Monday, October 11, 2010

I Love The Atonement of Jesus Christ....

Yesterday's lesson in Relief Society was on sin and repentance. Two subjects I know far too well....

There are three kinds of sin:

Sin of Ignorance, where you really didn't know what you did was wrong until after the fact. Someone or something got hurt because of something you did, and although you didn't mean to do it, you still are responsible for making it right. The Atonement of Christ works very well in helping to take care of this one.

Sin of Weakness.... yep, I've got a lot of those... Weaknesses that is... I do a lot of stumbling around in this one. This is part of being human and thank goodness for the Atonement so that I can (with the Savior's help) grow those weaknesses into strengths.

Last there is Sin of Willful Disobedience.... I've done this too. Fell flat on my face in the mud and took a long time to get me cleaned up. Especially for this one am I grateful for the Atonement. It took a lot more work, but oh, how that work was worth it. The work wasn't for the Lord's benefit, it definitely was for mine.

We talked about Godly Sorrow in class. About how you can tell the difference between a false apology and one that is sincere. How Godly Sorrow is an important step towards being able to apply the Savior's Atonement and be cleansed.

I thought about my recent divorce. About my ex-husband. He has changed a lot over the last year and a half. I have seen the changes take place in him that tell me he is finally getting it.... he is figuring out how to draw on the Atonement for himself. Many people have prayed for this to happen. I am grateful those prayers are being answered.

The reason I divorced him was because he wasn't changing. I stayed with him for two years after his confession, hoping he would "get it" and make the changes necessary to reconcile himself to God. If he were reconciled to God, then there would be no problem with him being unfaithful to me.

I knew how easy it was to fall on your face, how that willful disobedience can be a wedge that grows until it consumes. How it is a flaxen cord that multiplies until it become a heavy rope that strangles. I knew all this from personal experience and I knew I could not expect mercy for me if I refused to give it to others. Especially him.

But he wouldn't do it.

He kept lying... He kept cheating... So finally I left...

At first he would say things like "I already said I was sorry." and "How many times do I have to say I'm sorry?". He would get angry at me because I didn't trust him. He somehow thought it would be just a quick fix at his convenience and all would be well again... Not so.

The changes were gradual over the months. They began after the divorce was final. It was then that he finally realized I really wouldn't put up with it any more. First he was sincerely sorry, but mostly for himself. It was a start I told myself.

Then he started reflecting on how it must have been for me. WOW!! I didn't think that would ever happen. His apologies took on a new color. They were no longer all about him. They were actually about me, about the Lord, about others he had hurt. He pulled farther and farther away from himself and began to see the picture more clearly. He was finally getting it!

They say a leopard cannot change his spots. That may be true, but it is unfair to say that about a man. If you truly believe that about a person, then you do not believe Christ. They cannot both exist. One will nullify the other. I'm not saying it is easy, it certainly is hard work, but with the power of the Atonement, it is possible to completely shed the unfaithful heart and replace it with one that is completely reconciled to God.

And it doesn't have to take a long time to happen. What it really only requires is deep sincerity and commitment to God. It takes a real decision, without reservation, without holding onto anything from the past. It takes burying your swords, not just putting them away in the closet.

The people of Ammon did it. Both Alma the Elder and his son did it. The Nenevites did it. The Atonement applies to everyone, even a recovering sex addict.

I sincerely hope he continues on the path he is on. I sincerely hope he can find true happiness in his life. I realized yesterday that I really hope he is able to find someone to be faithful to, and that he continues to be faithful to her throughout the rest of his life. I hope this for him, without reservations or jealously that someone else will somehow reap benefit from the pain I endured.

In thinking about this I realized, I truly have forgiven him.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Drunk Drivers, Dentists, and Difficult Decisions...

This morning was spent in the dentist chair... again. I got two more teeth fixed. I was really nervous as to how much it was going to cost, because one of the teeth was worse off then he originally thought, so it required more work. It was the one and only root canal I had done a few years ago and the filling went bad. It had chipped so it looked like my tooth was broken. It looks great now, I am pleased.... except for the $248 I had to spend. I guess it could have been worse, he didn't have to crown the tooth. I am grateful it wasn't more.

Paying for all the dental work is beginning to make me nervous. I am beginning to rethink what I will get done and what I may postpone or cancel.

