fortygirl

Forty Girl…that's me! I am a recently divorced woman in my 40s, and am now a single mother with a career. Join me as I start this exciting new chapter in my life. Let's chat!

Life Changes and More

It is has been awhile since I have visited my blog and written. I have missed it, and good grief how things have changed in my life. I have to say this year has pushed me to reflection, and has run me through a vast variety of emotions. The reflection has been beneficial, but I have also found it to become my very own “beat up on me fest.” I know you know what I am talking about, because I even read one of my friend’s posts on Facebook and she, too, was beating herself up and had promised God she would “be better.” It was while reading that post that I truly took pause.

God does NOT want us to beat up on ourselves. That is not who God is. I am, by no means, an aficionado of the Bible, quite the contrary. I, admittedly, have not read the Bible cover to cover, and believe me I am flawed, humanly flawed. That being said, I know God does not want us to tear ourselves apart when we make a mistake. He is a loving God who wants us to recognize what we need to change, and make changes to better serve him, but that does not mean beating ourselves up with negative self-talk and comparisons of our life to others. Believe me, the image that people put out there on social media and in public is very different in many ways to what their lives are really like, so why do we continue to compare?

I have been a Christian all of my life, but a baptized Christian at 16, and quite frankly, baptism was quite premature at that time, because I truly did not recognize what it truly (emphasis on truly) meant to be baptized. So, after the dunk in the water, I pretty much continued my wild ways. It was not until my 30s that I was really ready to make the commitment, thus I was baptized again. That being said, I have still tripped, fallen, and made my share of mistakes, but here is the beauty of God’s grace…I can ask and be forgiven.

This morning, I woke up in  state of melancholy. I have so much to be thankful for: a beautiful and healthy son, my parents are healthy and live close by, have a home I like, a career I love at a place I love, small circle of true friends I can count on, and old friends far away that I keep in touch with, I am healthy, and on and on. Yet, there I was, sitting on my bed, thinking about who, I think,  may not like me, why certain people are behaving the way they are, what I need to do differently in my life, what I need to be better at, the state of my life in general, and…seriously, Forty Girl, seriously. Enough!

So, my point to those of you graciously reading my blog…quit thinking you are not enough, because you are enough! Not everyone is meant to be in our circle, and not everyone IS going to like you, but have you really found someone that did not like you that you truly cared for either? I mean something to ponder, right? The difference…you are not out to be rude, malicious, mean spirited, etc. You simply are not a part of each other’s lives, and that is ok.

My blog is all over the map today, but it has been awhile and with the life changes I have experienced in the past 6 months, reflection is the name of the game. Would you like to know exactly what the life changes are? Well, in June my husband and I of 16 years separated. I freed him to go find the life he wanted, and in the meantime freed myself to do the same. I pray for him to find happiness. In August our divorce was final. The hardest part of the process…we have an 8 year old son. That being said, I truly believe that had it not been for our son, I would never have left, but when you have an audience as you argue and debate, a different perspective sets in.

A family member went to prison around the same time as my separation. It is devastating. Poor choices, and continued poor choices, combined with poor choices in friends and lifestyle choices and well…they are in prison. Any more to say?

In August, my nephew left for Navy boot camp. I was there the day he was born. Now, he is a man starting a new adventure. I am so excited for him, but watching him leave that day was still terribly hard.

In October, my dog of 14 years passed away…so difficult to say good-bye. While I know he is frolicking on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge, it is still tough. Shortly after the passing of my dog, my sweet son needed to have his tonsils removed. Who knew tonsils being removed would be such a tough recovery, but it is no joke! So, those are my recent life changes, oh, how can I forget Irma…you got it…Hurricane Irma hit as well.

Life…we were not promised an easy road, and I refuse to be defeated, for I know that God is with me every step of the way, every challenge of the way, every celebration of the way. He is with me, and He is with you…if you let him. We can’t beat ourselves up about our shortcomings though. We just regroup, have a conversation with God and let him guide us, allow him to work in our lives. He is there always…even during our life changes. I am praying for every reader of this blog. Say a prayer for me, if you will. After all, you can never have enough prayer.

