Thursday, April 29, 2010

Posting #50

This is my 50th posting... I'm really not sure if anyone is reading this.

Sometimes I just feel like curling up in a ball and disappearing... today is one of those days. My head hurts, my body hurts, and my heart is hurting the most.

Granted, I am entering the weepy stage again. I don't seem to be able to stop feeling like crying, or actually crying. I seem to be running on a 23 day cycle, so I'm getting this weepy stage way more than I should. I would rather it just be over.

I wasn't supposed to be alone at this time in my life. I originally got married at 18. It was supposed to be forever. I wanted so much to make right decisions, I thought I was. I got married in the temple in Idaho Falls. I had babies. I was a good mom, and I tried to be a good wife.

But it didn't work out. It takes two to make it work and one of us quit trying. One of us decided that being a parent was too much and wanted out... so he got out. Far out... he disappeared.

He was actually disappearing before we separated. He was self-employed as a computer programmer/analyst. He would set up computer systems for clients and maintain them after wards. Sometimes he would tell me he was going to a client's place of business, but hours later I would get a phone call from the client asking where he was. This was before cell phones. I didn't know where he was and I would start calling around. He wouldn't come home that night, and possibly not the next. I never did find him when he would do this, but he treated me angrily when he returned and said I had no business prying into his life...

I even got a phone call from a man when I was pregnant with Bobby. The man claimed to have pictures of my husband with his wife. I didn't want to believe it, so I hung up on the man. I called Calvin at work and his reaction was "I can't believe you are asking me this... I wouldn't have to ask you this if it were reversed!" I now know that is a classic response from a guilty person, but then I just felt guilty instead for asking.

I was suffering from battered woman's syndrome, even though he didn't physically hit me. I was still battered emotionally. He wore me down so far, I was afraid to do anything without his permission.

Years later he has resurfaced. He has been in Michelle's life a bit, and Tiffany's as well. I have been able to get the past due support on the books. It amounts to over $222,000.00!! That money would come in so handy about now. I could help my children, be secure in my home, take care of myself by myself. It accrues almost $1000.00 a month in interest alone, simple interest at 9%!

I have hated him for a long time. One of my children would tell me of something that happened when he was still with us, and I would cringe, I would cry. My heart has broken so many times over the pain that he inflicted on our precious children. I have spent years praying to be able to forgive him... Learning to forgive David helped me to begin to forgive Calvin. I can at least be in the same room with him now without wanting to claw his eyes out.

As awful as my marriage was with David, with his admitted addiction and infidelity, it was so much worse with Calvin. Calvin has never admitted anything, he won't. He tried to convince the kids I was crazy. That I was the one that was unfaithful. He denied his children.

Why am I writing about this now? Maybe it is to help me to let go, once and for all. I need to let go, to move on.

There is a lot to move on from....

Special Needs or Special Spirit...

I've found myself thinking a lot on the subject of my youngest son, Bobby. Although he is now 20 in physical age, but emotionally, he is about 7 overall, and in some areas he is only 3 or 4. When he was 2-1/2, he was diagnosed with Autism.

At this particular point in my life I was near the end of my second year of counseling for the recovery of child abuse issues. I had addressed the physical abuse and had ventured into the arena of sexual abuse. I had not yet touched on the S.R.A. (Satanic Ritual Abuse). I also had not yet accepted myself or believed I was all that innocent. I was still very much a victim of my father, even though he had been dead for almost 10 years. My counselor described my feelings towards myself as "self-loathing". I had just turned 32 years old, having been married for 13 years.

I had 6 children, ranging in ages from 12-1/2 down to 2-1/2. All of them were very different in personality. Bobby seemed to have some quirks, things that were a bit odd, but considering the diversity of my 6 children, I didn't think it was anything more than that. At 18 months he was sorting toys by colors and lining them in rows. I thought that meant he was really smart. He would gently touch an object (sometimes cars) as if he were reading braille. He seemed to be really intense in his play, being satisfied with a single toy for hours. He still took a bottle, I did not seem to be able to get him to give it up. I was determined to make him use a cup, so the week before Mother's Day, I threw his bottles away.

On Mother's Day and we were visiting my Mother-in-law. Those were always stressful times, she was not the nicest person to be around. In fact, she was pretty much the stereo-type created about Mother-in-laws. I found myself going into hyper-vigilant mode, just to protect my 6 children from her outbursts.

Bobby was behaving especially poorly. This was really strange for him, since he usually was "the perfect baby" as my friends in church would say about him. He usually was quite content to just sit and stare at a toy while I visited with my friends. It didn't occur to me that there was something odd about that behavior. I just figured he was happy.

But on this Mother's Day, he was not happy. He ran around her apartment, grabbing the dining room chairs and throwing them down to the floor. I could not get him contained. If I tried to hold him, he would scream. We finally left her house and went home, and I was exhausted.

I decided that Monday morning I would take him to the doctor. My husband was home, so I had a rare time of taking one child to the doctor without several more in tow. I thought he probably had an ear infection and that was why he was acting out so badly. I sat in the room, still trying to contain my child. He would run to the counter and try to open drawers and pull out supplies. So I would stand at the counter and protect the drawers. He would then run to the door and try to get out of the room. It is amazing how much a child can do in such a little room. Finally, I took him and laid him on the floor, holding one of his legs up in the air in my hand. That seemed to be the only way I could contain him, because he wiggled too much to be able to hold him securely on my lap.

When the doctor came into the room I was about in tears. I told the doctor what was going on and then he had me let go of Bobby's leg. He immediately jumped up and ran to the exam table. Climbing up one end, he ran down the table and was about to jump off the other end when I caught him. Just as I caught my baby, the doctor expressed his brief observation.

"He appears to be hyperactive".

I wanted to say "DUH!!" but held my tongue. I just stared at the doctor. But the next thing he said shattered my world in a way I didn't know was possible.

"He also appears to show signs of some autism."