My income has taken a dive. I won't be receiving the back due child support for a while from my kid's dad. He was in a serious car accident and will be laid up for quite a while. Broke his arm and leg and then developed complications with blood clots. It was touch and go for a while, but it looks like he is out of the woods now. I am glad he is okay.

He was hit head on by a teenage drunk driver, with no insurance. I wonder if that kid even realizes how many lives have been affected by his poor choice? My ex-husband of course; the friends he is now having to stay with because he cannot take care of himself; His brother, who now has to take car of their mom (my ex was taking care of her); my kids, because he is their dad; and me, because I rely on the monthly payments to get by.

I am praying to be able to find a small job to fill in the gap. Not even sure where to begin with that. I do have a friend who has been asking around to her business associates if they have need for a little help.

For now, I will continue to take it a day at a time. And think about those hard decisions... There is really nothing else I can do. Except to continue to give Thanks to God for the blessings I do have. And I do have a lot, I cannot loose sight of that.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

An Accomplished Day...

We accomplished a lot today.

The carpet has been cleaned as much as it will come clean. The markers did not come out. Little girls and permanent markers and carpet should never be put together. Especially if they hide their "artwork" under a throw rug so it isn't found and cleaned out right away. There is green in the livingroom and blue in the master bedroom. Although faded pretty light, you can still see the color in the sunlight.

Today was also Danny's birthday. He took yesterday and today off for that reason, but he didn't get to spend them as he had wanted. The good news is that the carpet cleaning is over and now they can dry. We have begun to bring our things out of storage.

One of the first things we brought out was my tv (thank you Jenny, I still have the big tv you gave me), as well as Danny's tv stand. He got the tv set up today and hooked it up to his Wii so we can watch streamed Netflix. Both of us suddenly felt like we were home. We just looked at each other and smiled. We gave each other a big hug. We are using our things now. It is familiar and comfortable.

We moved my grandmother's buffet out of the dining area into the living area. The little freezer also came out of the dining area. It will be put in a corner in Danny's room (he got the master bedroom, because his bed is bigger and that was the room Tiffany and the girls shared).

Then we experimented with arranging the tables in the dining area til I found a way I liked. I now have an "office" area to work! My computer was in here before, but it was really crowded. And being that I shared the space with a freezer and the buffet, it was not dedicated to just me. I will be able to bring out my craft supplies again and begin a project or two. Chris already has something he wants me to get started on. And things are going to stay where I put them. This is going to be fun!!

I also decided to re-arrange my room. I like it much better now, and will more so when I am done. I have bookshelves to take out and a dresser to bring out of storage. I even have some pretty lace curtains to put on the window that my mom gave to me. I have the curtain rod and pull backs already, just have not been able to use them. Now I can.

This is really exciting to me. After 2 years of feeling like I was living in someone else's home, I finally feel like I am in my home. I am sure Tiffany is feeling that way too.... it is really hard to share a home with another adult woman. I didn't realize how hard until I had to do it. I am grateful to her for sharing with me when I needed the help. She did sacrifice something there for me.

There is still a lot of work to do. The apartment is still upside-down, so to speak. I can't get into the dishwasher or the oven right now because the freezer is blocking them. The carpet is still a bit wet and the bottom of the freezer would rust on it, so we have to wait until it is very dry.

There are boxes from storage to unpack, furniture to arrange, shelves to put up. There are more things still in storage to bring out. There is still a lot of work and we are happy to be doing it.

I think we will both sleep well tonight.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Time To Say Welcome and Thank You!

I'm not sure if I will have time to write a regular blog entry today, Danny and I are working to get the rest of Tiffany's things packed up and get the carpet shampooed. He took today and tomorrow off so hopefully after these two days we will feel so much more "moved in".

So, I decided to take this moment to say thank you to all my readers and followers. Today I came on and saw my 11th follower signed up. Welcome Vera!! Welcome to all of you. First there was my mom and Tiffany, then my brother Stan and lifetime friend Wes, Then Tina, my niece by a marriage that no longer exists. Also came my middle daughter Bridgette, her friends (and mine now), Fawn & Lindsay. And two friends I have met over the last few years, Jenny and Sharon.

