09 November 2009

The Autumn of Motherhood

Days seem to slip by gradually. Valuable time is given away to menial chores and mindless activity. I would love to enjoy days with my babies again - fingerpainting on the bathtub walls, thrilled at the prospect of baking cookies - the days when I was their world. They looked to me for answers, protection and provision. Once upon a time, I was their hero. That vanished in an instant. Wondering how this happened seems pointless. We can't go back. Time has moved us here and here it is that we exist, together. I try to look beyond the belligerent attitudes, hear past the sarcastic tongues, and rise above the patronizing ways they've already begun to treat me as if I'm an old lady. We'll manage. One day they too may have to watch their babies grow up and become people they hardly recognize and grieve for days past. I will still be there for them, and try to help them understand.

23 October 2009

A Million Miles to See Donald Miller

(Gross exaggeration - it was only about 70 miles - but try saying that title with your mouth full of peanut butter!)
Say what you want about Donald Miller, but people resonate with him. Kendra and I, along with our friend Faith trekked off to Baltimore to hear him speak the other night. I went straight after work and didn't get home till almost midnight - but it was well worth the trip. He has been touring around the country promoting his new book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, and talking to people about this newfound passion - The Mentoring Project. He is also serving on President Obama's Task Force on Fatherhood and Healthy Families, where I know he will make a tremendous difference. (Here's his tour schedule.)
The gathering the other night was in this beautifully subdued Presbyterian church. I typically don't attend church buildings of that stature - but found I was taken in with this simple elegance. The surroundings seemed fitting. The conversation opened with Susan Issacs who shared with a lot of energy and humor about a time when she was angry with God. It was pretty engaging. Donald Miller followed. Although I have seen pictures of him, including one very overly large one that was hanging outside the church just in case we were tempted to miss it, I was taken in by how he spoke with the same casual conversational style with which he writes.
I was also pretty excited to meet up with my online friend Wendy, also a writer. She is the one that told me about the book and book tour, knowing that I too was a Donald Miller fan. I devoured the new book within days of receiving it - a major accomplishment for me in this phase of life where I have so little time and such inability to concentrate. His talk put breath and humanity to his words. It was inspiring on many levels. As a writer, I was inspired to write a good story, and as a human being I was inspired to live one. He talks about all of the elements of story and relates that to the narrative aspect of the Bible. He talked about how no good story is without conflict, and how we can make choices to enter a story that can have an impact on the world. He talked about the things that may be said of us as "those Christians" as we engage our faith in the world around us for the better. Hearing this out loud made me stop being ashamed of calling myself a Christian. It had beauty and depth and meaning. I wondered for a long time on the way home how I had let that be stolen from me as a follower of Christ.
After the talk, there was a meet and greet time to have your books signed. All the hand-shaking and touching compelled me to approach the table with my hand sanitizer gel at the ready for our host, but I restrained the urge lest I look like a freaky germ-o-phobe. Kendra had my book to sign and was ecstatic at getting to meet her "favorite author". I stood behind them. I didn't say a word. I didn't shake a hand. I was in that writer's space in my head and found that I was content to stand behind them and take in the moment.
When we left I was overwhelmed with thankfulness.

09 October 2009

An Update

I haven't blogged in so long that I don't know where to start. I miss my blog and the discipline of daily writing, but it got a little weird for a while. I am such an open person that it was hard for me not to emote all over the place. I see value in the ability to be open and real for the sake of others who may stumble upon my writing and find that they aren't crazy - that this is how it feels to let your heart break, to move forward into the unknown - but I needed to take a break.
The truth of my situation as I see it now is that everything I feared would happen has indeed happened. All of the worst possible scenarios played out. I have had to leave the kids for longer periods of time that I ever wanted, expect more of them that I ever hoped to, and have faced some of the hardest truths about myself and my life. I would love to say that it's all come up roses, but it's still hard.
The most recent stress of our situation is my landlord that said I could live in the house for a year has decided t put it on the market after only 7 months. It may take 5 more months to sell it, but nonetheless it looks like we'll be moving again. I am ready to move on. This shared house thing is really for the birds. I do not like moving, but see this as a stepping stone to a better life.
There are some huge bright spots. I have a job I love helping homeschool families in need. It has been amazing and a great "reality check" to remind me that lots of people are in very difficult situations, many severely worse than my own. I have friends that love me - we hang out and play cards, watch movies, hike the Appalachian Trail and all sorts of things. They bring me groceries, listen to me whine and pray for me. I am truly blessed in this. Truly.
This weekend I am going with four women from my family to New York City for the weekend!!! I am so excited. I have always wanted to go. I have felt a little guilt over going and not taking the kids but I know I really need the break. I love my kids - they are excited for me. How cool is that? I'm hoping to bring back a more sane, relaxed mom for them.
Hope all of my friends out there in bloggy-land are doing well. I haven't read blogs in years. I hope to resume that part of my life one day in the very near future.

19 July 2009

Life in a Different Frame

There have been a lot of adjustments for my family over the last few months. I am learning to feel safe in my own skin, with my own thoughts - and also evaluate the portion of the things that went wrong in my marriage that were mine. Nobody should ever be bullied, but sometimes when people grow up in sick childhoods, they seek that which is familiar - even participate in creating the toxic environment. I am working on the part of the problem that was solely mine.
I am learning that it is alright to love someone that you might not be able to live with, however permanent or temporary that may be. The question has come up more than once recently whether or not I'm single - and I answer emphatically no. I really don't know what I am, but for now I am content to just take life day by day and embrace the healing that has been extended to me. Every healthy thought, every sane action and reaction is a gift from God.
The landlords where I have been renting have decided to put their house on the market which means the kids and I will be moving again. Everyone talks about how the house won't sell -but I am the one left carrying the fear that my children and I will be given a 30 day notice and have nowhere to go. It was a good opportunity for me to practice clarifying boundaries, when a realtor was brought through my living quarters without forewarning.
My children have been learning autonomy in many areas. I was amazed this week when Kendra made "the best" peach pie I have ever tasted with no instruction whatsoever other than a note left on the table that said "MAKE PEACH PIE". I didn't expect she would actually do it. She also started a new job that she really wanted last week. Kaitlyn has been working part-time all summer at a local day care and arranging her own transportation, has an interview this coming week for an internship at the museum in the local library so she can get her feet wet, and is generally my right arm. Kullen was my hero last night when I heard a mouse in the kitchen. I have no idea how to set a mousetrap. He spent a few minutes researching it on YouTube, and had us all set up. Sometimes I wonder if the kids will look back on this time in life as one of the best or one of the most difficult. It seems that there isn't always a big difference in the two. Often the trials are the times when we're forced to dig in, and the best of us shows up. It seems that this is giving them the opportunity to shine. We all need each other and we are learning how to share our strengths and forgive each other our weaknesses.
I'm learning to love life in a different frame, I just needed time for my eyes to adjust.