My blog will be different going forward as I will share my experiences as a recently divorced woman, who became a single mother overnight, who is a mere mortal with lots of flaws, but I am loved, loved, loved by a gracious and loving God. My adventure, your adventure, awaits…

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Prayer Warriors Needed…Immediately

All you have to do today is turn on the television and you are bombarded with negativity. I have this image that God is looking down from his throne on high, and is shaking his head as he observes the events taking place in our nation, and across the globe. We have violent protests, we have police officers getting shot and under public scrutiny, we have a terrorist organization terrorizing the world, Christians are under attack across the world, human trafficking is alive and well in this world. Our country is polarizing, our world is polarizing and it is scary! I truly worry about the future, not so much for me, but for my son, my nephews, our youth as a whole.What is going on???  We need prayer! We need action!

The beauty of this country is that you have a right to peaceful protest…peaceful. Now, our nation has a history of violence, as does the world in general, but what happened to learning from past history. I remember hearing in school “history always repeats itself”, well, at that time I wasn’t so sure, but I now know how true that statement is!

In conversations with people I am amazed at the fact that some people truly have no idea what is going on in the world. We are in the midst of an election for the next President, and many people do not know specifics about the candidates. They do not know what is happening in the world today, but can tell me what is happening on the latest reality show! Seriously! It is time to get engaged in reality! On the flip side I have had people say, “I’m just not going to vote or I will just write someone in on the ballot”. Come on…take a stand for one candidate or the other, after you get the facts, but don’t just remain silent by not voting, or writing in some name that doesn’t stand a chance. Get involved! Have an educated voice, Pray about it!!!

Our nation is hurting, our citizens are hurting each other and pulling away from each other, and we must take action to reunify. We need Prayer Warriors! We need Prayer Warriors that will pray every day for healing for our country, our world. We need Prayer Warriors that pray for our country’s leaders, future leaders, our people. We need prayer Warriors to heal hearts, mend families, cure addictions, bring about personal peace. God is listening!

As a Prayer Warrior you will be drawn, like a magnet, to make a change. Get involved locally, donate whether it is time, money or both. Support a cause, share the message of Christ. Now, I am the first one to say I am not comfortable approaching strangers, as I am not even comfortable praying in front of a group of people, but that is the beauty of being a Prayer Warrior. You do not need to approach strangers or pray out loud…this can be done privately, and as for sharing your faith, and God’s message…that can be done through your actions.

I will tell you I am working on the praying in front of people, and talking with strangers, remember taking action…baby steps. I took a leap of faith and began a book study at church, and I am preparing to lead another one. I have shared the books with co-workers and friends as well. Taking action can start out small. I promise you will find it easier and easier as you continue to take those small leaps of faith.

Stop and reflect today. What can you do to make a difference? Change does in fact start with us. Will you join me, and encourage others, to become a Prayer Warrior?

Here is a prayer to get you started…

Dear Lord, you are aware of what is happening in the world, and specifically in our nation. Please put your hand on me and lead me to help bring a positive change. Please heal the hearts of those hurting. Please refocus the eyes of our nation back on you. Please unify the citizens of this great nation, and please place in the office of President the candidate that represents you and your values, and will lead our country being guided by you, Lord.

In Jesus’ name…Amen

Welcome Prayer Warrior! God IS listening!

 

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Taking a Leap of Faith

Gosh! it has been awhile since I last posted. Time has flown by, and things have been rather hectic. The past 6 months I have faced my share of challenges, some that have downright brought me to my knees, praying knees that is. Through all of the challenges, I prayed, even quoted scripture, and in the end know that his hand directed the outcome…it required me taking that leap of faith and trusting…in Him.

One example of taking a leap of faith…I kept getting a gnawing feeling, a push, if you will, that I needed to lead a book study, get involved in my church. So, I took that leap of faith. I spoke to my pastor about my thought, I prayed about it, and next thing I know I was signed up to lead a women’s book study. The book I chose, “More Than a Good Bible Study Girl” by Lysa TerKeurst. The book was shared with my by a dear friend, and after reading it twice I felt it was a book I related so well with, I knew other women would too.

Now, let me be clear, I have never done anything like this. I have not read the Bible, I do not know scripture so easily that I can quote it on a moment’s notice. Putting it plainly, this leap of faith was way out of my comfort zone…to say the least. I also am definitely a Christian in the works, shall we say. Regardless, I felt the push and knew it is what God wanted me to do.

