Not Just A New Chapter

Last summer I made a decision to blog regularly. I had even decided to work with someone to redesign the blog and move it to a new domain.

However, none of it ever happened. My laptop stopped working and a nine-day fix turned into a two and a half month ordeal; resulting in a new laptop, but a corrupted hard drive. I lost everything!

But that loss pales in comparison to several life events that began to unfold during the summer as well. I have been debating whether or not to post about this; and every time I decide to post it, the debate becomes how much to share. I love reading blogs; and getting a glimpse of other people’s lives. I have loved getting to know several people I have ‘met’ in this blogosphere. But my pet peeve is reading blogs where the author seems perfect; where it seems that nothing negative ever happens in his or her life. While I don’t believe that bloggers should reveal all the intimate details of their lives, I do believe that if you are blogging about your life you should be real. So that is how I finally made my decision to write this post. I want to be real. Please remember that I come from a Catholic background. Everything I have done has involved prayer and consultation with Godly people, as well as my priest.

So, here goes… last summer I discovered that my husband was having an affair. I certainly did not condone this behavior; and have not, as of yet, forgiven him for it (I’m working on it). I did feel that it was only right to try to fix what was wrong. I prayed, bought books, and sought out couple’s counseling. We even attended a Love and Respect video conference (I highly recommend this conference!). I tried changing to be the wife he said he wanted.

Out of respect for my children & a little privacy, I won’t go into all the details; but let’s just say that nothing made a difference. In fact, a tragedy revealed that he had never really ended the affair. The husband of the woman in question chose to commit suicide. It was this action, in combination with his deception, that began a severe downward spiral. We each spoke separately to a priest at our church, and I had hoped we could somehow reconcile this and move forward. It wasn’t to be. In fact, things began to get worse.

Something seemed to snap in my husband. He began to verbally and emotionally abuse me; in private and in front of my children. He began to get more secretive – removing my name from accounts, changing passwords, and refused any attempts to reconcile. He still went through the motions – we tried to appear ‘normal’ during the holidays and for my birthday in January, but it didn’t work. I would find out later that he was still involved with her, even after her husband’s suicide. The abuse continued to escalate and he claimed his health was beginning to suffer as a result. He blamed me.

At the end of February, I had foot surgery. I was told that I couldn’t walk or drive for three weeks. One week after surgery, he moved out; leaving me with two children unable to take care of themselves. He has been gone ever since. I don’t really know where he lives. To his credit, he continues to pay the bills; though he has mentioned that he does this so the courts won’t consider it abandonment. However, he threatens to shut something off on a regular basis; he’s even threatened to withhold our food money unless I did something he wanted. He does come and visit the kids about once a week for a couple of hours. Ironically, he spends more time with them now; and pays more attention to them, then he ever did before.

But my children are suffering. They don’t understand. I am doing all that I can for them, but it never seems to be enough. I pray for them and with them. I spend ‘alone’ time with each of them separately. I have counseling available to both of them. I’ve kept things as routine as possible. It’s all so difficult – I can’t explain to them why this happened; I can’t change it; I can’t bring their father back; I can’t give them the daddy they so desperately desire. They deserve better. So I pray for them. I remind them that God wants to be their Father. At their ages, it’s just not enough for them.

I have met with my priest and discussed all the details with him; including many not mentioned here (hard to believe, huh?). He said that the separation was probably a very good thing. It would hopefully prevent things from escalating further. He also told me that since we were married in a civil ceremony (at my husband’s insistence), the Church didn’t consider us married. I know that some of you will disagree with that; but it does help in the event I am blessed with another opportunity for marriage. Which means this one will have to be dissolved legally…

I know God hates divorce; but I also know He loves me and my children. He doesn’t want us to remain in a situation where there’s potential danger. I know some people would say to remain married and just live apart. However, that, in my opinion, just condones his adulterous behavior. It’s just not something with which he is concerned. He has already moved on. Also, remaining legally married prevents the children and me from having the opportunity to find a Godly relationship. I believe that God will provide a Godly man for us who will teach my children what a Godly marriage looks like; what God intended husbands and fathers to be.

While I know not everyone will agree with my decision to divorce my husband, I have prayed about this and talked about it with Godly people. It’s not a decision I made lightly. I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling mother with no income. With God’s help, I intend to maintain that. As you may know from other posts, my son is on the Autism Spectrum and he needs to have his mother home with him, as it has been for the entirety of his life. Neither of them need any more changes right now. I have decided that I am no longer going to subject them to the abuse. It certainly doesn’t teach my son how to be a Godly man; nor does it teach my daughter how a man is supposed to treat a woman. What I am trying to teach them is strength, integrity, and reliance on God. I am at peace with this decision, even if it’s not what I wanted. I am at peace with it, even if it’s difficult. I ask that instead of judgement you say a prayer for my children and me.

