Tag Archive for: Divorce

There are days that are productive, but the result doesn’t feel fruitful. Maybe like a farmer preparing the soil for the seed. There’s  little satisfaction for me until the seed sprouts.  I’ve been preparing for the crop to harvest since August 23rd. There have huge been steps along the way that have given me hope.  Like my friends who got the big TV on the wall. But there it sat, without a connection for another several weeks.  The same friend hung a huge mirror.  Another friend recently hung shelves, hooks and mirrors.  In the midst of that sat stacks of boxes that need to go up into the attic, which requires the big ladder, which is difficult for me to carry.  The furniture in the garage that is taking up space and prevents me from unloading other things that need a home.  All this soil preparation is necessary and good, but I want to see a sprout! Well, today I got to see a good little bud from that preparation, and it was darn satisfying.  For the first time today I was able to see my house look like a home.

For a couple of days I’d had some home décor boxes sitting in the kitchen area to be unloaded and assessed. Today was the day to do that, yet right away I wondered if I would get through the boxes, because interruptions were occurring almost as soon as I got up this morning. All good interruptions, but still, interruptions that could compromise my hopes for seeing that sprout for which I anticipated.  I had three furniture items that were getting some action today either on Craig’s List or by a neighbor who was going to take my blue and white (sniff sniff) Toile couch.

In the mean time, a couple of friends and I were going to go to the Sunset High School play, and we’d talked about getting together at one of our houses beforehand. Since I live closest to the school, it made sense that we would meet here. I hadn’t had anyone over since we moved in because the house just hasn’t felt prepared. But today I decided, it was going to be prepared, enough.

In Shauna Niequist’s book, Bread and Wine, she urges us to share ourselves and our homes without the concern that our homes (or our lives) are perfect. I wasn’t necessarily looking for perfection, but there is a definite level of settlement that I need before I can enjoy entertaining people in my home. But having read Bread and Wine, I was reminded that today was the day, and that no amount of interruption was going to deter me from having my friends over. I would scramble and make due with whatever was created by the time the clock struck 5:30.

At 4:30, this is what my kitchen looked like.


These Staffordshire ceramics are special to me. The one on the right is a replica when I didn’t think I should pay for an original. Then my former mother-in-law gave me an original, which is the one on the left. It’s probably my most precious gift from her.


I don’t have a picture of the state of things at 5:30, but things felt pretty and I got to have my first couple of friends over in our new home. With a couple cheeses, crackers, pate, and wine for the adults, and some over cooked cheese pizza and corn dogs for my friend’s kids, we enjoyed a quick bite to eat before we were off to see the play.

It’s amazing what a deadline can do when you’re within reach.  It’s also interesting what the waiting process creates.  For example, the guy who ultimately got our TVs up and running is a gem.  He’s someone I hope to stay connected with and before he left the last time, I told him, “Gabe, I want to be your friend.”  I hope in some way God will allow that.  Yesterday I discovered another advantage to the long waits.  The furniture and ski equipment about which I felt nostalgia and sadness became a thorn in my side with the space they took up and the inconvenience they created.  By the time the couch left me, I announced an “Adios.”  The void in my heart was small compared to the void in the garage which was gleefully large.  Those long steps lead to the satisfaction of seeing that bud of a sprout today.

After I returned home from the play I noticed this partially scratched off Ross sticker.  No perfection here.  But I enjoyed my home and my friends and that is the sprout that I needed.

Oops... in my scramble I missed something.

Oops… in my scramble I missed something.

It’s 11/14/14 and it’s been 14 days since I last posted. The number 14 has no significance to me, and there was no intention in not posting 14 days from the time I last posted. My lack of posts is my very challenging attempt to stay focused. I so want my home to be simplified so our life can be simplified. I want my garage to NOT look like this:

And this was progress since August 23rd when we moved in!

And this was progress since August 23rd when we moved in!  Note the blue Toile couch in the background.  Read on to hear about that.

Wouldn’t you agree that life would be simpler, minus a garage like that?? I am making progress. Tools are put away. I like the peg board I inherited. With a few dollars I purchased some of the tools that fit into the little holes and have things up off the floor and out of drawers, so those spaces can be used for other things.  This is the type of thing I might share on my friend’s Twitter, Jillgetsitdone, that I talk more about below.

Ahhh... Progress and Success!

Ahhh… Progress and Success! Done this last weekend. Ignore the pile of extension cords. That will come later.

Downsizing from a whole house of about 3500 SF (which, isn’t THAT big.) then to 2500 SF, then to 1900 SF has been a huge challenge for me. Progress on the garage translates to progress for the entire house. It’s furniture, home décor, yard supplies, tools, ski equipment, sports gear, etc… and placing them or removing them entirely. I am making progress. Knowing when to toss something, so you won’t have to buy it later on, or knowing a fair asking price of something all takes time and consideration.  I have had several items on Craigslist for a couple of months. This weekend I have three appointments that I hope will result in sales. You’re probably wondering why I don’t just give these things away. Trust me. I’ve tried! One item is a sleeper sofa that I absolutely love.  It’s the one that’s peeking out of the photo above.  But here it is in a much prettier environment.