The first night of class I entered my classroom and found my self surrounded by the pastor’s wife, her mother, a former school principal and retired pastor’s wife, my own mother, just to name a few. Needless to say, I felt inferior. My lack of Bible knowledge suddenly caused my anxiety level to increase…drastically. May I also say that the books for the study, that I had ordered well in advance, had arrived, but were the wrong books. Good grief! I needed a scripture and a prayer immediately…this was an emergency! So, I gathered myself and read the first couple of chapters out loud to the ladies. You know what was so interesting…people never get too old to be read to. Each of the ladies sat back in their chairs and just listened. As I read, I would stop and ask questions. Before I knew it the first class was over.

Each week, as I faced challenges at my job, I found this class to be rewarding to me. I was tired each week and wanted to go home, but I would arrive at class greeted by smiles and support from the ladies in my class. I can honestly say I got more out of the class than those ladies probably did. I was the youngest member of the class, and yet I was leading. As we moved through the chapters, what I learned is that women suffer from the same issues and concerns. I listened to women in their 50s, 60s, and 70s talk about their challenges as women, and you know what? Their concerns and challenges were similar to my own!

As I led this book study, it became so clear to me that women need to spend more time lifting each other up and less time tearing each other down. Regardless of our age, we still are women with similar questions and concerns. It was so refreshing to walk into a room full of women who were willing to share their stories. We bonded, connected, and I know leading that class has made a difference in my life. All of this because I heeded God’s desire, and I took that Leap of Faith!

I am preparing to put myself out there to lead another class very soon, and I know that I will be blessed yet again. My encouragement to you is to take that Leap of Faith…get out there! With God leading you…blessings will follow.

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What Do You Mean I Am Just a Human?

This week was the week I found out that I am a just (sigh)…a human. If you have read some of my recent blog posts you already know I wrote about a surgery that I recently had. The surgery was a complete hysterectomy, ovaries and all. Needless to say, pretty major on the list of surgeries. The recovery period is 6-8 weeks and that is just the overall physical healing part. That does not include the stamina recovery and hormone balancing aspect. They say it is months before you truly feel like yourself. Which brings me to the profound truth that has recently come to me…

I was told when I had my surgery that there were restrictions…no lifting of anything as heavy as a gallon of milk, no pushing and pulling, lots of rest, limited work, if any, you get the picture. Well, how do I word this…I pushed myself thinking…”I am a superhuman!”…I guess in my mind I was (drums play)…”Super Forty-girl”!!!

Then last week, I feel a little pain, it continues over the next couple of days, and by Saturday night I am miserable! I immediately panic because no matter what I do I cannot get rid of the pain and discomfort. My mind races…blockage? Complication? What is going on? Needless to say, I ended up in the ER. The minute I stated to the doctor that I had surgery as recent as four weeks ago, I knew I was in for the long haul. This was not going to be a simple evaluate and discharge. Now, I am an educator, and I am sitting in the ER the night before the first day of school. Now, not only was it the first day of school for my school, but for my son as he starts First grade, so…emotions set in as I was told I was being admitted. The more frustrating part was that I put myself here. I pushed and pushed myself working to get ready for the school year, did not get enough rest after the first couple of weeks, because I began to feel better. I did not eat a bland diet…so, yes, I am responsible. Goodness, is that hard to admit!

As the doctors came in to visit me, and the tests were run, the message I was being given was one I simply could not process…what do you mean I can’t do it all? What do you mean I need more rest? What do you mean I can’t work ten hour days yet? What to you mean I can’t eat just whatever I want? What! I can’t leap tall buildings in a single-bound? You can’t be serious? UMMMM…they were serious! I also found out that I don’t control anything…God is always in control, and in this situation my body had a big say in the situation as well. My body was telling me “I need a break, a rest, a chance to fully heal, and you are pushing it”. I got the message…I am not superhuman (long sigh).