Time stopped, it didn't move. I'm not sure how much went by before I started breathing again... I was terrified of autism. I thought I could deal with Down's Syndrome, or blindness or deafness or so many other things that could go wrong, but not autism. I had seen a show on t.v. when I was pregnant with my first child and I just knew I could not handle dealing with that condition. The show said it took simplicity and consistency to work with a child with autism. I had neither, I was an adult with A.D.H.D., and P.T.S.D. but didn't know it at the time. I just knew I had a really hard time keeping at tasks and not bouncing all over the place at times. And I suffered from bouts of depression.

With the birth of each of my children, I would watch for smiles and eye contact, and then be relieved when I got them. Of all the things the doctor could have said to me, that was literally the one I feared the most.

I left the doctor's office in a daze. When I got home I called a friend who had a child with O.C.D. and she guided me through the process of getting a definitive diagnosis. I bought some more bottles, and he immediately calmed down. This was my first experience in breaking one of his rules, of disrupting his routine. I did eventually get him off the bottle, but I think it took about another 2 years.

I cried to my Father in Heaven. How could He do this to me? Although I had come out of a really dysfunctional time, where all I could do some days was get out of bed long enough to get dressed, I still did not know how I was going to be a good parent to a child with autism. I didn't understand and I felt so very overwhelmed. As I let my heart calm down, I was given this answer. I wrote it down in my journal...

My Little Bobby

I see my child, in the path you are on
there are areas in which you need growth.
I will provide for you the opportunity you need
in which this growth can be realized.
And I will send that opportunity in the form of a child.
This is no ordinary child I send you.
You will know the moment you first see him
that he is not the same as the others.
As you watch the intricacies of his movements,
the grace of his touch,
you will know that this is God's poetry.
As you look into the beauty of his eyes,
you will see that this is innocence in it's purest form.
He will be a part of you as no other child can be.
Your lives interweave as you reach out to understand him.
And as you do this you will realize that this child is you.
Your hearts are the same.
They beat the same, they feel the same, they love the same.
But most important of all, they each carry the same pure innocence.
Lay hold on this opportunity I send you.
Reach out with your heart to pull him out of his shell,
and in doing so his heart will pull you out of yours.

This answer to my prayer gave me great comfort. I accepted that Heavenly Father knew what He was doing. I accepted that my child was different. I also came to understand how special he is. Because of his innocence, he is shielded from the pull of the adversary. He is not accountable in God's eyes. He does not now, and probably won't ever while in this earthly state, understand enough to be accountable. I believe his salvation is secure, and his work here on earth is to be a blessing to others. He has certainly been a blessing to me.

My counselor was concerned about what I would do. He had dealt several times before with counseling a parent who discovers their child has a developmental disability. He asked me what my plans were. That seemed odd to me. I told him that nothing about Bobby had changed, only my information about him. I was going to learn what I could and do the best I knew how. My counselor was relieved. He told me that far too often, the parent has chosen to give their child away. I could not comprehend doing that. But unfortunately, his father could. Not long after the diagnosis, my husband decided he could not have fathered this child, and accused me of cheating. That accusation later developed into his denial of all his children. He still tries to deny his parentage of them. I am very glad to be divorced from him.

Bobby presently lives with his sister Bridgette, her family, and his brother Danny. Bridgette and her husband were able to buy a big house in Woodburn. She called me shortly after they moved in to request I let Bobby live with them. Danny was already there. She felt it was time for me to have a rest. Time for me to get my life in order. I had just a few months earlier finalized my divorce with David.

At first I said no, I knew it would be a big challenge to take him in, and with Eric's illness (her youngest has Cystic Fibrosis) I felt it was too much. My mother convinced me to hear Bridgette out, so I did. I then asked her and her husband to pray about it, and I would too. We did, and the answer was to let him go. That was one of the hardest things I have ever done. But it was the right decision.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Butt Paste, Paint Jobs, and Carpet...

Anyone know what "butt paste" is?

It's what the doctors at Emanuel Hospital N.I.C.U. called the special diaper cream they used on the babies there. It consists of 1 part each of Desitin, A&D Ointment, and Vaseline. Tiffany's pediatrician just called it her special secret recipe. Anyway, it really works on diaper rash, so we had some mixed up...

Yesterday, when I was at the dentist and Tiffany was home doing homework, the girls found the container of "butt paste" and emptied it on the carpet, both outside the bathroom door and in my bedroom closet, which is a walk in. It is thick, so it wasn't accidentally spilled. It was purposely dipped into with little fingers and smeared onto the carpet. Tiffany was beside herself when I got home, trying to get the thick, greasy globs off the bathroom floor and out of the carpet. The girls were grounded to their room for a very long time.

It reminded me of years ago, when Bobby would make big messes. But his messes weren't made of "butt paste"... or at least not the kind that treats diaper rash. We called them him "paint jobs" and he seemed to do it every day. I would wake up in the morning to a smell drifting through his bedroom door. The floor would be smeared from wall to wall with a layer of brown. The smell was strong enough to gag you, and I had to learn to laugh with this in order to not loose my mind. This was where I learned A LOT of patience. I ended up having to seal his bedroom floor with very expensive primer (it was a wood floor) and then painted it because I could not get the smell out of the floor. I tried to get him to stop, to catch his messy diapers (he was in diapers until he was 8!) but he was determined I would not interrupt his routine (put autism with O.C.D. and A.D.H.D. and you have my little boy).

Eventually, he changed his routine and stopped the "paint jobs". But not after he ruined the couch, living room carpet and several other things. Those were trying times.

Shortly after his 8th birthday, he agreed to start using the bathroom. One day I had enough. I told him they didn't make diapers any bigger and he was too big for the size we had. I took duct tape and taped the diaper onto him to hold it in place, because the sides barely touched. He didn't like that, so he went into the bathroom and used the toilet! He never had an "accident" after that. Had I known that is what it would take, I would have done it a lot sooner.

I looked at the floor of my closet... I'm grateful it is just "butt paste", and it is coming out. Just a few more passes with the carpet cleaner and I'm sure it will be only a memory.

Monday, April 26, 2010


If you can't beat them, join them!

I've never really bought into that idea, but today I've changed my mind...

I've been lamenting my birthday for months now. It seems to have really hit me lately. I think the reason it has bothered me so much is because I'm also single again. I was kinda hoping to not be alone at this point in my life... Can't do anything about that, I'm going to be 50 whether I like it or not! So I've decided to get on the band wagon and like it.

