Friday, February 26, 2010

Being a Woman...

Every month we are rudely reminded of what it means to be a woman. We don't ask for it, but it invades our lives as if it had every right to be there.

You women know what I am talking about...

I have noticed over the last few years the "uninvited guest" has been more forceful, more demanding of me. Not that I had it easy before... First I was diagnosed with PMS, then the doctor upgraded it to PMDD. That means it was max PMS. I had anger outbursts, absolute blown-out-of-proportion temper tantrums. I could not be reasoned with for several days... No, this is not why I am now divorced.

I have gotten the anger outbursts more under control... mostly... More like I stay away from others as much as possible when I feel one coming on. I have found that males get more of my outbursts than females do. I guess I have more patience there because THEY are also not immune to this torture.

But now I weep.... alot.... I am not fun to be around. Look at me cross-eyed, even think of looking at me cross-eyed and the fountains begin. It is pathetic, and I can't stop it. My girls are sympathetic, my boys avoid me.

Then there is the cramps and tenderness. That had actually gone away during my child bearing years. I was thrilled, I thought they were gone for good... OH NO!!! They are back with a vengeance. I think they are making up for lost time.

I was reading another blog today and she was writing about this same subject. She did a really good job. Funny how we had both chosen to write about this on the same day. Must be something in the air...

I saw my doctor today. He was nice about it. Even admitted he (being a guy) had no personal experience to draw on, but as a doctor, said what I described sounded like I had entered the peri-menopausal stage. He actually said he agreed with me because I mentioned it first. UGH!!! Can we bypass this stage for good behavior? I promise I will do my best to be reallllllly good.

Being a woman has a wonderful side to it. We are the ones that get to feel the kick from the inside... We are able to form a bond that I am not sure men can comprehend... We can love and show compassion and tenderness men seem to be immune to. Nothing against men, it just isn't in their genes. Women are the nurturers by nature.

Maybe that is why the other things happen. My sister has a theory. She thinks it is during the "hormonal" times that all our pent up frustrations are allowed out. They are not created by the hormones... they are only released, so they don't stay bottled up. They are our "overload release valve". She may be onto something there.

Then again, that doesn't explain the cramps and tenderness. I guess, as my other blogging friend pointed out, the story of Eve does. I don't resent Eve, I know there is a reason and purpose for why God does what he does. Maybe all of this is part of why we are able to nurture, have compassion and tenderness. Our experiences as women, all of them, gives us that blessing.

And I keep reminding myself... this too will pass.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Who needs stress? NOBODY. I certainly don't. A few years before my divorce, my now ex-husband was listening to the radio on his commute and called me up. "Did you know that fibromyalgia is a stress-induced illness?" DUH!! Can't recall how many times I had already told him that, but coming from me had no credibility I guess.

I got a phone call from the D.A. office this morning. My first ex, the father of my children, has a court hearing or trial or something on Tuesday. He is in violation of his probation because of non-payment of child support. He owes me over $222,000.00! I could really use that money. The D.A. practically chewed me out because I don't have information on him, no contact. It made me feel like I was the one in the wrong instead of being the one wronged.

My daughters have limited information and have agreed to testify at the hearing. I hate putting them in that place. But without any testimony the D.A. said she would have to throw the case out. I don't understand? He gets away with his laziness because I have no information? He has already been in court, been put on probation for non-compliance. He says he doesn't have a job, shouldn't he be forced to get one? I am not for the government controlling our lives, but he is in the system, on probation. He has broken the law over and over. Shouldn't he loose some rights because of it? Make him get a job. If they have no power over him, what does probation mean???

I take back my original comment that nobody needs stress. Maybe those who, with intention, violates the rights of others and causes them stress should have stress themselves. Maybe it would be a motivator to make different choices, more correct choices.

Looks like I'm going to court on Tuesday. Pray for me please, I don't do stress well.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Comments Welcome...

I've sent out a lot of invitations to this blog. If you are reading this, I welcome your input, questions or comments. And, you are also welcome to become a follower. This is an open blog, and I hope to meet a lot of new people.

So..... let me know if you are there...... okay?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Today's Lesson...

I am so sugared out!

Important item to remember: Never attempt to perfect a cookie recipe without having eaten a protein rich breakfast... or any breakfast for that matter.... first.

Same goes for lunch.

Yes, I forgot to eat. Not a new phenomenon. Except of course, for the cookie dough before it was baked, while it was baking, after it baked, and any time in between that I may have forgotten to mention. Sugared out is an understatement. I normally eat very little sugar.

