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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The Fabulous Life of…

In this day and age it is so easy to take a look at your life and think that you must have more, more, more. One click of the television remote and you can have your pick of reality television shows. The sad reality is most people know more about what is going on with the latest reality show, but have no idea what is happening in our country…the world. You would think with reality shows being so prevalent, people would be more concerned about, ahem…reality. With all that we are inundated with it is so easy to get caught up thinking that what you see on television is truly a reflection of that person’s life.

I have even found myself thinking, if only…I had a better body, a bigger home, more confidence, a husband who whisked me away on trips around the world, if I made more money, if my husband made more money, if I was a better mother, a better cook. Whew! The list can go on and on, but you know what I have to pause and remember? I am truly blessed! I have a loving and gracious God who has blessed me when I have not deserved it. He has guided me through challenging situations time and time again. He has blessed me with ALL that I need. The Fabulous Life of…ME, really is a reality!

I think for women it is especially easy to get caught up in the comparison game. It is easy to think that the woman standing next to us in line must have a better life than we do, or the woman on the latest reality show must have a better life because, after all, have you seen her home?  Stop! All that comparison does is tear at you. The negative self-talk does nothing to make you feel better, to lift you up.

I must be honest, lately I have struggled comparisons. I have found myself over analyzing my life, questioning decisions I have made in my life, and the list goes on. Maybe it is hormones, maybe it is mid-life :), I truly do not know, but I have felt down about a lot of things. I have to shift out of this though, because I am a woman who is blessed beyond belief. I am married to a husband who still thinks I am the best thing since sliced bread, blessed with an amazing son, parents who are going to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this year, a career in a field I love, good health, not only for me but my family members, and on and on. So, why on earth am I spending time focusing on what others have? Something for us to remember too…someone out there is looking at our lives and thinking we have everything together too. Isn’t life ironic?

I have always been a believer, but now I am trying to really dive into what that means. Sound funny? Well, I am trying to learn more about God’s word, surround myself with people who are Christians as well, get involved in church, make sure that my son is involved in church. In a nut shell I am trying to live a better life, looking up, not around. I am joining bible book studies, I have led a book study, I am reading Christian focused books, praying often, trying to simply be more of a Christian. My big goal is to read the Bible. That being said, I need to be honest about that. I have tried to read the Bible and have gotten so confused by the language of the bible…”Thee this and Thou that”, all the more reason to get involved in church, begin reading the Bible and feeling comfortable to go to my pastor and ask questions. I have got to step out of my comfort zone.

The other step in my walk as a Christian is less comparison, more focus on helping those around me, loving my family and being grateful. Grateful for the blessings that God has already blessed me with, continues to bless me with, all of this when I am not worthy of his constant forgiveness and blessings. What an amazing God we serve! How loved we all are! No need for comparison…we are ALL loved unconditionally. Whew! What a true relief! Thank you, Lord! We must each celebrate The Fabulous Life of…You and Me!

Stop for a minute and pray…Lord, please help me to stop comparing myself to others. Help me to stop looking around and help me to look up. Thank you for the blessings you have graciously given me, and I ask that you help me to look to you to address the areas of my life that need work. Always looking to you for answers, not others, and not through comparisons. That being said, help me to not judge another, because I truly have no idea of their journey. Amen.

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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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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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Quote to ponder…

Quote to ponder….

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Blessings…

As I sit here drinking coffee, watching my son play on the floor, hubby sitting nearby, beautiful red Cardinal perched outside on the patio, I am reminded of the blessings of God.  My job is a stressful one, but one that I truly love. I must say that with the stress of the job many times I can get stuck looking at the negative and missing the blessings in front of me. Today, I am trying to take a moment to truly focus on the positives.  Yes, there are people in this world that drive us crazy, the economic situation of our country is a mess, but that being said, the world around us  still has so much beauty.  There are beautiful people in the world still too, and I do not mean in a Hollywood sense, by any means.  There are people that still hold the door open, allow you to go ahead of them in line, give you a smile, and on and on.  I have found that if I give positives I tend to get them back.  I am sure most of us already know that to be true, so it is not as if I am saying anything profound.  But, do we really stop and think about it?  When I leave the house I try to send positives into the world.  If I am going to wear a cross around my neck, then I should live by  His principles, right? People should see Him in me, right? 

In the scope of my job, I have tried to make sure I lead by His example. I have prayed for my staff, prayed for my school, prayed for my students, prayed for their parents. Many say that prayer in not allowed in schools, I disagree!  Prayer is alive and well.  It may not be directed over the PA system, but I can guarantee you prayer takes place in classrooms.  I pray on my way to work for guidance and to make the right decisions for the greater good of my school and community.  Do I fall short still?  Of course, after all, I am human and making mistakes still happens and always will, but I will not give up. 

I hear people comment about the demise of society, and I have even made the comment, but then again, I imagine everybody at some time or another felt the same way.  I do believe that we must focus on interacting with each other in a positive way, and become a blessing to the world. One person can make a difference, and I am determined to make a difference.

 I sent an email to my staff yesterday, simple telling them how hard I know they are working, and that while they are not always thanked for their hard work and sacrifice, I have noticed. I also asked them to lift one another up, because we had members of our community that were struggling personally.  I had no idea that my staff needed to hear that as much as they did.  I had responses from them saying “I needed that” and many more. We highly underestimate the power we have as individuals.

 Imagine if each person, or the majority of people had the attitude they are going to go out and be a blessing to the world?  Our world would begin to improve drastically!  So, let’s get out there and become a beauty and blessing to the world! That smile you give just may be the smile that keeps someone going!

 

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Struggle…

Struggle….

