2nd Chance To Be With My 1st Love, Albeit With a “Scarlet Letter” on My Chest (Part 2)

I hope you didn’t think that that was it.  I hope you didn’t think once the divorce was final, and I was able to be with my true love, that I simply lived “HAPPILY EVER AFTER”!  No, this was real life.  Real life just doesn’t work that way.  Even though I am telling you it wasn’t all good, it certainly wasn’t all bad either.  Unfortunately, if I’m going to be accurate in telling you this story, I have to share some of the not-so-fun stuff that also happened through it all.

I want to go back to D-day, the day of the divorce.  The day “started out” kind of normal, other than the fact I knew I was about to finalize an 8 year marriage, I dressed for work and waited on the babysitter to arrive at my house.  My plans were to go to the office where I worked, and then go to court later that morning.  When the babysitter got there, I instantly felt tension in the air.  I should tell you that my babysitter was about my mother’s age, and she was a member of the church that I attended.  She made it clear that she was completely against what I was doing.  She really tried to talk me out of, according to her, making the biggest mistake of my life.  I understood where she was coming from, and I really appreciated her concern.  I tried listening to her.  I really did.  The problem was, once the “light switch” was turned off from that marriage, there literally was no going back.  It took a long time to get to that point in the first place.  When it did get there, that was it.  It was finished.  It was over.  I told her, I appreciated her concern, but I had to go to work.  I left for work, and I didn’t get very far up the road when I got a call on my cell phone.  It was her.  She informed me that I needed to turn around and come back, because she was not going to stay there with my children, since I was actually going to go through with the divorce.  She just did not want to be a part of it.  The thing that puzzled me, was that she hadn’t been babysitting for me for long.  As far as I knew, she knew absolutely nothing about my marriage, (except maybe what Scottie was telling her).  Even though I had known her for several years from church, she really didn’t know me that well at all.  I just didn’t understand why she was so emotionally involved.  I still, to this day, do not understand it.  I called my mom, and she bailed me out once again.  My mom went to my house to relieve her from her babysitting duties.

It wasn’t long after the divorce when a leader from the church dropped in on me at my house.  I invited him in and we sat down on the couch.  He wasn’t there very long at all.  He just wanted to come by and let me know that I was being “released” from my duties at church.  I can’t say for sure, but it felt like he was implying that I wasn’t “worthy” to perform my duties as a children’s choir director any longer.  That was only the beginning of the explicit rejection that started manifesting.  One night, I received a phone call from one of my nieces (on Scottie’s side) with whom I was very close.  During that conversation, she let me know, in no uncertain terms, that she was upset with me, and could not forgive me.  I understood.  She still has not forgiven me to this day.  Losing her and my 4 brothers-in-law and 3 sisters-in-law, was a very difficult thing for me to accept. I knew why they felt the way they did.  I deserved it.  I hurt them.  I hurt their uncle, their  brother.  I hurt their cousins, their niece and nephews.  I get it.  I deserved the rejection.  I didn’t realize all the people this was going to affect.  The truth is, our decisions affect so many people around us.  I want to tell all of them, from the babysitter, to my niece, to my brothers and sisters-in-law, I am sorry.  I did not mean to hurt any of them.

To be continued…

Why Does Life Have to Have So Much Opposition? It’s Even in the Fairy Tail Disney Movies!

Have you ever noticed that in any good story you read or watch on T.V. or at the movies, there always has to be some sort of opposition standing in the way of the couple in love, or the accomplishment of some great thing? Why is that? Even in the Disney movies…you have Ursula trying to stop Ariel and Eric (The Little Mermaid); you have the uncle coming between Simba and Mufasa, his father (The Lion King); the fact that Aladdin wasn’t a prince held him back from being with his true love, Princess Jasmine (Aladdin); Snow White had a jealous wicked queen trying to kill her and Cinderella had a wicked stepmother! The list goes on and on and on. Even in almost all other good books and movies, there just always seems to be some sort of opposition before the victory. What’s that all about?

Doesn’t that pretty much just sum up real life? There is a positive force and a negative force always coming in and out of our lives. It’s not all bliss, however, it doesn’t have to be all about sorrow and negativity either. Isn’t it possible that life just wasn’t meant to have all happy moments throughout the hopefully, 80-90+ years of our lives? Isn’t it possible that the opposition in our lives is what makes us stronger, more determined beings, which results in our growth and ability to do greater things? Opposition also gives us the opportunity to truly appreciate the good times along our journeys. I truly believe it is the opposition we overcome, that actually brings out the best of who we are, when we don’t allow the bad stuff to consume us.

If I died today, based on the wisdom I’ve gained throughout my life, I would want to tell my kids the following:

Enjoy your life! Don’t pay so much attention to the opposition. Pay more attention to the things you are grateful for now, this day! Continue working toward whatever it is you are trying to accomplish. One more thing…let life unfold. Don’t get in your own way by trying to force whatever it is you are seeking. Just ask God for it, and take action as you are prompted. Remember that your happiness will never come from any single accomplishment. Your happiness only comes from living and being content in this moment with what you already have on this day. The rest of it is just a journey with, (as my mom would say), NO FINISH LINE. Ultimately, the key to happiness is simply learning to “Enjoy the Journey”.

