is hard.  I prayed, quoted scripture and just thought happy things.  When I had had enough of the news…we turned it on to Disney.  Disney was our happy place…Sheriff Callie saved us.

A friend would later text that her husband spoke with him and he is good so that gave me peace of mind.  Even though it was well after midnight…I could not sleep.  Could not rest…felt so anxious and stiff with a knot in my stomach.  Nothing made me feel better, but I still had a child to entertain and discipline when he sprayed Windex everywhere and broke a plate.  He was a much needed sweet relief to the range of emotions I was feeling.  Facebook was also a relief kinda…in between random opinions I would get sweet words of encouragement…all of our friends and family were checking on us-that is what is good about social media.  My husband even posted he was good, but unable to respond–that brought lots of sweet comments.  Finally, around 2am he texted he was going back to the station and might be home on time…then and only then I tried to rest.  I eventually fell asleep, but when he came home I went in the kitchen and hugged him before laying my head down to really sleep…we all woke up the next day close to noon after such a long night.  I was thankful my husband came home and I did not receive the dreaded phone call…but my heart ached for the women and families that were not so unfortunate.

Now here is where I get real.  The main thought that kept going through my mind that night was “I did not kiss him goodbye.”  On that dreadful night, we were on night three of a much heated argument.  You see being married to an officer, working opposite work schedules in addition to already having a rocky marriage from past incidences..those that read my blog previously know what I am talking about…all that can weigh down a marriage.  I have no idea how we have lasted 12 years with all the odds stacked against us…I do know how…Jesus and lots of him.  But on this night, we had attended my son’s swim lessons, my husband was the parent in the parent tot class (yes, he did ring around the rosy with the other moms).  Since we were not on speaking terms, at the end of the class I told him “be safe”..funny how you remember those details…then took our son home while he went to work.  The entire night I kept thinking “I did not kiss him goodbye-I have to get another kiss.  He cannot die tonight.”   I am sure some might say “He was not likely going to die”, but I am sure the other wives thought that as well.  A new rule in this house is no matter how mad we get-we kiss goodbye–no matter what!

Flash forward to today, the new challenge each day is walking the fine line between over-talking about it and not talking at all.  I want our home to be his happy place and his normal knowing that he hears enough of it at work.  The tragedy allowed us to talk a lot of things out and cry some much needed tears while recommitting to work harder to meet each other’s needs despite the tough challenge ahead of us.  Him going to days is nowhere in sight and my job as a teacher does not work nights so we must make it work.  I committed to listening more about his daily struggles without freaking out and he committed to opening up more-it is the only way officers can be able to do this job without losing it.  We have watched the news together and kept up with current events including attending a funeral later this week.  It comes down to I am here with whatever you need, but our home is base and it is safe.  Talk as much or as little as needed…just know I am here.

I struggle seeing those officers’ faces knowing it could have been my husband, but by the grace of God was not.  I also struggle to feel safe that if it is not him now..could it be him later?  All those thoughts are real and just, but the truth is none of us know tomorrow so we must live for the moment now.  We must love with full hearts and do what God has predestined us to do while we have the time to do it.  I will never forget July 7th 2016.   I grieve with Dallas and for the DPD.  I am proud to be an officer wife and never more proud to be a Texan.  This was easily the worst night for me being married to an officer, but also one of my proudest nights knowing he was serving and protecting our city despite all the what-ifs and oh nos.

The good news is: “Some people never get to meet their heroes; I married mine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Take the Good with the Bad

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We are on Facebook Fast Day 10 and I think I am slowly getting used to life without it.  I don’t find myself missing it as much since I have not been on it for ten days.  I do catch myself wondering about certain people’s posts about various topics or feelings about world events that I know would have something to say, but I enjoy being separated from the drama.  A coworker will ask me if I saw so and so’s post etc., but I can honestly say no and I have no idea what is going on.  I do feel isolated from current events or from social happenings around the community; the main reason I joined is because a friend was moving to Australia and a different one got engaged and I had no idea because they thought I knew through Facebook.  People don’t call each other to share news or even email…they just post it on Facebook, so I feel I am missing out on that, but you have to take the good with the bad.