By 3:30 I was wondering why I was feeling like I was falling through the floor. My head is spinning, you would not believe how many times I have to use the backspace key today. Please forgive any misspellings or bad grammar. I may miss a few.

I often wonder why I put myself through this. Why do I keep giving myself important lessons to remember? I think this is a rehash, I think I may have already had this lesson before, but I can't think clearly enough to remember for sure.

Do you think I will remember it this time?

And just for the record..... the cookies are still not that great. The dough was good though.

A Question...

A new week. What will this one bring?

I spent the night at Tiff's again. She asked me to, she said it didn't make sense for me to drop her off at 10pm and go home, just to sleep and return at 8:30am.

Funny, I think of things to write about when I am not at my computer writing, but when I find some time to sit down, my mind goes blank.

As I have mentioned already, I am shortly coming to the half century mark. The big 5-0. I have shared how my life has turned out very different than I thought it would as a young adult, living in a fantasy world. So I have a question: How has your life turned out different than you thought it would and would you think it is better?

I ask that, because despite my reflections, I think I have turned into a better person than I would have been had my life followed my "plan". I think I would be more selfish and self-centered, less patient and compassionate. There have been a lot of trials, heartache, disappointments, and losses. Sometimes I have felt robbed because of the selfish decisions of others. Their right to choose infringed on me. But I also wonder how many times I infringed on others and robbed them of something that was important to them.

I've done an awful lot of repenting in my life. I smile though, because I am so grateful to be able TO repent, to have the knowledge of the Atonement's existence. I desperately need it every day of my life.

My children have told me I have changed a lot. I was loosing my relationships with them, because I was so wrapped up in me. I learned something that was really important for me to learn - "IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT ME!" Never was. Never will be. There is an ebb and flow in life. Sometimes I am in the center, but most of the time someone else is. Right now, in my center, that someone is Tiff. I want to support her by being there for her as she works to graduate and find a good job. Something she will enjoy and be fulfilled in. Something she can support her girls with. This is really important to me, probably more than she realizes. She is my baby, yes, all grown up, but still my baby. Okay, Bobby is younger, but he is autistic, so he plays by a different set of rules. Tiffany has always been my baby....she is my baby girl, anyway.

We have not always been friends. When she was a teenager she hated me. Come to think of it, so did Michelle and Bridgette, at least I don't think they liked me very much. I don't think my boys have disliked me, but my girls sure did. It broke my heart, I didn't understand why, but as I have grown and learned to put others in the center, my relationships have improved.

The trials of my second marriage brought so much growth to me. It was sink or swim, and I started sinking... The biggest epiphany was the realization that I was manipulating others. This may have been part of the problem with my girls. I read the book "Women Who Love Too Much", by Robin Norwood. My counselor suggested it. I started reading it and was soon devastated. I came face to face with a huge, gaping hole in my integrity. I discovered that I would manipulate others in order for me to feel more comfortable. I think I knew it all along at some level, but I wouldn't let me look at it, identify it, or admit it. I feel that book opened me up and exposed a festering mess in my core. For those who may not recognize this, this is called a "CONTROL ISSUE". I was really good at it, very subtle. My ex-husband never did figure it out. To this day he still believes I was not a controlling person, or that I tried to control him. He recognizes things I did AFTER he confessed his affair, but not before. I just became more desperate after the affair was out in the open.

I controlled and manipulated all along. Instead of making a choice to take me out of an uncomfortable situation, I would mold those around me to satisfy my need while in it. OUCH!!! For several days I was a mess, it was like I could not stand to be in my skin. I was thoroughly uncomfortable with me. Finally, I reached out to God in a way He could help. Not that I didn't try before, but I had finally been softened enough that He could start to mold me properly. Now I try to evaluate whether or not my behavior is manipulating others. I may not be 100% successful with this, but I know it is a lot better.

So again, my question is: How has your life turned out different than you thought it would and would you think it is better?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I'm not sure I'm going to be writing much on the weekends. I've become a lot busier. Sunday of course, is the day I go to church. I wasn't feeling that great, but I went anyway. Not a flu bug or anything, the consequences of eating poorly yesterday. You see, I was so thirsty and Tiffany and I were out doing errands. Wendy's was right there and they sell Dr. Pepper. I love DP. I know better, I really do. But I... well... uh... gave in.... and now I'm paying for it. Sure enough, I am paying the price for my weakness and indulgence. But it sure tasted good at the time. I am usually in pain the following day. It will take a few days, some careful eating to detox my system, and a new commitment to have more respect for my body and not put in it what I already know will hurt it. This too will pass. I'm getting closer to learning my lesson and hopefully soon there won't be temptation anymore.