As I laid in my hospital bed and pondered my situation, I realized that my health, your health, is so valuable. To not take care of our body is simply put…dumb. I also realized that not taking care of ourselves does not just impact us. It impacts those around us. My family was worried, my son especially did not like visiting his mommy in a hospital. My husband and parents worried, and lectured me I might add. The folks at my school were concerned, and stated “we need you, so you better take care of yourself!”. I realized I impact a lot of people; therefore, I needed to take care of me, not just for me, but for the people around me. Does that make sense? I also realized that yes, I am a human, and humans need rest, nutrition, and as much as we don’t like it…to follow doctor’s orders. I am listening from here on out.  So, my message to you is to take care of yourself, because YOU matter to so many! YOU matter to more people than you even know. Oh, and by the way, you are not superhuman either! Does that surprise you? It sure surprised me!

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Life changer…

Monday I am having surgery. A total abdominal hysterectomy to be exact. I have researched, not necessarily  a great idea I might add. I have had much discussion with my fabulous doctor. She took time to discuss my options, why this was the right procedure to have, truly cared about my decision, and my comfort and understanding of the procedure. At the end of the day though, all my doctor had to say to me to truly get me to understand the seriousness was…without this procedure Cancer is coming your way. UMMMM…the “C” word is not an option. I am sure anyone can understand that! I have a six-year-old son and my need to be present for his life is a priority, as is being a wife to my husband. So, accepting the total hysterectomy was agreed upon.

The surgery date has been set…this Monday…again logically I “get it”, but emotionally, as a woman, I am struggling. There is just something bizarre about having my reproductive organs removed, it is final, there is no going back. Now, my reproductive organs have been an issue of discomfort for me since I was ten years old, yes, ten. I have struggled with infertility, monthly discomfort, the list goes on and on. I have had atypical uterine cells, MRI mammograms every six months…so, you get the picture. Still I have cried and struggled with this upcoming surgery. Now, I know in my core that it is the right decision, that I will feel better than ever…eventually, but this time leading up to the surgery seems to have my anxiety at an all time high.

My doctor is a believer in balancing holistic health with modern medicine, so she is all about the bioidentical hormones…so glad! She has created a hormone specifically for me. Knowing this has helped, because the last thing I want is to be thrown into menopause, followed by no desire for belly button time with my hubby…that is not an option either. 😀 So, I am two days out from my surgery. I know it is what I need to do, but I guess fear of the unknown…the after the surgery, has me so concerned. Oh, and did I mention a six-week recovery? Wow! Laying around, taking it easy for six-weeks? I am thinking the healing process needs to take about three weeks…I think that is all I am mentally going to be able to stand. I have a feeling that is all my family is going to be able to stand too 😃. I am just not used to sitting idle! Oh well, doctor’s orders, right?

Well, I have prayed, because I know God is with me throughout this entire process…daily as a matter of fact. My faith is so important. How can anyone not have faith? I get so much comfort knowing at anytime I can pray to God and he is there for me…Whew! So glad!

Well, another chapter, another experience, another journey in my life begins…onward with prayers…here I go! Oh, by the way, did I mention six weeks? Uh oh! Prayers, for sure!

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Social Media…blessing and a curse?

Now, I am not unaware of the irony of my title considering I am writing a blog that I will tweet out soon, thus using social media. That being said, social media has been a super resource for me professionally. I love utilizing Twitter to connect with people all over the world. I obtain some great information and ideas through my connections on Twitter. Pinterest has given me some great DIY projects for my home, and ideas for my son’s birthday party. Facebook has allowed be to reconnect with friends I have not seen or heard from in years. I love seeing how my high school friend’s children have grown, and what my college friends are up to. I find social media to be so positive!

The flip side of that is, some people truly believe that social media is a forum for their therapy.They express everything and anything on social media thinking there should not ever be consequences. I am amazed at people who post on a social media site, which is public, but then are surprised when everyone “knows their business”, really? I have even had people say that they are entitled to freedom of speech. Well, that is true, we all have freedom of speech; however, freedom of speech does not mean without consequences.

I also wonder about the people who must post their every waking thought or movement on social media. Are people really interested in your date night, or the latest batch of cookies someone made, or the song lyrics going through someone’s head, and on and on. Truly, if you are on a date night with your spouse, maybe turning off the phone and spending the date night with them would be better. I imagine it would be appreciated by their date!