Thank you for reading, and not judging. Thank you for praying for us. Thank you for allowing me to be a bit transparent and real. My life is far from perfect, but it contains the most perfect thing there is: the Love of the Blessed Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to do any of this.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:13

Many Hands Review and Giveaway

I’ve heard it said that the more hands you have the lighter the work. Sometimes with children, it’s easy to doubt that statement. I know that there are times when my children ‘help’ me and I end up with more work to do; or everything seems to take longer. I’m sure moms of young children know exactly what I mean!

As a member of the Gabby Moms team, I received a bundle this month called “Many Hands Make Light the Work” from Eternal Encouragement, and it was helpful in giving me a new perspective.  This bundle of six ebooks and four audios is a treasure trove of helpful information! I especially appreciated the specific tips and the reasons behind cleaning and organization. In fact, those ‘whys’ are powerful motivators in facilitating change. If we don’t own why we do what we do, then we are not as likely to do it for the glory of God.

Chores: Many Hands Make Light the Work

As I went through this whole bundle, I found so much that I could use! Mrs. Lorrie Flem included practical tips for getting organized, getting the children involved, having a cheerful attitude, and even getting hubby’s input! I really appreciated the lists of age-appropriate chores for the children and the all-natural cleaning product recipes. Then there’s the audios! All four audios are full-length ~ around 60 minutes each.

This is a set I will come back to multiple times!  Would you like to have your own set? Well, you can buy it here OR you can enter to win a copy of your own by filling out this form. It will ask the name of this blog – please enter Behind the Scenes.

Good luck!

* As a member of the Gabby Moms team, I received this bundle in exchange for my review.

Eternal Encouragement – The Magazine

I apologize that I haven’t been posting in the last month, but I’ve been really busy working on the Presidential Campaign. Now that the primary is over here, I get to take a little breather and get my house in order – both my physical and spiritual house. Things just haven’t been getting done on my schedule as I would have liked. So what’s a super busy mom to do?

Well, it so happens that my first issue of Eternal Encouragement Magazine from Lorrie Flem of Eternal Encouragement.com arrived a couple of weeks ago. I had put it aside as there was much I had to do for the campaign, but I knew I wanted to sit down with it. I got my chance last week when Diva went to her jump rope class. She got to jump rope for an hour and a half and I got to relax a little and read my magazine!

 

The first thing that made this magazine appealing to me was its size – it’s about 6×9! This made it really easy to carry with me; which is great for a busy mom like me!  So I started reading…

Once inside, the first page was decidedly different – it was an article, not an ad. Gotta love that! The Table of Contents showed me that there were two basic themes running through this issue: Hospitality and Chaos. Boy was the chaos theme right on time for me! It truly has been chaos for the last month. Reading these articles gave me a sense of encouragement after everything I’d been experiencing over the past few weeks. I’m not alone. The only thing that was confusing was that the the articles were listed alphabetically instead of in page order.

While I enjoyed the articles on hospitality, they weren’t applicable for the moment. But that’s the great things about a small magazine like this: I can easily store it away for when my life calms down – perhaps after the first week in November – and I’m able to focus more on hospitality. But there was one  point made in one of the articles that really resonated with me: my house does not need to be perfectly clean and decorated in order to extend hospitality to my neighbor. That encourages me.

Over all, I really enjoyed Eternal Encouragement Magazine. I loved its compact size and portability; I enjoyed that the issue had two central themes, one of which was very timely. The ads were minimal and did not intrude on the articles. It’s a great little magazine that a busy mom can either read in a rare free afternoon, or one article at a time over a week or so. If I had to pick something to improve, it would be the graphics. The pages’ backgrounds were all white with minimal images and they weren’t as visually appealing as they could have been.

Could you use some encouragement? Check out Eternal Encouragement Magazine (Lorrie Flem, Publisher) and give it a try. You can take a look and subscribe here! Subscriptions come in either physical or digital format; and each subscription comes with a digital bonus! All subscribers get EE Etc. Web magazine that is published 8 times a year – now that’s a nice bonus! It contains full articles and is only available to Eternal Encouragement subscribers.