09 July 2009

Michael Jackson Remembered

Like much of the world around me, I have been thinking about Michael Jackson. I remember the time he set his hair on fire during the filming of a Pepsi ad. I also remember the tight kinky perm my cousin Shawna got that we called the "Michael Jackson hair".
It is interesting as I think over the different aspects of how his music impacted my life - as someone else said he was sort of the "fabric of our lives", singing in the background at our school dances, entertaining us on MTV, his life ever being consumed for our amusement. and it makes me so sad. To hear people recount how he would be giddy with excitement when he could be disguised well enough to walk down the street like a normal person. I know a lot of people think that being rich was enough of a reward to compensate for all he gave up as a celebrity, but I disagree. Other than his family, did he ever know that anyone truly loved him without ulterior motives? I think that this drove his interest in children and eventually becoming a father.
I've heard people say he was a "freak" and a "pervert". If he was, then I suggest that he was one of our making. Was he ever given a chance to be normal? Did he ever get to live any semblance of a regular life? If he were not a celebrity, would he be gone today? I think he was here and is gone because we used him up.

Maya Angelou's summed it up beautifully in her tribute "We Had Him"

Beloveds, now we know that we know nothing, now that our bright and shining star can slip away from our fingertips like a puff of summer wind.

Without notice, our dear love can escape our doting embrace. Sing our songs among the stars and walk our dances across the face of the moon.

In the instant that Michael is gone, we know nothing. No clocks can tell time. No oceans can rush our tides with the abrupt absence of our treasure.

Though we are many, each of us is achingly alone, piercingly alone.

Only when we confess our confusion can we remember that he was a gift to us and we did have him.

He came to us from the creator, trailing creativity in abundance.

Despite the anguish, his life was sheathed in mother love, family love, and survived and did more than that.

He thrived with passion and compassion, humor and style. We had him whether we know who he was or did not know, he was ours and we were his.

We had him, beautiful, delighting our eyes.

His hat, aslant over his brow, and took a pose on his toes for all of us.

And we laughed and stomped our feet for him.

We were enchanted with his passion because he held nothing. He gave us all he had been given.

Today in Tokyo, beneath the Eiffel Tower, in Ghana's Black Star Square.

In Johannesburg and Pittsburgh, in Birmingham, Alabama, and Birmingham, England

We are missing Michael.

But we do know we had him, and we are the world.

08 July 2009

No Time to Blog

Life is moving at a breakneck pace. I literally didn't have one minute to relax yesterday. From the moment I left work it was go, go, go. Once I got home at 11 pm I had to make my "healthy" lunch. Real food, good food requires so much more prep time, but it is worth it. I had started to wake every morning with a blood-sugar crash that felt much like a hangover and in just a couple of days with the simple diet change of removing white sugar and white flour from my diet, I already feel sooooo much better.
I have decided that working moms are my heroes. Having been a "stay at home mom" for many, many years, I KNOW that all moms are working moms. However, there is a great juggling act that goes on for moms that work full-time outside the home, one that I am only beginning to understand. Every day I am proud of myself for all that I do - the sense of accomplishment and the spirit of doing whatever is necessary - and simultaneously I feel guilt for all that I cannot do and the abbreviated amount of time that I spend with my kids. But day by day we are making it, one day at a time.

04 July 2009

One is the Loneliest Number

Some days I feel it more than others. It is so hard to measure, or know what brings it on, but I miss him. You don't spend 20 years with someone without some indelible impression being made on your psyche like a footprint that says "I was here". Every minute was not the toxic mixture our union had become toward the end.
Suddenly I feel more alone than ever. Even when I'm in the company of friends, that sense of being significant, the half of the whole that being pulled apart leaves the other diminished. Two are left where one used to be, both with broken hearts.
The anger of all that was stolen has carried me, but now it seems be giving way to grief. The joy of being "home" also lifted me above the heaviness for a time, but real life has to resume. All holidays present opportunities for grief to surface, even Independence Day. Family gatherings, cook-outs, barbecues - just sitting on the outer rim uninvited. And yet being invited is equally as painful. Seeing so many people - even the friends who you know have had similar marital struggles as your own - all basking in the contentment of their relationships is a gnawing feeling in the hollow pit of your stomach.
Tonight the kids want me to take them to see fireworks so they can meet up with a group of their friends. We might do that. We were also invited to a church picnic that today I just can't bring myself to do. Sometimes it is less lonely alone.
I'm wishing for an ordinary Saturday.

03 July 2009

The Question Without an Answer

WHY? What about me didn't deserve to be cared for, protected, loved? I don't understand - sometimes life feels like swimming in a sea of people who all seem to have life jackets but nobody has one for me - I'm just adrift, getting more and more tired, and each person I swim up to refuses to let me hold on.
This is me in the natural - the insecurities that I wrestle with - the fear, abandonment and rejection that are palpable at times. God is reminding me of His love, but today I am having trouble accessing it, feeling it, knowing it in my heart of hearts. I don't need any answers - just wanted to share this in case one day you are feeling this way too - so you know you are not alone.
Papa, pour your love on me today.

02 July 2009

Let Go of the Cheese

Life has been pretty crazy around here lately. The return to work full-time after being a homeschool mom for so many years, but always working part-time doing something from home to help make ends meet - has been a transition for sure. My job at Walmart prepared me for the first step out of the house, like a boot camp of sorts without the full time hours.
I have to say that I.love.my.job. Seriously. I actually get up in the morning looking forward to going to work. I feel productive, purposeful, accomplished. I work in an environment that supports me in my efforts to keep my kids at home - and recognizes this as my choice as a parent. I get to talk to other homeschooling parents and support them in their choices, and offer some tangible help. My co-workers are some of the most amazing people with a wide variety of personalities. They each make the day better in their own unique ways. We also have opportunities twice a week to pray together. I couldn't ask for a better place to work.
This transition in our lives has led to a lot of changes. The kids are taking on a lot of the household responsibilities, including the cooking. I love to cook. It has been hard for me to let go of this, but it has been really nice to see what the kids can do. I can put a meal in the crock pot in the mornings, but I only do that occasionally.
These life changes have dictated a lot of standard reconciliation. I have had to reevaluate what meant the most to me, what I actually had control of, and what I did and did not have the time to do. One of the things I noticed recently that had changed in our lives was cheese. About ten years ago, during the Pampered Chef era in my life, I stopped buying shredded cheese because it was covered in cellulose - a flour like substance that kept it from sticking together. Freshly shredded cheese is also more flavorful. It is just one of the things I had to let go of - and it indicates to me a healthy response to all of the changes I have encountered. Most of them go way deeper than cheese. I had all these plans and dreams for my life, that haven't necessarily died but taken on a different shape. I have learned to let go of the cheese.