I've decided I want to go to the beach. Yes, I will be taking pictures. I've invited my kids and their families. I really wish Chris, Crystal and Kullie could come too. Michelle and Bridgette are checking their calendars. Tiffany and Danny are definitely coming. I am sure Bobby won't. He complains about having to go to family functions. He's forgiven though, but I think I'll try to talk him into it.

We are going to Seaside, Oregon... We will visit the Candyman and get lots of Salt Water Taffy... When getting Salt Water Taffy, it must be from the Candyman! All others just don't compare! My favorite is peanut butter. I also like licorice. Since I can't eat real licorice (made with wheat), I will stock up on licorice Salt Water Taffy.

I love the Oregon beaches. We have a tradition that when going to the beach, one MUST walk into the water... no matter the time of year. I remember taking David (2nd husband) there for the first time and convincing him to wade the water... It was November!!! We had a good laugh.

That marriage was not all bad. I had a talk with Tiffany last night about letting go. I really loved him, and it was hard to close my heart down to stop the hurt. It was the only way to protect myself. I remember praying about how much my heart hurt, how much David had pulled away from me. I told Heavenly Father that I was tempted to just pull my heart back and quit giving it to David. I thought I would be chastised, told that was not the way a wife should be. I got a surprise answer was to do exactly that. So with God's help I was able to pull my heart back, put a wall around it, and protect it from the abuse and neglect I was receiving until I was strong enough to get me physically away.

As much as I loved him, I cannot trust him. Without trust, the love is incomplete. There would be no real marriage there. Don't worry kids, I'm not taking him back... He wants me to, but I'm worth more than that. I do not want that kind of life anymore.

Back to the beach. I have not been to the beach for several years. I think by the time the day is over I will truly feel like I have come home.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Wouldn't it be nice if life had a "redo" button?

I mean, we could we could learn from our mistakes without actually having to keep the mistakes... or suffer the consequences. Every time an unwanted outcome occurs, just push the button and make a different choice.

Then again, I wonder if we all would be so busy pushing the buttons that we miss out on the things worth keeping...

Some of my greatest blessings have come out of the ashes of mistakes. If I let Him, God can take my worst blunders and shape me into a better daughter. The key is that I let Him.

Tomorrow I get the privilege of going to church. What a blessing it is to be able to worship as I choose, where I choose, and with whom I choose. I pray I never forget in whose grace I rest.

I think if I had the chance to redo, I'd choose my same life all over again. I wouldn't want to miss out on the blessings I gained along the way.


First I had a desk top computer. It is old, but suits my needs. I feel lost if it crashes, so I am protective of it. It is like an extension of me.

I do my banking online. I am online a lot with Facebook, email and this blog. I am not all that literate with my computer, but I still feel lost without it.

Then I injured my sciatic nerve and could no longer sit. I couldn't do anything on my computer and it was driving me nuts! So I got a notebook computer. It is small and light enough that I could hold it with one hand and type with the other. I got a USB mouse so I could navigate better and play games on Facebook. I had a lot of time to kill, pretty much stuck laying down, on my back, for months and months. But I noticed the notebook kept getting slower and slower.

Last, I felt sorry for my ex-husband and bought an old Dell Pentium 4 lap top from him for $100. He needed money. He always needs money. It needed to be wiped clean so I left it with Danny. So now I have 3 computers!! Do I feel a bit... obsessed?

In the meantime, I started using Tiffany's computer when I moved in with her. Although she has been really good about it and hasn't complained, I don't blame her if she was getting tired of sharing. Although I have been able to sit for short periods of time over the last few months, and my desk top had been set up at my sister's house, it got packed away in the garage when I moved, and the notebook is still pathetically slow.

A few weeks ago Danny returned the lap top to me, all ready to go online. I have been using it faithfully since we moved. Yesterday I turned the lap top on and it started making a groaning noise. Then it said something about not finding the disc and unable to boot. Danny says it means the hard drive is going out, I need to get a new one.

The notebook is still pathetically slow.

So this morning I finally got my desk top back online. I feel like I am back where I started.... first I had a desk top.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Permanence Is Getting Closer...

We got notice today that the other unit will be empty on May 24th. I don't know how long it will take to get it ready for us, but should definitely be by the end of May! So our move-in date will probably be the 29th. That's 5 weeks from now, I can do this.

It will be nice to be able to let the girls run around without concern of disturbing the downstairs neighbors. I've noticed the upstairs people aren't really concerned about disturbing us! Man they make a lot of noise!

Danny came over after work again today. He is spending the night then helping me work in the garage tomorrow. The first set of shelves is tilting forward and it took a bit, but we figured out why. Tomorrow we will fix those shelves so they are straight and sturdy. Luckily it is a simple fix, time consuming, and a bit of a pain, but simple.

We also have to move all the boxes that contain food out of the garage and into the apartment. I got the contract for the garage today and it says NO FOODSTUFFS at all in the garage. I guess they can store under my bed. I sure an looking forward to being organized.

I know, a boring entry. At least it's not too long :-)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Corner of Tears

I entered counseling in June, 1990. I actually had an emotional breakdown and in the process started remembering bits and pieces of my childhood that I had forgotten. Dark memories of physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

One of the other things I had forgotten was that I had a talent for writing. My counselor asked me to keep a "junk journal", which he read and kept to aid in my therapy. One day I was writing my thoughts down and a poem came out. I was so surprised I called my sister and read it to her, not telling her I had just written it. She liked it and asked where I got it. I answered I had just written it, and then I remembered I used to write poems in school. How could I have forgotten that?

In the fifth grade my teacher had entered an essay I wrote in a state wide essay contest. I didn't even know it was entered until I was told I had won! I got to read my essay in front of my whole school during a special assembly. During my senior year in high school I learned about another writing contest, poetry. The winners would be published in the school magazine. I was really excited to be able to enter the contest and have others read my words... but I was nervous too.

The teacher in charge of the contest favored her students, and since I had never actually taken her class, she discouraged my entry by telling me my writing was no good. I guess I believed her, because I quit writing and didn't take it up again until I started my junk journal.

