Thursday, August 13, 2015

Strength & Dignity

This morning I am looking out my window at the water and the hills. The sky with a pink morning haze with a promise of a sunny and warm day. The boys are still sleeping. I finished some Bible reading.  I love reading a Proverbs a day. No particular order just randomly wandering across the pages.

After the past two  years of divorce, moving, and changes, and moving again and more changes there is this feeble feeling. As in, I am never moving again. I can not handle the level of changes and stress and I just want to crawl, drive or fly away to something easier.  Now on the other side of some really hard things I am sitting here and realizing how strong I had to become.  And that realization of ......

Proverbs 31:25
"Strength and dignity are her clothing and she smiles at the future."

And not only do I smile, but I am laughing. I have laughed a lot this past year and although my clothes may fit a little tighter or not at all I am certain that dignity is embellished on the labels.   I love this passage so much.  Why?  Because I tried. Because no matter how weak or feeble I felt I stayed the course. I woke up every morning asking God to give me strength and to keep my heart and thoughts fixed on all things good.  And to smile, even when I did not know what might be next.
Where does strength come from when that internal voice is reminding you how week you are?  From God, the God who has carried this girl for most of my life. I can not close my eyes at night without thanking God, even when there seems to be little to be thankful for. There is ALWAYS something in my day that made me smile and laugh. I embrace this verse.  Encouraging YOU that this verse is for you as well. Embrace it knowing that HE intended for you to be the strong woman you are, even if the voices in your head tell you different.  And that poise of perfection he designed in you is dignity to hold your head high regardless. 

May you go in peace knowing that HE knows your name, your heart and HE will carry you with strength and dignity. ~Elizabeth

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Happy Anniversary To Those Who Married A Good One

 Free People Inspired One-Year Anniversary Session

There is MUCH  joy in sitting across from a dear friend over lunch. Friends for over 25 years.  A long four hour lunch.  Lots of catching up. Lots of chit chat over each others lives and then................

She leans in, she smiles this young girl crushing on a boy kind of smile and says, "Elizabeth I got a good one. He is a hard worker, great provider, a very good lover, even after 40 years.  Sure he has gained some weight, but he is a good man. He has always been my best friend.Some seasons in our life he has worked long hours while I was raising our kids, but I never once doubted his commitment and love to me. We have been through a lot together"

This summer my Facebook feed has been filled with the celebration of wedding anniversaries. Some a couple of  years, some ten or twenty years or more.  That lovely wedding picture posted and my heart leaps with great joy, followed by sadness. Sad that I have no such celebrations. Only for a moment and then joy sweeps in.

As a single woman twice divorced, it's such a joy to see couples fighting for their love no matter what. With each picture and post that streamed on Facebook, quite prayers of "keep fighting for your love" because no one else will do that for you. No therapist, no mentor, no attorney.  Standing firm and holding hands no matter how life steps in.  Learning and watching some of my closest friends work out love  and marriage and seeing how God is growing that love and growing them deeper into a love that only they know and share.
 How to Make This Burlap and Lace Wedding Cake - Rose Bakes
After the cake is cut,and the guests have left you have a lifetime to make your marriage work.   Perhaps I might have a cake made in celebration of those who have made it work. Of dear friends who are speaking into me a kind of love that I did not have or know. The kind that fights with everything you have to then forty years later sit across from a girlfriend with dreamy eyes over having married a "good one."

Happy Anniversary to all my dear friends who  have married good ones.  You are always an example to me of commitment and love.  I know your stories and I know how you have worked out the hard stuff. Sometimes with grace and beauty and sometimes in messy ways, but you are celebrating and I celebrate with you.  Sheri, Stefani, Renee, Lauree, Ann, Mom & Dad, Rita, Deborah, Amanda, Alyson, Alicia, Elliot & Sarah, and so many more.  I am cheering you all on to the next  years and the rest of your lives with that good one you got.