01 July 2009

Facebook Feed Test

This is a test. This is only a test. In the event of a real emergency, get off of your computer! If you smell smoke, you may be on fire. If you are on fire, please step away from your computer before jumping into a lake, pool or other body of water. This is only a test.

29 June 2009

Back to the Blog

I have missed blogging a great deal. It is an outlet, that as my friend Joanne would say is cheaper than therapy. One thing that sort of brought my blogging to a screeching halt was when I made it private. I am a pretty open person. I hate the feeling of being false or concealing my feelings. Sometimes the things I think and write are not theologically sound. Sometimes my words don't come out right. Sometimes what I write here on my blog is in process. I am going to stop making apologies for it. God is with me even in the dark places where other people don't always want to go. If you are troubled or concerned by anything you read here, you are free to use that little X in the upper right hand corner, and visit here no more. It won't hurt my feelings. As for me, I will continue to blog my little heart out as I see fit.
Since I am no longer in "Texas" I will probably be relocating my blog to a "JulsnWV" address or something on those lines. Stay tuned.

06 May 2009

He is That Good

I'm sitting on my front porch, in the dark, listening to the rain. It is lovely. The air is cool and damp, but this damp is the hopeful damp of spring. It is nurturing the trees and flowers, new life, emergence even now in the night. To chase the night chill, a hot cup of tea provides the perfect remedy.
I am reminded that I have gone through one of the hardest transformations of my life. This ability to sit here alone in the quiet symphony of raindrops unafraid is a part of a new me. I am being molded and re-shapen - the broken clay in the Potter's hands. I have hope that He is making something beautiful among the ruins. I don't know how I ever took that first step off of that cliff, but I can testify to the Everlasting Arms that caught me.
I am surrounded by His all-encompassing love. There are things I am starting to hope for my future, and my soul asks of Him, "Could You really be that good?"
I am not sure how the journey was made from utter hopelessness to one of such promise and peace, but let my life be a testimony. Yes, He really is that good.

25 April 2009

One Day at a Time

In this healing process that the kids and I are going through, there seem to be stops and starts. One thing for certain is that I have to keep a check on how busy I allow myself to be, as sort of a self-preservation method. If I am constantly on the go go go and busily doing this, that and the other, there is little time to think about all that is happening.
I get anxious when I think beyond this current time period. If I try to let my mind wander even six months down the road, I become preoccupied with where I want to be - physically, emotionally, in life, in the healing process. It overwhelms me, and so like the "take action" kind of girl that I am, I start trying to develop a plan on how to get there. This is never productive, specifically because I don't know how to get there. All I know is that this day, and this moment are a gift from God, and He is helping me through it.
I don't want anyone to get the impression that I'm falling apart. I have my moments. Certain things still have the ability to bring me to my knees. I am still quite capable of tears, but I know there will come a day when I'll be stronger. God is daily teaching me that His grace is sufficient for me this day. If I can stay focused on that, it is a good day.
I heard about a divorce care group at a local church, and I am thinking about joining. I haven't decided yet. I think it could be pretty toxic, and have no desire to sit around and listen to a bunch of ex-bashing. So, if I check it out it will be by sticking my toe in and testing the waters. I also want to be extremely careful - the circumstances of my situation have the opportunity to paint me the victim. I have no desire to be such.
There is this learning curve. I know that I never had a partner in life before, and that instead of carrying part of the load, I had an extra burden and a force beating me down, literally and figuratively that handicapped me. There is a peace amidst the chaos. I know we're going to be alright. I'm just trying to take it one day at a time, hand in hand with my Papa.

21 April 2009

Awaiting the Beauty

The kids and I went 17 Again this afternoon. It was pretty good, lighthearted fare. The main storyline is a man who is losing his family because he has resented all that he had to give up when he married his pregnant high school girlfriend. In a "freaky Friday" moment, he is transported back to 17. Even though this is a story of redemption, how he finds his way back to what matters most, it made me so angry. All along the road of life we have choices, and we don't get to blame someone else for where those choices carry us. I know - I was married for a long time to a man who resented having to be a husband and a father, but all along the way we made choices together about the kind of life we wanted. It was me left holding the bag, trying to survive and make it all work without a partner. Although not everyone abuses their spouse in their frustration, many people neglect and abandon their spouse. It is infuriating.
I was talking to a friend last night and I decided that I still believe in love. It has become crystal clear to me that no person can fully know another person. Within each of us is the secret life of our thoughts, the private hopes and dreams. That is what makes it so beautiful when two people decide to open their hearts to one another, sharing those intimacies that lay embedded in the human soul and make it work somehow.
That was not the case for me. Maybe it never will be. I wouldn't have to go back to 17 again to know how to keep from mucking things up. I have been working faithfully all along, but found that my partner had abandoned me in a burning building. My life lay in ruins around me with my footprints in the ashes, awaiting the beauty.

16 April 2009

The Job

I got it!!!!
The one where I wore my underwear upside down to the interview. Yes, I did. It is a fantastic job that is not too far from home. The pay is great, the benefits are great, it is homeschooling friendly. When I say great benefits I mean you get 13 paid holidays, 2 weeks paid vacation every year, health coverage including dental and vision, paid sick leave, paid doctor's visits, and you even get your birthday off and paid. The job is also at a very lovely college campus and I will be working with some really awesome people that I can't wait to get to know better.
I am so thankful as I see doors open and God's provision for me and the kids. It overwhelms me to see His concern for all the littlest details.

On another note, I am going to be putting in my two weeks notice at Walmart very soon. I don't start the new job until May 18th, but I am trying to plan a week off to do a few things with the kids before I am working full-time. I would like to leave on good terms so that I can possibly pick up some part-time work for the holidays, or if anything should ever happen in the future where I needed employment. However, although I have enjoyed my time as a cashier for various reasons, some hard realities have become apparent.
Nobody working at Walmart makes enough to live on. This is called a "living wage". Over the last several months I have worked alongside attorneys and realtors and other professionals and educated people who are there because there is not enough to keep them working. It is a huge blow to get that first paycheck. When you realize how hard you are working - on your feet for 8 hours a day doing often back-breaking labor and still not taking home enough money to meet your basic needs, it is hard.
I think it is time with all the economic change going on in our country to get a grip and realize that minimum wage may be suitable for teenagers who are living at home with their parents, but it is in no way a fair wage for an employer to pay people who are trying to support families. Walmart pays more than minimum wage, and it still is not enough. They also keep most of their employees at part-time status and work them at 33-34 hours and don't have to give them any benefits.
In the hiring process, Walmart asks whether or not you are on public assistance. Is that the plan? Does this huge corporation think that their employees, though they work hard, must provide for their family straddling the line of their wages and qualifications for welfare? It is terrific if they are providing jobs for people so that they can get off of welfare, but why should a person that works need to be on the dole?
These are just some frustrated and discouraged thoughts. I am hopeful because I have a better job waiting for me in a month, but I am sad for all the people who I leave behind who have no prospects for a better situation.