Welcome to you all. Thank you for letting me into your lives and taking the time to read my little ramblings.

For those anonymous followers, I welcome you too. I believe I know who a few of you are, but since you have not chosen to be public, I don't feel at liberty to mention you by name. I'm hoping that you might decide you are comfortable enough to change from anonymous to public at some future time, but even if not, I am glad you are here. I wish the site would allow me to at least know the number of anonymous followers I have, but alas, it does not.

For those who just pop in from Facebook, I invite you to become a follower as well. It does require you set up your own account, but you don't have to use it. Then again, you might find out how fun it is to sit and write to the world about your day.

Please come back and visit often. And I have changed the comment requirements, so that anyone can leave a comment. They still have to be moderated, but you no longer have to have an account to leave a comment. I welcome comments. Comments let me know you have been here.

Please also feel free to share my blog with your friends. The more the merrier!!

There is a method to my madness. Many friends, including some of you my followers, have encouraged me to write, and to write big. The more people I have reading what I write, the more courage I will develop to take the next step. I really do want to take the next step.

Thank you again. Have a great day.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

What Can Be Done?

A friend of mine had a disturbing experience yesterday. I don't know the details, but what she told was that she witnessed some creep of a dad berate, humiliate, and bombard with violent words, his young daughter. She can't get the image of the sadness in the girl's eyes out of her head.

What can a person do when experiencing something like that in public? The man was "agitated", and my friend had her precious little granddaughter with her. Her first priority was to protect her granddaughter, so what could she do for the stranger child? I suspect the dad was much more than just "agitated", so to have stepped forward would have put herself and her granddaughter in danger.

I'm sure my friend would have risked herself, had she been alone. She is that kind of person, not taking guff from others. But that was not how she found herself at that moment in time. Now she can't seem to let go, replaying the experience in her mind, wanting to change what happened.

What can a person do? How do we rectify such an experience?

When I was going through child abuse recovery, sometimes I felt so vulnerable, so exposed, so helpless. I desperately wanted to feel some kind of control in my life. As an abused child, I had virtually no control over my life. I was humiliated, berated, beaten, molested and abandoned almost on a daily basis. As an adult, those experiences haunted me, often subconsciously, and I couldn't seem to be able to stop those experiences from dominating my behavior in the hear-and-now. In recovery I was beginning to find sanity among the chaos, but I still felt so sad that others had, and were in the present, experiencing the hell I had survived.

So I did the only thing I could think of doing... I prayed... Not for me, but for some unknown little girl somewhere. Would Heavenly Father find a girl somewhere, who was in danger of having a horrible, traumatic experience, and protect her? Would he stop, before it started, a night of hell so that, for at least this one moment in time, she could have a peaceful night?

I knew I couldn't stop it all, God has to let man exercise his free will, even at the expense of innocence, in order to pronounce a fair judgment. But I could do my little something in my small way, to make a difference for someone I would never meet.

That prayer always left me with a feeling of peace. I was comforted that my prayer was heard and acted upon. Somewhere, some little girl had a pocket of peace in her life.

I will pray for both my friend, and the little girl, that Heavenly Father will comfort them both. May that little girl, somehow, find a pocket of peace. I will pray for the father too, that he may come to realize what he doing. That he is working to destroy a precious daughter of God and he just can't do that anymore. It has to stop. And if he doesn't stop on his own, then I pray that the authorities will intervene and protect that precious little girl.

Please remember them in your prayers too.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Starting New...

Today is the first day of the rest of your life....

I remember hearing that phrase when I was a kid. It never really meant anything to me, at least not before today.

Today is the first day that I am the Lady of the House again. After almost 2 years of stepping back because it wasn't my home, I am back on my throne! Just kidding, but it did sound kinda good to me.

I've spent the day just enjoying myself. It was the first day of General Conference, so that of course was included. It was also a beautiful Autumn day.

I went to the dollar store today to see if I could fill in some of the kitchen gadget gaps created by Tiffany moving out.

I should have known better. I was feeling really good so.... WHAM!!! I fell in love!!

No, not a man.....


I love Autumn. I love the color of the trees. I love the wind and the rain. Autumn reminds me of freshly baked bread and hot cocoa after a long day at school. I have good memories of Autumn. I missed Autumn in Arizona. In Arizona there really are no definitive seasons, and certainly no Autumn.

