Thinking About Home

It’s a funny thing. Being divorced.
I don’t mean funny as in, “Ohhh. Haha I am divorced.” I simply mean it’s almost comical sometimes to see where your life may be going after a divorce. What lies ahead in your new Normal.
The transition to being a single mom hasn’t been particularly easy. It’s had many ups and downs over the course of the past two and a half years. As a matter of fact, the road still hasn’t been paved and is still very bumpy!
Wrong turns have taken place. I’ve been in the mountains and down in the valleys. I have used extreme caution and I have even been reckless. There are still sometimes I just come to a complete stop!
This has been one of those weeks that I have a screeched the brakes and have literally sat in my car (my sanctuary) and begged God to just remind me what he was actually doing! How is all of this helping me? What am I supposed to learn from this mess?
Last Wednesday I led my first child to Christ! Being a church leader/teacher in our Wednesday night AWANAS class I have taught a few lessons!! I’ve taught the kids about their hearts, how God doesn’t look at the outside, he is only interested in the inside, specifically Your Heart! It was my favorite lesson I ever taught!
Wednesday I was struggling to say the very least! This message had been bothering me, almost taunting me for over a month. I didn’t want to teach the lesson, mainly because it was my own struggle! I remember,not too long ago, waking my best friend up at 5am because I couldn’t stop thinking about it! I wanted answers. Answers that we spent the next two hours of the phone conversation muddling through. At one point, I had clarity! Then, before I knew it, it was all cloudy again! And I called out to Jesus to help me understand what it all meant!
Something that still keeps me up at night and even infuriates me!!!
The lesson was simply entitled HOME.
I struggled through the entire lesson.
I tried to teach the kids that HOME isn’t a place. It’s a feeling.
(I left out the proceeding memories, but just wanted to share them in writing this entry)
Remember that song Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home?
I told the kids about all the apartments and houses I lived in. Talked about my childhood home. Each apartment. Each house. They all felt like home! I have precious memories of each place! The stories I could tell you about our first fight over who was going to get custody of the bathroom! The apartment that was so small we couldn’t even open the refrigerator door. The dirty apartment with the black blinds! The townhouse where our daughter was conceived. The double wide that we paid $250 a month. That’s where we lived when 9-11 happened and where we brought home our first child. The nights I spent in the steamy bathroom sitting in the floor as she was so sick with RSV. The HOT PINK bedroom suit. Catherine’s first shower at a month old. The beautiful doll house that daddy made. The house on Sara Lane where I used to sit on the back porch and FLASH him as he mowed! The barrels of flowers that overflowed with beautiful vines and colors that summer. The place where our son was conceived. Where I threw up an entire box of Crunch and Munch in my first trimester on the way to eat Mexican with friends!
Each place we lived, Even that creepy apartment with the black blinds, I was HOME.

