Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Welcome To The Land of Stability!

Pic from flickr here

I am learning so much from Getting Past Your Past (http:/! I was just there reading about using your life inventory and relationship inventories to help you understand what need you were trying fill with your relationship(s).

I realized that when I met E, my life felt very out of control. I can remember telling someone that I felt that my feet had been strapped to a skateboard and then I had been pushed down a hill in San Fransisco. What I saw in E was someone who had had some really bad breaks and made me feel like a rock who could provide stability. What I NOW know is that without being on stable ground myself, I couldn't see that we each need to provide a stable base for ourselves. I couldn't give him that stability and eventually, I had to face the fact that by doing what I had done, I didn't deal with my own instabilities. Mind blowing, I tell you!

So then, I had this lovely mental image: I pictured me on a big, stable raft on a slow and steady river, pulling up alongside someone else who is also on a big, stable raft and saying, "Hi, I see you are from the Land of Stability. I am too!" That crazy image is partly fed by a tee-shirt my son told me about with a goofy, wanna-be guy on it who says, "I see you're pretty gangsta... I'm pretty gangsta myself!" Except, I won't always be a wanna-be -- I really am going to reach The Land of Stability because I am doing the work and walking the walk, sisters-of-mine! I'll know you when I get there!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Our Favorite Things!

How lovely to have a little fun! This week has been so grim, I needed a little frivolity. Cindy at My Romantic Home came to the rescue! She is hosting a little show and tell. You can join in too- here's her post with the details.

These little ducklings by Stangl always had pride of place in my glamorous grandma's living room. I am so blessed to be the owner of these darlings now. Right now they reside under this glass cloche in my china cabinet. For the better lighting, I brought them out to the kitchen table. Aren't they sweet?
Now I am off to see the other "favorites". Hugs to all and thank you for all the wonderful, supportive, loving comments. You ladies are a treasure!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Progress Report

Pic from flickr

I don't really have as much structure in my life as I would like and I want to work on that. One area that I am currently struggling with is my financial situation. I have no wiggle room in my budget and as a result, I need to be very diligent about tracking my spending. Well, this weekend I was not diligent and I am paying for it today. I overdrew the checking account by $4 and incured a $35 overdraft fee. To cover the shortage, I took a Wells Fargo direct deposit advance. That will bite me in the butt next month when it plus the 10% fee come due. And in the interests of complete honesty, I made some purchases with a credit card last weekend. I did need a bed frame, but I don't know that charging it was the wisest thing to do. I was impatient and now I will pay for it.

Ironically, it was the constant financial strain that led, in part, to me wanting out of my marriage. Of course, in that situation, there was more money coming in, but the outflow was harder to control. I was thrilled at the thought of being in better control of the money, but now I have cooked my own goose!

I could wring my hands and call myself names and question every decision I have ever made in my life, but I'm not going to. That is my old mode of operation and it usually just makes me vulnerable. The more I question my abilities and my choices, the harder it becomes to make better choices. So...hmmm....let me think...

I admit my mistake. I was inattentive to my spending and the budget. I exhibited some immaturity with my choices. The consequences are all mine and I will work to become more mindful of my long term goals so that I don't waylay myself with my short term desires.

Emotionally, there have been some real rough patches this week. Many of you know that I work in a very small office and that E works with me. It is not easy to spend eight hours a day with someone you are divorcing. Especially if you put yourself in the path of their pain. I am job hunting, but I am so conflicted about leaving my job. It's an easy job, but easy isn't always best. I guess I am coming to terms with the fact that I'm going to have to stretch out and try some new things.

In the house, my bedroom is coming along nicely! The walls and ceiling are painted, but I need to clean up the juncture where they meet. The wall are a color called "Dipped In Honey" and the ceiling is "Azure Landscape". It's such a pale blue, that it passes for white, but I really love it against the yellow. Here is my cute little vanity that I bought at the Goodwill for only $9.50 on Independence Day. (Ignore the creepy cat under it!) I painted and antiqued at using the directions here at Cindy's blog, My Romantic Home.

This, obviously, is the before pic. In the lower left is a gold, shiny plastic mirror that I also antiqued and put in the bedroom. Anyway, it's all getting there! I am very, very thankful for the changes in the bedroom. It really is becoming a haven for me- just what I need!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lemon Tree, Very Pretty

Even prettier in a pair! These are dwarf lemon trees and they are a little gift to myself. I think I will be doing some mosaic work on those pots. I'm thinking blue and white plates would be pretty- what do you think? This picture is also reminding me that I need to paint the siding over the canopy and there is a nast oil spot on the walkway-yuck! *sigh* I still think my little house is pretty- she just needs a little TLC. And to tell you the truth, I'm really enjoying it!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Why I Am Here.

Photo found here- great, isn't it?

Hello Friends.