2nd Chance To Be With My 1st Love…

Not long after I had divorced, I began dating my first true love. We came from two very different worlds. He introduced me to a peaceful, but hardworking  world on the farm that I had only heard about, but had never experienced. I introduced him to the world of a fast-paced city, (with 3 young children!), about which he knew very little.  I loved the fact that he was so different from me.  Dating him, turned my life into an instant adventure…and most everyone knows, I’m usually up for a good adventure!  He had this country southern accent that melted me every time he spoke. He had this thing he would say every time he called me.  When I answered the phone he would say, “This is me, is that you?”  I still love hearing him say those words.  My youngest daughter, Kaitlyn, makes fun of him about it.  She says it now, but in a very different way, with a more “accented” country slang to it.  It cracks us up!  Anyway, I had just come out of a loveless marriage, and these new feelings that stirred inside of me, breathed new life into my soul! Every love song that came on the radio, seemed to come alive, and express the way I was feeling. I remember being at my parents’ house, singing at the top of my lungs the song, “How Your Love Makes Me Feel” (Diamond Rio)…”It’s like just before dark! Jump in the car! Buy an ice-cream and see how far we can drive before it melts…kinda feelin’! That’s how your love makes me feel inside! There’s a cow in the road! Swerve to the left! Fate skips a beat and it scares you to death and you laugh until you cry!”…  In the middle of singing, coming down the stairs, I caught a glimpse of my dad standing in the den talking to someone who had come to the house to see him.  I abruptly stopped singing and know I must’ve turned three shades of red, when he looked at that person and said, “Do you think she’s in love?”  You couldn’t wipe the smile off my face that day.

Kevin would drive two hours to come and see me in his old pickup truck. In the back of his pickup, he’d bring his dog named Rex. Kevin had been single for about 8 years, and he had been used to living his life alone with his dog.  Not me.  I had three children.  I was anything, but alone.   He later told me that his daddy asked him, “Boy! Have you done your adding’?” Nothing anyone could’ve said would’ve stopped this attraction we had to one another.  I swear I would’ve walked through the desert to see him. I still would.  That’s the truth.  Love is a powerful thing!

I can remember clearly one of our very first dates upon reuniting.  He knew I loved grilling out in the backyard.  My grill was old and rusted.  One day, he came over to cookout, and he brought me a brand new grill!  (He also brought me a very nice Torro lawnmower, since I was the only one mowing my yard at the time.  It was nice!  Unlike the one I had, you just gripped the handle and it would go!)  We had the backdoor and all the windows open.  The kids were playing, and the setting was perfect!  It was a beautiful day to cookout on my new grill!  I was always the one grilling, but of course, he’s the guy, so he took over that job.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve grilled by myself since that day!  I was busy cooking the side dishes on the stove, making the kool-aid, and setting the table.  When he brought the meat in from the grill, he came in, made his plate and sat down.  I was standing at the counter, and I turned and saw him sitting down.  I started laughing, and told him he could eat, but that it was going to be a few minutes before I could join him.  I still had to make three other plates, cut the meat up for the 3 year old, get her situated in the high chair, and get the boys situated around the table.  After that, I’d make my plate and  join him.  🙂   A little embarrassed, he jumped up to help.  I think it was at that moment, that he realized his life was about to change significantly if he wanted to date me.  I thought, “This guy is never going to stick around.” But…he did!

I worked at the law office in downtown Memphis, so he would come from Arkansas and meet me for lunch.  Some days we would simply drive around Marion, AR, which was only about 15-20 minutes from the office where I worked.  There were so many crop fields, and there weren’t nearly as many homes in this area as were in Memphis.  I drove around that area many times during lunch, even when Kevin wasn’t  with me.  It was beautiful country!   One day while driving around, he stopped in at the Caterpillar Tractor Dealership.  I asked him, “Why are you stopping?”  He said, “Just wait.”  We got out of the car and the salesman came out to greet us.   We were not married yet, but he asked the salesman if he and “his wife” could look at one of the tractors there and take it for a drive!  He is such a romantic charmer!  He knew exactly what he was doing.  His WIFE?  My heart was doing somersaults!    I loved the way that sounded.  I loved the way that felt!  On top of that, I had never ridden in a tractor before!  He climbed up into the cab of the tractor and reached down to grab my hand and pulled me up!  I was in heaven!  Words cannot describe how high that feeling is.  People call it “Cloud 9”.  If that’s the case, I was on Cloud 1000!

To Be Continued…

I Got Divorced! Do I Deserve to be Happy?

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It was a Sunday. I was in church speaking to one of my very dear friends. She told me that she wasn’t happy, but that she was fine with that. She wasn’t looking for happiness. She said she didn’t deserve to be happy. She said she shouldn’t have done what she did. She was talking about divorcing her husband. Unfortunately, I knew where she was coming from since I had also been divorced. I had already dealt with those same feelings of regret.

Divorce sucks! It just does. It affects and hurts so many people. We hurt the person that we divorce, we hurt our children, we hurt in-laws, brothers, sisters and friends. It affects so many people! It’s an awful thing to go through. When a person goes through a divorce, they are looking to find peace in their lives. More often than not, divorce creates more sadness, sorrow, heartache and confusion; BEFORE you get to the “peace” you were seeking. Sometimes people just stop in the middle of the post-divorce, healing process, and they stay in the negativity, guilt and shame of it all. Some never get to the “peace”. Statistically, they even take it into their next marriage, and end up divorced a second time. Did I mention divorce sucks?

I wanted to say so much to my friend. It was obvious she didn’t want to speak any more about it. It was hard enough for her to say what she said. I could see and feel the sorrow that she felt. I wanted to tell her, “Please do not give yourself a life sentence just because you or someone else may think you’ve done the “unforgivable”! The truth is, we all just have different paths. What if your experience can help someone else going through the same thing? What if your example actually stops another person from making the same mistakes? What if hidden behind the seemingly really bad stuff that we deal with in life, is a silver lining that has positive affects that you may not ever even recognize?”