And someday, maybe God will take me down this path again.
 Bible Verse Scripture Song of Solomon 3:4 Weddings Wedding Sign Wedding Decor Home Decor Anniversary I have found the one whom my soul loves by CarovaBeachCrafts

Thursday, June 4, 2015

It Is Not Easy

"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
John 16:33
Things are not easy.  Life is not easy.  It's not easy getting up every single morning, day after day to little boys who need breakfast, need lunches made, need a double check over, their backpacks ready and shoes tied, teeth brushed and hairs combed, no holes in jeans, and smiles out the door.  All this in the first hour of being awake at 6am before the coffee has kicked in.
I have a habit each morning. Before my feet hit the floor.  It's a real prayer from my heart, but this particular prayer has become a habit.  Dear Lord Jesus, please put a smile on my face that my family may see joy in heart, my face, and my voice.  No matter what life may look like I can start my day with "good cheer".  I want to start my day with "good cheer". I think "good cheer" is a learned behavior.  I know it must be. How else could I wake up so happy every day. Even in the midst of tribulations.  The breakfast routine is really a pretty easy tribulation. I just use this as an example.   There are always those big HEAVIES on my heart.
I have been doing this school morning routine for over 20 years. You would think it would get easier. I have never been wired as a morning person. As of late, my boys on this particular morning, two brought me coffee.  Truly I am blessed. And be of good cheer friends.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Judgements of Divorce

The judgements of divorce are very harsh from our Christian peers. Truthfully I have had my hand held, my heart comforted and loved in my divorce process by those who choose to NOT follow the Christian faith. A very sad reality to be sharing.

The question was posed to me as to, "How I, a Christian woman, living the best I can from one day to the next as the Bible instructs and being a mentor to many women, explain divorce to my Christian peers. How did you let people know? How do you explain to your children?  How ARE you children doing?"

I lived in a marriage, two marriages actually that were not designed or planned by God.  I can say that getting pregnant within a few short weeks of dating, and then being instructed by your parents to marry that boy, well as nice as we were, we just did not know how to do nice in that marriage.  And because we both had a firm belief in not divorcing we drudged along trying to find our place and never did. The same for marriage number two.

God's word instructs on ever aspect of life and I can be very keen with words and could most likely convince anyone that this is truly God's plan for my life. The truth of the matter is I have no answers. Except the pain of where I was at, living in complete dysfunction of my marriage, was greater than the pain of what I thought anyone would think of me or judge me over. I have been judged. I have been judged by the very same people who live out all kinds of "sin" in their own lives. Yet I would never point that out to them. 

Christians are the best at cherry picking sin in their own lives and finger pointing at others.  It is not God's heart to see divorce.  In both cases, based on just Biblical principle alone, I got that free pass for divorce. The Bible is clear on loving others as we love ourselves.  The same people who judge me, are at conflict with others in their lives.  The Bible is clear on many matters that are over looked and understated yet we focus our energy on what we choose to hold has the sinniest of sins. Divorce and also homosexuality. My brother is gay. Something he feared coming out to me over because I am a Christian. Yet he was willing to forgo his relationship with me to be who he believes is his sexual orientation. I sat at the table one late Spring in Lake Oswego, OR as he took the time to drive up and see me. We had coffee and he told me and I laughed and said I knew all along. Yet I still loved him, and to this day many years later I still love him and we have a fantastic relationship. Because what I do know and start with in my own walk with Jesus, is to love others as God loves me. To live that out in real and tangible space and time. 

I have been judged more over divorce than any one thing in my life. Two divorces, boy have I given people something to talk about. I even got pregnant with a child because someone slipped something in my drink. So now, as one very close person in my life suggested, I also sleep around. Because Christian girls who get something slipped in their drink, must be out slumming.  Rather than asking questions and learning how that story unfolded I was judged and never felt that I needed to explain myself to anyone. Unless that person has taken the time to ask questions and understand my heart.

So dear friend who contacted me today. You are making a very important decision for yourself. You are standing up to what has been wrong. Your children will ALWAYS be confused by it all. Especially if you choose to keep the adult conversations away from them, and you should. Encourage them to love and support their dad. They will have always a very different relationship and that relationship should and will always be important to them. Those who know you, your heart and your courage will stand by you knowing that they have and you have a God bigger than all of this. To answer these questions ". How did you let people know? How do you explain to your children?  How ARE you children doing?"  about my process I will write in a separate post. Cheers and Love, Elizabeth

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Motherhood Post 465......

