Category Archives: Ponderings

I Don’t Mean To

I don’t mean to be overly analytical. It’s just my way of protecting myself and validating the emotions I’m feeling.

I don’t mean to push people away in times when I probably really want to be held close, to be told it’s going to be ok.

I don’t mean to take on the world alone and make you feel ignored, it’s just what I’m so used to.

I don’t mean to be bothered by things that don’t bother others, it’s just that there’s a reason why.

I don’t mean to seem difficult, but I promise I mean well.

I don’t mean to feel overwhelming, but it’s because my life is overwhelming me right now.

I don’t mean to.

My Scars Are Invisible

My scars are invisible, so sometimes it’s difficult to understand why certain things affect me. You see, the wounds I received took time, were slow and deliberate.

Some of them allowed me to see the world for what it was too soon. My innocence was robbed, and because of it I’ll never be who I maybe could have been, or even should have been, but the person I am I’ve still come to like. Now, I do, anyway, because she took time, sweat, blood, tears and determination to cultivate. I didn’t ask for them, but my scars are invisible.

Some of them allowed me to see certain people for what they were, in a light that’s dark and painful, and because of them it’s difficult to trust myself in my view of others. I trusted them and gave them my everything, but that wasn’t worth the weight in gold it was to me. My value was but of trash. My worth was but mere time. My place was but of a space-filler, and furthermore I was burdensome in the way I felt much of the time. I didn’t ask for them, but my scars are invisible.

Through every wound I fought back, I questioned myself, I asked for an answer as to why, but received little response. In the end, though, I healed. I didn’t ask for them, but my scars are invisible.

I’ve hated myself, hated others, thought life was unfair, dreamt of and wanted so much more, didn’t want reality to be so at times, screamed, cried, but in the end accepted what was. I didn’t ask for them, but my scars are invisible.

My scars are there, though they are invisible, and each one carries a different story. It’s not a book I keep on my coffee table for all guests to read. They are selective for when the time is right, if ever. Some stories replay themselves in the depths of my heart on occasion against my will. Some stories are just memories, but ones that affect relationships, even today. Most of my stories I wished were happier. Because of my stories though, and through the hard work I’ve done, I feel that my scars are now beautiful. They allow me to be:

  • Beautifully emotional, for I’ve recognized that my emotions are valid. They’re my body’s way of telling me something, and I owe it to her to listen. I am not too much. I am just right for the right people.
  • Beautifully responsive, for I’ve learned to read people well, and can empathize with them in many situations. I can tell when something is needed, or when something is too much. I can tell when I should open my heart to someone, or keep it closed. This lesson was a path riddled with pain, but learned from each step.
  • Beautifully caring, for I’ve grown to want nothing but the best for almost everyone I’ve come to love. If it were in my power and my budget I’d give the world to them all.
  • Beautifully loving, for out of my stories, my battles, my wounds and my scars I’ve still allowed my heart to love as if there’s no such thing as a broken heart.

I don’t always view myself in the traditional sense of being beautiful. If I were honest, I rarely view myself as being beautiful in outward appearance, but because of my scars I feel that God has made me into a beautiful person that loves well.

My emotions have given me strength and tell me whether what I’m feeling is true and clear. My stories are there as a reference now, and no longer as the master of my seas. I share my heart openly when I feel safe, and sometimes it’s met without understanding or gentle care, but I can’t stop sharing because then I’d be lying to myself again, saying my emotions aren’t valid, when they are.

It’s ok to not understand me, or even be frustrated with why something the world sees as small would would affect me with such great force. It’s ok to still be learning, as long as you’re actively searching and seeking to understand. It’s ok to ask questions. Just please, don’t write me off. Don’t walk away. I sometimes don’t even know the answers, but I’m willing to seek and try and put words to some things I maybe have never put words to before.

I’ll never understand why my own personal book was written for me, but I’ve learned to read it without shame. I didn’t ask for them, but my scars are invisible. And my invisible scars make me.

