Posted in choices, family, friends, Uncategorized

Resistant to Change

It takes thousands of years of wind, rain and sun to change the earth. There is clear evidence those elements made their mark on the rock formations above. These are in New Mexico. They have been altered but they didn’t move. The wind and water had to go around, over, under or through the rock. It may or may not be smooth to the touch but it appears so.

What I find most difficult about personal change isn’t actually changing, it’s getting those closest to you to accept the “new” you. Of course they encourage you to lose weight and exercise but when you do, you’re told that you are too concerned with how you look and getting old.

When you try to be a better listener and not talk, they say great. But when faced with the “new” you, they ask multiple times is everything okay because you’re so quiet.

If you mention wanting to learn something new or pursue something different, you are given support until you actually do it. Then it’s, I didn’t know you had the knack for that or that’s not very practical.

When you decide you won’t allow people to mistreat you or speak disrespectfully to you, everyone says good for you. Until you stand up to them and then it’s your taking the other side or who do you think you are now?

You want to be more outgoing, meet new people and have fun. Again that’s great! Then when you do, it’s you’re too old for that or I need you and you’re not available.

Change, real long term change is hard, really, really hard. And when we actually step out in faith, and do the hard work to make lasting change the support of those closest to us is important. However when we change ourselves, it forces changes in those around us. Maybe the change isn’t noticeable, but usually when we make a difficult change it causes a ripple in the water, a bump in someone’s road. People don’t like that. They say they are supportive but it usually turns out they are supportive until it’s inconvenient or uncomfortable for them.

Ask yourself, are you truly being supportive of someone you love make a big change in his/her life? Or do you pull back when it suddenly becomes uncomfortable for you.

Posted in book, book review, books, characters, choices, fictional, friends, love, men, New life, novels, people, strong, Uncategorized, WordPress, Writing

I admit it, I am addict

book

Alright, I may have admitted this before, but it is important we own our addictions. And I have found a new website which happily feeds my addiction. It is Thrift Books. I’ve been using the library for ebooks but sometimes I am impatient and don’t want to be 11th in line for a book, so I feel compelled by my addiction to buy the book. Thrift Books helps me afford to do that but, I am a book addict. I will say it again. I am a book addict. Since January 1st, I have read 38 books. Which means I am averaging one book approximately every 3.8 days. And since last fall I have specifically become addicted to detective mystery series set either in another time or another place. These include:

  • The Armand Gamache Books by Louise Penny – set in Quebec, present day
  • The Maisie Dobbs Books by Jacqueline Winspear- set in England pre and post WWI
  • The Ian Rutledge Books by Charles Todd- set in England post WWI 
  • Bruno, Chief of Police Books by Martin Walker- set in St. Denis area, France, present Day

I am not certain why I have suddenly become addicted to this type of book but I do know why a series captures me. A good writer makes a character real in my mind. These characters become my friends. I think about them. I wonder what they are doing when I am finished with a series. What do I share with each of them.  Each character faces their own demons and identifying with this is easy. I question my choices like Armand. I have been hurt and right now I keep s wall around my emotions like Maisie. Ian struggles with a voice in his head of a lost soldier. I struggle with my own voice chastising me for making so many wrong choices. I long for love like Bruno.

I admire them and their unique qualities. What can I learn from their lives and then incorporate into my own life so I will be happier, more content person.  I want to be a better listener like Armand. I want to be patient like Maisie and not miss the details. I want to push past my fears like Ian. And I want to live a life rich with friends and the love of the simple things like Bruno. I know they are fictional characters but I still learn something about myself through each book, each story, each struggle and each triumph.

So again, I admit I am an addict, a book addict and I hope I never am cured.

 

Posted in family, friends, God, New life, Uncategorized

Where do you belong?

  
Do you know where you belong? Do you have a place that is home? I’m not talking about a house but a place where you feel totally accepted? A place where your heart finds comfort? A place where friends are family and family are friends?

I hope so because I can tell you not having a place to belong makes one heartsick. I thought I had found where I belonged but divorce cost me that community. Now alone, I am like a ship with no sails in the ocean of life. Ugh what a terrible metaphor but it describes how I feel.