I was so incredibly influenced by others. I truly did not own my own will. I didn't discover that until I was 31 years old... it was in therapy that I learned how to make decisions based on what I wanted, and not what someone else told me to do.

This is actually the second poem I wrote in my junk journal. I memorized this one, but not the first. I have all my poems written in a book I self published, called The Forever Journey, but like most of my belongings, it is still packed away.

Corner of Tears

There is a child, a wee little girl
inside the walls called me.
She hides in the deep, dark corner of my soul
where light and warmth can't be.

There she cries til her tears are spent,
and climbs a little deeper inside.
There she dies a little more each day
for lack of beauty and light.

She's lonely and sad and scared
of love, of laughter and smiles.
She wants to come out and feel the warmth
and enjoy the sun for a while.

But she cowers inside for lack of trust,
for trust is what let her down.
The love and laughter and smiles all changed
to scowls and hate and frowns.

Til all that is left is emptiness and pain,
for the future, the present, the past.
She can't go on, her hope is lost,
the enemy won at last.

In one last cry she pleads her case,
to anyone willing to hear.
Then silently she crawls back home,
to her corner so full of tears.

I can't let her die, it's not her time,
I've got to reach her somehow.
Please help me Lord to reach this girl,
she needs me so much right now.

Please give me the strength and courage I need,
to battle the foe from within.
Please show me your love, your light and warmth,
that my child inside might win.

She hears my plea, she knows I'm here,
from her corner she sees His light.
This gives her strength, her hope returns,
and she'll fight with all her might.

I love my child, she is part of me,
it is her I need to console.
And with His strength, His beauty and love,
together we will be whole.

copyright Sandy Smith 1982

Place Special Emphasis On An Old Friendship...

I'm kinda bored today... but I'm not saying that too loudly cause those were dangerous words when my kids were all still at home... and some of them read this sometimes.

I would usually answer that comment with a chore that needed doing, like folding laundry (never ending with 6 rug rats of various ages), or washing dishes (rarely had a working dishwasher), or just sweeping a floor.

Well, my chiropractor cautioned me years ago to stop sweeping or vacuuming floors. The repetitive motion throws my hips out & now-a-days it doesn't take much to do that. As for dishes, the dishwasher works, and MY laundry is done.

So I spent some time on Facebook. One of my friends posts a daily fortune cookie... Did you know the Chinese Fortune Cookie was invented in America? It has only recently been seen in China... Anyway, for fun I clicked on it and let it give me a daily fortune. "Place special emphasis on an old friendship". Hmmm, how old?

Every once on a while I've searched on Facebook for an old friend or two. People I knew in school or when I was a young married wife or mother. I find someone, then it takes me months to get the nerve to send a friend request. I have always been shy, but I'm even more shy now. They were once friends, so why would I be afraid to renew the friendship? It takes a bit of self-talk to risk the possibility of rejection.

I sent out a couple friend requests yesterday. One accepted today. He was a friend from high school. We were both friends with a guy I had a crush on. He actually tried to help me to get this other guy to ask me out, but it never happened. The guy I had the crush on is still a friend, and I'm glad we never dated. It makes it possible for me to allow myself to care for him like a brother, which I have found is the place I have put him in my heart.

By my junior year I had only been on one date, and that was when I was 14, way too young to date. I had begged my parents to be able to go on a double date with my older sister, her boyfriend, and his cousin, with my older brother as a chaperon. We went to a stake dance and that went fine, even though the boys weren't members. Then we went home. My brother jumped out of the car when we got home and went in the house, leaving me awkwardly in the front seat with this 16 year old boy and my sister making out with her boyfriend in the back seat. It was awful and I was mad at my parents for quite a while for giving into my begging so easily. My brother finally came back out about half an hour later and got us. I didn't seem to know how to get out of the car without help. I never asked to go out again until I was 16.

Back to this high school friend. We were both barely 16, and he was getting his driver's license. I had only had the one date, and I think he had gone out once before too. With his driver's license he was free to go on a "real" date, he could borrow his dad's car. But he didn't have a girlfriend and didn't know who to ask. So we decided to go out on a date... together.

The plan was to go out to dinner and then to a stake youth dance. He wasn't a member, but was familiar with the church because this other mutual friend was a member. So he picked me up with his father's car and we were off. I enjoyed the night with him, I don't remember where we had dinner, but I do remember dancing. I remember being comfortable with him, not feeling a need to impress him because he was already a good friend.

Then it was time to go home. He had to be home by 11pm, so that meant I needed to be dropped off earlier. We left the dance early to give us plenty of time to make the curfew. A little too early. When we were close to my house he told me his parents had gone out for the evening so his house was empty. Did I want to see where he lived? I knew I should have said no, but I didn't. So we drove to his house and he parked.

He was a gentleman, opening my door and leading me to the front door of his house. I was nervous, but he was a friend and I trusted him. We went inside and he showed me around. Then we sat on the livingroom couch and he started to put his arm around me. Just as he was reaching to kiss me, the phone rang.

He got up to answer the phone and I heard him say "hello". That was all I heard til I heard him say "ok, goodby", and when he came back into the room his face was ghostly white.

"I have to take you home NOW!!" he said. That was my parents, they are on their way home now. They were checking to see if I was home yet so I have to be back when they get here!!"

So off we were again. He remained a gentleman while he opened my door and walked me to the back door of my house. My siblings and I weren't allowed to use the front door, so we always used the back. He did attempt to kiss me goodnight. I had never been kissed and I don't think he had either. It was my first kiss.... and he missed my mouth. I think we were both really embarrassed and relieved his parents called. I said goodnight and slipped through the door.

Unknown to me at the time, my brother was peeking out the window. The next morning he started teasing me. "Hit and miss" he would call me, then laugh. I was humiliated all over again.

The following Monday this friend and I talked. We decided it was best if we just remained friends, so we did. No more dates, but he was always someone good to talk to.

Funny, none of my friends at school knew anything about the abuse going on at home. Times were very different then, and I didn't know the things going on at my house weren't repeated in every home. I never talked about it, I certainly didn't know there was any way to get away from it. I wonder if any of them would have known and would have been able to help me?