Again, social media has so many positives, it is the use of social media by some, or maybe not just some, that leaves me scratching my head. As I think about it, maybe it isn’t what is being said, but who people are “friends” with? I am pretty selective about who I am “friends” with, and definitely careful and cautious about what I post. I am always aware of my profession, and the perception of what I say, and how that can be perceived. Who we socialize with and the comments we make are forever out in social media space. They can even keep us from advancing, getting a new position or job, and can affect personal relationships and professional ones. I guess, with everything, one must consider the consequences, and truly be responsible in all of their actions, social media included. Oh, one last thing…selfies in a bathroom mirror are less than impressive…please pick a different location to show off your latest hair style!

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Who Gets The Reward? YOU!

We, as a culture, tend to be focused on getting more. You know it’s true! As a matter of fact marketing strategies are set on that human feeling of comparison and having more. Have you ever thought the following…I will be happier if I looked like that person, had that car, was able to buy that or go there? Sad to say, but these thoughts have crossed my mind a time to two, well, maybe three or four…you get the picture!

Well, yesterday my husband and son had just finished with soccer practice, and we were on our way to dinner with my parents. As we were leaving the soccer park we saw an elderly lady pulled over on the side of the road. She looked distressed, so my husband pulled over to check on her. She had gotten lost trying to find her church. Normally the church bus picked her up, but tonight they had not. My husband sought more information as to where her church was, and sure enough she was headed in the opposite direction. It was a that point whatever decision we made was going to make a difference…we could have just given her directions and started on our way to dinner, or we could make a better choice that would curtail our plans a tad. We made the better choice…I knew where the church was, and we were heading that direction for dinner. I am so proud of my husband because he cared enough to stop and check on the lady, and he offered to drive her vehicle and follow me to the church.  When we arrived at the church, another lady in the parking lot came over to check on the lady. I am sure it had to do with some stranger driving the woman’s car, being led by another car with strangers in it. Both ladies were so apprciative…truly appreciative.

It was in that moment that I felt a great feeling…we had made a difference in another person’s life by changing our plans and taking time to help someone else…someone in need. I was proud of my husband for his caring, proud that we had taken the time, and I also realized we had just set an example for our 6-year-old son watching from the backseat. While the lady we helped was thankful…WE got the reward! Our evening was made better because we took the time to help someone else. The focus was not on us, it was on someone else.

That right there, my friends, is the key…helping others. Taking the time to be aware of what is happening around you, and offering to help someone else. In other words, take the focus off of yourself for a while. The bonus? Our son was able to witness his parents showing care and concern for another human being, in a safe environment, of course.

Last night the reward was ours…simply because we agreed to take time to help someone else. Who will you help today? The reward can be yours…I guarantee you will feel great!

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Patriotism…My Thoughts

Where do I start? I was born on an Air Force base, and was reared proudly as an Air Force Brat. I guess you could say my patriotism was instilled in me at birth. I have great respect for our country, our flag, our freedoms, in other words, all things patriotic. I am proud to be an American! What does that mean exactly?

What is scary is that there seems to be quite a bit of complacency in our country, especially among our youth. We seem to be used to the freedoms that we have, that we have just come to expect that they will never be taken away. Well, turn on the television, radio, open the newspaper, check-out Twitter, the Internet or any social media forum and you will see what is going on in the world today. Frankly, it is downright scary! Now, I do not want to live my life in fear, or teach my son to live his life in fear, but I do believe we cannot live with blinders on, refusing to take a look at what is going on around the world.

That being said, let’s come back to patriotism. I am amazed at the different events I have gone to and people don’t quit talking, texting, simply remain silent during our National Anthem.  What about voting? Voter turnout is not what it used to be, yes, they, whoever they really is, say it has improved somewhat, but let’s face it…we need more than somewhat. We are a democracy, and we must get involved, vote, let our voice be heard on all issues American. I have told people over and over again who gripe about a political figure or any issue that was voted on, if you did not vote you do not have a right to gripe.

Our country is under attack, and we are too busy battling with each other in our own country to realize that is exactly what the enemy attacking our country wants us to do…fight with each other, continue to spiral under substance abuse, family breakdowns, reality television, basically, stay absorbed with ourselves. That way we are too busy to see what is going on around us.