I am not at home or comfortable where I went to high school and college. I’ve been gone almost 34 years and I only lived there for 8 years. My finances greatly limits where I can go buy even if I had unlimited resources, I don’t know where I’d go. 

What makes you feel at home? What makes you feel accepted, part of the community? Do you have friends who are family and family who are friends? What brings you comfort? What makes you call your place home? 

Posted in friends, friendship, love, marriage, mistakes, Uncategorized, weight

Whatever happened to?

I watched a story this morning about the enduring friendship of five men. They have been friends for 50 years and will have attended all 50 Super Bowl games. Without going into detail, at times they have had to help each other through difficult times in order to make it happen.

I wonder where friends like that exist? In our world of texting and no real face to face time will friendships like continue to be developed? There is so much communication that takes places in the tone and intonation of our voice and body language which can never be translated to characters in a text.

  
I often wonder how I misread the women I believed to be my friends. Fully expecting their emotional support during and after my divorce, it was as though they had never truly been my real friends. Even after 20 plus years they turned their backs on me. My real friends didn’t abandon me even during my most difficult time. Unfortunately none of them live by me, so when I’ve been in need of a warm hug, handholding and just the company of a friend they sadly aren’t available.

So I bought You can’t lie to me by Janine Driver, lie detection expert for the FBI, CIA and ATF. They must have given me clues that their friendship wasn’t what I believed it to be. And clearly my ex-husband was lying all the time about what he was doing and I either ignored the signs or didn’t recognize them. I will do everything in my power never to be duped again by anyone.

Posted in Blogging, choices, daughters, depression, divorce, Experience, Faith, family, fear, friends, friendship, Health, help, Hiding, love, marriage, men, mistakes, Moving, New life, questions, relationships, sons, Uncategorized, values, women, WordPress, words, Writing

Fear, Silence, Homelessness

homeless

We read stories everyday of women that have been abused by a man. And sadly these women tend to repeat bad choices and go from one bad relationship to another. For anyone with a solid self-esteem and self-worth, it is incredulous that any woman would stay in such a damaging relationship. Here is something that so many people fail to understand; the abuser rarely walks in and begins the abuse immediately. There is physical abuse and emotional abuse. They go hand in hand but emotional abuse can happen without physical abuse. That is my story.

Why didn’t I share? I was embarrassed and ashamed. Slowly over time my sense of independence was destroyed. Over time the belief I was lovable was destroyed. Day by day comments, looks, turning things around so I would begin to question myself believing somehow I caused him to cheat and having my concerns being dismissed and ignored regularly created a complete sense of instability. If my ex-husband was home I was always tied up in knots because I was worried I wasn’t making him happy. When he was out-of-town I was tied up in knots because I worried about what he was doing. Should I have left years ago? Of course, but he didn’t reveal his true-self all at once. He did it slowly over time. Think of a bucket being filled by one drop of water at a time. It takes a long time before the bucket overflows. So don’t judge your friend who finds herself in my position. Listen to her. Don’t rebuke her for not leaving sooner. Hug her. Offer support anyway you can. Don’t exclude her because she is no longer a couple. And certainly do NOT remain friends with her abusive ex-husband.

If I could give advice to any woman who is living with a narcissist, it would be to read as much as you can about narcissism and how narcissists manipulate their victims. I would encourage her to find someone to share any secrets i.e. his cheating, his addictions, his crimes. Had I come forward the first time I found out what he was doing, I might have received support from my friends. However the shame he created in me, kept me silent. Silence is a killer. It kills your spirit. So speak up. Leaving is scary. I am facing homelessness at 56 because I was a stay-at-home mom and with no full-time work experience since 1984, I can’t get any business to take a chance on me.

Why do I write about this again? I write about this again because I can’t just dump the over-flowing bucket of abuse. It leaves as slowly as it came. Now I have a small hole in the bottom of the bucket and daily a little more of it drains out. It is just going to take time, a lot of time. Sadly I don’t have time when it comes to a job. While my ex enjoys a life in the lap of luxury, ignores his children and pretends he never destroyed lives, I work to survive and they learn to accept life as fatherless children.