Isn't that the way "sin" is? You know, the things we do that keep us away from God? That put up a wall so we don't feel connected? It sure felt good at the time, but afterwards... well... uh... not so good. And then we have to do the work - called repentance - that will bring us back to feeling God's presence again. If we do the work (repent), then God gives us His Grace. Through His Grace, forgiveness is given. This too will pass. And someday, that temptation won't have the pull anymore. This is how I believe. I believe this because there are some temptations that no longer have their pull on me. I've been able to do a little overcoming. Not alone, I had huge help (again God's Grace), but it has happened. I still very much believe... I can't, God can, I will let Him.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Good Morning!

I got to sleep in today!! A rare and welcome treat. I don't need to be at Tiff's til 4:00 this afternoon.

I just finished my walk. I try to walk a little over a mile each day for 5/7 days in the week. I usually make it 6/7 days. And yes, I have lost some weight. I started doing it shortly after I moved back to Oregon. The sciatic nerve injury left me unable to move for so long I had become very weak. It scared me. I had to work into the walks and some days I DO NOT WANT TO GO!!!!! But the alternative of where I was at just a few months ago is enough motivation to get me out the door.

When I started I was only able to walk 100 steps at a time. That was all. I did it in Tiff's apartment, and it is a little apartment. It was 20 steps from the front door, making a U shape to the back of the kitchen. I did it 5 times and then rested. I remember the day I was able to do 1000 steps at one time. I was so excited. Now I do around 3000 steps, which is a little over a mile with my step length.

I INTEND to do some work in my room today. I live with my sister, and have one bedroom that is mine. She wanted me to disperse my belongings throughout her house, and I started to do it, but a nagging feeling inside told me to not continue. I'm glad I listened to that feeling...

She had just replaced the carpet in the living room, family room, dining room and hallway with wood floors. Dog problems... need I say more? Because there is no man in the house to object, she has turned the living room into a craft room. Every crafting woman's dream! It looks really neat, with an island in the middle and a few work tables, as well as lots of IKEA storage space. It looks like an IKEA showroom. Can you guess she likes IKEA? She was building this as I moved in and it was quite the chaos for a time. Then I moved in with my 12 foot trailer full of belongings and added to it.

I started to put my craft supplies and tools in the craft room and that is when I got the feeling I ought to wait. I had been excited to be able to use the room, but I listened to that feeling instead.

A short while later my sister decided to replace the master bedroom carpet as well (same reason). That evolved into a complete redo of the Master Bedroom (her room), which was badly outdated. My sister has decided to continue the remodeling of her house, first the her room, then the kitchen. Well, yesterday workmen came over and started demolishing her room. Right now the bedroom furniture and stuff is piled in the living room/craft room. After her room is done I suspect the kitchen will be emptied into the craft room. It is really the only space available to hold the stuff.

Not that I have done many craft projects lately. I haven't done much of anything lately, except breathe.... OK, not completely true. I do watch my granddaughters for Tiff. That injury really laid me up. I cannot describe how awful it was. I had to use a walker for months, when I was able to stand up. I have only been able to sit for less than 2 months. I never understood how a person could not sit, until it happened to me. Driving was excruciating, I would cry and practice the breathing I used in childbirth to get to my destination. I moved from Arizona to Oregon before I was able to sit, so I laid in the back seat of the truck for 1400 miles! I know exactly where my sciatic nerve runs down my right leg, from my back to the bottom of my foot. I have felt it. I have a brand new appreciation for mobility.

Back to the crafts, I enjoy scrapbooking, among other crafts. I have lots of supplies and such, but little actual projects finished, at least in the scrapbooking dept. Did I mention I have A.D.D.? I get sidetracked easily. Lots of things started but few finished. The story of my life.... Sound familiar Chris? Chris is my oldest son, A.D.H.D. pretty bad, but man is he creative and talented. He designs clothing, has incredible scrapbooks, refurbishes furniture, decorates whole homes, and can works wonders with whatever else he decides to take a crack at. He started making clothes for his daughter, Kullie, out of his old shirts and it has exploded. His house may have some unfinished projects, but his creations are awesome! He has a site on ESTY

Ok, back to the crafts.... again.. I hope to be able to find my supplies soon. Most of my stuff is upstairs in the attic. Not just my craft supplies, but also food. It requires a ladder to access the attic and I am not allowed on ladders. My kids would have a fit if I tried. My middle son, Danny, is my official "attic helper guy". Not much will fit in my room, but I am determined. Tiffany and Danny came over a few weekends ago and helped me put shelves on one wall. Right now they are piled full of boxes. All I have to do it start going through the boxes, decide what I need now and what can go back into the attic for now. Why do I feel so overwhelmed with this? One box at a time. Let's see how many boxes I get through today.