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What is the right thing to do?

As I move through my journey to become a better person, which ultimately means become a better Christian, I must admit it can be a tough journey when faced with certain situations.  Case in point…I had a tough decision to make regarding hiring an individual…if I hired the individual I was going to put another supervisor in a bind by essential taking that person at the last moment.  They would have then had to hurry advertise and interview, with time being of the essence.  After much thought, yes, much thought, I decided against hiring the person…the reason?  I had to be able to sleep at night, and know that I could face that other supervisor knowing I did the right thing.  I even had a couple people say, “It happens all the time, you have to do what you have to do”. Well, I disagree.  Just because other people “do it all the time that way”, doesn’t make it right. 

I have to say, it would have been easier just to move forward and push down those feelings telling me “you are not doing the right thing”, but I did not.  I listened to those feelings and did the right thing. I also slept well that night!

Another situation I encountered the next day, I am shopping in a well-known store, and a lady was looking at some items on the shelf, and, yes, she had her cart blocking the entire aisle.  No one was getting by her!  I pulled up and waited for just a moment, knowing she had to have seen me out of the corner of her eye.  When I realized she either hadn’t noticed me or wasn’t going to notice me, I politely said, “may I get by you, please?” and the reason I am writing this is because, yes, you guessed it…she got an attitude. It was as if I had truly asked her to move the entire shelf of items so I could get by.  It was at that time, I really had to stop and think “what is the right thing to do?” I have a pretty quick tongue and I had a few statements to come back with, but I remembered…I wear a cross and I am a Christian. My handling of the situation was going to be a billboard of me as a person, and more importantly, of a person who wears a cross. So, I have to constantly ask myself, “What is the right thing to do?”  The answer is not always the easiest to answer…sometimes the right decisions are the hardest to make.

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The healthy part of my journey….going organic and natural

In my quest for self-improvement I am also working on getting healthier, and all that encompasses.  I have been doing a lot of healthy reading…magazines, research on the web, books, you name it I am definitely in healthy research mode…must be the educator in me.  I also know it has a lot to do with the birth of my son.  I want to be healthy for him!  I have got to stay active to keep up with my “little man”!  so, back to my healthy quest…

I attended a workshop on going organic…I could not believe my ears when the speaker told the audience that all breast cancer tumors have parabens in them…good grief!!!!  So, imagine my shock when I looked at some very famous baby lotions and found that they too had parabens in them.  Needless to say I was a little upset to think I had been lathering my precious son up with lotion daily and they all contained parabens. So, I guess you can say that I am making it a mission of mine to go paraben free!  Thankfully, it is getting easier to go paraben and sulfate free because more and more products are available. 

it may sound crazy but since I have been working on being healthier…supplements, natural skin care, natural hair conditioners, just to name a couple I truly feel better!  As a matter of fact, I am sitting with my all natural Moroccan clay mask-feels great, even though I look a little hilarious. My son must be getting used to seeing me wear masks because he looked at me and did not even bat an eye! 🙂 I just conditioned my hair with almond oil and peppermint oil-almond oil to condition and peppermint oil to stimulate the scalp.  I soak my hair with the mixture, then wrap my hair in a towel and leave it on for 30 minutes, then wash out.  My hair truly feels softer and looks better.  I would recommend giving it a try!  So, by the end of this evening I will have soft and silky hair, and fabulous looking skin, more toned with small pores…my goodness I sound like an infomercial! 🙂

More healthy tips to come and more stories as I continue this journey of getting healthier and becoming a new me…should be interesting!  If anyone out there has any fabulous healthy tips, whether eating or beauty please share!  This is a journey I can by no means make alone…lots of prayers, tips and ideas from other folks, and I am one day closer to a healthier, better me! 

Whew! I better get this mask off or I am going to be drawn a little too tight in the pores department…

 

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Been Awhile…working on being a better human! Anyone else?

Gosh! it has been awhile…I can’t believe how long it has been since I posted my one and only post…good grief!  Well, originally I thought I would write about my 40th year; however, that came and went with a flash; however, blessings a plenty.  Since I have turned 40, I have decided to embark on some, shall we say construction of self.  A lot of reflecting on my life. I have faced situations, shall we say, that sounds more positive than challenges. 🙂 I am working on the positivity in my life, being a better wife, being the mother my son needs me to be, being a better friend, better boss, better co-worker, and overall better human.  Anyone else out there working on being better person?  I know there are given the size of the self-help section at the book store! 🙂

Well, I would love to connect with others that are working on themselves and what they have discovered.  For so long I have looked out at the world and pointed out what is wrong, my perception of course, and you know what I am beginning to find?????? The old cliché is correct…if you want to make a change start with yourself, or as the famous pop song goes…the man, or in this case, woman in the mirror.

It seems so many people are looking for “things ” to make them happy! Just look at all the famous people that have died from various substance abuse issues, and yet, those of us looking from the common perspective (lack of a better word, even though common does not fit), seem to think they must have it all…fame, money, anything at their disposal, then again, maybe that is the issue.  Lots of things at their disposal but not the right things, or right belief.  Yes, I am a Christian, and proud of it!  I was reared a Christian; however, I must say I feel that in my walk as a Christian I am like a toddler taking my first real steps to get know the Bible and all that encompasses. Lord knows I have strayed and returned many times.  This time, I know, that I can’t stray anymore.  I am happiest when I am walking close to God!

So, part, the main part, of by becoming a better human campaign is to continue to walk closer and closer to God.  I am going to make lots of mistakes along the way, but know that He is the only way…definitely, for me.

So, those of you out there working on being a better person, keep it up…if we change ourselves…we CAN change the world!!!!

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