One thing we know for sure. There are so many unanswered questions about this thing we call life. We shouldn’t judge others, and we certainly shouldn’t condemn ourselves for something that we cannot change that is in our past. Every day is a new beginning. We choose what to do with THIS day. Every day we choose to be happy or sad, and even healthy or unhealthy. We choose to live with fear or with faith. We choose to look ahead at the future, or live with regret from the past.

I have heard it said that that is why the windshield of the car is so big looking forward, and the rearview mirror is so small. It shows that we should be looking forward to our futures, not looking back at our pasts! It’s really all about “choices”. What do you choose?

I Was 15 and I Thought I Was in Love…It Didn’t Go Like I Thought It Would, but It Was Love…Part 5 (Final)

I am going to wrap this story up today, so I am going to really highlight the turning point in my life. Prior to finishing the Paralegal course, on a scale of 1-10, I would say that my self esteem had gotten down to about a 2 or 3. After completing that course, my self esteem increased to, I’d say, a about a 4 or 5.

Our house was built with that Masonite siding. If you’ve had any experience at all with Masonite siding, you can probably relate to the fact that it most definitely needed a paint job! Scottie worked a lot, and we didn’t have much money, so I decided on this particular day to paint the house. I remember being on the ladder and hearing the phone ring. By the way, it was sometime between 1995-1996, and we actually had cordless phones by this time. 🙂 I climbed down the ladder to answer the phone, and it was Scottie. He told me that Kevin was up at the dealership with his girlfriend, and they were looking at buying a car from him. (I was thinking…He was there? I mean, he was HERE? In Memphis? That boy had better not just show up today! I look awful! He better not!) I told Scottie, “That’s good. “Tell him I said hello.” When Scottie got home from work that evening, I was tired and laying in the bed. He came into the room and said, “Can you believe the nerve of that guy?” I said, “Who?” He said, “Kevin!” I said, “What did he say?!?” He said, “Kevin said that if I didn’t treat you right, he was going to just come and take you!” Then Scottie said condescendingly, “Like he could do that!” I could not believe that Kevin had actually told Scottie that. I thought that sounded a little cocky, but I have to admit, it made me feel really good that he still cared about me. (By the way, Kevin later told me that what he actually said to Scottie was this: “If you ever kick her to the curb, she won’t make it to the street. She will step right into my pickup truck!”…Okay, I know that still sounds a little cocky, but I knew what he meant.) I knew that Scottie and I were at a critical point in our marriage. I was trying to hang in there, but I had all but thrown in the towel. I thought this would be a good time to “show” Scottie how I was really feeling. I had a journal entry from October that I wanted him to read. I thought, if he read it, he would understand how I was feeling, and we could work on things. It just said how I was feeling, and that I was contemplating divorce, and the only reason I hadn’t divorced was because of the church and my children. It described why I was feeling the way I was feeling, and how the way Scottie treated me made me feel. Scottie read it in the bathroom. I was anticipating him coming out and discussing it with me. When he finally came out, he handed the journal back to me and didn’t say a word. I asked him if he read it. He said, “Yes.” That was it.

Months later we went to a marriage counselor. I gained a little hope in that first meeting. After listening to the counselor’s analysis of our conflicting personalities, I knew that the counselor understood the problems in our marriage. The counselor suggested we separate and not speak to one another for 30 days, to see how we felt being apart. I didn’t know what to think about it, but I was curious to see how Scottie felt. When we walked out of that meeting, we were in the parking lot, about to get into our cars, (we drove separately again), and Scottie told me that he was relieved to know that it was not “him” that was the problem. He said, it was my childhood that was the problem. What? Was he in the same meeting? Did we even mention my childhood?!? Did he hear what the counselor was saying? Is this really about whose “fault” it was? It was nobody’s fault! It was that our personalities conflicted!! I realized at that point, that he had no intention on changing anything. I don’t believe he thought he had anything to change, which was totally fine. That was his choice. He didn’t need to change anything. He could and should be himself. But, I had a choice too. I had to decide whether or not I was willing to live the rest of my life like this.

I began looking for a job as a paralegal. Simultaneously, I started investigating the possibility of getting a divorce. At this point, I hadn’t spoken to Kevin, (probably since the ketchup incident), and had only heard about him through his interaction with Scottie. I know people want to think that I left my husband “for Kevin”. That just wasn’t the case. My mom always taught me, “Don’t believe anything you hear, and only half of what you see!” But, people can believe what they want. My sister referred a divorce attorney to me, one that I could call to see if he was hiring. I met him, and we discussed a possible legal assistant position that might be coming available. While I was there, I asked him questions about the divorce process. After we talked, he suggested that I call some attorney friends of his, because they may have had a position open, right then, that I might be interested in. I went home and called them right away. They didn’t answer the phone. I think they were at lunch. I left a voice mail describing who I was, and that I was interested in the position that they possibly had available. They called me back! I got hired!! That job, by far, has been my absolute favorite job that I ever had. I developed some really strong relationships with two of the attorneys there. To this day, I still call them, and I always want to know how they are doing. They were both there for me at such a critical point in my life. They will always be forever friends.

Deciding to get a divorce was another one of those huge crossroads that we tend to come across once in awhile in our lifetimes. I compared it to a roller coaster ride. I would get determined to do one thing, then second guess myself and turn back. This went on for months. I was not that 18 year old girl anymore. I was 26, and I felt that this was the time to decide how I wanted to live the rest of my life. I had three children to consider. I pondered…Should I lay my life down for my children, and just live in this numbing existence? Or…Do I take a chance for a better life? There were no guarantees on either path. I ultimately decided that my children might be better off coming from a dysfunctional marriage, rather than living in a dysfunctional home.