In my younger years, Autumn meant time to gather walnuts. Picking up walnuts is dirty work. It involves a slimy outer hull that will turn your hands black. I didn't wear gloves, I have never liked wearing gloves. I'm a kinestetic person (I know, spelling is probably wrong, but Wikipedia is down and my dictionary is still packed away in some anonymous box). Anyway, I like to feel what I am doing, to experience through touch, so despite the black slime, I just never used gloves.

But, I would step on the nuts to smear them in the grass in an attempt to minimize the slime. It was worth it, they are soooo good. Later, I discovered that if I cracked and shelled them raw, then dried them in the dehydrator, they would not aquire a bitter taste. They were so good. Did I already say that? We had 6 English walnut trees surrounding the house. I would shell about 1 or so quarts a night, dry them, then put them in the freezer. By the end of the season I usually had 3 or 4 gallons of shelled walnuts!!! I had a small fortune in nuts at my disposal.

At this time we lived in my childhood house. I lived there with my parents from 4th grade to when I got married the first time. Then, after my dad died, I returned with my husband and children. My last 2 babies were born while I lived at that house.

We were poor, so I used the walnuts to make Christmas presents. I gave away walnut toffee for Christmas. I made Oatmeal cookies with walnuts. I even gave away small bags of walnuts. They were a treasure to me, but I did share them. My first husband would give them away to his friends and I would get so mad. He didn't have the right to give away MY hard work. I told him he could pick up the walnuts, shell them, dry them, then he was free to give them away..... He stopped giving my walnuts away, but he never did do any for himself.

Anyway, back to today, I walked into the dollar store and fell in love with something that reminded me of my favorite season of the year. There are imperfections in the dishes, but I don't care. Life has imperfections, that's one of the reasons it can be so interesting...

I'm going to enjoy my new dishes. We didn't need dishes, but since I fell in love I couldn't very well leave them behind.

As I stated in the beginning. Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I feel like I have not just started a new chapter, I started a whole new book! Somehow it seems appropriate to have this start begin in Autumn, my favorite season of the year.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Middle Age....


I've written a bit about it, being that I just turned 50 and all.

A friend posted in Facebook: "How did we meet? (copy and paste this to your status and see who remembers!)".

So I did. An interesting conversation ensued.

I'm really not THAT old, I mean, 50 still has the potential for many, many more years to go. Maybe it's past the halfway mark, but I could still be around for another 30 or 40 years. And that is a lot of years still.

But in the conversation I realized that I had known some of my friends for 30 or 40 years! Wow, how could I be old enough to mark my friendships in so many decades?

Is this what it means to be "middle aged". To be able to look back at decades of life? To look forward and realize that there are more years behind than in front?

As I think about it I realize I am okay with it. My life has been a roller-coaster ride, that is for sure. I have survived an abusive childhood, been raped more than once, had my life threatened at gun point, knife point and forced drowning. I have been married twice to unfaithful men, and have struggled with the consequences of poorly made decisions.

But I have also had the joy of raising 6 incredible children. Each one has been a blessing and source of growth for me. They all have qualities I admire. I see things in them I would like to make better in me. Even Bobby, my autistic son who will probably never really grow up, shows me courage to face the scary unknown, to reach outside his very small comfort zone and breath in a new day. Every day.

If I had it to do over again, I'm not sure I would change anything. Each of my experiences has made an impact on me. They have helped to shape who I am. Some of it may not be good, but it is in the trials that we find the need for Christ in our lives. Each day I realize so much more how much I need my Savior in my life.

I think Middle Age also means letting go of the craziness of having a house full of little ones. It's time to move on. It's time to take my focus off taking care of others and really learn to take care of me. Because of my health I think it is obvious I didn't pay enough attention to me in my youth.

Today is moving day for Tiffany and her girls. Tonight the house will be quiet. Tonight I can leave something out and not be afraid it won't be there in the morning (or in 2 minutes). Tonight I will again be the only woman in the house. For those who have never done it, sharing a home with another adult woman is not the same as sharing it with children... or a man.

I'm going to miss them. It will take some getting used to the quiet and lack of craziness. But I'm middle aged now, and I'm moving on.