There are other friends I would like to find. I'll keep searching and maybe someday I'll find a few more... and then get the nerve to say "hi, remember me?"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Regrets or Just Mistakes?

I guess this blog isn't going in the direction I intended quite as quickly as I had hoped. I've spent a fair amount of time thinking about the direction my life has gone and all the decisions I made over the years that have brought me to my present here and now.

Considering the blessings I have received from the ashes of my mistakes, I have to say I actually have few regrets. Don't get me wrong, I do have regrets, and some are whoppers, but some of the things you would think I would regret, I don't.

I don't regret either marriage. From my first I gained 6 incredible people into my life, and through them even more have entered. My family means everything to me. My children are people I can be proud of. They are good and honest and hard working. I cannot and will not regret the means in which I gained them in my life.

I don't regret the second marriage either. It was through the pain of that relationship that I finally got a true glimpse of myself. I had done a great deal of work on myself already, but my core was still in need of draining. I didn't seem to know how to reach it, how to access it to do me any good. I was floundering in life, lacking direction, lacking an understanding of what it was all about. Lacking a true relationship with God that could pull me out of the mess I had created.

I didn't mean to be callous towards God. I didn't really have a clue about what the Atonement really was. Not that I have all the answers now, but I do know more now than I knew then.

I used to see God as a stern, frowning parent who was forever shaking his head in disappointment towards me. I knew I was being taught he was full of love and forgiveness, but I don't think I really believed it. I mean, at some point shouldn't I know better? Shouldn't I quit making the same old stupid mistakes? Shouldn't it be "three strikes and you're out"? I think I saw my dad instead, and got confused.

But then I made a really bad mistake, one where I truly thought God would throw me away. One where those who should have known better reinforced that erroneous thinking. God taught me a simple yet profound truth... He doesn't throw His children away... He rescues them! I learned He would not let go of me, and when I turned to Him and held on, I gained strength, understanding, and growth. He used my mistake as a learning tool, not a rod of condemnation. He showed me His love and mercy so powerfully that there was no denying they existed.

I needed a lot of growth. I may have been in my early 40's, but in God's eyes I was... and still am... a little child, a baby. At first this truth angered me, I thought I didn't have the right to the luxury of that excuse. I was really hard on myself and I saw this truth as an excuse to let up... and I wasn't about to let up. I found out that being hard on myself actually got in the way of overcoming my mistakes. It kept me stuck on the mistakes instead of moving forward with the remedies. I notice the difference now, when I fall back into the trap of being hard on me. Growth stops and I start to fall backwards instead of allowing myself to be lifted forward. And I have no right to be harder on myself than God is, that is telling God He is wrong in His judgment of me and I really have no right to tell God He is wrong!

I don't see God as a mean, dictator parent anymore. I see a truly loving father, arms outstretched towards me, eyes pleading for me to come forward. A smile of reassurance, beckoning me to keep trying. When I fall, He isn't scolding, He is reaching to pick me up. He knows how to wipe off the dust that gets on me when I land in the dirt. And He does it without rubbing it in my face.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Why Am I An Ex-Wife?

According to a 2008 statistic sited in Wikipedia, 40% of all marriages in the USA end in divorce, and 46% of all marriages involve someone who was previously married. I fit in both those stats.

I have been thinking about writing about how and why I ended up a divorced Mormon. As a general rule, the Church encourages marriages and tries to work with their members in order to avoid divorce. There are counseling services, including marriage counseling, at our disposal. Unfortunately, more and more marriages are struggling and sometimes divorce is really the only solution.

After over two years of marriage counseling, individual counseling, co-dependency support groups and long talks with my bishop, I realized divorce was really the only sane solution left for me.

I wrote when I first started this blog that my husbands were unfaithful. As is often the case, I married twice to men who had the same core problem. They were both sex addicts. There has been no confession or acknowledgment from my first husband that he was either unfaithful or a sex addict, but the signs were there. Flashing neon bright now that I know what to look for. My second husband did confess to both and is now struggling to overcome his addiction. Because he played me for so long, he is doing it alone. I lost all trust of him and doubt it could ever be restored.

I did not realize at the time I married either man that sex addiction was an issue, although I did know my second husband had previously been unfaithful to his second wife. I was the third wife. I believed him when he told me his story, that she drove him out. I believe a different story now. I just knew I would be the best wife possible, so there would be no reason for him to cheat... Reading Robin Norwood's book "Women Who Love Too Much" really opened my eyes on that one. I was a classic Woman who believed she could "fix" the man, and create for him an environment where he could reach his full potential. Now I know that is a bunch of bunk.

But getting back to my core... Why was I attracted to that kind of man? The answer goes back to my childhood. I was attracted to a sex addict because my father was a sex addict and that was all I knew. From my earliest memories my dad was a "dirty old man" as he would jokingly call himself. He really was too, it was no joke. It was sick and pathetic. He would refer to his three daughters as his "white slaves". I was the middle daughter. I was actually trauma bonded to my dad and it took a whole lot of therapy to break that bond.

We weren't always Mormon. My uncle (Mom's brother)was a member and he had tried several times to talk to my parents. They kept refusing. The summer I was 14 we were visiting him and he invited us kids to church. I was wanting a church and had actually been going with various friends when opportunities allowed. I was happy to be invited, and the moment I walked into the chapel, I felt like I was home. It was the most wonderful feeling I had ever had. So when we went back to his house after church, my brother and I begged our parents to let us continue to go to that church back at home. They started taking the missionary discussions and eventually we were all baptized. I was so happy, I felt so clean.

I think my dad joined because it gave him access to lots of children. Years later, when my memories started to surface, it was discovered that a cult had molested a lot of the children in our ward, and my dad seemed to be the link between the ward and the cult. By this time my dad had passed away, so there was no confronting him directly. Other significant cult members were also dead. I do not want to go into any detail here, but there was significantly horrible things that went on because of that cult. I spent a whole lot of time in therapy over that subject alone.