So that night, as I was sitting in AWANAS with a bunch of kids listening intently. I started telling them about HOME.
I don’t like the kids to sit in their chairs when I teach. So,I sit on the floor in the middle of the classroom and invite them to sit around me. They love it!! So do I!
I struggled! I didn’t even think I was making sense.
I started talking about where they live. Explaining to them the significance of home.
Then I heard a little guy say, “I have two homes. One with Mommy and one with Daddy!” I turned to see who said that statement, it was my son.
Then another little girl said that she also had two homes. And another. And another.
My eyes quickly filled up with tears.
I told them that although we have one home, two homes, or have moved a lot. To embrace the memories of each home. Of each family.
Then I started telling them about their real
HOME. the only home that actually matters.
Heaven. Where they will see their eternal father some day!
I told them, even at their age, they can be home owners if they accept Jesus. We talked about our mansions. And I even invited them to a party at my place when we all get to Heaven!
We laughed. Kids told some stories. I finished the lesson, But I still felt like I totally failed. Defeated before I had Mrs. Lori close in prayer.
When my son brought up the fact that he had two homes, a little brown eyed girl sitting next to me shared her own story of her broken home. The entire lesson she had tears in those dark brown eyes. I felt almost guilty because I may have caused her to be upset with my story that ended up becoming a very emotional lesson, even for me.
I decided to take the little girl with me when we broke off into our small groups. We went into my favorite spot in the corner of the hallway that leads to our room. I asked her if she wanted to talk for a bit.
She started crying so hard!! “I miss my Daddy”, she cried as she put her head in her hands. She proceeded to tell me that her Mom and Dad divorced and her Daddy worked a lot and she didn’t get to see him very much.
My heart broke. I could relate. My kids can relate. What did I do? AWANAS was supposed to be a happy time and I managed to make a little brown eyed girl cry. Cry because she missed HOME! Cry because her HOME wasn’t much of a home anymore.
We talked for a while as I explained to her as best as I could that her daddy loves her very much. I explained divorce. I asked her if Daddy was a Christian. She said the he was! We talked about our earthly Fathers.
Then it happened!
“Miss Crystal, I want to get saved! Can you help me?”
I led her through the scripture. John 3:16. Romans 3:23. She repeated the small prayer as I prayed and she asked Jesus in her heart sitting in the floor, next to a pool table at FBC on a Wednesday night!
She’s going HOME!
After we prayed, she looked at me and said “my heart feels funny right now. Like there is something inside. It tingles!” I know that feeling! My heart also tingled the day I got saved! It was an odd feeling, but after speaking to other people, they had the same strange occurrence!
….the story gets better!!!
While my brown eyed little beauty was claiming her new home in Heaven, a little boy in the next room, asked his small group leader to help him get saved!
TWO KIDS!!
They are on their way HOME!

It was also the week that I finally revealed something that has been on my mind for a very long time. Something that will secure my future as a writer. Talked to a new business partner and set up our first meetings!

Then it happened!

I spent the next day’s convincing myself that I was not qualified or worthy to teach, to lead a small child to Christ. At one point, in one of my lowest days, I almost called the church and resigned my position as Director of my AWANAS class.
The next week was filled with fighting and confusion. Bitterness and hatred towards me from someone that I love more than anything in this earth! One of the worst weeks I can remember since my separation almost three years ago.
I went from the highest of highs as a teacher to the lowest of lows as he claims to me that “you will never be anything in life but a recipient of a child support and alimony check!”
The Devil was soooo angry at me and he was using the person I care about the most to rip me apart!!
This isn’t my first rodeo with The Devil! But I wasn’t for sure if I was ready to get back in the saddle.
I’ve come a long way over the course of the last year! I’ve become a very strong independent woman. I don’t need a man to deem me worthy. I don’t need validation. I am satisfied and happy with being alone.
But this time, I needed to talk to someone! To verify I wasn’t actually losing my grip on reality! The last week had chewed me up and spit me out!!
So, I made a teary phone call to my pastor! He graciously agreed to meet with me the following day!
I filled him in on “my story”. Used an entire box of Kleenex. Told him about AWANAS and my little brown eyed girl. We discussed my new plan of action as a writer, and ended the conversation with the Devil trying to destroy me!!!
We talked for almost two hours!! We prayed. And he validated I was not losing my mind!
He told me story after story about how this is very typical, what I am dealing with. He also confirmed that I am exactly in God’s will for my life! That is why the Devil is after me! He encouraged me, not to stop teaching AWANAS, But maybe step it up a bit and get more involved with the kids!!!
I left with a whole new purpose! A new lease on life! And I left with my full Armor of God and ready for battle!!
Took the weekend to clear my mind as I headed out of town. I needed some peace even if it meant missing my son’s last two basketball games of the season!
I took my niece with me (my 15 year old best friend!!). It was a nice weekend! A little shopping for my kids, dinner, hotel stay, circus and then an impromptu trip to visit a college she is very interested in attending.
We toured the town of Lynchburg, VA as she was amazed at how beautiful Liberty University was! Her eyes lit up with excitement as she wanted to find the church she would be attending….she laughed as she said “I want to see where my new home will be!” (Talking about church)
Home. I snickered!
We ate at a local restaurant before heading back to West Virginia. Ended up taking a wrong turn and GPS took us on a 35 mile back road adventure! I think God actually took us in that road last night as it gave us extra time to talk!
Guess what she wanted to talk about?
She wanted to know why her mommy and daddy divorced. She wanted to know why daddy’s leave. She told me how much she missed her HOME and the way it used to be. We talked about The good memories. We even talked about her uncle (my ex). She was excited to tell me that she got to sit with him in his truck a few days prior, just her and him. She told me how much she missed him and how much she still and will always love him! I agreed!
She told me she wanted to be an ER doc just like “uncle” (as she likes to call him).
I started giving her 1,000 reasons why she should become a pediatrician, a family doc, a veterinarian…….anything but Emergency Room!!!
She looked at me and said “Don’t you want to know why I chose ER?”
I gave her a crooked smile waiting to verse her reasoning.
(and I know for a fact she will succeed in becoming one!!)
“I want to be an ER doc because I will see death, hurting, pain. I will certainly be the last person that some people will ever see on this earth before they die!! I want to be the one to ask them ‘if you die today, do you know where you are going?’ I want to show them how to get to heaven!!!”