12 April 2009


This past week, I started to feel pretty good about my situation. In spite of wearing my underwear upside down all day unnoticed, I was starting to get excited about the possibility of a good job, and settling into a new life with my kids. I had become exceedingly grateful for the peace that had seemed to settle in our home. Even with my erratic work schedule, we were developing a cadence and rhythm that seemed to work. Then it happened....
Wednesday night I was doing my thing, ringing up customers and trying to send them away with a smile when I looked up and saw him. Yes, him. Travis. He stood back smiling like he expected me to be happy to see him, and I felt my blood turn to ice water in my veins. I started to shake, not so much with fear, but boiling anger. He said he wasn't there to bother me. It was alright. He only came to see the kids. (Interestingly enough, he must've expected to see the kids at work with me....)
One problem. The kids don't want to see him.
I asked all three of them if they wanted to see him, and encouraged them to do so.
I guess that seeing someone rant and rage and kick and scream and throw and shout and stomp and run and slam and curse every day of your life makes you pull back. I told them all that I would take them to him and that it would not offend or hurt me whatsoever. I did not want them in any way refuse him out of some sort of obligation or loyalty to me.
Not one of them wants to see him right now.
It breaks my heart. Not for Travis. I know that he is laying in the bed that he made for himself. He was told for years, more years than anyone deserved of the damage he was doing to all of us and he persisted. It is very difficult to allow someone to live with the consequences of their own actions. But live with it he must, because it can no longer be at the expense of me or my children. Kendra wrote it so eloquently:
Now I feel free. I feel like a weight has been lifted. I am far away from that situation...from that house...from that state of mind. And I am so happy! When you're living in it, you don't even realize how oppressive it is. I felt like everything was closed off and I was destined to lead one kind of life. Now I feel as if the whole world is opened up to me...

Some days I feel it, like a dirt I can't wash off - the scummy film of abuse. The names you were called like stickers pasted around, swaddling you like a mummy with torn and filthy bandages. The real you is under there but you feel that all you or anyone else can see are these labels, the things that he said you were.
Since he got here, Travis has pretty much left me alone. But there is that feeling of knowing he is here and that I might encounter him around every corner that stalks me. It is the reason that after being separated for months, I knew I had to leave Texas. Even that state wasn't big enough for the both of us. His deciding that he needed to be here, and that his needs mattered more than the space the rest of us needed for healing to take place is just confirmation that this is right.
I am stronger every day.

08 April 2009

Should Not Be Allowed Out of the House in Real Clothes

I had a big job interview yesterday. I was pretty anxious about the clothing thing. My life for the last 18 years or so has consisted of a jeans and t-shirt uniform. I liked it that way. Even the church we attended for so many years was of the casual variety - come as you are. So I came, as.I.was.
The night before the interview, I pulled out what I thought might be workable and started trying things on. It was hopeless. I bought a new bra - I guess I thought my boobs should look more professional, but when I proceeded to try clothes on with my newly shaped parts, nothing fit correctly. I went to bed with my best choice being a pink top and some brown slacks. Pink? If you know me - you know how out of character it would be for me to wear pastel pink. Oi vay!
I woke up the next morning, the day of the interview and knew I could not wear the pink. I decided it might be the bra and with that quick change, I found that everything fit me much better. Black slacks, and olive green top with a black camisole underneath and I was good to go. I even had knee highs, and nice shoes. When I left for the interview I felt pretty confident, until I noticed I was getting a wedgie. At first I was thinking it was from the slippery dress pants that I'm not accustomed to wearing. As soon as I got to the office, I checked in with the receptionist and excused myself for a moment to the restroom to check my windblown hair, and the wedgie. I was mortified to find that I had left the big folding tag on the back of the new slacks. I ripped it off and stuck it in my purse, deep enough so that should I be asked to pull out my wallet for any reason - I would not also produce the tag. And as always after using the restroom, I pulled my underwear back up. The act of pulling them down and back up is usually resolves any wedgie issues.
Then the interview. More on that later - but at one point, sitting in a very nice office in an upright chair, I felt something pricking me in the back. Prick, prick! So I moved a little, and more pricks. I knew almost instantly that it was the tag, still inside my blouse. In my nervousness to get ready - I had failed to remove any tags whatsoever. I sat there answering questions, attempting to ignore the seeming sword that was trying to run me through from behind.
I rushed home once the interview concluded to change into my Walmart uniform and head off to the job that I already have. When my shift was over, I came home and went to the bathroom and found that I must've put my underwear on wrong. I noticed a seam where it should not have been. The reason for the wedgie? The crotch of my underpants had been on my left hip all day long, and I never noticed.
So, never be fooled by how put together I might be on the outside. I really should not be allowed out of the house in real clothes.

05 April 2009

The Birthday Wish

I can't believe you're 18. Where did the time go? In the beginning there was just you and me, hiding behind a wish that became our little secret. I have said it before, you saved me. It was the moment I knew that my life was significant to something bigger than myself that I decided to sit up and take notice. But still, you were the practice child. The one I had to learn everything with for the first time, which is essentially a nice way of saying you're the one who graciously endured my mistakes. It wasn't easy trying to be both parents to you as it never should have been - and I always hurt for what was lacking - but this year for your birthday the best gift I can give you is the freedom of peace and joy and a quiet, loving atmosphere. I pray that you use it well. Surround yourself with people who treat you with love and respect and dignity. Forgive those who might belittle you, or raise a hand to you for your own sake - but don't allow them into that inner circle, or give them the intimacies of your heart. I hope if you've seen any bad examples from me, that you choose to learn from them and do the opposite. I know from experience that sometimes the worst examples are the best way of knowing what not to do.
While you keep that inner circle guarded, don't forget to open your heart to love when the time is right. Remember that people are imperfect, each with their own inadequacies. Please don't be afraid to risk your heart for a person who is deserving. Don't be afraid that every man will be the one you have known. If you panic or hide or run from love, you will miss out on the best moments life has to offer.
Never settle for mediocrity, in any area of your life. Henry David Thoreau said "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams; live the life you have imagined." I can't think of better advice on your 18th birthday than that. Don't allow your life to be derailed by someone who puts those dreams down, or refuses to be a companion on that path, be it friend or lover. Take responsibility for your own life, because it is yours alone.
Thank you for moving back to West Virginia with me. I know it meant sacrifices on your part, and I will never forget them. You are an amazing young woman, and I am so blessed to be your mom. You have always given me courage to try to be better than I am, because you deserved the best mom I could give you. Always remember that I love you. Happy Birthday baby.