Isn't it pretty! Who wouldn't want it??

Isn’t it pretty! Who wouldn’t want it??

I would keep it if our new family room were bigger or if Bradley didn’t love our leather sectional so much. He couldn’t bear for me to give up the sectional, so the blue and white Toile couch with black fringed pillows gets the shove. I started out at $300.00, thinking that all women would love it as much as I.  Not only do all women not love it, but no one loved it, for as little as $75.00! I couldn’t even give it away. All the organizations you would think to suggest wouldn’t take it because it’s a sleeper sofa. That’s the story of one piece of furniture. Trust me, the other stories are similar.  Hence, they take up precious space that I can’t wait to claim.

My other focus is finding a job, which is literally like re-inventing the wheel with each resume I submit. Because I battle the lack of a degree and 20 years of experience, my cover letters must be compelling as I put my best foot forward. I have finally taken LinkedIn seriously and updated my profile to one that reflects my employment history and employment aptitude. I also spend time meeting with people who might be able to help me. Networking is so key to making connections. I love the time I spend doing it, because I love the energy I get from other people. I have to believe that time with others is well spent.

The whole job thing is hard for me, though. On one hand I feel capable of many things, and get distracted with so many opportunities.  And yet I laugh, because while I look forward to so many opportunities, I’m not qualified on paper for so many of the jobs in which I’m interested! That has to be a hope I get only from God, because any sane person would think I’m crazy.  I am looking at one opportunity where I will need to write an article which I will submit in the hopes of landing a writing assignment position.  I may take some on line courses in Social Media. I’m putting in about 15 minutes a day of Spanish, but I think I need to get more serious about that in order to be able to speak the language. I’ve got a lot of words memorized, but formulating a sentence is a whole different story (or sentence!).  Do I sound scattered?

I’m doing these things while I pick up sub jobs for the district but also prepare a friend’s house to rent. They moved out of state and I offered my services, knowing they would be paying someone to do the work anyway. It’s been a lot of logistics for the last couple of months, but we’re getting closer to getting it on the rental market. I’ve enjoyed doing it. I like managing things and people.  I’m ready for this gig to be up though, so I can move on to the next one.  If you’d like to move into the Portland suburbs, I have a beautiful 5,000 SF home for you. Pets allowed!

I’m still looking forward to an upgrade on my site. I met with the gal I referred to on my 10/31/14 post.  I’m excited to see what she can do, but she’s got a “real” job as well as some side projects, so I have to wait my turn. Once my site is operating the way I want it to, I’ll be more enthusiastic to post on it, knowing that I won’t have to make apologies for it.

Bridgette is doing well at OSU, but I made a trip to visit her last Sunday to help her sort out the learning curve of being on her own. I left with both of us satisfied. Bradley is suiting up for the Varsity playoff games. He’s not gotten a chance to play, but he’s ready to go if they need him. Tonight is Playoff Game 2, against the #2 seed. We’re a good team, so we’ll see if we’re that good. My TO DO list is long every day. A good friend encourages people to be productive on her Twitter account.  We both love to be productive, so it’s fun to share our stories of progress, or not.  I love her Twitter feed. On her Twitter she encourages people who want to be productive to post their accomplishments, and while they’re doing that, we all can learn from each other. I was able to post, COMCAST: CANCELLED!  I have spent hours (like 15 or more, seriously) on Comcast issues.  I’m looking forward to using my time differently.  No longer will I hear, “Oh! We see that you’re an Xfinity valued customer” while I listen to the same hold music for long durations and get transferred from one department after the other, all without any resolution to my problems.

I will close for now. I’ve exceeded my allotment of time and have violated my effort to stay focused on my home. To my left are several boxes that need to be unloaded. Back to productivity, not that this isn’t productive… see, I’m scattered.

I love podcasts. I love finding something uplifting to listen to while I’m walking the dogs, or working out or applying my make up. This morning I remembered that I’d missed church on Sunday, so I went to Beaverton Foursquare’s site and found:

Marriage: It’s Complicated.

One might think that the message would only benefit those who are married, or thinking of getting married. I’m neither of those. I still find the subject interesting, and I really love learning about God’s perspective on the most sacred relationship of all.

It wasn’t that long ago I would cry at the thought of a (my) failed marriage. Now, if I let myself think about it, my thoughts usually go to my kids, and that’s when my heart starts to hurt. But I refrain from going in that direction as much as possible, and listening to Pastor Randy’s sermon didn’t stir up tears, but rather, affirmed that my singleness is good, and my wholeness comes from God, not another person.

This sermon affects everyone because marriage is God’s plan, as Pastor Randy points out. That does sound cliche as Randy also points out, but Pastor Randy illustrates how marriage evolved in biblical times from something that was abused to something that is sacred.

For those who have been married and want so desperately to return to that state, this sermon reminds us that Jesus is the only source that can satisfy us, as illustrated when Jesus talks to a woman who has been married five times.

Note: The title of this blog is the title of Pastor Randy Remington’s sermon from Beaverton Foursquare Church in Beaverton, Oregon.