Note: I was provided with a free copy of Eternal Encouragement Magazine in exchange for my honest review.

 

2012 in 2012 – Week 10

Week Ten – not too eventful *sigh* – I found it’s much too difficult to purge when you can’t walk! My foot is healing nicely, according to my surgeon, but we did have a small scare when one night this week I developed a mild fever; then it woke me up in the middle of the night with pain and extreme itching. I went back to the doctor and he thinks I was having a reaction to the betadine they use as an antiseptic. God-willing, we will be able to remove the stitches on Monday and I will be to begin walking and driving again – yay! I also need to start exercising again so I can get back to this!

For this week’s dismal results…

Donated:

  • Nothing

Thrown Away:

  • 3 Non-Disposable Razors & their Stands
  • 1 Pair of Underwear
  • 1 Adult T-shirt
  • 1 Adult Pair of Pants
  • 1 Adult Pair of Shorts
  • 1 Broken Dry Erase Board

Sold

  • 6 Fairy Figurines

I am very glad I didn’t report these sold items last week ’cause this post would be very thin! I purposely left them out last week even though they sold during that time. They hadn’t been paid for yet, and I have had experiences with some ebay sales where things never get paid for…

Totals:

  • Donated: 0 Items
  • Thrown Away: 8 Items
  • Sold: 6 Items

Week 10: 1657 – 14 = 1643

Yuck! I think I was supposed to average 41 items per week, not 14! Heal foot! Heal! We will be back to our regularly scheduled program in a week or two. Is anyone else purging? It’s not too late to get started – please consider joining me. Have a good week everyone.

2012 in 2012 – Weeks 8-9

Yikes! It’s been two weeks since my last update! But I have a really good reason: I had foot surgery last Friday. It should have been a simple surgery, but since it was on the foot, I can’t put weight on it while it heals, so I can’t walk for 2-3 weeks. The fact that it’s on my right foot means I can’t drive either. So life’s been a little complicated, yet a little boring for the last week! As a result, I’m going to be combining the last two weeks’ purges into one.

So, for both weeks, here goes:
Donated:

  • 1 Pair of Socks
  • 1 Cell Phone
  • 4 Chargers

Thrown Away:

  • 4 Re-Usable Plastic Food Containers (re-used 3 of them again in an art project with plaster of paris)
  • 12 Pairs of Socks
  • 1 More Pair of Tights (Diva is hard on her tights!)
  • 2 Pairs of Underwear
  • 3 Adult T-shirts
  • 2 Adult Pairs of Pants
  • 2 Children’s Pairs of Pants
  • 1 Broken DVD
  • 5 Almost Empty Bottles of Old Cleaners
  • 1 Dish Washer Detergent Dispenser
  • 1 Tattered Shelf Liner
  • 1 Broken Glass
  • 4 Old Sponges
  • 3 Cracked/Broken Plates
  • 2 Expired Food Packets
  • 1 Broken Game
  • 2 Dried Out Bottles of Glitter Glue
  • 3 Broken Tokens
  • 1 Stack of Used Bulletin Board Letters

Sold:

  • 2 Hoppy VanderHare Rabbits
  • 1 Thomas Waterfall Building
  • 4 Pieces of Switch Track
  • 2 Pieces of Wacky Track
  • 2 Pieces of Criss-Cross Track

As you can see, I did get some items listed on ebay before the surgery. I am thankful that I am able to print postage from the computer, and the postal carrier will just pick them up at the regular mail delivery time. My kids really helped me to get things packed up and out to the mail box. Thanks Diva and LegoFan! I did sell six other items, but they won’t go out until Monday, so I will wait and include them in next week’s totals I am hoping to get cleared to do a little more walking so I can get more items listed in the next week or two.

Totals:

  • Donated: 6 Items
  • Thrown Away: 51 Items
  • Sold: 11 Items

Weeks 8-9: 1725 – 68 = 1657

Not too shabby for someone who has been cut open and laid up for a week!

With 43 weeks left in the year, I now must average 39 items per week. But I’m not sure how well I’m going to do this week while I’m still living on the couch – we’ll see!