There are not going to be any crafts today.


I didn't do the boxes. I went to the temple instead. I needed the peace and connection to God I feel there. Not that I can't feel a connection elsewhere, I just decided that I needed to go..... glad I did.

I did get a few things done that were on my list, just not any boxes. There is always tomorrow. I'm spending the night at Tiffany's, but returning home tomorrow morning.

Chloe locked herself in the closet... Alison decided she only wanted cheese on her taco shell... But they both love Dora, so life is good.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Oh Yummy, Cookies!

I did some baking today. I used the mashed black beans. The instructions were to put the cooked beans through a food processor to mash them. I don't have a food processor, so I tried a potato masher. Didn't work, the beans were too small. Neither did the mixer. The beater just went around and around. I knew the blender wouldn't work, the beans were too thick and to add enough water for the blender to work would have made them too soupy. So I used a fork. My arm got so sore. Fibromyalgia can be a real bummer sometimes.

I talked to all three daughters today. My birthday is close to Mother's Day. I always get asked what I want for my birthday, Mother's Day or Christmas gift. I usually can't think of anything.... This year I have it! A NICE, STURDY, FOOD PROCESSOR. No beating around the bush, this is what I would like..... they were glad I told them something for once. They can combine my birthday with Mother's day and pool together with the boys. I really want a food processor.

I also would really like my own kitchen, but that would be a bit more and outside their budgets. I have been living in other people's homes for a year and a half. I'm grateful for the home to live in, it just isn't the same. That is one of the reasons I haven't done much baking for some time. The other reason was a sciatic nerve injury that is thankfully almost completely healed. I was bedridden for months and months. I was told it would take 12 to 15 months, it has been 13.5 months. I hope by 15 months the pain will be completely gone, but I can live with what I have now.

Back to the cookies. I replaced half the butter with mashed beans but also did too many other changes in the recipe. I reduced the sugar to half the amount and I added additional flour. I need to make the modifications one at a time and test the results. It's like a science project, process of elimination or some other logical method to get the recipe right. I'm too impatient....lesson learned, one at a time.

The cookies didn't flatten out thinly or fall apart, so that was an improvement. They also looked like they had chocolate chips in them, thanks to the black beans. This was on purpose, I wanted to see how the beans looked in the cookies after they were baked although I don't know WHY I wanted to see how they looked.

The thought of eating a chocolate chip cooking was exciting to Alison, I could see it on her face. I didn't tell her they were chocolate chips, she just assumed. She gladly accepted the cookie. She took a bite. YUMMY! she exclaimed..... then she stopped chewing.... I found the cookie on the floor where she had been standing a few minutes later.

The cookies weren't bad, they were okay, just not chocolate chip, and not overly sweet. I think I will need to add back some of the sugar I deleted.

The Xantham gum worked great so I'm pleased with that part of it. I will post the recipe when I am satisfied with the results.

I tasted a Norwegian Lefse that was left over from yesterday. I had placed them in the fridge and pulled one out today to see how it tasted. YUK!!! It was not good. The next step was to reheat it and see if that made it better..... it did! It just tasted pretty awful cold. I will still use them as tortilla shells for burritos, etc, but will definitely heat them first. Chloe even liked it after I heated it back up.

I got an email today, my Sunday School class was canceled for this Sunday so I won't be taking any of my successes to Church with me. I will be going to the regular class. This gives me an extra week to perfect my experiments. I'm not sure why I'm feeling such a drive to get this right and share it with that class. I do have a competitive nature, even if all I'm competing with is myself.

I usually have Friday's off, not watching my granddaughters, but Tiff needs me tomorrow night. She is attending a meeting associated with her internship and won't be back til late, so I'm spending the night. She is graduating in June with a B.S. in Criminal Justice. I'm very proud of my daughter. Getting this degree has been a challenge.... doing anything with little kids in tow is a challenge. Please pray for her that she will be able to get a good job.

The Tranquility of Grandparenthood....

"Alison! Stop pulling her hair!"

"But Chloe kicked me!"