Growing up with a sex-addicted, violent dad introduced me to a warped way of looking at life, at relationships and at myself. I was conditioned to believe my only purpose in life was to please a male. I had no right to say no. All a guy had to do was to make his move and I would give no resistance. I didn't know how or that I could. I would actually dissociate so deeply that I had no conscience memory of what had happened when it was over. I felt bad, but I didn't understand why. I thought I was just a bad person. I did not own my will or my body. I really didn't, Dad did. When dad said "jump", we literally, not figuratively, had to ask "how high?"

With this conditioning, it is easier to understand why I would choose to marry a man who was like my dad. My first husband was also physically abusive to our children, and according to several of their memories, also a pedophile. He was never formally accused, there have been no court cases.

When my second husband came home that fateful day, and confessed to me of his porn addiction first, then his affair, I was devastated. I thought I had done so much work on me that I would never have married back into that again. That was in 2006 and I began therapy in 1990. I wasn't in constant therapy during that time, but had probably 6 year's worth spread out over that period.

To say I was devastated is an understatement. I had struggled with suicidal thoughts before and they came flooding back to me. I had struggled with self-destructive behavior before and that came flooding back to me too. I was a mess. My husband was distant and non-committal. He would say he really didn't care what I did, stay or go, or he could stay or go. He continued to be emotionally abusive, he even triggered flash-backs in me. I was terrified of being alone, so I took it. I just couldn't leave.

My counselor told me I had to get to an emotional place where I would be okay if he left. She asked me what I would do if he came home and told me he was leaving... I said I would throw up - yep, eating disorder was kicking right in. I lost 20 lbs really fast, eating the equivalence to one meal in a span of about a week. I couldn't eat, didn't sleep, cried a whole lot, and did my best to pray through those months.

Through the help of co-dependency support groups and counseling and mostly the Lord, I was able to get strong enough to finally say no more. It took 2 years from the time he first confessed for us to separate, but because of finances, we remained in the same house. He had actually had two affairs, one physical, one emotional. The physical one ended, but the emotional one continued through his lies. When she finally broke up with him two years later, he told me about it and I said enough. He got the living room, I kept the bedroom. Six months later I was able to move in with my oldest son and his wife, and a year later I moved to Oregon.

I was once asked what the hardest part of it all was. Hands down it was the lies. He would look me straight in the face and lie in such a way that he was crazymaking me. He accused me of being paranoid, of having no reason not to trust him. All he did was lie to me. I caught a lot of his lies by installing a program on his computer that took pictures of what he looked at every 5 seconds. He knew the program was on his machine, and I even told him what it did, but he just didn't get it. Or he forgot. At one point it quit working for a day, and I never bothered to let him know it started working again. Anyway, I never want to see another porn scene again. It was awful. With the Lord's help I have been able to block those horrid memories from my active thoughts. I also saw the disgusting conversations he had with women who should know better. Women who were in worse shape than I was emotionally, that they would degrade themselves to that level.

I am grateful to be out of that marriage. I am grateful to my children and extended family, for their support and in some cases, a place to live. I am grateful to the Lord, for helping me to not just get out of a bad situation, but to learn, grow and heal through the process. My counselor, when doing my exit interview, assured me she felt I had addressed the issues that attracted me to that kind of man. I believe she is right.

Right now, I am in no hurry to be in a relationship. I would like some male friends, to talk to or hang out with sometimes. Nothing deep or committed. My counselor strongly urged me to give it two years before I considered a relationship again. I'm not sure when the two years started, but my divorce was almost a year ago. May 20th is the magic date. Mother's Day is the two year mark from when we separated, and November 15th of this year will be the two year mark from when I moved out. It doesn't really matter. I guess I'll know when I am ready, I just know it isn't now.

So, the reason I am a Mormon ex-wife is because I had a whole lot of issues relating to relationships and being attracted to a sex-addict. It doesn't matter what religion you are, these issues and problems are in all religions. I had to get those issues resolved before I could move past it.

Someday a righteous man will come my way. I believe in the Lord's timing, so I believe it will happen when I am ready. Until then, I am happy where I am at.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Bump In The Road...

Things are getting better in some ways. The smoker downstairs is moving mid June, and we will be able to get into the ground floor apartment the end of May or early June. I told the manager we would be much happier there and she was fine with us moving... again.

They came in yesterday and sealed the wall openings, but the smoke still gets in. Right now I am keeping the balcony door open and although it is chilly, it is fresher. We can make this work short term I hope. Chloe is starting to cough - she has asthma - so keeping it clear is really important for her. Eric can't even come over for now, with his Cystic Fibrosis, it would not be good at all.

My head still hurts, feels like my brain is bruised. It's not as bad as it was Sunday night or Monday and I am grateful for that.

Tiffany isn't doing so good. She fell last night and now her whole body hurts. She tried to see a specialist this morning, but an insurance mix up canceled her appointment. She is going in this afternoon again. Prayers for Tiffany are appreciated. This is her last term and she can't mess up her graduation.

Yesterday was Tiffany's 23rd birthday. Her dad came over for cake. I was able to be okay with him. For the longest time I couldn't even be in the same room with him. But now I can be cordial and even a bit friendly. I would never want to be married to him again, but at least I don't think we are enemies any more.

My second ex-husband is selling the house. It was the only house that had ever been mine, even for just a few short years. I don't know at what kind of a loss, the next door neighbor is probably buying it for her snowbird friends. The house is actually a condo in a 4-plex. Ours was a middle unit and the neighbor is on the end next to it. It was really quiet and I loved that we were able to park in a carport right outside the patio, so it was easy to unload groceries and we never got wet (when it rarely rained) or scorched with the sun. It is amazing how much a carport keeps the car cooler. When it is 115+ in the sun, being just 100 is cool.

The girls are napping and grandma ought to be taking advantage of that and napping too.

My how our lives can be different from that which we thought we had in our younger days.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Have you ever done something that you thought was the right decision, yet something was nagging at you about it? The decision was almost right, but an element of it was wrong? That is the way I was feeling about this move. It felt mostly right, but something was nagging at me at the same time.

I think I now know what it was...