 

 

I Bought Them Shoes

My oldest daughter was born when I was working full time for Banfield Pet Hospital as a field trainer, managing the training of 17 hospitals and over 300 employees. I was making almost more money at 25 than my mom was after 36 years at Shell. I felt accomplished, important, like I was on track with a professional career I could retire from and was happy with my work. When she was 6 weeks old I was notified that I was being laid off.

From that moment and for the next 4 years money was extremely tight. We were behind on rent and other bills more often than not. There were times when I fed my kids and ate only what they didn’t eat. I’d sell things in beg/buy/barter sites for cash when I needed gas money. Those were years where stress was extremely high and spirits were extremely low. I didn’t like my life and I didn’t like who I was.

Last year on the way out of my marriage I was actually told, “You need me to provide for the girls.” I took it as a challenge.

In January I started grad school, and next May I’ll graduate with my Masters of Science in Agriculture with a high school teaching certification. Last December I met the love of my life and finally know what true love is. In March I bought a better car for us that’s reliable. This July my oldest daughter turned five and I registered both of my girls for dance. Tonight though…tonight I bought them shoes.

Mamas, I know this may not sound like much, but for me I had to hold back the tears on the way home. You see, after years of not knowing always where our next meals would come from, to be able  to go to the store and comfortably buy both of my girls TWO new pairs of shoes and a pack of socks each absolutely meant the world to me.  Money isn’t tight until the next paycheck, and my girls will start school this year with new shoes. My sweet Joni will walk into her first day of kindergarten this Wednesday with new shoes that her mama bought her.

Today was the one of a handful of days where I really felt like I’m on the right track because….I bought them shoes.

Marriage Isn’t [Meant To Be] Hard

A couple of months ago a sweet friend of mine posted a link to a blog titled, “Marriage Isn’t Hard.” My first instinct reading the title was, “Ha!” Even after reading the first few paragraphs where the author admits to having only been married for 10 months I wanted to write and invite her to a coffee where I could share my wisdom with this dear, sweet, naïve young woman. In the last 19 months I’ve become a single mom, finalized my divorce, started grad school and closed a business. After experiencing the kind of heartache I did I was reading this post thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding me! What do you mean marriage isn’t hard?!”

In my almost 9 years of marriage my ex-husband and I experienced 3 layoffs between the two of us, moved 6 times, fell behind on bills more times than I’d like to count, had 3 miscarriages, had 2 children after that, fought and battled more than I’m proud to say, and ultimately our marriage failed. The writer talks about how in 10 months they experienced a pay cut, adding a mortgage and balancing time, and yes, I wanted to laugh in her face. I mean, how could she seriously say any of that was hard? Did she not realize the real challenges her and her new husband would surely face, possibly sooner than later?

Then I kept reading.

The truths this young woman shared showed that she is wise for her age. And when I allowed my emotions to settle and really think about my own personal situation from an unbiased perspective I realized she was right, but I threw a twist on it, because, after all, I am a divorcee. I’ve learned much about myself and my ex since becoming single, and in no way will ever excuse his actions that ultimately ended our marriage, but to say I didn’t contribute to our failure isn’t true. What I now realize is…

Marriage Isn’t [Meant To Be] Hard.

In my failed marriage we wouldn’t settle arguments; we’d yell, scream, throw names and accusations at one another to heighten the sense of resentment, hurt and disappointment the other caused. “You promised! You vowed! Why can’t you just….?!” Week after week, year after year, our relationship became more and more poisoned with resentment and disdain for one another. We allowed the difficulty of life to take hold of what was supposed to be most important – Fighting for one another instead of with one another.

When money was tight we’d fight and place blame – “You’re not making enough money! You’re spending too much money! You’re not following the budget! You’re not updating the budget with what you spend!” Round and round we went. We were so good at getting on that crazy cycle that spiraled us downward!

As I read on in this post I slowly came to realize something. What’s really hard is life, not marriage, not love.

Your wedding is meant to be special. Whether you get dressed up and have a big ceremony, or run away together or with a few people and elope, there’s a sense of excitement and euphoria that’s impossible to replace. You come home and the typical saying of, “The honeymoon’s over,” sets in. You adjust to blending two different lifestyles, sharing holidays, doing laundry, cooking dinner, sharing the bathroom, getting woken up by snores, adopting a dog, and the list goes on….