I went for my semi-annual Lupus check up today.  It is only on these days that I remember I have a chronic disease that is in constant need of monitoring.  Only on days like today where I see how bad my disease could be that I appreciate the mildness of it all even if it is inconvenient.  For the first time ever, I got a bone density scan to measure if my bones were deteriorating due to the steroids I take daily.  I did surprise the machine guy with my scoliosis.  He thought I was sitting straight at first, but then realized it was my back and calmed down.  Thankfully the test had positive results.  We took my usually two vials of blood to monitor that the levels stayed the same and then did my normal check up.  This time I had a concern because my scalp has developed these lesions that are causing my hair to thin in areas and I am not having that hair loss!  He recommended a visit to the Dermatologist but assured me it was an effect of the disease and the hair will likely grow back.  I can tell that I am in a flare or about to be because of my extreme weight loss.  I am down five pounds, but eating more or as normal.  I like the natural weight loss, but will not tolerate hair loss…I guess you got to take the good with the bad!

Finally, my son is in the Terrible Twos in full swing.  The amount of “mine” “no” “I don’t want to” and pure break downs when things do not go his way are intense.  We call him bipolar Callen because one minute he is on top of the world and the next he is sprawled out on the floor.  We are trying to balance the thought that he is learning these bad behaviors to get our attention with this is just the age and we must push through it.  We are constantly reinforcing him to use his words and express his feelings while punishing using time out when necessary.  The good thing is our caretakers report he does well for them and the meltdowns are non-existent or minimal, but not sure why we get all the good stuff.  Hoping we are not encouraging the bad behaviors without knowing it, but we have no idea are just trying to do our best.  As I am fussing at him for taking out the chicken hammer, spilling the bubbles, putting his sock in the water and carrying the laundry basket into the shower…I thought I was about to reach my breaking point.  In my mind, I was thinking “we are not going to make it out of the twos” and then my mind went back to the mother that lost her 17 month old girl on Thursday and I know she would give anything to have the terrible twos.  I know she would sell all she owned to have one more day of spills, tears, messes and meltdowns.  I appreciate that I am blessed to have these moments with him…the good ones and the bad.

The good news is: Facebook Fast, Lupus and infamous two year old behaviors–I am blessed with the good and the bad.  Humbled tonight in so many ways especially knowing that the sweet parent tonight endured her child’s viewing.  I know God is good and He loves us.  I know God is faithful and His promises are true, but this one has rocked me.  Why give that good and perfect gift to later take it away?  I know she is in a better place, but my heart hurts at the thought.  Her story has rocked me today.  I know she will get up and breathe and take it day by day and hour by hour…I know she will find the strength, but I wish she did not have to.

Facebook Fast Day 4

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Sadly, I have noticed I am switching my time to other things that do not involve Facebook, but are also not any better.  For instance, I posted my first tweet today.  Why?  I don’t know-I just wanted to express a thought and it was there…it was favorited by the way, but that should not matter.  Weirdly, another reason is it is another opportunity to be known..even if it is for your one liners or short thoughts…it is like you are heard.  The reality is who cares what I think or do…Twitter seems so much better for famous people.  Anyway, in all of this the hubs and I got into an argument as he pointed out that it is not about what I am using the phone for it is about the phone is keeping me from spending time with him and the family.

That was a shocker.  I took this whole thing to be about use your time more wisely.  Get up and clean something, read a book, cook a dish, fix an appliance…never thought it was “hang out with me more”.  Seems to me I am on my phone the most when he is not here, so why does he care except he comes home to a dirty house…but tonight he confessed that it was more about it is a distraction from him and our son and he wants it to be more about spending more time together.  Blew my mind…all this time I thought it was more about him disliking a bad habit and wanting to get rid of it because it would make me better.  It changes everything that it is more about spending more time with him.  I am a quality time Love Language girl so more time with my husband is always a good thing…I just always thought that his idea of more time meant I was being put to work because I was in trouble. It never occurred to me that my midday nap was being selfish.  I also never thought it was a bad thing for him to do his thing and me to do mine as long as we come back at night and snuggle.  Never knew that he felt disconnect in all that while I was feeling our marriage is great that we are building up each other’s personal interests.  I see it now…did not see it then. I always thought we spend a lot of time together anyway.  Not sure how this will all work out, but I have 26 more days to figure it out.