I find myself, as of late sharing my mothering experiences. If I had just one or two children those might be fewer and further in-between, but then with five kids well the words flow more often.
This commute is crazy. I mean look at the traffic.
I still can not believe I  stepped into single motherhood for a second time in my life. Perhaps that might be why I keep writing about it. How does that happen? Twice divorced. I'd rather eat twice baked potatoes every night for year than go through this again.  Not good on the relationship resume that is for sure.
Ethan just taking it all in. Moo!
My boys and I have settled on a small ranch which has been my dream since I was 18 years old.  One weekend last Fall I just sat in my car crying. Crying because it really feels good to just sit before God and cry it out. I was asking God to just show me what should be next, and I actually said to God, "I would just like to live the dream of my youth."  Living in an old farm house in the middle of nowhere is not what most young girls dream, but I did. Now with no husband to boohoo the idea I could at least pray and ask God now. That same day, a young woman walked into my store and said, "Hey I know you are looking for a place, I have an old farm house on my property."  NO FREAKING KIDDING!!!!!  God, in his awesome, answer my prayer and bless my soul kind of way is taking care of this mother and her dreams.
My driveway takes me breath away. Thank you God!
 What needed to come with that farm house was a sturdy four wheel drive rig. Again, shopping for an SUV and well to be honest, I never had to drive a used car. I have owned few cars and rolled them brand new off a lot and drove four years and years.  I could not see with starting two new business's and finances still in limbo with divorce stuff, I again sat and asked God to give me direction in even how to buy a car. I am not car savvy when it comes to used cars and that day. A friend walks into my store to see how I am doing. He is older and wiser and has a sound business mind. I asked him about car buying. Right there he told me was selling his SUV because he had just bought a brand new car. He said I could have it for half of what blue book listed it as.  Did God just do this or am I living in a world of luck and coincidence. Now add in that my boyfriend happens to specialize in the brand and dealer of this used car, because there have been a few minor problems that he could fix for me. (Yes that was a subtle drop of a man in my life, but that story will come later.)
I named him "Chocolate Chip" as he greets me each morning. 
Back to motherhood.  How does this post even read about my kids and being a mother. Taking care of my kids is very important to me. Seeing that they are safe and have a home that is cozy and fun.  Asking God in this journey of being a mother that  would be able to sustain a home and safe vehicle as living where I now live has challenged my driving skills.
I have no idea who owns these guys, but I often stop to pet them.
My boys have adjusted to this new normal and they love where we live and grumble when we have to be in town, because they would rather be home outside playing. Our God, my God and your God is sustains all things good. Look for that goodness and you will find it smiling at you. Cheers~Elizabeth

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Single Mommy Badger of Honor

I am now into my 11th month of being a single mom and giving myself a "Single Mommy Badger of Honor."  It's been really interesting, challenging and quite the ride along with much transition and change. I never let myself "face the reality", but more lived the reality. How do you face what you are living. It's like saying, I am going to look at those jeans and tell you how they look and feel rather than wearing them. I am wearing my life on my sleeve these days. Funny that I would drive by this little badger, never ever having seen one up close and personal. I start writing this and here this little fellow is in the road. God you an amazing sense of humor.
My Badger of Honor is important. No one person will ever know how heavy life was, has been and is, but I am here, I am healthy and I have accomplished some important milestones regardless. Thus that shiny badge in my creative mind is polished and being worn. 

I looked in the mirror this morning and studied my face. I thought of the countless times I cried this year.  And then the MORE times I have laughed.  I thought of Emerson, with me having the slightest sniffle, asking me if I am crying again.  Because sometimes I laugh so hard I am crying.  I think of the boys settling on cereal for dinner after I have worked all day. I think of my messy house, because I have yet to find a house keeper who wants to drive 30 minutes to the middle of farmland.  Here is a newsflash....there is toothpaste in my sink, piles of laundry and I have not mopped my floors once.  Looking in the mirror I just smiled. I did not look haggard, bitter or old.  I just looked like a healthy mom, kissed by the sun, and exactly as I wish to look, happy and content.
I put on a pretty red sun dress and looked again in the mirror. Thinking, that being a single mom, and an older mom to  young boys and I have made it this year. I love how God designed me from the inside out. How at 49 years old, I can still smile and feel confident in my own skin.  This year did not break me.  This year made me stronger. At first when I just typed that I got mad at myself. I do not want to be stronger. I just want to live, breath, and smile. I want to be weak enough that I learn how to ask for help because I am done being "strong" or "stronger". I am not. I am just me. My kids still want to be around me. They have watched the struggle, the tears, and my frustrations.