I haven’t had any time to write! But follow some of these photos and you’ll be able to see the topsy turvy life that’s going on in our world.


Empty garage to over flowing garage.


Time with each other in the midst of it all.

Time with each other in the midst of it all.

My favorite things.

My favorite things.

These pictures all represent pieces of the last week.  One thing that I didn’t photograph was me applying and interviewing for jobs.  I think I told you my summer goals. They were: buy a house (check), sell my SUV and buy a more economical car (check), and get a full time job. I haven’t gotten the full time job yet, but there is a real momentum going and I’m energized by the hopeful possibilities.  And while I continue to look, I’m scheduled to sub all next week. God is blessing us with productivity, and He knows how much I like that!

Life has not stopped, even though I need it to, in order to make sense of our new home.  In spite of getting rid of so many things over the last five years, I still have more things than for which I have space.  So, I stayed up until 2:30ish two nights ago.  As I unwrapped boxes of kitchen ware that had been stored over the last year, I became giddy with excitement, as if it were Christmas. Items I’d forgotten we had:

A Waffle Maker

A griddle

An Electric Tea Kettle

More bakeware than I probably need; and yes, a few items did go into the Goodwill box.

The next day I cooked on the stove for the first time.  It is crazy how happy our new stove makes me. It is crazy how in love I am feeling with having our things again.  I wouldn’t wish loss on anyone.  Yet, I would wish that everyone would get to experience the joy of appreciation for things we so often take for granted.  The last five years have been so hard.  Had God given me a choice: “Joni, I have a deal for you. You can continue to live the life you’ve been living.  Life will go on as you know it. You will remain in your beautiful comfortable home, but you will never know the joy of regaining something that has been lost.” I think my answer would have been: “God, I think I’ll stick with the predictable. I am comfortable, and I like comfortable. There’s no reason to seek something, a feeling or sensation, I don’t need. Especially when everything I need is here.”

But here’s the thing. God doesn’t ask.  God is God. Like a favorite song, Blessed Be Your Name says: “You give and take away”.  I didn’t understand it all at the time.  I don’t pretend to know at what point our situation was God’s and at what point it was the consequences of my decisions.  But what I do know is that as I unwrapped our belongings, and had the privilege of making a pot of rice on a beautiful gas stove, I felt like I was in love again.  I’m not in love with the stove (well, somewhat). But rather, the feeling I have of appreciation, belonging, and arrival, after a long hard fight.  Paul says in Philippians 4:12

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

I was talking with a friend today about God’s perfect timing.  When we experience it, we cannot deny it.  Again, had God asked: “Joni, do you want a house right now? If you choose now, you will not have to live without a garbage disposal. You’ll be able to unpack all your belongings. Your kids will be able to sleep in their own beds, and won’t have to sleep in used twin sized beds. You will likely find a house that has air conditioning.  However, if you wait for my perfect timing, I promise you that I will give you what you need.  It may not come in the form of things, but rather in spirit”.  Matthew 11:28 says:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

I have been chasing a home for us since our family changed through divorce five years ago.  There were many complications I won’t go into here (please feel free to message me and I am happy to share my experience. It will give you hope!). The complications created a huge learning curve for me, which caused constant stress, because I didn’t know what I was doing, nor did I want to do it.  And, it prevented me from having the financial peace and security that I longed for.  But now, the check mark after “buy a home” means peace. It means, putting that project behind me, and moving on in life, hopefully with a job I enjoy, and living a life free of confusion and anxiety about a home.  It is time for me to feel the rest God can provide.

The big move with 2 UHauls and friends helping us occurred last weekend, on August 23rd.  Bradley discovered that we had moved exactly one year ago to the day last year.  I didn’t know how he remembered that, so I asked him.  He said, “Mom, remember last summer when you took us to Crater Lake before we moved?  When we were there you said, ‘We have to be out of our house by eight twenty three.’  I asked you, ‘Why do we have to be so specific? Why does it have to be 23 minutes after 8 o’clock?” He didn’t understand why I didn’t just say August 23rd. That vernacular didn’t make sense to him.  I believe God created that little exchange between the two of us so that on this moving day, one year later, we would remember that it was He who provided to us the perfect timing so we would experience His perfect peace, which was possible because of our obedience in recognizing the closed doors as they occurred, and did not force them open.  That translates to things like canceling a loan application, not buying a house simply because it was in my price range, and more red flags that weren’t always red, but sometimes a very faint pink.

When heartache comes, it’s hard and fast and devastating. It’s life changing. But if you can make it to the other side of the pain, the hope is worth all the scraping it takes to get there.  We are in a mess of a house right now. I don’t know when the back yard will be mud free and when we’ll have a living room which I can enjoy. The sprinkler system isn’t working.  As a full work week looms ahead, with two birthdays to celebrate, school and college starting, football and doctor appointments, I wonder where I’ll find time to tend to these things.  But I’m completely in love with a God who granted us this home, this stove, and a spirit of gratitude that I could have only received by losing what I loved so much.  I am truly learning to be content in all circumstances. That has cost me a lot, but I love the return.