This is how my day began. I had just arrived at my daughter Tiffany's house and by just looking at her face I KNEW it was going to be one of those days.

And it is....

Alison will be 4 soon, Chloe recently turned 2.

Actually, my day began two hours eariler. I was awakened by a picture text sent by my daughter-in-law in Arizona. They are an hour ahead of me, so I don't think Crystal realized it was only 6:20am for me. I didn't mind the wake up. She sent me a picture of her daughter, Kullie, sitting in her car seat, holding a big cup of Starbucks chocolate milk with the caption "Guess who likes Starbucks.."

These little ones grow up way too fast.

Wasn't it just yesterday when their parents were the ones pulling hair, kicking each other and loving a warm cup of chocolate milk?

Whops! gotta go, Chloe just pelted Alison in the face with her little but very effective right foot......


Nap time.

So I pick up Chloe to take her to her room for her afternoon nap. As we round the corner I'm stopped in my tracks. There is a mountain of books in between their beds... A MOUNTAIN!! I notice the bookshelf is totally empty, clean, bare of any cumbersome items that might make it looks like it is actually USED.

I put Chloe down, I can't reach her bed safely. She runs over the pile, giggling, grabs one off the top and settles into the far corner of the room with her treasure.

I do what grandma's do. I start to pick up the books. Then I decided to do the OCD thing.. I start counting...1 - 2 - 3 --- all the way up to 93 books! That's how many were in the mountain in the middle of the floor. Big books, small books, lots of "I Can Read All By Myself" books with the "Cat in the Hat" in the upper right corner, Scholastic books, Barbie and Disney Princess books. My there were a lot of books.

I'm not completely O.C.D., I just placed the stacks on the shelves. I'll let Tiffany organize them how she wants them to be. Not that they will stay that way. Chloe is still giggling with her book in the corner. She does not want to relinquish her treasure. I change her diaper and put her to bed ... with her book... no need to deal with more than I am able.

Sweet dreams Chloe.... yes, being a grandma has it's moments :-).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Norwegian Lefse

A few weeks ago a 6-week class on emergency preparedness and food storage was announced at Church. It was to be given during the Sunday School hour. Being that I have a great interest in food, nutrition and food storage, I signed up. Last Sunday was the 4th week and so far, I have learned only one new thing that I would deem potentially useful. The rest, to me, is pretty much useless. The food storage industry is big, but like the food industry in general, does not cater to being all that healthy.

I mentioned in my original post that I have a certificate in holistic nutrition so working with foods that are healthy is really important to me. I'm not a health food nut, nor am I vegetarian or vegan, I'm someone who was really sick and got tired of it so I decided to take my health into my own hands.

The potentially helpful thing the teacher said was that you can replace some or all of the fat in a recipe with mashed beans. You know, the dry kind you have to soak and cook for hours. I haven't tried it yet, but I cooked and mashed some black beans today. I don't think I would replace all the fat, fat has an important function in the diet as well as taste, but with my attempts at wheat free/gluten free cooking, I can see benefit.

So I made the beans and was going to make some oatmeal cookies with them. I haven't done much baking for a while. In that class mentioned above, the teacher challenged the class to bring in a food item made using at least one long-term storage item. I really don't like the concept of long-term food storage (meaning 5 or more years). I prefer to rotate in a 1 to 2 year cycle. That keeps the food fresher and more nutritious. Anyway, I made some oatmeal cookies last week using brown rice flour I ground myself instead of wheat flour and they were a disaster. The problem was the no wheat thing. The cookies fell apart, I mean really fell apart. Which is why I was considering using mashed beans, they might give stability to the cookie.

Then I remembered xantham gum. Xantham gum is a substitute for gluten and gives volume to gluten-free items. It also gives stability. How could I have forgotten about xantham gum? I really haven't done much baking for a long time.

So, I pulled my bottle of xantham gum out of the freezer and looked on the label. I've had this bottle for years. It actually came in a little bag and I transferred it to a jar to keep in the freezer. In one of my rare moments of clarity, I cut the front and back labels off the bag, and using clear packing tape, attached them to the jar. Turned out to be very helpful today, years and years later. I had to smile at myself - GOOD FOR ME!

There was a recipe on the front label and even one on the back! The front one was for something called Norwegian Lefse. Basically, a pan fried flat bread much like a tortilla, made of mashed potatoes & rice flour with a little Xantham gum in the mix. I ended up making those instead. They were great! I've been spending a fortune on teff tortilla shells and I just found a replacement!! If I use (holding my breath) potato granules instead of fresh mashed potatoes, that would be TWO long-term food storage items, not counting the salt. I made them today with REAL mashed red potatoes. And you can make your own rice milk, so that would be another ingredient represented. I think I'm on a roll!