I've been having such a difficult time putting posts together. This breaking up thing is really hard. Every time I start stringing thoughts together to share with you, I begin to edit myself. I edit myself down to nothing. But I don't want to do that. I am trying to break out of a pattern of ...what? Perfectionism, maybe? There is a part of me that doesn't want to come to the table without a perfect dish to share. I am learning, however, that when I do that, I starve! I love blogging. I love reading blogs and I've grown as a result of reading other people's blogs. It helps us all, I think, when we can reach out and share our experiences with each other.

I also know that ideally, that kind of sharing works best when it is done face-to-face, but long before I got connected with other women in a helping kind of environment, I had the internet. And it really can be a community. There is a difference between communicating individually and communicating in a group. Synergy is an over-used word, but it really applies here, in my opinion. A group creates a body that is more than the sum of its parts. A blog can become a "group" and function as the "minutes" of that group at the same time!

Even if this blog becomes nothing more than me, regurgitating what I am learning as I am learning it, it will still be a help to me in acting as a place to keep all my thoughts together. I do hope that I can bring something worthwhile to the table. Something that, while possibly imperfect, may still have some value to somebody else.

Francis is showing you my newest thrift treasure- a lemon teapot! I am, at my table. Or lemonade stand!

I don't want to go into all the details that have led to me ending my marriage because, after all, there is another person involved here. That has been the other part of me editing my posts down to nothing! Since all I can control is myself, I will do my best to limit my sharing here to MY experiences.

What I feel inspired to share today isn't even my own work! I found this wonderful article in the comments at Tracey's blog, Notes from A Cottage Industry. The article is called The Emotions of Grief During a Breakup and is on this blog, Getting Past Your Past ( by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed. which looks to me like a good resource to tap into often-- like everyday! It is really a great article. All of the phases that the author speaks of are so familiar to me! I love the way the author talks about "cycling" through the emotions of grief repeatedly. When my children were little I read some parenting books by Louise Bates Ames and she talked about the "cycle" process too in terms of child develoment. Also, if you look at nature, you know that growth occurs in cycles with the seasons. I have often thought that all growth is like this. We know from experience that we don't grow in a linear fashion. After all, the phrase "Two steps forward, one step back" must come from somewhere!

I think that personal growth is like a spiral. We know that we want to get to the top, but as we follow the coil, we can sometimes lose sight of where we are going and sometimes we lose sight of where we've been. Sometimes we have to go in the same circles repeatedly before we find our way again. (If you've read to the last book in The Narnian Chronicles, you may remember the end when all our heroes were going higher and higher or in the song, Circle Up by Chris Rice- aahhh, the journey's end!) I feel that the last year has helped me to find my path to a way of living that is authentic and true. Lies that I used to accept as truth (because I didn't know any other way of getting my needs met), I can no longer tolerate. I used co-dependent behaviors for a long time as a way of not feeling or owning my feelings. Once I opened my eyes and was able to behave in more healthy ways, I stopped condoning behaviors that are destructive.

The biggest issue for me has been coming to terms with the fact that I made a mistake in 1995 and I have been punishing myself ever since. Punishing is probably too harsh. Okay, I will back up. When my husband, Jerry, died in April 1995, I was hurting a lot. Instead of allowing myself plenty of time to grieve and surrounding myself with a good support system, I ran away from my feelings and tried to be strong for my children, Carmen and Eric, who were four and one years old at the time. I went back to school to get my bachelor's degree and found a bachelor instead. One who thought I was attractive and didn't treat me like I was broken which is how I felt most people treated me at the time. Granted, I was rather broken, but I didn't like being treated like I was! Long story short, I got pregnant seven months after being widowed and tried to make it "right" for the next thirteen years.

Now, was I punishing myself? If a dear friend were telling me this story, I would tell her that she had spent thirteen years trying to do the right thing. The problem was that E and I are completely wrong for each other. That was true then and it's true now. I told my friend Sandra that it's like taking off a poorly fitting shoe after suffering with it for SO long. The last thing you want to do is put it on again!

This blog is not my "divorce" blog. I hope it will be my "life" blog. As I got closer to the end of my marriage, I felt increasingly fragmented with my blog. Tender Arts has always been primarily about dollmaking and crafting. I know now that those activities were part of a coping strategy for me. There was very little about my life that I felt I had control over. In happier days, family and homemaking were a bigger part of my life. As my life became more chaotic, my dollies and crafts were one area where I knew I had complete control.

I hope now that I have a better respect for myself and that I can integrate all the aspects of my life and share them with you. Let's take the bitter and make it sweet- like lemonade!


Friday, July 11, 2008

Welcome Friends!

Here I am!

There has been a big change in my life. My husband moved out of the house a couple of weeks ago. I am the one that caused the separation. Making that decision was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I have really felt the need to start a new blog. I want to express myself more fully than I did on the Tender Arts blog, which was primarily about my dolls and crafts.

Having said that, I have had such a difficult time composing this first post! So, fine. I will just say "welcome" today and perhaps tomorrow I will have more to say!

Hugs to all!