The good news is: Keep praying for healing in the marriage.  FB might have been the catalyst for the disagreement, but it addresses several issues that need to be addressed.  Praying to use these days to really search my soul and connect with God’s will for my life and how I can use my gifts to serve Him better and serve my marriage better.

10 Years, Y’all!!

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If you cannot tell, I am off for the week and finally get to catch up on some writing!  The more and more I read Jen Hatmaker, the more I realize being a writer would be my dream job even though teaching is pretty amazing, too!

I digress.  Nathan and I celebrated TEN years on November 6th!  TEN, people!  If you don’t know our story, scroll back into my files because I have shared the details there…but here is the short version.  We married as eager and God fearing whipper snappers (years 1-2), got lost along the way (I take most of the blame), were separated for TWO years–yes lived apart for a year and lived together angrily for a year (years 3-4)- had divorce papers printed and ready to go, God changed my heart then eventually changed his heart (years 4-5), miracles of all miracles we stayed together and years 6-10 have been 100 times better than the first five even though the first five had some great memories too.  I say all that to say the two years of TOUGH times are so worth the remaining (Lord willing) 20 plus that we get to share happily.

During those years 6-10 we endured a medical diagnosis of Lupus, infertility, eventually adopted and are now raising a toddler together.  We say over and over, we needed to have those rough years to make us stronger for our future and now we are in this thing together and rooted in the Lord.  Callen is a blessing from that and reaps the benefits.  God prepared us for the future generation that will carry on our legacy.  I do not regret those rebuilding years because it made our marriage stronger, but I also recognize our story is rare because most couples that endure all that we endured do not survive.  The forgiveness is tough, the waiting is tougher and a divorce would have been way easier (we stayed together because of the dogs) 🙂 .  Amazing though how God can change your heart and put a mercy beyond all understanding.  We now get to share our story with others and be a rock for couples that need to know it does not have to be perfect to be strong.

We celebrated with another half marathon in Vegas and have a few more plans up our sleeve to celebrate the BIG 1-0!!

 

The good news is: WE made it!!  We were so busy that neither one of us received an anniversary card or gift, but we have a toddler that is currently reprimanding the dog “Sit down, Izzy” to show for it.  He is the true benefactor and the reason God needed to knock us down to rebuild us anew.

When God speaks…

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So my heart is still so heavy with all the loss, pain and challenges friends/strangers are experiencing. Some of the situations I know personally and others I read through social media and yet they still have impacted me. Their stories have made me cling closer to God and really cry out to Him on their behalf. I feel so many thoughts and emotions that I don’t know what else to do but write. I feel selfish writing about myself in a time like this, but my experiences are all I have. I also feel compelled to take my challenges and use them as an opportunity to encourage, comfort and help those that may need it like I did when I was going through the fire. The blessing of hardships is you learn from them and then can use that knowledge to comfort others. Today, I wanted to share a few specific times God spoke to me…

1. God spoke to me during a dark time in my college years. Did I listen? No. But he was calling me to stop and turn around. He gave me a way out time and time again, placed people in my life that knew I was getting out of control and even punished me in ways that I should have seen the destruction that was still ahead. Sadly, I pressed on and took a lot of hard falls because of it, but He spoke nonetheless. He tried. Later when I fell flat on my face…he picked me up and showed me grace. Amazing grace. God speaks through people and circumstances.