Bob's Red Mill - Norwegian Lefse
2 cups hot mashed potatoes
2 T butter
1 T water or rice milk
1 t sea salt - I use Celtic Sea Salt
1 C rice flour - I use brown
1 t Xantham gum

Beat together the first 4 ingredients. Cover and chill for a couple of hours. Turn out on a lightly floured surface (rice flour). Sprinkle the potato mixture with half of the rice flour. Knead for 8-10 minutes, gradually adding the rest of the flour. Divide dough into small portions about the size of golf balls. Roll out to about 6" to 7". I did this by placing the balls between 2-gallon sized zip lock bags and rolling them flat. Peel the bags off the circles and place in a very lightly oiled griddle or frying pan. I used a dry pan and they did not stick. Cook until lightly browned, 4-6 minutes, turning once. It says you can butter and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and roll lefse up to eat as bread or wrap around a piece of food. I think they would make great tortillas and be used the same.

Basic Beans - any kind

Personally, I don't like the soak overnight and cook the next day method. That way seems to me to produce a more "gassy" bean. I like to do the "quick soak" method.

Wash and remove any broken beans or non-bean items (like little rocks that may have made their way into the bag), fill the pan with 3X as much water as beans, and boil. When they are in a good boil, remove from heat, cover, and let sit for an hour. After an hour, rinse thoroughly in a colander until the water runs clear. Fill the pan again with water and simmer for 2 or 3 hours or until the beans are tender. Rinse the beans again in the colander until the water runs clear.

At this point you can add whatever seasonings, sauces, meats or whatever you want and cook to taste. My family has never had a gas problem with beans I have cooked this way. If gas really is a problem (caused from hard to digest triple sugars that wash out in the water), you can rinse and replace the water a third time before they are tender. I never use baking soda in my soak or cooking water, and I don't add salt until the seasoning time. The fresher the beans, the less cooking time is needed.

You can get Xantham Gum at health food stores or from Bob's Red Mill online.(

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Boring Day...

Another day gone by. I spent some time looking at other people's blogs and ended up feeling quite intimidated. If I ever figure out how to fancy it up, I will be amazed at myself. I am computer illiterate, literally!

Today was a day spent with two of my grand daughters. Their mom, my youngest daughter, the 22 year old one, was doing school stuff. The girls were having a bad day...drama queen day.... and frankly, I'm glad to be home now. WHEW!!

Time to watch Glenn Beck and then go to sleep. Got my VCR hooked up to the living room tv, so I can start recording it in the afternoon and will be able to get to sleep at a decent time again. I really admire him, and I pray for him and his family.

I know, really boring today. Too tired to think.

Good night

Monday, February 15, 2010

And life goes on. . . . .

The life of this ex-wife is about as fun as counting the cars on a train going by. Which, by the way, I did on Sunday night. There were 69 total. Gave me a headache cause I was right up next to the track and the train was coming in at an angle. But I kept counting, of course I kept counting, I thought about stopping but those cars were just too...too...too...I think I have a bit of O.C.D.

My life is full. I mean, I have lots of kids and grand kids now. I keep as busy as I am able. But I am also alone a lot of the time. Which is why I started this blog, I have no one to talk to when I am home. So I'm talking with my fingers to whoever decides to visit this blog.

It's not that I want a relationship right now, I'm really gun shy considering how much I was hurt in my last marriage. Being married to a porn addict and adulterer can do that. This is a problem that is growing within the Church. Not just the Church, the world. It is a vile, filthy, heartbreaking behavior that destroys not just the individual, but the family. I was really devastated when I realized I did it again. I married another one. My first husband also had this problem, it was just kept a much better secret from me.

But I would like some friends. Not just female friends. I would like some male friends. Someone to hang out with sometimes...see a movie...grab a bite...NOT A DATE. I've always liked having male friends. I had more guy friends than gal friends in school. Actually, I had few friends anyway, but I liked hanging out with the guys more than the girls. Why, you might ask? Why would I even consider torturing myself with giving any of them the time of day? It's not like I've had much luck in my choices since high school.