Somewhere in the midst of all the changes that were going on in my life, another Stake conference was taking place at the church. I had taken my children to the doctor’s office and was sitting in the waiting room thinking about Kevin and wondering if he was there at church. When I got home, there was a voicemail on my answering machine. It was him! It was Kevin! He was at the missionaries house in West Memphis, AR, on his way home from the conference, and he just wanted to call and see how I was doing. It was so good to hear his voice! After all this time, (8 YEARS!), I was shocked to hear that he was still single and had not remarried. I told him where I was at in my marriage. I found out later that he called the Bishop at my church to try and save my marriage. Kevin loved me. He wanted what was best for me. I loved Kevin. I wanted what was best for him. The divorce was final in July, 1997. I married Kevin on November 24, 1997.

You may be asking yourself, why am I telling everyone my life story? What’s the purpose in doing this? Shouldn’t I be afraid of judgement, condemnation and sentencing from other people? That’s the beautiful thing about going through trials and tribulations in our lives. We get over stuff like that. There was a time that I would absolutely be terrified to tell anyone how I was feeling, or what I was going through. Trust me, when I divorced, I did feel like I was being judged, condemned and sentenced! It turns out, people can judge us, but we choose whether or not to accept it! It is true that “what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger”. After going through the divorce, I learned to love and accept myself. I knew that I wasn’t the person that some of the people perceived me to be. If I was that bad person, I certainly wasn’t trying to be. I know everyone reading this also has a story to tell. We can choose to hide from the truth, or face the truth and do something positive with it. We all make mistakes. The key is taking the lesson from it and becoming a better person through it. The truth is, life simply is not easy. We all make choices every single day, and lots of them! The choices we make determine the different experiences we have, and the roads upon which we travel. I will never know the “what if’s”…”If” I had chosen to stay with Scottie… I don’t know. I probably won’t ever really know if I made the “right” choice. It was just the choice I made. Life is a journey. Until we die, we are all writing the scripts of our lives with every decision we make. During our journeys, we can embrace the people and the “moments” that bring us happiness. No matter what is going on right now in your life, and in mine, we should embrace those wonderful moments that “pop up” out of nowhere (like Kevin did–haha)! Seriously. Something really cool can happen TODAY! I don’t know, but to me it’s exciting! Life will always be full of twists and turns, ups and downs; but for the most part, life is simply magnificent! I am thankful for the wisdom I’ve gained through the years so far in my life. I am thankful for right now, this moment. Having the opportunity to be married to Kevin has been the most incredible blessing, so far, in my life. I wouldn’t change a thing. I always said…if I could only be with him for 1 day, I would’ve given up the rest of my life. I am thankful to have had all these days with him for the past 17 years. I wish I could describe the way I feel about him and the journey of our marriage in a few short sentences. That is another story, a seemingly completely different life’s story, that maybe one day, I will share.

Kevin and Lisa Marriage Ceremony

I Was 15 and I Thought I Was in Love…It Didn’t Go Like I Thought It Would, but It Was Love…Part 4

I found so much love with my first child, and I decided that I wanted more of that! I figured that I was going to make my marriage work no matter what, and since divorce wasn’t an option, we were going to continue growing our family. I became pregnant again, and my second perfect baby was born November 19, 1992! Just like the first, I was madly in love with him! Scottie and I were still on different pages, and I remember writing in my journal that I just wanted romance in my life. I wrote that I wanted to be swept off my feet, if only for one night. (Hey! A girl can dream, can’t she?) Unfortunately, there needs to be chemistry in a relationship to have romance. I began getting more and more involved at church. Scottie knew how important my church was to me at the time, but never really had an interest in joining. It was weird, but one Sunday, Kristy had come over to my house and asked him when he was going to join the church. I laughed and said he wasn’t interested. At that precise moment, he said he was thinking of joining. What? Really? I had no clue! He did though. He joined the church.

After my second son was born, the church had what is called a Stake Conference. It happens every year, and all the areas (cities and towns) in that “Stake” meet together for church service. It just so happens that Jonesboro and the part of Memphis I lived in, were in the same Stake. For years, every year, I always sat in the back of the church for these meetings. On this day, we were well into the service when I leaned over, (probably to situate one of my babies), and my peripheral vision caught a glimpse of Kevin sitting behind us. My heart dropped. I could barely breathe. I have no idea what the remainder of the service was about, although I was certainly in tune to what was going on around me…well, at least behind me. I couldn’t wait until the service was over. I wanted to speak to him to see how his life was going. I wanted to know if he was happy. I wanted to know if he was married again. I wanted to know if he still loved me. When the service ended, it was just a coincidence that Scottie had to go to work immediately after, and we drove in separate vehicles. This gave me an opportunity to run around the halls to find Kevin before he left. I did find him. I walked over to him and said, “Hey!”. He probably said something like “hey” back. We didn’t say much. I did manage to get these words out…”Do you ever think about me?” He said, “Yes, I think about you!” He said it in such a tone that implied I was asking a stupid question. He asked me, “Do you ever think about me?” I choked on my words, but said, “Not a day goes by that I don’t think about you!” I couldn’t stay there any longer. Tears started streaming down my face, and I didn’t say another word. I got out of there as fast as I could. It was true. I did think about him every day.