After time life gets really hard. You start to experience your first grown up disappointments, and sometimes major, expensive changes together. Like I mentioned above my ex and I experienced 3 layoffs between us; two in a row for him when the economy crashed in 2007/2008, one for me when our oldest daughter was just 6 weeks old. Life got really hard.

Looking back though I realized where I was disrespecting my husband without realizing it. I wasn’t creating a peaceful happy home, I wasn’t encouraging him to pursue better things or to be his best, I wasn’t pushing my fears and anxiety out of the way of my anger and resentment. I was making things harder, as life just got harder on its own.

Please, let me reiterate, the emotional and verbal abuse I now realize I was living under are not excused by me recognizing where I too failed and contributed to my divorce. I’m simply learning from my past, because you see, when you’re given an opportunity for true love, it’s important, and mature, to grow as people.

I’ve learned in my late 20s and now 30s that we must grow and progress as survivors of pain. If we don’t we will fall into the trap of victimization and expect the world to cater to our bad attitudes, pushing away the people who love us most and ones we truly need in our lives. For years I lived with this mindset of, “I am who I am. Take it or leave it.” Oh, how immature and heartbreaking for me, because that attitude didn’t invite people in to love me well, thus throwing away the opportunity for me to do the same for others! I’ve come to learn now that the hardships I’ve endured in life are blessings, because I’ve chosen to grow through them and have come out on the other side with the ability to love well with compassion. I can respond with empathy when a woman who’s experienced infertility, miscarriage, abuse, single parenting, job loss or divorce comes into my life. I can be a true reflection of Christ if I allow the Holy Spirit to work in me as He sees fit instead of trying to control outcomes.

Now that I have a good and true love in my life I feel that I can return that love in a form that holds no expectations. We both experienced divorce last year for the same reasons, so yes, there’s a camaraderie there that initially brought us together, but we also just work really well together. Both of our past relationships were riddled with unhealthy habits, and we’ve both learned from them and grown in a beautiful way. We choose to respond in love first rather than condemnation. We choose to communicate and talk things out, no matter how awkward, rather than allow our hurt feeling to fester resentment. We choose to plan and dream together, even if the reality of those dreams are years away. We choose to remember that we’re working together, not against one another.

This is what the original blog post was trying to remind us all of! When you stand before a large crowd or by yourselves and you say, “I accept you, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live,” it means, “No matter how bad or crazy shit may I get I’m in this for you, no one else! Not for future kids, a house, car, jewelry, money or titles, but for you! You’re worth fighting this fight with, because life will get hard.”

Married folks, please remember this! Both my love and I are in agreement that divorce sucks and it’s something we never want to experience again! When there’s kids involved there’s so much hurt, confusion and pain experienced with constant change and separation of households. Even when there’s not kids involved, as with him, there’s still feelings of disappointment, anger and betrayal. As one pastor previously illustrated, when two people are married it’s like gluing two pieces of paper completely together, one on top of the other. They stick together in all areas, and when you try and rip them apart after the glue’s dried pieces of one another are torn and left on the other. There’s never a clean separation.

Please, if nothing else, remember that Marriage Isn’t [Meant To Be] Hard.

TMI – You’ve Been Warned….

Your fit includes: 2 bags of protein, 2 boxes of fizz sticks, 2 boxes of detox tea, 1 seven day cleanse, 1 box of digestion plus, 1 bag of fiber boost, 30-day guide, and a FREE gift

 

So last month a team member of mine and my boyfriend embarked on our 30 Days to Healthy Living Challenge – aka: 30 Day Challenge, 30 Day Detox, whatever you fancy.

My boyfriend, of course, lost 30 pounds easily as we cut out most dairy, sodas, alcohol, bread/wheat, and processed sugars. Men.

I lost just under 10 pounds myself, and at first, was feeling really discouraged by that number on the scale. Maybe it’s my preconceived notion that a certain number is what’s ideal for me, or because I wanted to fit back into a pair of pants I haven’t worn in a while. Whatever the case may be several things happened recently that changed my opinion on that…

Before and After Pictures

I recently shared my boyfriend’s 14 day before and after pictures, but after 25 days of wondering if I was really seeing any changes I decided to take some of myself. Here’s my own personal results! Let me just preface them by saying I couldn’t be happier! I still have some work to do to meet my ultimate goal, but holy smokes that’s a big difference in 25 days!