Tiffany didn't think to ask if the building was non-smoking, and neither did I. This complex has two non-smoking buildings, but ours isn't one of them. It has been over 30 years since I have lived in an apartment, and I have never been in an apartment where the smoke from a neighboring unit was seeping in through the walls. Now I know it is possible.

The maintenance man is going to try to seal the outlets on the wall, but he cannot guarantee it will solve the problem. As I write this I am sitting in front of an open window, an ionic air cleaner is going at full blast in the kitchen, and my head is pounding.

At first Tiffany didn't smell it. But this morning she knocked on my door and said "Mom, you're not crazy! I smell it too, and it is really bad in the kitchen!"

I knew I wasn't crazy, I didn't know she thought I was, lol.

Chloe has been especially crabby since we moved in, we are now wondering it that is why. She is super sensitive and Tiffany would never have agreed to this unit had she known it was not a non-smoking building.

The good news is that another unit will open up the end of May, it is on the ground floor and in a non-smoking building. As much as we don't want to move, I want to take that unit. It is across the parking lot from our garage, and the parking is less dense. Mostly, it won't have smoke in it. I told Tiffany I will handle the move, completely. She won't have to do a thing. The move will be within a week of graduation. Final's week. I will do it, I can arrange for a whole bunch of guys from church to move our stuff , and the Relief Society can help with the cleaning, not that there will be that much to do. I will even pay an extra cleaning fee if necessary.

Right now I can't stay in the kitchen for very long, so I am still not able to do much cooking. I really do intend to get into the food storage in a healthy way thing. Thank you for your patience.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The weekend is over...

The move is over... sorta.

We managed to get all our things moved over and into the new apartment by late Saturday morning. The old apartment was clean by 2:15 Saturday afternoon. We were exhausted and sore all over.

This is the view from the balcony. We need to get something to secure the balcony before we can let the girls out there. Chloe would slip right through the bars and being on the second floor, would not be good. The first picture is from the livingroom window.

All that is left is the unpacking... I can't help but think of "The Incredibles", where she calls her husband at work to announce they are officially moved in. He asks her what about the last three years, and she says the last box was finally unpacked! I wonder how long it will take us?

I managed to fall on Saturday. I was stepping backwards and didn't realize a box was behind me. It was probably one of those comical falls they stage in a movie for laughs, but I wasn't laughing. I never laugh at those falls. I doubt anyone who has a spine that won't stay put where it belongs would laugh either. I cried instead. Three hours later I was in my chiropractor's office getting adjusted. I'm okay now, but I have another appointment on Tuesday. At $26 a pop, I really wish my spine would stay put. I get the medicare discount, otherwise it would be $36.

Tiffany also hurt herself. She banged her knee on her car door and something happened that was bad. She is in a leg brace now, and if it doesn't improve in a week will get an MRI. Her knee pops, which isn't normal and they are concerned it may need surgery. We really don't need this.

It never occurred to me that there might be a problem with cigarette smoke seeping through the walls from another apartment, but apparently that is what is happening. I came home from church yesterday and got an almost immediate headache. My new kitchen smells. It drifts into the living area. Thank goodness it isn't in the bedrooms. The smokers are not the people below us, it is the apartment next to them, on the other side of the kitchen wall. So it is coming in through the kitchen somehow. I prayed for help with this, I cannot continue to have cigarette smoke in my home, I get too sick. The maintenance guy is really nice, he loaned me a ionizer and will come up later to seal all the outlets to see if that helps.

I really don't want to be so grumpy. My head hurts, Chloe won't stop crying this morning, Alison is whining, and getting used to apartment living is going to be a bit of a challenge.

I hope nap time gets here soon.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dental School, Teeth and Flossing...

I finally made it to the Dental School today. I have needed dental work for several years, but it always got set aside. Somehow it was easy to forget about my teeth when my marriage was falling apart, or when I was recovering from the sciatic nerve injury, or a million other excuses. Other things and other people always seemed more important. I had become an expert at not taking care of myself... again.

I got in the very bad habit of quickly brushing, even without toothpaste, and calling it good. I am embarrassed to say I sometimes skipped days. Then skipping days became more the rule than the exception. I didn't have bad breath, at least no one complained, but my teeth weren't very clean either.

And I hate flossing... It hurts and is just a pain to do. So I had not been in much of a habit of doing it either. I would buy the floss, and use it a few times, then it would get set aside, in the back of the drawer. So all I would do is a quick brushing when I remembered and called it good... This kind of neglect has finally caught up with me.

A few months ago my son introduced me to those cute little flossing picks. I had seen them before and thought they were dumb. But Danny told me how convenient they were so I tried one. OH MY GOODNESS!!! Flossing took on a new life for me. It didn't hurt, was simple and easy... AND FAST!!! So I bought myself a supply.

Later that day I was brushing and flossing my teeth and I saw dark spots between my teeth. I had never bothered to look close enough to notice them before. I also noticed my gum line was receding. Shows how much I was neglecting myself. Even before I saw the dark spots I knew I needed dental work. I have a molar that has bothered me for at least 6 years, probably more than that. It started out as a sensitivity, then grew to hurting, then really hurting, and at times I just wanted to get a pair of pliers and pull that thing out!

This was when I discovered some herbal helps, first, ESSIAC tea did wonders for reducing the pain of that molar, and Olive Leaf Extract will reduce down an abscess overnight. For probably the last five years I have drunk ESSIAC tea daily and as long as I did, the pain was minimal. I started out, when the pain was pliers bad, to drink it four times a day, but as I became consistent, the amount I needed became less. Now I just need it once a day or so. The tooth is still bad, but I could bear it without addressing the need to actually take care of it.

About four years ago, I made an appointment to get it taken care of. I was quoted about $1500 to pull the tooth and have a bridge put in. That was with buying a discount service, I had no insurance. I was told the filling had loosened (it was at least 20 years old) and because it was such a large filling, it could not be replaced. My options were root canal and crown or pulling and a bridge. Pulling it and having a bridge put in cost less than the root canal and crown. It was about this time my husband confessed his affair, so I instead of doing the things for me that I needed to do, I fell apart emotionally and neglected me again.