On June 13, 1994, my sweet little girl was born! She had this one little dimple on her cheek, and I always said she was kissed by the angels, because I knew they must’ve missed her. She was absolutely adorable! She smiled all the time, and never gave us any trouble. By far, she was probably the best behaved baby I’d ever known! She was just born that way. I had a good friend that would come over several times a week. She had a child also, and together we stayed busy being moms and entertaining the children. At this point it wasn’t that hard not arguing with Scottie. He worked most days, and if he wasn’t working, he liked playing golf and mowing the yard. I used to get a little upset with him because he seemed to mow the yard even when it didn’t need mowing. When he found out that it irritated me, I swear, I think that just made him want to mow it more often! Around this time, I do remember him telling me that our relationship was more like a “business” relationship…he worked and made the money, and I stayed home and took care of the house, laundry and kids (I also babysat and sold Tupperware to make a little extra money). I don’t know about you, but my dream as a young girl was not to get married to have a business partner! At least we weren’t fighting as much.

Sometime in 1994, Kelsey was asleep in her baby bed, and the boys were playing. I heard a knock at the door. I figured it was a salesman or something and didn’t think much about it. I had no makeup on, and my hair was up in a ponytail. I opened the door, and there stood Kevin! It literally shocked me so much, that I slammed the door closed, right in his face! I slowly pulled the door back open, and he had this big ole grin on his face! I was so happy to see him! I knew I looked a mess, but somehow that didn’t really matter. He came into the house, and we were laughing and talking as friends. We caught up on some of the stuff going on in each other’s lives. We were just sitting in the den talking when I heard the refrigerator door open. Then almost immediately I heard a crash! We both ran into the kitchen to find my youngest boy standing there with an entire bottle of ketchup splattered all over the floor! We busted out laughing! We talked about the “ketchup” day for years! He stayed for only a half an hour, or so, then we said goodbye. Even though we both knew we had deep feelings for each other, we were now both mature enough, and accepted the fact that we would always be friends.

My marriage was growing increasingly stressful to me. I absolutely do not want to go into the personal details about why we argued so much. There are always two sides to every story, and I absolutely understand that. For me, though, there were two pivotal moments that were the “straws that broke the camel’s back” so to speak. I’ll share one of those pivotal moments.  My oldest boy was only 4 years old. I was invited to my sister’s wedding in Memphis, and my in-laws were babysitting our children in Brownsville. Having them babysit wasn’t customary, however, we were going to a family reunion the next day, so we were going to stay the night there in Brownsville that night anyway. I had one simple request. I specifically asked them not to allow my son to swim without wearing arm floats, because he was confident around the water, after only taking two swimming lessons. I emphatically told them that HE DID NOT KNOW HOW TO SWIM! Well…Scottie received an emergency phone call just before my sister’s ceremony, and he told me that my son had drowned! All I knew at that point was that he was still alive, but I didn’t know how long he had been under the water, how long he had been unconscious, whether or not he had brain damage, etc. That was the longest, most excruciating 45 minute drive I’ve ever experienced. Simply put, I usually felt extremely powerless and helpless when it came to just about anything in our marriage. Now that I had children, it became almost unbearable. My son turned out to be just fine. Once I got to him, I rode in the ambulance with him to LeBonheur Hospital in Memphis, TN. We were so very blessed, that the very next day, we were able to resume life, as usual.

I needed options. I needed a little more independence. I decided to go back to school. I had three children, so I took a Paralegal course through the mail. I absolutely loved it! It was so good to get involved with something for me. I loved learning! It took about a year, but I made a 99 average! (I can brag a little, can’t I?)

TO BE CONTINUED…

I Was 15 and I Thought I Was in Love…It Didn’t Go Like I Thought It Would, but It Was Love…Part 3

There he was. Standing in my mom and dad’s kitchen. That contagious smile, those blue eyes…I was mesmerized once again. I can still remember standing in front of my mom and dad’s refrigerator talking to him. We had this invisible bond that pulled us together. We both knew that there was something there, we just didn’t know exactly what it was or what to do with it. He was still married. He said he just wanted to see how I was doing. I told him I was doing fine, and actually, I was engaged to be married. He just looked at me. I could tell he wanted to say something else, but the words that came out were, “I’m happy for you”. No! That’s not the words I wanted to hear. I wanted to hear him say, “Stop!” “Don’t do it!” “You’re making a mistake!” Since he didn’t say it, and me being the kind of person that doesn’t like things left unsaid, I told him…”Tell me not to marry him, and I won’t do it!” I will always remember that feeling when he looked me in my eyes and said in a soft voice, “I cannot tell you not to marry him”. My heart sank. My thoughts went into overload. Does this mean he does not love me? Why is he here? Why does he care about how I am doing? Did I just think we had something more than what we actually had? He must not love me the way I love him. I buried my feelings for Kevin once again. I told him I was glad he stopped by and that I wished him well. Then, I got married.

Scottie and I got married September 2, 1989. I know this was not fair at all to Scottie. I am so sorry for dragging him into my ignorant, immature way of thinking. I am so sorry for not loving him, the way I should have loved the person I was marrying. The words, “It’s complicated”, was exactly how I would describe Scottie’s and my relationship. We literally fussed and fought throughout the months we dated. Why either of us chose to be married to one another is still a mystery. Most people liked and still like Scottie. He can uplift you and make you laugh. I know that Scottie and I would have made much better friends than a married couple. It’s just that our marriage was like putting a round peg into a square hole. Individually, the round peg and the square hole are just fine. Put them together, and that’s where the problem lies. We were on two completely different pages from the time we dated, and throughout our marriage. I knew I had made a mistake shortly after we married. I was extremely unhappy. I remember one night, meeting some of his friends at a Motel in Brownsville, TN. They were talking and discussing some of their “old” times that they had together. Nothing really bad. I just remembering going into the bathroom, which was directly next to the room they were talking, and overhearing some of their conversations. I remember looking in the mirror, wanting to cry, and thinking…I don’t even really know this guy, but I married this guy for better or for worse. Marriage is a covenant. I have to make this work.

