Desire of My Heart

Something happened to me at Mass today…

…but it started last night.

I was talking with a friend who was describing a difficult situation. My heart cried a bit for this friend and all those involved. So I prayed.

There’s something I want. It is something extremely important to me. Have you ever wanted something so badly your heart ached for it? I’m not talking about something material. It’s not a new car or expensive jewelry. It’s not a new wardrobe or more furniture. Sure, I wouldn’t mind having these things, but they’re not a priority like this desire is.

But somewhere during mass today ~ I can’t pinpoint exactly when it happened ~ my focus shifted. While I would still benefit directly from obtaining this desire, for the first time in a long time, I realized that I truly wanted this desire for the benefit of at least three other people. My heart now ached for my friend and a couple others. I truly found myself thinking about how it would benefit each of them more than I considered what it would do for me.

It was an amazing feeling! I returned from Communion with tears in my eyes. I knelt there, as I usually do, and offered prayers of Thanksgiving. I have my standard list of gratitude, but this time It. Was. Different.

It all held deeper meaning ~ All because of a shift in perspective.

As we approach Thanksgiving this week, perhaps we could use a shift in perspective. We can look at the gifts in our lives and see how they can benefit others. I do not believe that God blesses us with gifts just to hear us say “Thank you.” I do not believe that He blesses us with gifts so that we can keep them to ourselves. I do believe that He gives us our gifts to share them and to directly effect others in our lives.

So, whether or not God blesses me with this particular desire of my heart, I know that my heart is in the right place. I know that I am blessed.

Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fullness of joy, in thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. (Ps 16:11)

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

Handmade Holidays

Well, now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays is complete, we can sit back and just relax while we enjoy the remainder of the Christmas season! I am so glad that this season does not just end at 11:59 pm on December 25th.

So while I’m relaxing I thought I’d share some of the handmade gifts my children and I made for our recipients. I joined pinterest earlier this year and began saving ideas of gifts to make and recipes to try for Christmas. Feel free to check out my boards.

The first project Diva and I made included a few varieties of Sugar Scrubs. These are really expensive in the stores, but are oh so easy (and much less expensive) to make at home. Here’s the links to what we tried: Sugar Scrubs, Coffee Scrub, and Foot Soak.

And here’s what we made…

The kitchen smelled so wonderfully when we were done, even though we used a variety of scents. I won’t go into details on the recipes for each of these as you can go directly to each tutorial from its link on pinterest. But I will tell you how we personalized them. After mixing each batch, we put each scrub or soak into a clean canning jar and tied a pretty ribbon around the lid. I cut tags using Papertrey Ink’s Tag Sale #1 Die and wrote some basic instructions on each one. For the labels, I used Papertrey Ink’s Limitless Layers 1 3/4″ Circle Collection (Letter E), wrote the scent on it and ran it through the Xyron Sticker Maker and attached it to the lid. We then added the completed jars to a basket for an at-home spa gift.

We gave this to my cousin who is pregnant with her second child. Her daughter, who was about to turn two a couple of days later, absolutely loved the coffee scrub! She loved its aroma so much that she refused to put it down and open any other presents!

Next Diva wanted to make some gifts of her own for her Godparents. She collaborated with LegoFan to make a set for their Grandmother as well. What did they make? Well, they made their own versions of these Post-it Note Holders and Decorated Clipboards. We forgot to take pictures of the ones for Diva’s Godmother, but here are the ones for her Godfather and their Grandmother…

I think it’s obvious which set is for the Grandmother and which is for the Godmother! It doesn’t show up really well, but we used glitter mod podge on the blue clipboard. On each piece we die cut a label using Papertrey Ink’s Angled Labels Die Collection (scroll about half-way down the page) and attached it with more mod podge.

This last gift I’m going to mention here is my absolute favorite. I made this for my brother and my sister-in-love who have been married for a little over a year. Anyone who has been reading my blog for the past year knows that my marriage has been a rocky one at best. We have had some major issues over the last 11 years because we didn’t make our marriage a priority. We are actively working on changing that – a New Year’s Resolution of sorts.

I recently came across a blog called Dating Divas, which has a wealth of ideas on how to keep the romance alive in your marriage. One post was how one of their readers took their date ideas and turned them into a gift. They provided some printables that made putting this together really easy. The only real work I had to do was decide on the dates and format the instructions. Once that was done, I printed them out and placed everything into a couple of pocket folders. The idea is that each spouse plans a date on the alternating months, so that they get 12 dates during the year. They are not supposed to share the date ideas with each other so that each month is a surprise. They are also not designed to break the bank. They are simple, fun, creative ways to continue to grow in love as a couple. I really hope that they have fun with this gift – it was my favorite gift to make! There are a few other couples in my circle that may see one of these gifts in the future – it’s a simple, homemade gift that has the capacity to last a lifetime!

Well, that covers most of our handmade gifts this year. If you give any of them a try, please let me know how they turn out.

On this New Year’s Eve 2011, I pray that you and your family will celebrate safely and that we will all welcome in a wonderful New Year. May God continue to Bless you all this coming year.

This post is linked up to Pinning it Down at Amongst Lovely Things.

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