Posted in Blogging101, Experience, Faith, family, friends, friendship, Fun, God, Jesus, love, Moving, New life, people, relationships, Uncategorized

Is your church friendly or inviting?

welcomechurch

Since relocating three years ago, I have been visiting churches. I’ve lost count of how many I’ve visited. They include churches of all sizes and denominations. I remember thinking my church (where I was involved prior to my divorce) was friendly and what I have learned is that friendly and inviting are not the same thing. Every church I’ve been to has some moment either before or during the service to greet the people around you. At a few churches no one has approached me. At most churches people shake my hand and say hello but that is the end of the moment. At only two churches have members taken the time to introduce themselves, ask a question or two about me and then invite me to join them in some additional activity. I even had a couple offer to walk with me to their Sunday School Class. I had a woman offer to pay for me to attend their women’s dinner when she find out I was unemployed. Guess which churches I liked the best?

Shaking someone’s hand and saying hello doesn’t cut it. It is difficult enough to walk into a church not knowing a soul, especially when you are alone.  I remember being comfortable at my church and being involved. In the beginning I was great at seeking out and inviting new people to join me in Sunday School or a Bible Study or a women’s group or a family event. But over time, like most people, I became complacent. I am learning first hand how not reaching out beyond a handshake makes a visitor feel excluded and unwanted.

When you are busy chitchatting with your friends about an upcoming event, I am left standing there twiddling my thumbs praying the pastor hurries up and tells us to sit down. A visitor is a fish out of water. A handshake and hello does not invite them in for a swim. Now some of you may be saying I need to make an effort and just join a group. While that thought is nice in theory, in practice there are very few people that will actually on their own step out of their comfort zone and join a group. For most people just being brave enough to visit a church is placing them way outside their comfort zone. It is up to the church members to reach out and invite the visitors to experience their church on a deeper and more personal level. Don’t say to yourself, well we have a committee to do that. Or we have people that do a follow up call. It is the responsibility of every believer to try and make that connection.

So next time you have those moments to greet people or share the peace, take the time to get their name and find something out about them. If you don’t have time, make sure you get them before they walk out of the sanctuary. Invite them to something. Get their email, give them your email. Get out of your comfort zone and make your church not just a friendly place but an inviting place.

Posted in Blogging, choices, divorce, Dreaming, Experience, Faith, friends, friendship, help, love, movie, New life, Uncategorized, WordPress, Writing, Writing 201, writing lessons

Living Life as just One

 

Living Life as 1

Yesterday I received a survey from Austin Trail of Lights asking me about my experience. There was one question asking who I came with and how many people there were. They had one HUGE error. There was no selection for anyone who might have gone alone. It was assumed that to go you wouldn’t go alone.

I find this mentality is pervasive in our society. Even when you go online to book a room at a hotel, it is automatically set to 2 people. Restaurant hosts look at you odd when you say just 1. The movie ticket booth isn’t any different. I’ve taken to buying my tickets online to avoid the odd stare.

There is a difference between being alone and lonely. I was lonely when I was married. Even though someone shared my bed, my home, my life it was hollow and empty. I wasn’t alone but I was desperately lonely. I don’t mind going places alone. I have traveled alone because I didn’t want to wait to see places and experience new things. That being said, I do get lonely. It’s not easy making friends especially at this age. I have no home which means no neighbors. I have no children in school so no classmate parents. I don’t have a spouse’s co-workers or a job of my own with co-workers. Churches aren’t generally friendly places. I know they like to think differently but typically there is nothing more than a nod or a quick handshake. Very few are willing to go the extra mile and reach out.

I pray I don’t spend the rest of my life alone but I can guarantee you either way I won’t be lonely.

Posted in Blogging, book, books, characters, communication, Dreaming, Experience, favorite, friends, New life, novels, Uncategorized, Writing, writing lessons

Saying goodbye to a good book

Why do I always feel a little sad when I finish a good book? I should be happy to be finished and ready to move on to the next good read but unless it’s a sequel I never feel that way.