About a year later, I had insurance for a short time, and was quoted almost $1300 to get a root canal and crown. This was a lot of money, and with the deteriorating marriage, I put it aside again. I did get a different tooth taken care of, a front tooth with a visible cavity that scared me. The dentist told me it was close to needing a root canal, but we got to it in time. So I guess it takes visible destruction of my teeth to get me to act.

Like putting off needed dental work would make it go away or reduce the cost??? No, just neglecting me again. I have wondered how much of my ill health is caused by that bad tooth.

After I discovered those dark spots on my teeth, I started asking for quotes from dentists. Even with a discount plan (still no insurance) I was looking at about $1500 for just the molar to get fixed. Each cavity would run between $150 and $225 on top of that. The cavities were between the teeth, both sides affected, so I'm looking at probably 10 cavities. Tiffany suggested I call the Dental School. I called about 2 months ago to find out I had to wait until March 30th just to get an appointment. By this time I was feeling a bit frantic. But at least I had finally formed the good habit of brushing morning and night and flossing again.

With the good habit returning, I have noticed my gum line is coming back down. The gaps between the teeth are filling up again. I am thankful for that.

So, today I had my first appointment with a dental student. He was very nice, and although I did need quite a bit of work, he said it was doable and my teeth were not in as bad of shape as I thought. After the dental student was done with his exam, he got the instructor, who repeated the exam. The instructor said they would be able to use conservative measures to fix my teeth (including two top molars that have broken off pieces, they need to be rebuilt, no crowns needed.) All in all, with the x-rays, comprehensive exam (today was just a preliminary exam), cleaning, root canal, build-up and crown on the one molar, and two reconstructs of the top molars, the amount quoted to me was $2500.00. Although that is still a whole lot of money, it is less than I was fearing. Sooo.... my next appointment is next Thursday.

I am going to take care of me.... and follow through this time.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Let The Packing Begin.....

Today I begin packing... Not my things, those are already packed and moved. Waiting in a storage garage for the new apartment to be ready.

That day will be this coming Friday, April 9th.

So I begin packing up Tiffany's apartment. Luckily, most of her things are already in plastic tubs with lids. She found this was the easiest way to be organized in this little apartment. The chore for me today is to do the kitchen, which is not in plastic tubs. Being a very small kitchen, it won't take much. I have already emptied the biggest cupboard. Boxed foods went into some purchased fabric store bags with handles. The canned foods went into small banker's boxes. The kind you can buy in packs of 10 and are used to hold files and other paper type goods. They are sturdy, uniform in size and have handles and a lid so they are easy for me to move and stack.

Probably half of my belongings are in those banker's boxes. I think I have about 60 in the garage now. When not in use they can be easily flattened again, and stored away for future use. No tape required, unless you want to secure the lid in place.

I also made a call today to arrange help with moving the couches and my buffet (an antique piece of furniture with a mirror and used to hold linens, silverware, and serving dishes. The buffet is still at my sister's house, so we will have to drive out there to get it. I need a truck and a few strong guys to help. It shouldn't take too long. I really appreciate being able to call my new ward and get the help I need.

Tiffany, Danny and I have worked hard to get as much taken care of on our own as we could. I don't really intend to have anyone help me unload the garage, it will be a slow process, moving only those things I can unpack right away, as I am able to unpack them, so the apartment doesn't start off feeling cramped. I guess it would be nice to have some help with the bookshelves, I'm sure Danny would appreciate that, but everything else we can take our time with.

Actually, that will be nice. My intentions are that I will finally be able to get all my stuff organized without being cramped or overwhelmed along the way. That is my intention anyway. We will see how it plays out.

Well, I just put Chloe down for her nap, so it is time to pull out another box and start filling it up.

Oh.... the joys of the move!


Yesterday was Easter. It was also Conference time. I love it when Easter and Conference fall on the same day.

I enjoy Conference... It is a time to hear inspired men and women speak from their hearts about the things of God. I always feel uplifted and comforted after hearing the words of the Prophet and General Authorities.

Easter is also a special time... As I learn a little more about the Atonement, and use it in my life, I am awed and grateful from the bottom of my heart for this incredible gift given. I cannot imagine a life without being able to draw on the power of the Atonement, whether for my own shortfallings or for the grief and pains put on me by others. I have also learned how it aids and heals the physical ailments. All in all, the most wonderful gift the Lord could have given us is His gift of His Atonement.

I look forward to receiving my copy of the DVD's made of Conference. I enjoy watching them during the 6 months between sessions. Especially on Sundays I am unable to attend church, I have a ready library of appropriate material and inspiring talks to watch as I recover from an illness or flare-up.

May the love of the Lord be with us all, and help us to feel how important we are to Him.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Renters, Taxes, and Disappointments...

I got very sad news today. My son Chris called from Arizona. He rarely calls, so I was surprised and as we were talking I kept thinking "was there a specific reason why he called?" We talked for several minutes,which is also rare.

Then he told me why he called. He and Crystal had been planning to come for Tiffany's graduation in June. We were all very excited about getting the whole group together. We have not all been together since Michelle's wedding in Sept of 2002. I was really looking forward to getting a picture of us all together. I was really looking forward to holding Kullie again, I miss her so much. I was really looking forward to seeing my oldest son again and his wife.

They can't come...

They own a one bedroom, loft condo in Mesa. It was Chris's home before they got married. After they found out Crystal was pregnant they tried to sell it. With this awful economy, it just hasn't happened. But they were able to get a nice house, and rent the condo... which is great if the renters stay. Their renters up and left last month, no notice, no nothing. At least they didn't do damage to the unit.

But now that they have to foot the bill for two mortgages, they can't afford the trip in June. If by some miracle a new renter is found ASAP, then maybe, but it is not too likely. Does anyone out there know of someone in the Mesa, Arizona area that would like to rent a really nice one-bedroom, loft condo with a single car garage?

He also said they didn't get back as much in taxes as they had hoped, but they are putting it all away so that hopefully they can come around Christmas or January. I hope they can come then, I wonder if Kullie will recognize me next time she finally sees me?

So today has had some disappointments. I haven't told Tiffany yet, she will be even more disappointed then I am. I wonder if there is ice cream in the freezer???