01 April 2009

A Cause and Effect God

I have struggled spiritually so much over the last several years. When you reach a dark place, it is very difficult to train your eyes to see even the tiniest spark of light. I would dare to say so hard that often in despair you close your eyes and surrender to the darkness. This is where I have been.
As I struggle back to the surface, trying to find some grounding, and allowing my eyes to adjust to light and my heart to surrender to the love that surrounds me, I see a flaw in how I have viewed God. So much of what we're taught about God makes us think of our relationships to him as "cause and effect". Do good things and be rewarded. Do bad things and be punished. It leaves a person in a bad situation to believe that they have deserved what they got, they were the map that led to this destination, the magnet drawing in the negative consequences. This line of thinking leaves a person in despair, hopeless, drowning without a life raft.
I have come to understand that good things often happen to people who do not deserve them. David knew this (Psalm 73) when he lost his footing at the sight of the prosperity of the wicked.
I have also seen good people suffer through ungodly circumstances. If this were not so, how would we account for babies born addicted to crack before even living one day on this earth? How would we account for the atrocities of war, the holocaust, the elderly rotting in nursing homes day after day with little more than having their basic needs met?
Our culture tells us that we are rewarded or punished for our deeds, and somehow this concept has been applied to God and spiritual things. I know it is not true. Moment by moment, in my pain and suffering, He has not abandoned me. I have suffered things I know that I do not deserve, but I know that through it all He has not abandoned me. He has been beside me all the way. My pain is His pain. It was for the hurts of humanity that Christ went to the cross. The next time I am tempted to close my eyes in despair and let the darkness swallow me, I will remember I am not alone.

30 March 2009

Wake up to the Reality

Things are difficult. I cry at times when I don't expect tears to come. Making potato soup yesterday, I was overwhelmed with worry about what Travis was eating, and in the next moment felt pathetic and small to care so much for someone who cared so little for me. He threatened divorce the other day with an ultimatum that I apologize for something that was irrational. He is free to make whatever choices he feels are necessary. But it hurts, and driving in the rain to get my kids from a birthday party I just let it all out. Between the tears and the rain, I am not sure how I made it to my destination.
It is a lonely road that I am on. People encourage you and love you and tell you you're brave, and what a great job that you're doing, but in the end you are the one that must wake up every morning to the reality of your situation. In general, the kids and I are very happy. There is a peace that has settled - this feeling that we're going to be alright and I am so thankful for that. But in the meantime there is still a lot of hurt, a lot of unresolved issues, and memories of terrible things that happened that I had long since buried deep inside myself that keep coming up like vomit. I have to deal with them, but to tell you the truth I really don't know how. These are ugly, awful things - and even though I was the victim and not the perpetrator, I feel hideous inside for the remembering. I can't really explain this fully - but yesterday morning when Porky (the pastor of our old church The Chapel) said "The One who knows you best, loves you the most" just overwhelmed me with emotion.
I am still trying to reconcile all of it. Abuse makes you feel filthy, dirty, worthless, small, powerless.... The touching - all the touching, and the anger, the things flying around in your head, and the names you're dodging, trying to hold your breath until you're allowed up for air, and hope it isn't too late. You try to rationalize that you aren't the things you are called but you were taught so long ago not to trust yourself because you are nothing. You become convinced that even God regrets having created you.
I am having a particularly hard day. There seems to be nobody in particular to share it with. For the most part, though I have some amazing friends, I feel like I have to keep a lid on all this intensity for their sake. I need them, and I don't want to scare them away. If I start to really allow myself to cry this out, I fear I may never stop. This song that I heard the other day keeps running through my brain...

....please don't fight these hands that are holding you.....
What isn't making things any easier right now is that I injured my back. I am hoping it is muscular strain from all the moving and unpacking, but I am literally waking up every couple of hours and finding that it hurts so badly I can barely roll over. Once I do get rolled over, I can't get comfortable, and then I'm awake very early. Just what I needed.

29 March 2009

Scaredy Cat

Last night the girls were spending the night with a friend, so Kullen and I had Tina and the boys come over and watch Twilight with us. You know, Twizzlers, popcorn, Pepsi, and we laughed ourselves silly. She is so short, she looked like Edith Ann sitting in my big red chair, and that caught my funny bone. But for the most part, I don't remember what we laughed so much about. It was just good to laugh wholeheartedly and without reservation. To laugh and talk and be myself without feeling that I would be ridiculed.
After they left, and it was just Kullen and I home alone, the house was so big, and so quiet, and nestled so deeply in the woods. I couldn't help but think of that damn movie "The Strangers" that my girls thought would be fun to see. The only truly scary movies are things that could really happen, and that movie was about an home invasion of the most evil kind. I kept freaking out with images of people standing around the house just staring at it - and even looked a few times to see if anyone was out there.
I don't undertand it - having had a mom who was a "party-girl" and left me alone all night long from the time I was very young. I never had the luxury of being afraid to be alone. I think it is the knowing - the choice to be on my own and not knowing how permanent this is, combined with the scary movie. No more scary movies for me for a while. I also asked the girls to have sleepovers here until I get a little more used to this house!

26 March 2009

I'm Not Brave

In the past few weeks so many people have told me how proud they are of me and how brave I am. I feel so the opposite. Last night was the first night the kids were downstairs watching a movie and I heard the floor upstairs creak and stood completely still for just a minute, terrified. My mom was single for a while, and even when she was married my step-dad worked a lot of nights so she would go out and leave me alone. I have done this a million times. But now it seems so real, so permanent, so much up to me.
The crazy part is that the biggest threat to me and my family has lived inside the four walls with us for the last 20 years. I have protected and defended myself and my children, but in a far different fashion that anyone might have imagined. I know I can do this, but sometimes I feel tremendous fear. There is nothing to do but what is before me. So I went to bed afraid last night, and today I make it through another day.

If you were interested in seeing pictures inside they house they are available here. You can click on them and make them larger if you look.

24 March 2009

Haven of Peace

I got quite a bit done today, including watching Mamma Mia with my friend who is Ethel to my Lucy. It was nice to sit in the afternoon with a hot cup of coffee and chill for a couple of hours. I then proceeded to get the living area mostly done. There is a little section which is going to be Kullen's room that needs some attention, but it looks and feels like home. Some of my closest friends describe me as a "nester" and it is true. When I move - I am absolutely driven to get things put away, hung up and in order. It is essential to my sanity and I literally cannot relax until it is done. I am hoping to post some pictures here later of our new place. For now I am posting this outside picture that was taken by my cell phone. It is the only one I have at the moment. We have our main living area in the finished basement which is accessible from a door behind the fence between the house and the garage. I have a bedroom upstairs - it is yellow and Kaitlyn says it is good for me because it is cheery. We also have a fabulous kitchen that is shared on occasion with the owner of the house when she comes up from South Carolina to take care of infrequent business with a daycare center that she owns. It is an amazing blessing because we have a decent place to call home for the same rent as I would be paying in a subsidized apartment with my kids. There are children in the neighborhood that have overwhelmed Kullen - but I feel sure he will warm up to them and have great times playing with other kids. All the kids have had friends over and it has been awesome to have people around us again. It makes me feel loved, supported and stronger.
This morning the kids and I went for our first counseling session. It was tremendous. We walked away with a lot of insight and the lady who is counseling us is amazing. She validated that we were living in an abusive environment - and asked me to admit it to myself. It isn't easy. It is easier to think what I was always told, that other people had it much worse, and that it wasn't "that bad". The counselor wants to see us individually starting with me. She helped me see that some of the things Travis is doing even now are manipulative. He tries to put all the responsibility for the way the kids interact with him on me - she called it triangulating. She also helped me know that it is okay for the kids to tell their dad that they don't want to talk to him right now, and that he needs to respect that boundary. She gave us language to use when people ask questions we aren't ready to answer. She also made it very clear that the one year I was asking for was of the utmost importance. It was all very helpful and even Kullen - who went into the appointment saying, "I'm not talking to anyone about my problems!" warmed up to her by the end of our session.
So, we breathe, eat, sleep, live, and move. Life goes on. I have this sadness deep inside still - but it isn't consuming me anymore.

