Losing My Religion

It has been my intention to write about this subject for a while now, but every time I sit down to do it I freeze. Not because I am afraid of the subject, but because I want this blog to be relateable to people from all backgrounds and it distresses me to think that something I write could be alienating. That and the fact that this subject is highly controversial in certain circles I run in (and it may be a little more revealing than I am comfortable with).  But this is  a blog about my journey and its something I’ve had to think a lot about so here it is: How I Decided to “Live in Sin”.

As many of you may know (I’ve alluded to it several times in my posts) I am a Christian. Just by writing that I am curious as to how many reading this want to hit the “x” on their browser tab. Let me say that unfortunately I can understand. I am often disgusted with how Christians portray themselves and their beliefs. Please know that they do NOT represent all Christians. In fact, I believe that the Christians who act most like “Christians” are the ones that you don’t see in the media. They are the ones that love without judgement. They are those that give freely of themselves to others without expecting anything in return. They are quietly praying for the ones they love (and even those they don’t particularly like at all). They realize that no matter how “good” they are they are still  sinners and aren’t better than anyone else. More than anything they want you to have the freedom, peace and joy they get from having a relationship with God.

That being said, having grown up in churches and reading the Bible for myself I know that there are several things that are no-no’s in the life of a Christian. Let’s say for instance “living in sin”, which by the way is a term I HATE because aren’t we all living in sin one way or another everyday? How many of you went over the speed limit today? Did you know that is breaking the law of the land and is therefore a “sin”. If you look at ALL the things we are not supposed to do, and the likelihood of being able to follow ALL the rules, you can see why we needed someone to save us from ourselves.

I never intended to live with a man I wasn’t married to. It was one of my rules for myself that I was going to stick to since I had broken so many others. When it came time to rent an apartment with my fiance before my wedding I didn’t move in until I was actually married. That doesn’t mean I didn’t spend A LOT of time there, but I stayed with my parents for several weeks before the wedding. It was fun picking out the furniture and setting up everything before I moved in. There was so much excitement in the anticipation of living with my husband. Too bad that when I finally moved in (when it was too late to back out) it became apparent how incompatible we were when it came to living together. No worries though, right? I mean we had the rest of our lives to work on it. In truth, I don’t know that it ever got easier in the 12 years we were married.

Which brings me to the present. While I still did not intend to live with someone who was not my husband, after meeting B and realizing that this was serious, I also realized that I did not want to spend the rest of my life trying to make it work with another person after it was too late. I wanted to make sure that the next time I say “I Do” it’s with the knowledge that I can live in peace with him. I am happy to report so far so GREAT! I am not naive to think that we will never run into difficulty with sharing the same space, but I am hopeful that already, more than half a year into it, we co-exist very nicely. And maybe more importantly, he and my boys still love each other.

I know all the arguments for not living together especially where religion is involved. Thankfully I’m not religious. The relationship I have with God negates religion. He has given me free will to make decisions, and while I know LOTS of people disagree, this decision is the best one for me and my family. The best part is I don’t feel guilty about it thanks to the freedom I have in Jesus.

This lifestyle choice is not for everyone. I am not pushing my decision on anyone else. I believe that people are responsible for their own choices and therefore need to make the best decision for them as individuals. If you are a Christian then ideally the decisions you make will be prayerfully made, and you will have a peace about them when they are the right one. Also as a Christian, my hope is that you will not judge others that make decisions you do not agree with. In fact, that is when you are given a perfect opportunity to be an example of Christ by loving without judgement.

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Put Your Spouse First, But Keep Your Girlfriends Close!

I am honored yet again to have a dear friend featured as a guest blogger. Today I welcome Erin, an amazing friend, mother of  four (2 of her own and two step-children), and wife to one of our courageous military personnel.  While these are all noteworthy hats she wears, they do not describe her nearly well enough. She is an intelligent, self motivated, no Bull Sh*t having, wise-in-her-young-age woman. And since she is so wise, I strongly suggest you soak in this bit of wisdom she wanted to share with us…

The beginning of a new relationship is nirvana. You are happy, always smiling, and always craving the presence of the other person. He overtakes your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. New love is so blissful and the desire to be with that other person is almost like needing air.

Sometimes your work suffers a bit while your head is in the clouds. You may gain some (or a lot)  “happy weight”, and many times your family and even girlfriends fall to the wayside. It’s totally understandable, we get it, all you want to do is spend every free minute with HIM. Sure, you still chat with your girls every now and again, but who has time when you’re busy talking to HIM til the wee hours in the morning if you’re not together?