I want to learn to trust again. Somewhere inside me I want to believe there are good guys out there, one's who don't lie, cheat, and lie some more. Ones who are not obsessed with the ugly darkness of porn. I think they exist on this planet somewhere. I have to believe there is at least one out there... a single one... somewhere... who is as repulsed by that kind of behavior as I am. Who either had a good marriage but is a widower now, or, is divorced but he did the work like I have done and finally gets it. He loves the Lord completely and is determined to live each day proving it. I do believe people can change, I did, but this is where it gets dicey because that requires trust that the change is real. This is a really hard one.

I found my last husband on the internet on a single's site, so I really don't want to go that route again. We can see how well that one worked out. I don't think it is a smart thing, the vast majority of people posting online on those single sites are not emotionally well. At least I don't think they are. My middle son found a statistic that said most are not. Anyway, I certainly wouldn't trust anyone NOW that I met that way. I was very sick back then, can you tell? I mean, I ended up with an addict. And not just any addict, an addict with an incredibly destructive addiction that put not only his physical health in jeopardy, but my mine as well. And it did, he wasn't faithful.

I discovered after his confession that I was really co-dependent. I said something to my bishop and he chuckled and said "No kidding!". So much for subtleties, but he was right. I was extremely co-dependent. After the initial confession I tried to control my husband, I begged him to love me. I was terrified of being alone again. Think about it, I was fighting to stay with someone who was not capable of being there for me. Who, because of the nature of his addiction, hated me. He despised me. That is really sad. Co-dependency creates that kind of sadness in a person's life.

I actually became suicidal for awhile. I had struggled with that before, it was part of the P.T.S.D. that I was diagnosed with in 1990. That stemmed from childhood abuse. But I digress. I had to learn to be okay with me, no matter what he did. I had to learn to stop trying to control my world.

I learned how to do this by joining the co-dependency support group sponsored by the Church. This program is patterned after the 12-step program, with some differences. I learned to embrace the first three steps with all my heart.

1. My life is a mess, I cannot control it. It is okay that I cannot control everything around me. That was a very key point - IT IS OKAY THAT I CANNOT CONTROL MY WORLD. God doesn't expect me to, quite the opposite.

2. God is all powerful. He can do anything. He CAN take the mess out of my life that I can't. He is incredible, He is awesome, He is THE SAVIOR.

3. I will give my will to God. I will trust Him. HE IS TRUSTABLE.

In other words, "I can't, God can, I will let Him".

Choosing to follow this saved my life. Literally. Applying those simple principles made it possible for me to stop having panic attacks. I quit having to fight suicidal thoughts. I found a place of peace in the chaos. I found strength, a lot of strength. I was able to leave my unfaithful husband and found I can survive alone. I'm kinda liking it now.

But back to the friend issue. I don't want to be alone forever. My counselor (yes, I went back to counseling too), counseled me to wait two years before I began to consider another romantic relationship. Sounds reasonable. It has been 15 months since I moved out of his house, 12 months since I filed for a divorce, and 9 months since the divorce was final. I still have some time to go. I want to use this time to learn how to trust others again, especially men. I think that is why she told me to wait two years, so that I could use that time to rebuild me.

I like who is emerging out of me. I like me. I love me. Not arrogantly...peaceably. So my life is boring, but I am happy. I am at peace. After nearly 50 years, I have peace.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Welcome. . . .

Be forewarned. . . . I enjoy writing . . . . this should become obvious as you see the long posts. I have a lot to say, and it might even be worth reading. . . . at least I think so. I need to write, I need to figure out me.

My name is Sandy Winchester. This is my maiden name, which I took back after my second divorce. I have 6 children from my first marriage and thankfully none from my second. That made the divorce easier, if ever you could call a divorce easy.

Despite being twice divorced, I am happier now than I have ever been in my life. This is because I have done a lot of work on me. I also want to make it clear that although I am a divorced Mormon, I am still an active member in full fellowship. I love the Lord with all my heart and I have a testimony of the Bible, Book or Mormon, the Priesthood, and modern Prophets.

When I was a kid I used to imagine what my life would be like when I grew up. . . . who didn't? I thought by the time I reached the half century mark I would be happy in a long-term marriage. I would live in a large, well maintained house and my husband would insist on providing me with housekeeping services. The yard would have mature fruit trees, nut trees, berry patches, and a nice garden plot. The mortgage would have been paid off already, and a nice nest egg of savings and investments would give us the security to be able to start planning for retirement. My car would be well maintained, completely taken care of by my husband so I didn't have to worry about anything. Whether it be tires or spark plugs, he would always make sure I was safe and secure on my errands. Finally, we would both have our health and would be active, whether it be in the yard and garden or spending the day at the zoo with the grandkids.