19 March 2009


PLEASE leave me your email if you would like to continue reading this blog. I am not excluding anyone who is a regular here, so if you leave me your email I will add you here. If you don't, I won't be able to add you. I need this information in the next 48 hours or so. Thanks!

******Emails can be left here in the comments, or sent to me via email.
And whoever the person is that felt it necessary to run directly to my husband and fuel the already difficult situation between us by telling him my blog was going underground - thanks.

Blog Privacy and an Update

My blog is going underground for a while. I would love to share it with people who make it known that they want to read it - so if you are interested in being listed as an approved reader, please send me your email address at julsnwv AT gmail DOT com to be added to the list. Thanks for understanding for now.
I started a new job at Walmart today and have some promising prospects for an even better administrative assistant position with a reputable organization that is extremely homeschool friendly. Please pray that I would have favor here. The position is right up my alley, and has "generous benefits". The kids and I have also found a house to rent from a family we used to go to church with years ago. The rent is perfect, as is the location. A house in my Blue Ridge Moutains. My favorite part.... a washer and dryer! Ha.
Life goes on. I realized today for the first time in many weeks that I felt "happy". Even though we aren't moved in or settled anywhere yet, I feel like life is finally going in a positive direction. I am so utterly thankful. I feel sad for Travis and we still have a lot of conflict to iron out. I don't know what will become of it. I am trying to let my behavior honor the person that I want to be and my Papa. It is a work in progress.
(If you read this blog as a "note" on Facebook, I don't think that anything will change! We'll have to see.)

17 March 2009

John Ortberg on Marriage and Divorce

Not long ago my friend and former pastor, Porky sent me an mp3 sermon by a pastor named John Ortberg on Marriage and Divorce. I can't find out how to load it and send you a link so you can listen, but I did find videos on his website. You can view it in three parts by clicking on the playlist at the right.
I have felt for a long time that God himself would be utterly disappointed in me if I left my husband and gave up on my marriage. I am not in any way trying to find justification for a divorce, or even that I am pursuing one, but to know that God does not condemn me where I am right now set me free. I have been very angry at Him for a long time, feeling like He expected me to be trapped in misery. Now I know that my hurts have broken His heart.
I share this in the hope that it will be as liberating for someone else.

15 March 2009

Mixed Bag

Late Wednesday night after two days of loading a truck and excruciating goodbyes followed by three and a half days of driving, the kids and I were finally home in our Blue Ridge Mountains. We have been loved up on by the friends we have seen thus far, though we still have quite a few to see. It has been a long journey, pretty much the hardest of my life. I have run the gamut of emotions - from hysterical laughter to frustrated tears. I feel so overwhelmed sometimes and can turn a corner and feel as if a huge weight has lifted off of my shoulders. It really is a mixed bag of emotions.
There are so many highlights from our trip. The kids and I were crammed for the better part of four days in the front cab of a diesel truck that had only 3 seatbelts. Nobody could recline to doze off, and nobody had any elbow room. All things considered, it went fairly well and no blood was shed. The diesel engine was horribly loud and there was a slight smell of exhaust and ashtray. It took them 3 1/2 hours to get the truck - valuable moving time - so by the time I finally got it, there was no time to complain about the cleanliness or lack thereof to the Budget rental company. By day two my head hurt so bad that if I had a gun....... Kendra had a terrible headache as well. Kullen spent most of his drive time singing.. "Almost heaven, West Virginia....." and occasionally inspired us to sing along. Kaitlyn has been emotionally overwhelmed, hoping that people understand that though we are happy to see them, and happy to be back "home", it is not a party for us - not just yet. It is indeed one of the most difficult times of our lives.
I think we will make it through one step at a time. Yesterday I found a way to articulate how I feel - that I am standing my ground with wobbly knees. I am so thankful to have the support of my family who made sacrifices to financially support me, my friends who are holding me up, both those in real life that hold me up by offering to give up their beds, fill their pantries with food, let us do laundry, and all manners of physical support and for those of you in the realm of cyber friendships who pray, send love, financial support that I know you didn't even have, and constant encouragement. I don't know how I would've made it through without you, all of you. Thank you for helping me see that I did not deserve the way I was being treated, and helping me gain the courage to seek something better for myself and my kids.

03 March 2009

Playlist Suggestions

I am trying to get a playlist together for some music for the road trip to WV. I need suggestions. I don't want just happy songs - although I would prefer for the majority to be upbeat - but also reflective songs, and some that are sad. Sometimes it is good to listen to those and be sad, sing your little heart out and move on. So bring them on!

Stand by Me - Playing for Change

This video made the route from friend to friend and was in my inbox this morning - and I don't believe it was an accident. It really lifted my spirits today! I hope it lifts yours as well.

01 March 2009

Much Needed Sunshine

The kids and I took a day trip to Galveston. It was nice to just get out of the house and remember there is something bigger than myself, my pain and my problems. And as an added bonus I got to meet up with my blogging buddy, Tammy! Such a special lady.
</3 Juls
Hysterical is the new calm!

26 February 2009

Taking the Next Step

Little bits and pieces are coming together. Loose ends are getting tied up. I am starting to see a small ray of light at the end of the tunnel. It is the hardest thing I have ever gone through in my life, and if you've read this blog at all I am sure you already know the kind of angst going on inside of me. I was looking at some blog archives the other day and remembered this post and song. That was last April. I'm not going to live another year of my life like this, and no matter how it hurts - I am just going to push forward for a better life.
I got an email this morning from a friend that strengthened me. It helped me know that I won't be lost forever in the muck that I feel is drowning me right now.
So we shall allot the first month for misery & mourning. Then when it is over.... it will be Spring. You will be home. There will be walks at the river, hikes on the trail, lunches & coffee out with friends. Then comes Fall, the time I start missing you the most. This year you get leaves & pumpkin flavored everything, Halloween party & Oktoberfest & bonfires at the river. Then Thanksgiving, Planes Trains & Automobiles & finally Christmastime with you, the way I like it best. You have done this for years "with" him.... now you can do it alone without him. Only you won't be alone. You will be free.