HOME!

Isn’t it funny how God works?

Are you looking Foward to going home?
I know I am!

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Embracing Life

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Where shall we go tomorrow?  That’s all it takes, one simple text message and no convincing whatsoever to embark on yet another adventure with my sweet friend Amy!

White Oak Lavendar Farm in Harrisonburg, Virginia is where we began our day trip on this hot humid Saturday afternoon.

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As we walked through the endless colors of purple and soft white fields, it literally took my breath away to experience such exquisite beauty.  This isn’t a place you want to just rush through, you want to savor every second and take in the sights, smells and sounds around you.
The fields were rippling with dark purple, soft lavendar and milky white flowers and in the distance you could see horses running through the fields.
The smell of lavendar filled the air as we strategically picked out each stem to cut for our bouquet which was later tied with a soft pink ribbon.
The bees hummed in unison as they gathered to taste the sweet nectar of those beautiful buds.

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The Staff at White Oak outdid themselves as they welcomed each visitor with a smile.  They all dressed in lavendar colors and were very helpful and were eager to answer any question you may have had.
After literally forcing ourselves to leave this amazing little farm, we asked the young lady dressed in blue jeans and a light purple blouse to point us to our next destination.
Take a right, about 4 miles on your left…that was our direction.

After driving for what seemed like 10 miles down a long windy county road, nestled in the middle of corn fields was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.  As we drove up the driveway we sighed and giggled, anxiously waiting to see what was in store for us at Cross Key Vineyards.

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I felt as though I was stepping into a romance novel.  For a brief minute I imagined a tall dark handsome man on a white horse sweeping me off my feet as we spent the remainder of our years taking long walks through the vineyards and crushing grapes with our bare feet.  Ok ok…so that was a bit dramatic.  But we can blame movies like Letters to Juliet and every Nicholas Sparks novel published for my creative imagination.    Fortunately our host fit the description of tall dark and handsome perfectly,  but the horse and him sweeping me to a land of endless love didn’t happen. (A girl can dream, right?)
We tasted every wine from red to white.  The white was our favorite and we shared a bottle on the stone porch and took in the views of the endless skies, soft white clouds and the mountains as our backdrop.

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Joy was the name of the wine….yet the whole experience at Cross Keys was pure joy for me.

The day proved to be not long enough, as most days are when you spend it with people you love.
We finished the day with a short visit to Barnes and Noble where I picked up Paulo Coelho’s book The Pilgrimage.   It is his captivating account of his own pilgrimage on the road to Santiago.  (Another trip I vow to take some day!!)

Today was spent going to church, napping and making soap with my lavendar oils and fresh lavendar that was picked yesterday….while I day dreamed about our next big adventure.