We had been married for a few months, and some of the managers and salesmen at the dealership he was working, were offered a position in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. I thought it would be fun living in Florida, and I was always up for an adventure! We decided to move there. I cried a lot those first two months. I remember writing in my journal about how we had just moved into a townhouse, with no electricity, no phone, no furniture, etc. at the time. I remember sitting in the floor in the middle of that empty room, feeling completely and utterly alone. I didn’t even know where anything was in that town. It seemed nobody could even give me clear directions to the grocery store! We didn’t have Tom Tom’s, much less cell phones, back then. I was lost. Scottie and I continued to argue often. When we did get a phone, I would call my mom (long distance), and tell her I couldn’t stay married. I would tell her I was moving back home. I would pack the trunk of the car. Once, I got about an hour outside of town, heading home to my momma! Somewhere on the way, I decided I couldn’t give up on my marriage. I didn’t want to give up. I didn’t want to be divorced! I went back home to Scottie. Being the very intelligent, problem solving, 19 year old intellect that I was (NOT), I came up with an idea that would fix everything. Let’s have a baby! I was at a restaurant in Florida, having breakfast with Scottie, and I asked him if he was ready to have a baby. He said, “Sure”! Within 2 weeks I was pregnant with our first baby! I was so excited! I was already in love with this baby.

About a week after I found out the good news, I got a phone call from my mom. She had spoken to Kevin. He was doing good and checking in with us. Oh…and one more thing…she told me that he had gotten a divorce! I hung up the phone and fell to my knees. I wept.  I didn’t understand! Why did we keep missing each other? If he had called 3 weeks prior, this story would have been very different. There was absolutely no way that I would’ve divorced Scottie, knowing that we had a child on the way. It wasn’t about me or my feelings anymore. I knew that child deserved to have his mother and father together.  I convinced my mind that even though I knew I loved Kevin, we were always just meant to be friends. We ended up moving back to Memphis shortly after I found out that I was pregnant. We didn’t move back because of the pregnancy though. The dealership thing didn’t work out for most of the Memphis guys, and it just worked out that I was able to come home. Thankfully!

I had my first baby on January 23, 1991! I was so deeply and madly in love! He was and still is perfect! I remember thinking he was such a good boy, and not understanding why other parents had issues with their children. He was a pure delight to be around.  Unfortunately, Scottie and I were still at it.  We got into some pretty heated arguments, and even had complaints from surrounding tenants at the apartments where we lived. When management sent us a warning letter, I realized this had to stop!! I called my dad and told him I was leaving Scottie. I told him I didn’t want to fight anymore. It wasn’t good for the baby. I didn’t have any money, but a friend of mine, Kristy, said that I could stay with her for a little while. My dad gave me $100 for groceries and I went over to Kristy’s apartment with my son. I didn’t stay there long, but during that short separation, Kevin happened to call again to check on how I was doing. He seemed to pop in and out of my life like that. I didn’t mind!  I could never get in touch with him when I wanted, but that was probably a good thing. He always seemed to find me. I spoke to him this time, and told him I was having marital problems and was in the process of getting separated. I actually thought that Kevin and I would FINALLY be able to be together.  We could at least date and see where things led us.  BUT…I couldn’t do it!  I wasn’t strong enough to leave my husband and take my son from his father.  So, I went back home to Scottie.  This time was different.  This time I went back a little defeated.  I had changed. I decided that there would be NO MORE FIGHTING!  I simply surrendered.  Looking back, I realize that my spirit had been a little bit broken.  I just wanted to focus on being a good mother and to try being a better wife.  During this same time, Kevin lived in Moline, Illinois and  had given me his phone number.  I called him to let him know the yo-yo feelings that I was having.  Instead of him answering, though, a girl answered the phone! She told me that he had moved to Nashville, TN!  Seriously? Just like that, he was gone again.

TO BE CONTINUED…

I Was 15 and I Thought I Was in Love…It Didn’t Go Like I Thought It Would, but It Was Love…Part 2

I remember being in my bedroom one night, prior to finding out he was married, and my mother could sense that I was missing Kevin. She came into my room and told me, “I don’t know how, and I don’t know when, but I believe you and Kevin will be back together one day.” I held on to that hope until I found out he was married.

Life is full of ups and downs, victories and defeats.  You know, sometimes we feel like we are on top of the world, and other times that the world is on top of us.  Finding out that Kevin was married was definitely not on of those “on top of the world” moments.  I can honestly say, that even though I knew there was probably no way we would ever be together, I absolutely wanted him to be happy.  That is one way that I knew it was really love, and not just some infatuation.   I didn’t selfishly want him to come back to me, just because that was what I thought I wanted.  No, I wanted him to truly be happy.  If being with someone else is what made him happy, I was good with that.

I continued dating other guys, only this time, more seriously, looking for a potential future husband. I was a senior in high school, looking 18 years old in the face. At that time, that was the age, I was taught, to either move out on my own, or get married.