Validation of my pain. Permission to mourn. A future to look forward to.
I'm taking the next step....

22 February 2009


This morning I feel like one of those hollow chocolate bunnies, the kind you get for Easter. The heat has turned up, as we get closer to the day when I pull away from my home and marriage with my three kids in a moving van to let it all fall apart, it is causing this feeling that I might dissolve, cave in on myself. I am so very sad this morning.
I need a friend. Not a phone call or an email, but flesh and blood to just sit with me in this pain - the way Dwayne reminded me Job's friends did after they ran out of answers.
There is a deep ache. I have this sense of wanting everything to go "back to normal" and yet I can't find a marker in time where that ever existed for us. It was always me, trudging along, trying to appear as if we were like everyone else. Now I find I wasn't even able to fool myself. I have reached the end of my strength, my resolve. Boxes are everywhere - tidy packages of the pieces of my life - a life I no longer know how to go on with.
The desperation threatens to overtake me. I never wanted this. I don't want it now. I want him to be the hero, to come crashing in to save us from this worst moment in our lives together.

16 February 2009

The Clearing Wordle

I found this on my friend Cynthia's blog. It's pretty cool. To get your own, go to Wordle.
See a larger version of this one here.

15 February 2009

No Miracle

God - I need you.
I am the one leaving, yes. I am walking away. While he talks of miracles and things that might be, I have heard it all before. I am not a stone. I feel it. I want it. It was supposed to be him in the framed pictures of all that I see for the future. Not cracked glass and an image torn in two.
I got boxes today - tidy and neat containers in which to put the pieces of my life if I had the strength to pick them up.
A heavy need to wail overcame me when I started this post and I stopped to indulge awhile. There is no comfort for my pain. I mourn as one with no hope. My prayers for the miracle of his softened heart turned to me fell on deaf ears for far too long to endure. The vow to love hanging over me unfulfilled.
How do you start to see the world again through cracked glass, with only half of what you thought you were? This is a pain that feels too deep to bare alone, and I am left here, crying like a baby for her mother. No mother will come. No miracle.

Remember That

Thanks so much Erin - I think I am going to be alright. Trying so hard to remember that.

14 February 2009

Who Would Choose This?

There has been this feeling over the last couple of days that the bottom had dropped out. Everything that was familiar has become foreign, strange. The world looks different as I figure out how to make just Julie out of "Julie and Travis". But now it seems a strange and eerie peace has settled that is a huge relief, and terrifying.
It all hurts, and confuses and muddles. At work I see elderly couples shop together, moving seamlessly as if they were one. Communicating without words. I wanted that for us, the golden years. Then there are the young couples, and I remember us, a newborn between us in that early morning light when all the edges are blurred and all the sounds are softened.
I don't know how to separate it. When my parents got divorced, all the memories of us as a family seemed to have to die with their new relationships. The ones that managed to survive were the bad ones. How do I preserve the dignity of our lives for the last 21 years and not let anyone else define it based on their limited knowledge? Yes, the bad has overwhelmed the good - but there is still good there to find. I want those memories - they are mine.
Yesterday a friend eloquently explained marriage to me in a way she heard it when going through her own painful divorce - and it was so very helpful. (Thank you Becky) A marriage is like a child. It needs physical and emotional care. If you had a child that was sick, you would do everything you could to take care of it and nourish it back to health. On the other hand, if the child were to die, you would not hold onto it and keep it with you. You would bury it and mourn the loss and day by day learn to live without it again.
This is so hard. It is so painful. It isn't what I ever wanted. Who would ever choose this?

11 February 2009

A Rant About the Church on Marriage and Divorce, Etc.

Maybe I'm bitter - but I can't stop thinking about this, the bill of goods we've been sold as women. I just finished reading Vinegar Hill and the priest describes to the young woman about to be married her role as the "hearth" and the "home". What if the hearth has no one to stoke the fires? What if the home is more of a house, empty and fractured? What then?
I have been told throughout the years by well-meaning (and much loved) Christian friends that they couldn't condone divorce. They would support me through a separation - hold my hand, help me financially, even give the kids and I a place to live - but that divorce was never going to be an option. I have been in circles before where women who were divorced were whispered about when they left the room, tongue in cheek as one person would lean over and say, "this is her second marriage". Like I needed to know, be warned.
I am in a crisis so perhaps I will look back on this years later and come down on a completely different side of the issue - but for right now I am really struggling. Please filter whatever you read here through that fact. Right now I am angry. The "church" as an institution that would hold to this belief that I am less of a woman if I divorce my husband, that even through all of the hell I've lived and how I've tried to love in spite of it, I have failed. That I am a failure.
God hates divorce. It is true - but I know He sees what my kids and I have endured, and hates it as well.

25 January 2009


Time for a post about something else, anything else. I am so desperate to think about something else that I will even post about the Blue Bell Banana Pudding ice cream that is in my freezer currently, screaming my name!! On my mind, Walmart. I know - boring subject matter, but I do spend at least 4-5 hours there, 4-5 times a week.
Some observations - most of the women there are divorced. Some boldly admit they would rather be there than home. It makes me sad. I don't want to be bitter or resentful or consumed. I am going to choose grace the best that I can, one moment at a time, lest I forget and one of you remind me that I love the Lord, I want to love like Jesus and I don't want anybody to ever take that pursuit of His heart away from me. No.matter.what.
I still like smiling and interacting with my customers, even on my worst days. One day I was even challenged by a customer when asked in return how I was and I responded weakly that I was "fine". He didn't believe me, as well he shouldn't. But just that moment of compassion from another human being has the power to lift you up - seems it works from both sides of the checkout line.
One night last week, I had a man push his way between me and my cash drawer. That was interesting and it helped me remember how dangerous it can be to work around so much money. It also reminded me how desperate people can be who need or want money. Then yesterday I had a lady try to write a very obviously HOT check. Smokin'! She gave me a fake driver's license number that ended in 5678, tried to run out of the store with a $50 gift card, and told me at least 3 different stories about who she was buying the food for - a rescue mission, an elderly person and then a man in prison. (I thought taxpayers fed those who are incarcerated?) Anyway, it is always interesting at Walmart. I have been glad to have an out of the house job right now - it is a reason to get dressed on days when my emotions are so heavy I have been barely functioning.
Thanks for all your prayers, love and precious sentiments. They mean so much.