I’ve Never Felt Better

One of the biggest differences I noticed almost immediately was how great I now feel. I didn’t realize how bogged down I was really feeling! The processed sugar was making my blood sugar spike then crash, the extra weight and bloating was making me feel tired all the time, and the constant coffee intake was upsetting my gut health as I just tried to stay awake. (Single mom and full-time grad student here)

After just the first week  my blood sugar balanced out with no more headaches and no more blurred vision immediately after eating. I felt clear-headed instead of struggling to focus on the tasks at hand. I’ve slept the best over the last month than I have in YEARS! (no exaggeration, I have a 3 and 4 year old) and I no longer get the intense, sudden hunger pangs at meal times because I’m allowed to snack healthily throughout the day. I just feel FABULOUS!

Then the Biggest Benefit Came and Went (this is the TMI part, so stop reading if you’re not ok with women stuff….)

For my entire mature woman life I’ve dealt with symptoms of PCOS and Endometriosis. My periods were never regular, passed blood clots as large as golf balls at times, cramp horribly to the point that I had extreme back pain and diarrhea, hormonal migraines that caused me to vomit, bleeding that last well over 6 days and bloating to the point that I’d go up almost a whole size in clothes every month. It took me three and a half years to get pregnant with my oldest daughter, having three miscarriages prior to that. My monthly cycles have literally been HELL for me since I was about 16 years old, most of my life suffering in silence.

I started seeing a chiropractor just before getting pregnant with my oldest daughter, and have more or less been seeing one on a regular basis since then. This helped tremendously with the regularity of my cycles and the most extreme pain that I dealt with on a regular basis, so to Peak Potential Family Chiropractic I owe a great deal of gratitude!

What I didn’t realize, though, was how much my diet was affecting so many other areas of my life. I ate pretty healthy, or so I thought, prior to doing the 30 Day Detox. I have fresh eggs from my own yard, purchase organic food as often as possible, and watch the amount of sugar I consume, but not to a level that I really understood was necessary. Did you know that people need less than 10g of sugar per day to meet our necessary energy requirements? Did you also know that most of us consume well over 15 times that amount per day?!

I ate bread, pasta, and enjoyed beer, probably a little too much, on a regular basis, but thought that was ok because I cooked at home 95% of the time, so that must be ok, right? Wrong! What I didn’t realize was all of the other ingredients in the food products we purchase on a regular basis, along with the added sugars, artificial sweeteners, flavorings, colors, etc. My body was well past time in need of a good detox!

So I embarked on my journey, and saw some great results as you read above. Then it happened. Day 25 I was scheduled to start my period, and really didn’t think much of it until it was over. You know what? It was fabulous! I mean, as fabulous as a period can be I suppose. Can I get an amen ladies? In all seriousness though, in over 14 years this is the first time I HAVE NOT  thrown up, HAVE NOT had a hormonal headache, HAVE NOT cramped, DID NOT bloat, HAVE NOT been completely exhausted, DID NOT have diarrhea, DID NOT have any back pain, and my period only last 5 days with NO CLOTS and it wasn’t heavy at all! HALLELUJAH!!!!

If that was the only benefit I would have received from this detox that would have been perfectly fine with me! I know many of you are still thinking this is a diet, or quick weight loss deal, and as you’ve ready above, this is so much more than that!

I really hope you consider joining my next group. Contact me to find out how to easily order your fit kit  and get added to our Facebook Group (you don’t have to be local to join us!).

Wonder Woman Rocked my Socks

Ok, I know I’m probably several weeks late in expressing my absolute FABULOUS review of the Wonder Woman movie, released earlier this month, but better late than never, right?