Sometime during my senior year of  high school, Kevin called me out of the blue.  I was still living at home with my parents at the time.  He called me from a pay phone. I cannot describe the feelings that were stirring in my heart and stomach as we spoke.  I can still remember where I was sitting on the floor in my bedroom as we spoke on the phone.  He opened up to me and told me that he and his wife were having a lot of marital problems.  He actually thought they were on the verge of divorce, and he just wanted to call and see how I had been doing.   I remember thinking, “Could this be the answer to my prayers?”  I had been praying to find my soul mate.  I had been praying to find a man who loved me as much as I loved him.  I never dreamed it could be HIM.  No, not him.  After all, he was married.  Why is he calling me?    Actually, I didn’t care why he was calling.  I was just ecstatic to hear his voice and to talk to him.  When we hung up, I thought there was a strong possibility that his marriage was just all a mistake, and he was going to fix it, and we would be able to be together once again.

That piece of hope lasted only a few weeks.  He told me that his wife had been in a bad car accident.  Kevin was not going to leave his wife in this predicament.  He decided to stay with her to help her heal.  I knew that was the “right” thing for him to do.  I can remember the battle in my brain, trying to figure things out.  Was this a sign that we were not ever supposed to be together?  Should I wait on him to see if his marriage was going to work?  I knew that he was now working on his marriage, and we would no longer be speaking on the phone.  Why are we so seemingly drawn together, to seemingly be pulled back apart?   I felt in my heart, he needed to stay married.  I was not going to interfere.  After all, marriage is a covenant not to be taken lightly.  I knew my parents had moments in their marriage that they thought they should divorce, but they didn’t.  They have now been married 50 years.  I decided to let him go once again.  This time, I thought, for good!

I continued dating, and  I was getting pretty serious with this one particular guy.  I really liked him.  I was thankful to find someone to get my mind off of Kevin for awhile.  It’s not that I never thought of Kevin at this time, it just didn’t hurt when I thought about him.  I surrendered to the idea that he was married.  I was happy for him, and I felt like I needed to move on with my life.  I graduated high school, and moved out into an apartment with my best friend, Kandy.  At this time, I wasn’t very good at living on my own or with a roommate.  I had A LOT of growing up to do.  I did like the guy I was dating quite a bit, but it turned out that he was completely against the church that I was raised up in.  At that time, I was not actively going to church, but I thought that one day, the church would probably be important to me.  I knew I wanted children, and I knew it was important to be “on the same page” when it comes to raising them.  I knew I didn’t want to raise the children in a “split” household when it came to something as important as religion.  I was so young, dumb and naive.  I thought I had life all figured out.  I thought that if 1+1=2, then that’s how life should work.  I have learned that there is no black and white in life.  For everything we call a positive, we can also call it a negative.  For everything we call a negative, we can also call it a positive.  Law schools thrive on debating any topic, based on that same principle.

We broke up,  and I met Scottie.  Scottie was a car salesman.  My sister had met him while looking at buying a car, and she called me up and said she thought I should meet him.  He was funny and she liked him.  I went there to meet him.  He didn’t go to the church I was referring to, however, his brother did.  Scottie wasn’t against the church, and he said we could raise our children in the church if that’s what I wanted.  He was 7-8 years older than I was, and he was ready to get married.  He met the guidelines, or checklist for a potential husband.  We got engaged.

I moved back home before I got married.  I didn’t want to impose on my parents and stay there long, so it was going to be a short engagement.  A few weeks before the wedding, Kevin showed up at my parents’ house.  It was so wonderful to see him again!! All those feelings came rushing back in.

TO BE CONTINUED…Life can be like a roller coaster… I like to think of it as an adventure now.  Kevin and I both would like to have fast forwarded through some of these ‘highlighted’ chapters in our lives,  as I am sure you probably feel the same way about some of the chapters in your own lives.   Now, I can honestly say that, looking back, I am thankful for the process.  I have learned a lot and discovered myself through the process.

I Was 15 and I Thought I Was in Love…It Didn’t Go Like I Thought It Would, but, It Was Love

I used to tell this love story all the time.  It was the story of my life during those critical years.  You know, those years  that usually unbeknownst to us (at the time), set the foundations of our entire lives.  I thought I should include this story here in this blog, since LOVE is what can bring so much joy into our lives, and paradoxically, can bring intense sorrow.

I was 15 years old.  He was 18.  It was March 23, 1986, at a youth church dance, called The Golden Green Ball.  The song was, “Could I Have This Dance” by Anne Murray.  I will never forget the details of the moment I fell in love with my soul mate.  The DJ announced that during this one song, the girls could ask the guys to dance.  After all, it was the 80’s.  It was usually appropriate for the guy to ask the girls to dance.  I was having a good time, and decided not to sit this dance out.  I scanned the room for someone to ask for this dance.  My eyes literally stopped on this one guy standing in a small group of guys.  I couldn’t tell you who all was in the small circle of guys, since he was the only one who came into focus.  When my eyes met with his, there was something magical or spiritual that sparked inside of me.  I just felt something I had never felt before or since with anyone else.  It was an indescribable connection.  I asked him to dance.  He threw his arm up, to escort me to the dance floor.  From that moment on, my life would never be the same.

Life is never just as simple as, Happily Ever After.  It just isn’t designed that way.  We probably wouldn’t appreciate the good moments if everything was always good.  We wouldn’t “feel” the good moments, the way we “feel” them if things were just good all the time.  It really is a perfect design.  We just don’t like going through the bad stuff, so we don’t always understand that some of our greatest blessings can come from our greatest sorrows.