2. God spoke to me on the toilet during my separation. You may know my husband and I separated for two years. One year we lived a part and one year we just ignored each other or argued. Still don’t know how we are standing here today, but praise Jesus we are and celebrating ten years in November! (Yes, we count the two years that were doomed because we were still married!) I remember I kept trying to fix it. I would send a text, write a letter, make a phone call to him or make a phone call to her or just call a friend to see what they knew. I tried to fix it over and over and over again and it was exhausting. Until one day, I was contemplating my next move while peeing (probably peeing..who knows) and distinctly felt God speak to my heart “Stop!” Stopping to me felt like giving up, so I did not take this message lightly, but he said it again…”Stop!” When He finally got my attention he stirred in my Heart “Do nothing.”
What? The marriage will end…
He responded…if you keep doing what you are doing it will end anyway.
I argued some more before finally letting Him win and stopped trying to fix it and let Him take control. The hardest six months of my life followed in that I did nothing. I tended to our home, tended to my work, tended to my personal growth and the needs of others and just let God be God. We are still married today because in the silence God changed my husband’s heart. During that storm of life (by far the hardest thing I have ever endured and I have Lupus and infertility), God reminded me to keep my eyes on Him during the storm. “Watch me-keep your eyes on me.” I love the quote “God might be doing the most when it appears like He is doing nothing at all.” God speaks to your heart and He speaks in the silence.

3. God spoke to me through a Bible verse about my Lupus. Psalms 103:3. I read it one night before bed and it turned on a light that God is in control of this disease and healing in His hands. This gave me such comfort through infertility as well. God is the great physician. This verse was later in a song at church and it gave me such hope and strength during a tough time of feeling helpless. The song is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sG94EKGDcU another powerful one that goes with this verse https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtwIT8JjddM God speaks through His written word and in church (duh)…the trick is you have to read it and go.

4. God spoke through a song on the radio about the direction for my adoption. I had just visited the reproductive endocronologist (still don’t they I have ever spelled that right) and got the devastating news that pregnancy would not be in my future barring a miracle (which is always possible-but I am content that it may never happen.) I was beat down with that bad news because I had still clung to hope of IUI or IVF and we were willing to do that if he thought it would help. In his words “I could take your money and we could try, but it is not likely.” My OBGYN later said it more harshly, “Getting pregnant with your blood levels like these would be devastating to a baby and would possibly kill you.” She later went on to tell me how high risk my pregnancy would be and how I much monitoring would be needed..blah, blah, blah. I get it…no. While I sat in the parking lot of Schlotzky’s ( I eat for comfort) this song came on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yooJzuW8XDA This song spoke to me that God has a plan for my broken reproductive system and to go where He is leading. We began the adoption process the following week. God speaks through the radio.

5. On the day we were leaving to Houston to adopt our child and I was still so frantic and worried that we would get all the way there and the birthmom would change her mind, my devotional that morning (also on the toilet–hmmm???) was from Max Lucado and it spoke about taking risks. One of the lines in the devotional and it is saved in his baby book if you think I am a lie said “Go adopt the baby.” I ran out to Nathan and showed him the devotional and said “This is it. Let’s go adopt our baby!” It was an affirmation from God (and be mindful I am hit and miss when I open my devotionals and I am not even following the dates correctly. For instance my devotional today said December 22nd…I just read them when I can.) But this one was for me and it was for peace and comfort when I needed it most. It was Him speaking to me-I am with you. God speaks in the bathroom–ha just kidding or maybe–but God speaks through devotionals.

Now, you might have noticed a trend that God speaks to me most in my hardships. Sadly, that is often the only time I am listening. I pray for you and for myself that we listen in the good times too, during times that we don’t feel like we NEED him. (But hey, if a trial brings me closer to God then bring it…not really, I am good.) But, if you ever question if God speaks-he does. Stay near to Him and in His presence and you will hear it. Through a song, a hymn, a verse, a person, a text, a blog post, a peace in your heart. It happens.

The good news is: I don’t want this post to me about me and my problems, but it might offer someone out there encouragement when they need it most. Some day soon, my posts will be more light hearted and fun, but for now, I am grieving, praising and praying for the people that need it most. I pray that you are listening to what God is speaking to you because in all of these situations God has spoken to me. Your trials have drawn me closer to Christ; they are not in vain.