24 January 2009

Trying to Remember

When I look back on the best memories of my life, they were all without him. Outings with friends. Trips. Vacations. Walks on the beach. Laughing with my children uninhibited by someone's criticism. I've waited for the better life together, the time when he calms enough to enjoy life with me, laugh with me, love with me. I moved across the country in the hopes that he would be happy, but the cold hard fact is that he never will be. We'll never have the jacuzzi on the rooftop, romantic vacations, frolicking together with our grandchildren. All the dreams are dying. But I'm trying to remember that every moment together was one in which I had to manage him, make sure he wasn't uncomfortable, unhappy, unsettled. It was always too much work. I made my life without him. I am trying to remember why this needs to happen. I've been married alone. Not much is changing for me except the tremendous relief of not having to always make sure he is okay. I need to concentrate for a change on making sure I'm okay. What I want more than anything right now is to have a mom - someone to show up and help make sure my kids have food, the floors are swept and life is manageable for me. I want someone who I can put my ugliest crying face on in front of, who will wrap me in their arms with no pretense and let me cry my eyes out.
It is all frightening - like being on the edge of a cliff and having others tell you that they know there are arms that will catch you. But YOU know that the free fall you do on your way down, starting with that first step off the edge must be done alone. I keep hearing the words of Elisabeth Eliot, who used to start her radio show with “…..you are loved with an everlasting love, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
I can go on. I will step off this cliff. I have been on my own for so long anyway. I just need to continue to remember.

21 January 2009

Everything is Out of Control

I can't handle one more stress
I can't find my footing -
I can't catch my breath -
I can't find the surface -

Every.single.thing is out of control.

Feeling Too Much

I don't know how you go from being numb to feeling so much you feel like the pain alone will kill you. I spent about half an hour in my bathroom crying until I was vomiting, with my children holding my head. I don't know how to conceal the hell I am going through from them. While every intimate detail is not laid bare in front of them, I think there is no way to shield them from this. It is our mutual nightmare to live through together.
I feel like I can't listen to the radio or watch TV. Everything stirs up feelings inside of me. I don't really know what to do but put one foot in front of another. I would love nothing more than to stay in bed and pull the covers over my head and pretend this all is not happening and is not necessary.
Please continue your prayers dear bloggers. I know there is something supernatural that keeps me moving forward when I want to stop and sit right here in this pain and die.

17 January 2009

Things I Will Miss About Texas

I know that not all of my lurkers came out of the closet yesterday, but that's alright. You are still welcome here. I am going to try to get my blogging juices stimulated by some of your questions, the first of which being what I will miss about Texas.
This is a little bit of a difficult thing - one that cramped my heart with fear when we first decided to move to Texas. I would wake up with a cold chill of panic about just this thing. I may have to miss my daughter. Kendra has said that she may stay here in this area and go to college. I know that doesn't sound too horrible, but if she is unable to leave here now, I can't imagine that time and more roots and deeper friendships established that she will ever want to leave. I can't think about it too much just yet. There is a timing factor involved with the start of college and her 18th birthday and her getting her drivers' license - but I am trying to come to terms with the fact that she has a life to live and it is my job at this time to transition myself out of her way. But she by far would be the thing I would miss most desperately.
I would miss that spring starts in mid-February, right when you mentally think you cannot take one more day of winter. Wildflowers start to bloom, and the air gets full of that energy of new life bursting forth in all the trees and fields. There are some really nice trails to walk this time of year and I will miss them as well - especially the Sundew Trail which is where we most often traverse.
There are a few ladies that I have started to get to know better as well, now that we've decided to move, and my friend Melody who has been my companion in homesickness. It is difficult to share our lives together though because we live about 40 minutes away from them. We will always have the internet, email and Facebook. It will also be nice to know that they are nearby in case Kendra should need them if she has any trouble.
I will absolutely miss my house. I just love this 100 year old beauty and all of the charm. It really suits me. But without friends to fill the rooms, it is still lacking in spite of being my dream house.
I am sure there are other things I will miss, but these are the ones that stand out the most. Texas is not a bad place - and if I've given that impression at all in my blogging, please know that there is beauty to be found here and good people. West Virginia is my home, and nothing can compete with her place in my heart.

15 January 2009

Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are!!

Come on, show yourselves...... I know I've been a lame blogger lately. Tell me what you'd like me to blog about when you leave your comment to let me know you're here. I'm game.

11 January 2009

Country Roads Take Me Home

I know that I have had plenty of "homesick for West Virginia" posts on this blog. Probably too many to count. I have missed it since the moment I drove away tearfully almost three years ago. I did give Texas a chance, but the truth is that one can only truly have one home. In the dysfunction of my parents' divorce and constant moving, I never really felt like I had a "home" in the same way others have experienced. That sense of belonging to a place, and it being a part of who you are - and until I left West Virginia I never realized how much a part of me it had become. I started to sprout roots, though shallow for my 36+ years that were entangled with many precious people. I had never experienced that sensation that I have read about of being called home, but lately I hear the mountain calling to me. We have talked about it, lamented about the reasons we came here, and with a lot of chaos in our home of late due to financial burdens, marital strain and other such things one thing has become crystal clear - it is in the best interest of our whole family to move back to West Virginia. This decision was made a couple of weeks ago, and almost immediately after, we had someone contact us about buying our house though we have yet to put it on the market. Seems that things may align splendidly. If you are a praying person, prayers for clear paths would be much appreciated.

The picture here was snagged from my friend and very talented photographer, Alexandra Beaulieu who gave me permission to use it. She took the picture from a spot perched above St. Peter's Catholic Church located on the hillside in historic Harpers Ferry, WV. Thanks so much Alex.

09 January 2009

Don't Blog at All

Have you ever heard the expression, "If you don't have something good to say - don't say anything at all!"? Well I have applied that to my blog which is the best explanation I can give for the silence. I am struggling again. Travis has been out of work for a full week, and we were behind everything before that. After I pay all the bills this week, we'll have just a little money to eek out for food and gas. I cannot think beyond this particular week. If I do, anxiety attempts to take over. Things are more difficult than I can say, and while I know that others are in far more dire situations, the one that I am in, juggling day to day feels like it's swallowing me. I feel like I can't work one more hour, fix one more relationship, resolve one more problem. I am just totally, physically, emotionally and mentally spent.

01 January 2009

New Year's Food

As is tradition, we are having black eyed peas for dinner tonight. My mom always made black eyed peas and cornbread. During my stint as a cashier extraordinaire, I have learned from many many many customers all buying these little peas that you make them for luck, but for prosperity you make cabbage. So that's what I've been missing all these years. I am not superstitious, but I thought, what could it hurt. When in Rome..... so I tried to find some cabbage - cause I actually do like it prepared correctly, al dente and not resembling leafy shaped snot seasoned with onion and garlic, salt and pepper. Unfortunately, I waited too late, and there were no heads of cabbage to be found. What I ended up with was shredded cole slaw, and intend to make this, hoping it will bring me prosperity coupled with the lucky peas. Evidently you make cornbread with it just because it tastes good!
What do you eat on New Year's Day?