My husband would love me and allow me to treat him with love and devotion. We would have grown together, yet kept our individuality. There would be compete trust, absolutely no question on both our parts as to the fidelity of the other. Most of all, we would have had a home that nurtured the presence of the Holy Spirit of God. We would have chosen to love the Lord first, so everything else that was important would have naturally fallen into place.

This was my dream. Reality hardly resembles the dream. As I find myself approaching the ominous 5-0, I have been thinking of where my life has been and where it seems to be going. Like I said, I have been twice married and twice divorced. My first marriage was in the Idaho Falls Temple. It lasted 17-1/2 years, with an additional 5-1/2 years of being legally separated. All together that marriage was 23 years. The second marriage was only 7 years. Both marriages ended for the same reason. Infidelity.

I have yet to experience a faithful husband. I discovered as my second marriage was falling apart, that I was attracted to a sex-addict. Without understanding what I was doing, I made the choices to be married to men who were capable of cheating. Not that I liked it, but it was familiar. . . . Dad was a sex-addict and he cheated on Mom. So I had a lot of work to do on me. In doing this work I discovered that I am responsible for all the problems I have had in my adult life. I may not have created the problem myself, but I made choices that put me in those places. A wonderful thing happened to me as I came to this realization. . . . I was freed! I was no longer a victim; I could choose to change my life. A choice could get me into trouble; another could get me out. AND. . . . it's okay to change my choices!

Age has never really been an issue for me before now. I was born in 1960, which means I will be turning 50 this year. For the first time in my life, my age has weighed on my mind. I'm alone again and I really don't like it. But even more so, I have little to no trust in a new relationship. I worked with my second husband for over two years after he confessed his infidelity, believing his lies that he wanted to change and be faithful to me, and now, well, I already had trust issues before, now they are as big as Mt. Everest. Lies can do so much damage.

As I stated at the beginning, I would like to figure me out. It's not that I don't know me, I just have reached a time that I am a little more free to spend time on me. All my children are out of the house and I'm alone.

My interests are many and I am sure I will touch on them throughout this blog. I enjoy crafts of many kinds, cooking, nutrition, food storage, reading, gardening and I walk a mile or so on most days. I have 9 living grandchildren, we lost a twin boy two years ago. My youngest child, now age 20, has autism. I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in 1990, fibromyalgia in 1997 and spinal arthritis in 2002. Tired of being sick, I got my certificate in holistic nutrition in 2007 so I could take charge of my own health.

This is my story: About twenty years ago I started developing health concerns that drove me to seek the help of a medical doctor. Through the process I was given prescription drugs to relieve the symptoms, then more drugs to relieve the side effects of the first batch of prescriptions. After just a few years I was taking quite a number of prescription drugs several times a day. And still getting sicker. During that time I divorced my first husband, and met and married my second husband. Then in 2002, as a newlywed, I moved from Oregon to Arizona and again sought out medical help. This time the doctor, quite arrogantly, informed me that I really had no options. Knowing I had the diagnosis of fibromyalgia, he said to me "You have fibromyalgia, no one knows what causes it, there is no cure. You are just going to have to learn to live with it!"

My response was to get mad. I had already begun to investigate the possibility that nutrition might be the key to regaining my health. I informed him I believed he was wrong and that I believed the key was in nutrition. He rebuffed with with a sarcastic remark and I left. I never went back to that doctor.

This experience fueled my desire to learn more about nutrition. I began with an "allopathic" approach, which means Western ways. I soon realized this really wouldn't help me, so I took a course in holistic nutrition and got my certificate as a Nutritional Consultant. I learned about my body and through trial and error got off all prescription medications. That took a few years to accomplish. My health has improved a lot, but I still have more to go. My youngest daughter commented to me just this last weekend that she doesn't remember me ever being as active as I am now. She kept saying she was amazed to see me being able to go into Costco and not be ready to collapse after just a few minutes. I lasted a good hour in the store and was still okay. She said she doesn't remember me ever not being tired all the time, and she is 22 years old.

I am also gluten intolerant, so this will be a part of this blog too. I believe this was caused by the prescription drugs, that they damaged my digestive system. Before this time I did not react to wheat or gluten, but now I can't eat it at all. It took me four years and a whole lot of pain for me to finally get it that wheat was bad for me.

I hope you come back often, and I welcome your kind comments and suggestions. I am a work in progress, and I hope to learn a lot along the way. I am completely intimidated by technology, so it will take some time for me to figure out all the bells and whistles of posting a blog.