When my boyfriend asked if I wanted to see that movie shortly after it came out, I’m pretty sure my response was, “YES!!!” Ever since seeing the first preview I’ve been anxiously anticipating its release. I don’t consider myself a feminist, because I think that word, by definition, has been degraded to some form of modern woman that I don’t want to associate myself with, but I will say that I felt a sense of pride in being female when I first heard they were FINALLY making a female lead character action movie like this. There’s just something about being a single mom and considering myself to be a strong woman in general that made me absolutely elated and wanted to see her kick some Marvel ass! Pardon me…I’m getting excited again.

After seeing the movie I was Totally. And. Completely. Blown. Away. I was expecting the high intensity action that the movie clearly achieved, but what really got me right in the feels was the display of compassion, grace and love from Diana – Wonder Woman. I’m not the only one who took note of this either. Take a read here! And get out to see the movie this week!

It Happened

That moment I had been dreading finally happened a few weeks ago, well over a year since becoming single. I walked into church, settled into my usual seat, sang a couple of songs, and when we were prompted to greet one another a lady said, “Oh, you’re [my ex-husband’s] wife, aren’t you?”

No, no ma’am I’m not. You see, the church I still go to was the church he grew up in. We attended church there together for 6 years before he left. There are many families in the church that have known him since he was a teenager, and still associate me with him. I wanted to crawl under my chair and die. I changed my name back to my maiden name for a reason.

I wasn’t expecting to hurt as bad as it did either. Don’t get me wrong, today I’m 100% happy with my decision to go through with divorcing him. Like I said, there’s a reason why I changed my name back, and through wonderful counseling and lots of prayerful thought I’ve come to understand exactly the type of hell I was truly living in, but didn’t want to recognize at the time of our separation. I didn’t believe in divorce, and even more so believed in the vows I took on our wedding day. I think the reason it hurt was because what I still feel is just disappointment. I feel disappointed in his actions and decisions, even still to date as I battle for what’s best for my children emotionally. I’m disappointed that it has to be this way even though I’m happy and have moved on with my life. I’m disappointed for my girls, to have to grow up with divorced parents, because I know what that’s like still at 30 years old when it comes to planning trips, holidays and special events. It’s a total pain in the ass!

So ya, just like any mature adult….I’ve been avoiding church for weeks now. I know, I know, “But Amanda you’re so strong and you’ve come through a lot and you can go back to church confidently! So what if they thought you were still married!” I know. I’ve been listening to sermons online and trying to muster my courage to go back. I’ve gone a few times and sat there, praying the whole time that no one would talk to me, but I’m working on returning with my head held high. I will soon, I promise.

~Amanda

Father’s Day Is Weird

Father’s Day…..it rolls around once a year and to this day, at 30 years old, I still feel a void that I really can’t put words to. My Dad and I have repaired a good deal of our relationship in recent years. While it’s not where I’d like it to be, it’s a great deal better than it was 10 years ago. I grew up with a wonderful step-father who’s been in my life for going on 23 years now. So what’s missing?

I think it stems back to things being “different” and not being able to do anything about it. It’s the exact same way I feel about my girls now, being a divorced single mom myself. Do I wish I was still married to my ex-husband? NO! Getting divorced was the best thing for us! It wasn’t until after we were separated and I started working on myself that I realized how much manipulation and control I was living under. But that doesn’t mean that I’m glad for the tears my girls have cried, the hurt they’ve felt, or the confusion they’re still trying to wrap their little minds around. They may not really understand or come to grips with the present time for decades, and I know exactly what that’s like.

So, yes, Father’s Day is weird, just like every single other holiday when you’re the child from a divorced family. There’s a constant feeling of never being settled, never really at home no matter where you go, but your own home, feeling like you’re walking on eggshells to protect any and all parties, and unconsciously playing referee with all stories, news and updates. As my girls grow I hope I continue to cognizant of how I feel right now so I can do my best to keep them from feeling the same way. We shall see…

In the mean time, Happy Father’s Day to everyone:

  • To all the Dads who want and try to be around more even if you’re not with your kid’s mother
  • To all the Father’s who chose your children instead of raising them by biological obligation,
  • Tall those single moms who are rocking the hell out of being both Mom and Dad.

I hope you enjoy your day fully!

~Amanda

Mother’s Day Is Approaching

Mother’s Day…..