During that dance, we discovered that we had so many similar interests.  I felt as if I had known him for a long time, other than the fact that I was asking him his name and other questions about what his likes and dislikes were, I still felt so comfortable with him, as if we had known each other much longer. I wasn’t 16 yet, and I wasn’t allowed to date anyone before I turned 16. My 16th birthday was a few months away, on July 1st.   Would he wait for me?  Another problem was that he lived 2 hours away.  I lived in Memphis, TN, he lived in Jonesboro, AR.  I couldn’t drive yet.  We didn’t have cell phones, or social media.  We didn’t even know what a computer was at the time.  To make a phone call, we had to be at home, or have a quarter for the pay phone.  A quarter wouldn’t pay for a long distance call either.  We paid much more for long distance calls at home or by pay phone.  This definitely was not going to be easy.  I gave him my phone number and just hoped I would hear from him.

Within a couple of weeks, he called me.  I begged my mom to let me go on a single date with him, even though it was a few months shy of my 16th birthday.  She liked him, and agreed that I could go on a single date with him.  He drove to Memphis and took me to dinner at the Western Sizzler to have a steak dinner.  We went from there to Blockbuster and rented the movie, “The Jerk” with Steve Martin.  On the way to my house, where we would watch the movie, we stopped by the Bartlett Park and walked around the track, holding hands, talking and laughing.  It is one of the few dates I can still remember with anyone.  I felt like our relationship was rare.  I remember listening to the song, “A Long and Lasting Love” by Crystal Gayle, wishing everyone could find what we found.

I received a letter from him that was postmarked April 23, 1986.  It turned out to be the only letter I would receive from him, and it was very special.  On May 23, 1986, he called me again.  He told me he loved me, for the first time, as we hung up the phone.

In June, we went on a youth trip by Greyhound bus, and I felt like something was changing.  He didn’t stay with me the whole time.  He was distancing himself.  In August, during another youth conference gathering, I couldn’t wait to see him.  When I saw him, we hugged, and both went upstairs to our rooms to get ready for a dance that was going on that evening. We met at the door to that dance.  Before we entered into the room where the dance was taking place, he stopped me and told me he wanted to talk to me.  He sat me down outside the door and told me he wanted to see other girls.  I was crushed.  I didn’t make it into that dance.  I went back up to my room and cried.  My world stopped for a moment.

I dated a lot of guys after that.  None of them made me feel the way I thought I felt with Kevin.  I held on to the hope that one day we would reunite.  We remained friends.

I don’t remember the exact date or even year, I think was 1987.  I called his mom to see how he was doing.  She said, “You didn’t know?”  I said, “Know what?”.  She said, “Kevin got married.”  Something at that moment snapped inside of me.  I had so many mixed emotions.  I thought we had time.  I guess I thought he would go on his 2 year church mission, like most boys in our church did, and that we had time to figure this out.  Either he would realize that he did love me, and that we were meant to be together, or that we weren’t meant to be together and we would meet other people and move on.  I just wasn’t ready to move on quite so quickly, but I had no choice.  I had to move on right then and there.  The biggest thing I realized at that moment was that there was no “we’.  It was him and it was me.

TO BE CONTINUED…I’m going to stop here for today…the good news is, the story doesn’t stop here.  As long as we live, we are writing the stories of our lives…We are up to 1987 so far in this story.

Making A Difference Makes A Difference

Every day we influence others.  Just the other night, we were eating at a restaurant and the young waiter seemed to be having an “off” day.  He wouldn’t smile and he seemed almost resentful to be there.  We were with friends, and even better, we had our daughters with us.  My husband and two of our closest friends sat at one table, and our daughters and their friend (ages 13-20 years old) sat at the table next to us.  The waiter took our order, but you could feel that he just wasn’t feeling it that night.  He probably would’ve rather been anywhere, but there at the time.  He stayed away so long, that my husband got himself a couple of refills of his soda, since the machine wasn’t far from our table anyway.  My oldest daughter, previously being a server herself, mentioned to the waiter that he looked as if he just lost his best friend.  He told her he was just tired and very busy.  He had three tables all come in at once, and it was just overwhelming for him.  By the end of the dinner, approximately two hours later, the girls had him smiling and he was very attentive to not only our soda refilling needs, but he kept asking was there anything else we needed.

The reason I bring this story up, is because every day we influence others’ lives.  We could have gotten angry that he wasn’t attentive to “our” needs, and we could’ve made that waiter’s night even worse.  It could have even gone as far as him quitting or getting fired, if things really got out of control, as things too often do.  Instead of ‘expecting’ him to act a certain way, we chose to respond in a positive way.  We chose to smile, be patient, and allow him to feel the way he was feeling, without taking it personally.  Too often we take things like that personally and we let our ego’s get in the way.  Rather than expecting him to make us happy, we chose to try to make him happy.  (We chose to console, rather than be consoled.)  I am so glad we were there that night to make a positive difference.  We all left smiling and happy.  Even if he had chosen to stay upset, that would have been okay too.  At least we didn’t add fuel to the fire, and we would have still enjoyed our dinner.  We probably just would not have stayed as long; we wouldn’t have wanted the negativity to rub off on us.  😉

It is important for us to be positive and feel grateful in order to make a positive difference in our own lives and in others.  People do not want to be around negative vibes that come from negative thinking and negative feelings.  Be the higher energy for someone.  When you are feeling good and your energy is vibrating at a higher frequency, you actually bring other people’s frequency up as well.  Those people will go around bringing more people’s frequencies up.  In turn, your vibrations get even stronger and brighter.  After all, we reap what we sow.  What we do unto others, is done unto us.  You are making a difference every day with every person you come in contact.  Make it a positive one!  Spread joy and have joy!