A good author can make the characters seem real. I become involved in their lives, sorrows and joys. Time, life situation and age are immaterial. I connect as much with a thirty year old single female trying to make it in New York City as much as I do with an angry Englishman in 1779. Then there is the love longing Mexican girl and the post World War II single, female author seeking the place she belongs, so different but I identify with both.

I wonder what happened to the newly divorced woman who gave herself and her soon to be ex husband a divorce party in a failed effort to save her marriage. Did she find love again? Or what about Demelza? Does she become a grandmother and Ross a grandfather? Did the abused wife heal her heart and soul once she was free?

I can go places I will never see and meet people from the beginning of time to present day and even people from the future.  I wonder could I possibly write about and share a story, a world and people? I just know my life would be one dimensional and gray without books.

Posted in Blogging, choices, Dating, divorce, Experience, family, friends, Fun, love, marriage, men, Moving, New life, Online dating, people, Uncategorized, women, WordPress, Writing

Heart to head to Reality Misconnect

 

Recently I read about the misconnect that happens when middle-aged adults enter into the online dating scene. I can’t remember where I read it but it was completely accurate.

The premise is that for most of us the last time we were dating, we were significantly younger probably in our 20s. I know it is true for me. There was no computer dating options. Now when we sign up and go online our head says I’m young. Our heart says I feel young. The same is true for men and women.

So we look at the photos and groan. These are old men. These are old women. This could be my dad or granddad. This could be my mom or my grandmother. I can’t possibly be in this age group, let me double check. Ugh it’s true. These old people are my contemporaries. It bites. It’s frustrating because society (yes it’s true whether you like it or not) give men much more leeway when choosing a partner. Men can easily marry someone much younger with little to no comment and they can marry down educationally and economically with no one saying a thing. My ex is a perfect example. He has partnered down in age, economics and education. He can because he is a man and he makes a lot of money. As I’ve always told my girls you never see a young woman with an old poor man. Money talks. Especially when it comes to dating and remarrying later in life. I suppose if I made a lot of money I would have a slightly broader choice but society still keeps women in a narrower role.

If I were to marry a younger man who had no children, people would feel bad for him because he was giving up his chance for children of his own. If I married someone with less education and less money, I would hear she must be desperate. I know times change but change is slow and I don’t believe this will change until women can have children into their 50s and 60s. An old man can marry a woman of child bearing age and still give her a family. The reverse is not true. And please do not lecture me on invitro, egg donation, adoption etc. This is an orange to orange comparison not an apple to orange one.

So I wasted $75 to join an online dating site where I now have my profile hidden. And I expect it to stay hidden until I can connect my young mind and heart to the reality of my age.

Posted in Blogging101, choices, communication, daughters, family, fear, friends, God, love, mistakes, New life, people, relationships, Uncategorized, vacation, words, Writing

Lessons to Unlearn #1

  
I believe we are all aware that we learn lessons as we go through life. Some are obvious like; look both ways before crossing the street or foul language is not appropriate. But what about all of the lessons we learn unknowingly through our interactions with the people around us? For me lesson #1 to unlearn is:

Compliments people give you are never really genuine and can not be trusted to be true.

Growing up I don’t remember a time when I received a compliment that someone in my circle of family or friends didn’t find someway to discount what was said. If someone told me I was pretty and I shared that, I didn’t hear; I think so too or they are right or how lovely. I heard; well you could look like a monkey for all I know but I’d still love you. What does a child hear? The compliments can’t be trusted. I could give many examples but the point is I was taught to close myself off from any positive comments. I learned people don’t give genuine heartfelt comments and when I receive nice words, I should immediately disregard them.

How has this affected me? I have closed myself off from letting people love me. I’ve filtered out all the nice comments and have only let the criticism come through. No wonder I am so self criticial and struggle with believing in myself.

So for 2016, the first lesson I am going to teach myself is this;

Compliments given from people are genuine and can be trusted to be true.