2012 in 2012 – Week 7

Ok, I’m just squeezing this in on Saturday instead of Sunday; at least for some of you who live in later time zones (Hi Heather from Cali!)! This week is the first week that Saturday has rolled around and I looked over at my corner where I keep my donation pile for the week and said, “Ooops!” I had three things. So I spent part of my Saturday morning seeing what I could do to rectify that situation. It seems having the accountability of posting about this each week provides that proverbial ‘kick in the pants’ I sometimes need to get moving.
So here goes:
Donated:
  • 3 Articles of Kids’ Clothing
  • 7 Articles of Adults’ Clothing

Thrown Away:

  • 2 broken Toys
  • 1 Pair of Socks
  • 1 Pair of Tights (Diva is hard on her tights!)
  • 1 Pair of Underwear
  • 4 Pairs of Nylons
  • 1 T-Shirt
  • 2 Broken Thermometers

I did not, as I had hoped, list or sell anything on ebay this week. But I did take some more pictures to be ready for a mad session or two of listings coming soon.

Totals:

  • Donated: 10 Items
  • Thrown Away: 12 Items

Week 7: 1747 – 22 = 1725

Guess that’s what happens when you wait until the last day to work on your weekly project! I guess I’ve blown that ‘ahead of the game’ status I mentioned last week. But, the bottom line is that items are still leaving the house and we are still de-cluttering.

Until next week…

2012 in 2012 – Week 6

Uh-Oh, started a pattern of not posting my weekly results on Saturday night, I’d better nip that in the bud! But, better late than never, so here’s is this week’s tally!
Donated:
  • 8 Articles of Kids’ Clothing
  • 9 Pairs of Socks
  • 28 Kids’ Books (most will be going to two little cousins and the rest went to Goodwill)

Thrown Away:

  • 1 Pair of Underwear

Sold:

  • 1 Muffy VanderBear
  • 1 Steiff Collector’s Book

Totals:

  • Donated: 45 items
  • Thrown Away: 1 item
  • Sold: 2 items

Week 6: 1795 – 48 = 1747

Ok, so we didn’t do as well this week. But the most important thing is that we’re still making progress. Things are still leaving our house. Diva’s room has been cleaned up and rearranged. LegoFan has fewer items in his dresser and the drawers actually close (amazing!).

If I go back to my original calculations of how much needs to go each week to stay on track, I am ahead of the game. The average number of items to go each week to complete this task by the end of the year is 40. So, even with this week’s 48, I’m above average! And, with 265 total items gone, I’m averaging just over 44 items per week. We’re on a roll ~ and it feels good!

Now I need to get serious about listing on ebay. I have taken several pictures of things that can go to other good homes and uploaded them to my computer. Now I just need to sit down and list them. It’s really not that difficult. In fact, if you have several items of the same type, you can set up one listing and then just change names and pictures to make subsequent listings much easier. So it’s time to get busy!

Let me know how your purge is going in the comments!

2012 in 2012 – Week 5

I’m getting this week’s report in a day or so late, but here it is…
My son and I did get to go through some of his clothes, but we did not get to all of them. My daughter, however, continued her purge – I am SO proud of her! She got rid of some more clothes and a bunch of toys.
I did sell a few things on ebay, but I’m not including all of them as they have not yet been paid for. Sometimes these items just don’t end up leaving the house, unfortunately!
Donations:
  • 20 Items of Kids’ Clothing
  • 44 Horse Related Toys
  • 5 Misc. Toys
Thrown Away:
  • 2 Shower Caddies
  • 1 Shower Curtain Liner
  • 1 Pair of Socks
  • 3 Torn Shirts
  • 2 Pairs of Underwear
  • 1 Broken Testors Model
  • 1 Out-of-Shape Plastic Cup (actually recycled)

Sold:

  • 1 T-Shirt
  • 1 Hoppy VanderHare Rabbit

Totals:

  • Donated: 69 Items
  • Thrown Away: 11 Items
  • Sold: 2 Items

Week 5: 1877 – 82 = 1795

Now, two of the items we threw away were replaced – you kind of need a shower curtain liner, and a shower caddy is certainly helpful when you have multiple people and all their various bottles! But I still counted them in the totals because we got rid of three things that were no longer in good condition.

Diva is starting to see the difference she has made. Her room is much cleaner without all the clutter, and she has more space to play with the toys that are more important to her. I think this has been a valuable lesson for her. Now I just need the lesson to sink into LegoFan’s head…

Though, if truth be told, I think they both get it from me. I’m thinking that I may need to provide an even better example. We’ll see what happens this week!

Anyone else purging? How’s it going?