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Life is short.  Embrace every day as of it your last, because one day it will be.

Until next time….Stop and smell the flowers.

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Vacation.

Vacation.  Day#3.

Kids have decided to play tennis for an hour while I take some quiet time for myself and read my book.

Bwaaaa haaaaa……ok.  so kids did go to play tennis.    I tried to read my book, I really did, But this is a family resort and it is packed.   There’s about 150 people at the pool so far and I’m certain that 50 of them are wearing diapers…..75 are ages 8-14.  The rest are the weary tired parents.  Some have already started drinking. I’ll be honest, if I drank, I’d probably start drinking early myself.  Ha!!

Marco Polo can be heard screaming at every end of the pool.  Indoor and outdoor.

Grandparent’s are either snoring or reading their own books.  Mostly Danielle Steele or Karen Kingsbury.   While the younger mom’s are indulging in Fifty Shades. (Lucky husbands!)

Then comes the sounds that resonates in any mom’s ears….it will rock you to your very core and make you cringe.

Mom……I’m hungry
Mom……I’m tired
Mom……where is dad?
Mom
Mom
Mom
Mom……..

Ok, now your going to think I’m making this up.
I love to hear those sounds.
Mom
Mom
Mom…..

Tell the truth, how many times have you said That’s it, I’m changing my name!!!! I am no longer mom!
Oh we have all been there.

Mom….what a beautiful name.   I miss being that full time mom.  Divorce is a terrible thing.  But what I found unbearable is the fact I was no longer that “full time momma”.
It crushed my very soul.

We came to this exact location last year.  I remember crying most of the week.  I mean bawling!!!!!    I looked at all of the families together making memories and all I could think of was the main person, the most important person in my life, the glue that held our family together….he was gone.    I couldn’t hardly stand to  look at my kids because I felt like such a failure.

But today….as I sit here watching my daughter do endless flips In the water and swim back and forth, I was reminded that she actually learned how to swim in this very pool last year!!!!  It took the better part of the week and she liked to swim mostly in the indoor pool, but she did it!  I didn’t have much of a tan, but who needs one anyway.  I made an epic memory with that sweet little girl.

Then there is Adam…..
Yesterday and today as we walked around Busch Gardens I was also reminded of last year.
I could barely put one foot in front of the other, I was in complete despair as I tried to keep it together while watching mom’s and dad’s spend the day with their happy (and very lucky) families.   Adam and I waited in line for what seemed like eternity to ride the roller coasters. (Something I really didnt like doing, but had to suck it up because no one else could ride with him)
We got on that roller coaster and I heard him laughing and screaming at the top of his lungs as he rode his very first coaster with loops repeating the phrase I feel sooooo alive!!!!!!!  I remember exactly how my heart felt at that very moment.  FULL.  that is exactly how to describe it.  Just full.
And today…..we rode roller coasters all day!!   Something I didn’t like so much before and now we are roller coaster fanatics!   Another epic memory! !

Tonight,  while talking with my friend during our daily late night phone calls, he asked me If you could do it all over, what would you do differently?  
My response:  Absolutely nothing!
I wouldn’t change this life for anything.  My past was beautiful.  My future looks pretty good from here.  And my present is darn near perfect.
I look back on my life and I have the greatest memories.  As far as I can remember from childhood to marriage to just being a mommy….I have been blessed.     I was happy!!  And with God with me,  I will stay that way.

Life may take you on some unforseen detours along the way, but thank God for memories.
Past Present and Future!

Vacation…..I just love vacation.
Mom?
Mom?
Mom?
Music to my ears!!!!

Until next time….don’t change your name.  Mommy sounds good on you!!

(And if you read this blog close enough, you will see that I started blogging while kids were playing tennis…..more than 10 hours later it was completed after the day at the pool and amusement park….followed by late night phone calls…..yep its now 1am!   Ahhhh a day in the life of a mom!!!!)