This day I longed for in my early twenties. I was married just shy of my 21st birthday, and from our first anniversary for the better part of four years my ex-husband and I struggled with infertility. I had my first miscarriage right before our anniversary. Our second was right around our second anniversary. The third happened a short time before our fourth anniversary. Each time I felt more and more isolated, more and more ashamed, more and more broken. I suffered through each one alone and silent.

Why was it happening to me?

I was left with a myriad of unanswered questions throughout those years. I did find out I was pregnant with my oldest, beautifully healthy daughter, just a month after my third miscarriage. I’m so thankful for her, but my heart does feel unsettled still. Why did I go through those years? What purpose did it serve? I may never have those answered until I’m in heaven one day, but one thing I’ve seen already is that through my suffering I’ve learned to be more understanding and compassionate, and have come in contact with other couples on multiple occasions experiencing the same tragedy and I’ve been able to share with them and listen to their needs. I think those years, as well as my year through divorce, have shown me that our sufferings allow us to shed light to others.

Now I’m single, so what?

Last year was my first Mother’s Day as a single mom. It felt weird to me. At the time my kids were 2 and 3 years old. Their preschool always has them complete a project of some sort to give to you on this day, but in my mind I looked forward to mother’s day the most because I thought my partner would celebrate me for bringing our children into this world. I was in labor for 45 1/2 hours with my oldest daughter and a very hard 9 hours with my youngest. I guess I thought, maybe even desired, for someone to say that I made them grateful, that they were proud of me, that they appreciated the sacrifices I made to have them, as well as the daily sacrifices I made to raise them as a work-from-home mom. Those unmet desires and attuning that my heart didn’t receive for years prior to even becoming single left me in a very weird state last year. Next weekend I’ll celebrate my second mother’s day single, and to be honest, I totally forgot it was mother’s day coming up until just a couple of days ago! Is that sad? Maybe it’s just a season I’m in, but my wish for all of you moms out there, married, single, young, old, is that you feel an overwhelming sense of appreciation on your day! Even if there’s not a physical person to provide you with flowers, breakfast in bed, or even just kind words, I hope and pray that you speak those words over yourself, because you’re worthy and they’re true.

Men, are you still searching for a gift? Help me help you. The mother in your life will LOVE this!! <Rescue & Renew Set> Choose the entire set, or 1-2 pieces. They’re all amazing!

Where Have You Been?

It’s been almost six months since I last posted! You may be wondering what all the hype was about when I announced that Mockingbird Baby is now a landing page for my Arbonne business, and then went MIA for months on end. Allow me to digress, if you will.

A LOT has been going on. Last fall I was accepted to grad school at Sam Houston State University – Eat ‘Em Up Kats! I started my first semester towards my Masters of Science in January, and grad school as a single mom has been NO JOKE! So far I’m doing really well, and my goal is to just keep that same momentum going to get me through the next 1 year and 4 days until graduation. Not that anyone is counting or anything. Now that the semester is ending there may be an influx of posts coming from me.

I started dating again last fall and after several frogs and disappointments I think I’ve found my Prince Charming! His name is Doug, he’s amazing with my kids, he listens deeply and cares compassionately, and I think I finally know what true love means! I’ll share a separate blog post on my thoughts around that one another time.

My mom has been really sick since October; in and out of the hospital more frequently than she can stand, treatments working, then not working, then changing treatments, surgeries, changes, etc. She’s exhausted. I think we’re still in the midst of trying to navigate through what the doctors are going to say next, but the only thing I know how to do right now is just support whatever direction she wants to go. Quite honestly I’ve been really bad at these emotions because it’s a first for me. A scary first that I don’t like. I feel like I don’t know what to say, I’m not sure what I feel half the time, and also I just want to finish school so I can spend more time than I’ve been able to with her. We’d love your prayers in this area if you wouldn’t mind!

My girls are finishing another pre-school year and my oldest, Joni, is officially registered for Kindergarten! Class of 2030 here she comes!

So yes, to say I’ve been busy could possibly be an understatement, but you know what? I’ve never been happier in so many areas of my life! I learned so much about myself last year and I’m ready to see what the future holds! Here’s to being back online!

~Amanda