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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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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State of public education…

I have read all kinds of articles and watched all kinds of news programs talking about the state of public education.  I cannot be quiet any longer. Poverty seems to be a big reason for the challenges public education faces, more specifically the challenges that public educators face. As an educator, I agree that throwing money at education will not help our education system.  If we want to address poverty we MUST address the decline of the family unit.  A family unit can be made in many ways, but one thing it MUST be is POSITIVE.  Children must have stability, food, positive attention, safety, and love. Many times educators are looking forward to Christmas break or summer, and yet a number of our students are not, why? Because they do not want to spend time at home.  I have worked with students whose stories leave me haunted, and as an educator I do what I can to help fix the issue.  Educators are some of the most amazing humanitarians you will every encounter, but they are frustrated because they are not only charged with teaching children, they are faced with so much more…they know that a student’s basic needs must be met in order to engage them in learning.  Educators join the profession with the goal of making a difference in a child’s life, and let me tell you that is what they do. Not only do teacher’s academically work with children, but many times they feed them, clothe them, pay for their field trips, ensure they have food for the weekend, protect them, and provide them the much needed hugs and support…none of which can be measured on a standardized test.  Now I know there are some not so great teachers out there, and they need to leave the profession, but the majority come to school everyday working to make a difference. They attend sporting events, recitals, etc. so that the student knows how much they are valued. None of these can be measured by a test, and if you calculated all that an educator does and compared it to those in other fields you would definitely see they are underpaid. Educators did not get in to the profession for the pay, but a little respect would go a long way. Many educators I know have homes in foreclosure, cannot afford the insurance for their families, and qualify for government assistance, none of which they would want anyone to know.

Oh, and mandatory retention in third grade is NOT positive. I have sat in the room with teachers as they make the call to parents telling them that because their child did not make a certain score on the state assessment their child is being retained. I have heard parents cry on the phone after receiving the news, and I have watched teachers cry because a student was being retained due to the score on a test…oh, and that does not touch on what it does to the student.   Public education can use some tweaking, but so can the state of the family unit.

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