It is not my mother's heart to have my boys coming from a home divided, but they adapt and you know what they have their own set of struggles and will one day tell their stories.  The biggest gift God has given us this season is a 1910 farm house nestled about 30 minutes out of town. It's dated and old and does not offer the kinds of home comforts I have grown up with.  What it has given me is precious time with my boys. We do lots of driving.  Emerson and I can sing over and over the songs on our 2015 Grammys CD.  Whatever boy who sits in the front gets a front row to deer, turkey's, owls, horses, pheasant, quail, badgers and cows. We spend all that time talking and connecting.  The best conversations have come on these road trips. God knew we would need that time disconnected. Really disconnected as there is little cell service in these parts.

No matter how much you love God, serve and live by the principles laid out in God's Word there is pain in this world.  Choosing to embrace it, live it, and share it is a process of growth, good health and release. It took an adjustment time for all of us. It took making major decisions on my part. Sometimes not making very good ones.  I forgive myself, and as each day passes, there is a hope and JOY. Always joy in those harder times. Maybe God just designed me as a happy and joyful person.  Or perhaps it is HIM in my life that makes this journey so much more joyful.

Today, that silly "Single Mommy Badger of Honor" is also for you. If you are a single mommy, just know that having a sense of humor will get you through to the other side. Cheers, love and JOY~~Elizabeth

Friday, January 30, 2015

Wreckless Abandonement

I first want to say that I meant to spell "wreckless" as it is, instead of "reckless" which is actually the correct spelling.

I have been in two marriage wrecks. Crash and burn on both accounts. It really does take two to for people to part company and move on. Sadly there is often that one side you hear.  I really try my best to honor, now two ex-husbands. You will never see me sharing the scoop on what that story looks like.

I have invested a total of 27 years in marriage. It makes me sad that I could never figure out how to keep my marriages in place. As a Christian woman, especially one who was a Sunday School teacher, Young Life leader, and mentor to many young women, one might think I could get it together.  Sadly two households divided.  Why?  Always the question that people want answered.  Perhaps I just suck at being a wife.

Or perhaps I have done all the things we learn to be a good wife and in so doing giving up who I was in both marriages and after years of trying to be this or that there is this break, this wreck, this person crashing into a wall and although it takes two, I truly had a big part in both.

Now that I have been single, and adjusted well to being a single mom life has been easy and breezy.  I launched two business's in the Fall with both going well. I have moved to a darling little 1910 farmhouse in the middle of no-where land. My boys love their school.

I decided four years ago when David and I first split up that there would never be another person to step into my life. If I get it wrong once, then twice is there really a 3rd time? Does "three's a charm" really mean in relationships, too? I think not. And because I think not I have abandoned ever meeting someone, let alone dating. If each marriage has been a wreck then I will abandon the hope of ever loving again. Thus we have "Wreckless Abandonment."

I have had many suitors come my way.  Asking me to dinner, to lunch, to coffee, a concert, etc.  I have said not to every single one. I have joked that even when  I am offered to have lunch brought to me, and I can be dying of hunger, I will still say no as not to ever lead any interest in the direction of hope.  I might just say I am a wee bit flattered that at almost 50 there are still many kind souls who have an interest in me. My cold heart is closed for business.  Actually I have a loving heart, but just one that can not ever be taken down a path in a relationship, so keeping things on the level of friendship.

Merrily I have gone along enjoying life and being very content. God has shown me much favor in the transitions of this past year and my  heart leaps with joy daily over how HE is showing me true and lasting love. My identity is in HIM alone.

I have always encouraged the young single women I mentor to focus on living your life in the design of how God made you. If you are finding LIFE in HIM, then He will give you the desires of your heart. Sometimes we don't even know what those are, but He will show you.  Because I believe that the Word of God is truth, I may not have my own life figured out, but God gives me the words to encourage and inspire these young women who desire to find Mr. Right. And, now as a single gal I am living out what I share.

There truly is not this heart abandoned to love or be loved again. There is a heart that is healing and finding a place of new kinds of joy and contentment. There is much joy in this world. There is also much contentment if we are living in the designs of how God made us. I have not had an experience yet that has robbed me of joy. Thanking God that in each day, as wreckless, or reckless as it may seem, He continues to show his love of me.
Blessings and Love, Elizabeth