I truly believe that patriotism is heartfelt. It is about believing in your country, fighting for your country, and not necessarily in the Armed Forces, but that is certainly patriotism. How about supporting our veterans and their families, making responsible decisions, maintaining strong family values, supporting a strong education system, showing respect to the symbols of our country, and the list goes on and on.

I appreciate all of the organizations out to help our veterans and their families. It is wonderful that we have such organizations; however, why are they even needed? Our veterans should be taken care of if they have served during wartime, in a war zone. If those men and women are injured they should not have to worry about how they are going to be taken care of. They deserve the absolute best care. The same kind of care our congress members receive and expect!

Patriotism can be demonstrated by flying a flag in your yard, wearing a patriotic t-shirt, but it takes more than that. Patriotism is a belief and behavior exhibited. Our Founding Fathers were flawed as people, who isn’t? But they were strong, and had a clear vision as to what our country, and those that call our country home, should be and the behaviors expected. Yes, our world has changed since their time, and I would say in so many ways for the better; however, the principles remain the same. It is because of those principles our country is still the best country in the world!  If you truly believe that, like I do, then make sure to show your respect to our country, for our country, and all that entails. Make sure to take the blinders off, and look around, not everyone wants us to remain the greatest country…we can not remain complacent anymore.

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Angels Among Us

Goodness! It has been a long time since I have written as FortyGirl. Well, with the new year I have done some reflecting…as I am sure you have been as well. It is funny how a change of the year can cause deep reflection, and at the same time motivates us to set goals.

Well, my new year started out in a way that has given me an even deeper perspective and cause for reflection, even a change of attitude. My goal this year is to look at humanity through a more positive lens. Now, I know this won’t be easy, simply because as humans we tend to focus on the negative…just watch the news. However, after my New Years Eve and New Year’s Day, I think seeing the positive just may be a lot easier. By now, you are probably wondering…what happened? Well, here we go…

On New Year’s Eve we always get together with my mom and dad. My husband, son, myself and my parents usually start the evening with dinner, then we like to go listen to the music at a local town square. The town square we visit is located in a rather large retirement community known as The Villages. No, my husband and I are not retired, but the nice thing about The Villages is the music is nice and the atmosphere is a friendly environment in which we feel comfortable taking our son. Probably more information than you needed about our choice of location, but anyway…

As we were walking up to the square, my son was being a typical 6 year old…bobbing and weaving while walking down the sidewalk, as he was very excited about New Year’s Eve. My dad and mom were walking behind him. My dad tripped on my son’s foot and began to fall, and fall he did. Now, I have not ever seen my dad look vulnerable…not ever. But when he fell, he fell on his face. His face was covered in blood. At this point, we had no idea how bad he was injured. Here is where I know there are angels among us…two complete strangers fell to their knees, one on each side, and began to comfort my dad…and us. As my husband called for an ambulance, they made sure my dad stayed awake, they continued to talk with him, held his hands, etc. These two individuals, who were out to enjoy New Year’s Eve, took care of a complete stranger and his family. They were amazing. I only know the name of one of the individuals, a wonderful man named Jerry, and the other individual was a fabulous lady who is a retired PE teacher from Wisconsin. I do not know her name but I am forever grateful to both individuals. They stayed with us until my dad was loaded into an ambulance and taken to the hospital. They are truly angels! As we arrived at the hospital, we did not know what to expect. I am happy to say…my dad does not have any broken bones, no concussions…simply some bad abrasions and a sprained wrist…Thank God!

That was my New Year’s Eve, now for my New Year’s Day…as I am shopping for items for a bridal shower I am throwing in February, I apparently left my wallet sitting on a counter in the store. I realized I had lost my wallet at another store during check-out. I hit the panic button! As I went back through my steps, I contacted the previous store, and someone, another angel, had turned in my wallet-all contents in tact! I am so thankful to that unknown person as well.

So, in less than 24 hours I was touched by the work of angels. Now, believe me or not..your choice, but as a Christian I have always known there are angels, but I can honestly say I have witnessed the work of angels, and have experienced their works first hand. Who knows…You just may be someone’s angel. You may have had an impact on someone who has moved you into the angel ranks….God always has a plan! Many times we do not have any idea what is plan is, but know this…there ARE angels among us! Thank God for that!

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Father’s Day…post about a special memory

Father's Day…post about a special memory.

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