Weeks 1-3

Week 4

2012 in 2012 – Week 4

(Here is the first post in this series: Weeks 1-3) Here I am at the end of Week 4  and I have worked really hard to catch up! Actually, I must commend Diva as she was pretty selfless this week in her donating. It’s difficult sometimes to teach this to children, so I am so glad she is learning it early. At one point, she wanted to keep ALL of her clothing as she grew out of it “for her little girl.” I had to explain to her that an awful lot had to happen in order for her to be able to do that; not the least of which was the storage of all these items… We have compromised on a few of her favorite dresses instead of everything she has ever worn! She has also, on her own, decided to donate some of her puzzles and toys. She has come a long way. This coming week, we tackle LegoFan’s clothes…
Oh, we were blessed with our tax refund this week and we finally purchased a new blender! Yay! Our old one was so pathetic – the center part of the lid no longer stayed on by itself! So, even though we bought a new one, I’m still listing the old blender as a throw away. I am oh-so-glad to get rid of it!
So let’s see where we are as of the end of Week 4:
Donations:
  • 6 Puzzles
  • 1 Pair of Boots
  • 1 Pair of Dress Up Shoes
  • 1 Baseball Hat
  • 2 Head Bands
  • 1 Pair of Pants
  • 1 Small Purse
  • 1 Belt
  • 1 Play Wand
  • 1 Placemat (still looking for its counterpart…)
  • 1 Child’s Hat
  • 1 Wooden Crate
  • 1 Bag of Foam Pieces for a Foam Craft
  • 1 Christmas Garland
  • 13 More Ornaments
  • 8 Articles of Kids’ Clothing
  • 1 Christmas Stocking

Thrown Away:

  • 2 Pair of Tights
  • 2 Christmas Garlands
  • 1 Pair of Pajama Bottoms
  • 1 Broken Hanger
  • 1 Dragonfly Magnet with Broken Wing
  • 1 Pair of Socks
  • 1 Broken Flashlight
  • 1 Damaged Picture Frame
  • 1 Brush
  • 1 Rocking Chair (sad…)
  • 1 Ottoman (sad…)
  • 1 Broken Blender (oh happy day!)

Sold:

  • Nothing sold this week, but I listed a bunch of items on eBay tonight. So, hopefully by the time I write this next week, I will be able to add something to this category!

TOTALS:

  • Donated: 42 items
  • Thrown Away: 14 items
  • Sold: 0 items

Week 4: 1933 – 56 = 1877

Boy, I sure do like seeing that number go down! And as I sit here thinking about it, the new blender is really the only thing we brought into the house. Other than food and toiletries, etc.

But there is one more funny thing I want to add… Diva is really getting into the spirit of this project! She wanted to count every piece of paper she recycled too!

Now, I am off to get some sleep and enjoy a day of rest at Mass, with God, and with my family before I start to tackle LegoFan’s clothes…

How did your week go? Were you able to donate, sell or throw away anything to de-clutter your home? Tell us about it in the comments!

Chocolate Waffles – Pinning It Down {3}

This week I was looking forward to pinning a few things down. This link-up party has really made me think about doing these things on pinterest NOW instead of some arbitrary day in the future. The only problem? We can’t seem to kick this cold – it’s been passed around from Diva to LegoFan to me, and back to LegoFan. And the only person who can’t seem to get rid of it completely is me. So glad my family shares with me!

So, instead of pinning down a couple of things during the week, I found myself looking for a recipe for Sunday night’s dinner. I had promised Diva that we could have waffles a few days earlier, as we enjoy breakfast for dinner! But the problem was that I had lost my favorite waffle recipe when I lost everything on my hard drive this summer. It was from Crystal Paine’s (Money Saving Mom) Make Ahead Batters {Crystal, if you read this, how do I get another copy of your wonderful book?} Boy, do I miss that recipe… It was quick, simple, and delicious. Can anyone help a Mama out?

Anyway, I found this recipe for Chocolate Waffles and decided to give them a try. After all, I also needed some serious comfort food after the Ravens lost that game. What heartbreak! I mean really, that WAS a catch in the end zone. They should have gone for the tie field goal the first time. Then, they should have made that last field goal. I mean, who misses a 32-yard field goal, especially when the Super Bowl is on the line?! But I digress…

So, as I was saying I made Chocolate Waffles from here. They were relatively easy to make, but did require three separate bowls to make the batter. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but when you’re physically not feeling up to par and your team’s no longer going to the Super Bowl, well, three to clean is just too much. But, they were delicious.

Here they are right after they came out of the waffle iron:

And here they are after we added the necessary topping:

I was told by both children that this was a “keeper!” So I guess we will be making them again. I’m looking forward to seeing what everybody else Pinned Down this week!

This post is linked to Pinning It Down.