Time moves forward an you finally marry Mr. Right, have a baby or two, and then what? You absolutely NEED TO GET AWAY from your chaotic home and be YOU! You need to be with your girlfriends. Your girls are the ones you can compare relationship notes with and share parenting ideas. Your girls are the ones who tell you that wanting a break from the husband and kids is normal and okay. They are the ones that make you feel like the last 10 pounds of the baby weight REALLY may take longer than one year to lose – if ever (but who cares because you look GORGEOUS, Darling).

Being with your own “kind” helps you feel like a real person again – an individual not just wife or mom. I’m ME –just like I was before the family. I love to laugh and talk smack with my girls. I love to talk about how hard it is to balance work and family and how I just cannot find the time to go to the gym without missing out on time with my kids after work. I love being able to talk about “am I a bad mom for doing this or not doing that?” I love to know that even though we are different women, we all go through the same things.

Having the actual time to get together can definitely become an issue, but once we are together, I cherish our time. Sometimes we all talk at once, or there are many conversations going on at the same time. Other times we take turns sharing our lives with each other. Whatever the case, these are the moments I wish I had more of. Getting the girls together is good for our souls. It keeps us bonded as friends and as women. It is a source of encouragement and support beyond compare. It is something that should NEVER be taken for granted, because let’s face it, finding real friends is harder to do as you get older.

I truly love the women in my life. I have learned to let some relationships go for certain reasons, but the ones I hang on to are because these women enrich my life- not just fill space. I don’t know what I’d do without them and hope that I’m as good of a friend to them as they are to me.

**Editors Note: I can attest the the fact that Erin is a great friend. Having had the opportunity to spend time with my girlfriends a bit more the last couple of months (to the great disappointment of my youngest son), I wonder how I go so long in between “Girls Nights”. I always walk away feeling a sense of affirmation that I don’t get anywhere else. There is just no replacement. Thank you, Erin, for reminding us of that.

Graphophobia Gives Me Collywobbles

I AM SO EXCITED!!! Today I get to feature my very first guest blogger (something I hope to do much more of). My dear friend,super talented photographer and mother to the sweetest little boy took time in her busy schedule to share a story with us. It is a great example of how growing up sometimes means knowing when to let go. I seriously enjoyed reading it and I know you all will too. Without further ado please welcome Simo…

If you had asked me before my lunch break this afternoon if I would ever write a blog entry my answer would have been unequivocally, without a shadow of a doubt, absolutely, NO! However, it would only be Dyana who could coerce me into something that I loathe doing: writing. Thing is, to be quite frank, I am not that deep. I don’t have many “AH HAH!” moments in my life. I have had lots of adventures. I have seen lots of places. But in reality I learn life’s lessons relatively well and come out reasonably unscathed with my emotions intact. Since story telling is what I do, I will tell you all the adventure of a most torrid love affair. I will call it…

Happily Never After

We all have that one first love. I was 12 years old when I saw him standing on the football field in Trexler Middle red and white. I was the typical dingy 7th grader pining for the 8th grade upperclassman. I saw an aura glowing around him and angels singing “AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH”. It was a magical moment
when I set my eyes on… let’s just call him…“Jaden” for all intents and purposes. I told myself one day he will be mine.

That one day came my freshman year in high school during football season. I was officially floating on cloud 9. I loved being able to stay out late watching his football games, basketball games, and baseball games. I got to be his homecoming date. I just loved being his little girlfriend. However, those were a short lived 6 months. Just as quickly as he came into my life he was out. All due to a rotten piece of CANDY who gave him something sweet to eat and I didn’t. (Insert tragic crescendo here). But that was ok. I wasn’t that bent out of shape. I realized swiftly we were kids and right now wasn’t our time because he had to “sow his wild oats”.

Throughout the 4 years of high school, though we weren’t dating, there was still something there. An unrelenting magnetism always drawing us together, sneaking kisses, quick make-out sessions, mini dates, etc. Which had me convinced when prom time came around he would ask me to prom, right?

WRONG.

Now, I can say I was officially crushed. I even cried for the first time over him. The girl he took was hideous. I can’t help but laugh though because little did that girl know…I stole kisses from him that night too. This was only the beginning of a sordid 15 year relationship.

Shortly there after he graduated and went off to college. We didn’t talk the entire year. I thought he had forgotten about me, but I never forgot about him. It wasn’t until Christmas of my senior year when I finally saw him again. Do you think I learned my lesson? Nope. I saw him and fell for him all over again. I dove head first into it and then he was gone again like the wind. I didn’t have a number, an address, not a thing. Only the sweet taste of his mouth on mine.

I too graduated and went to college. It was two years before I saw him again at Christmas time. I resolved to act appropriately and not let him get to me this time. Epic fail! I folded up as I always did. He was so cute. Actually, cute was turning into handsome as he was starting to get a feel for the man he was becoming. However, I was still trying to figure out who I was as a woman and he was the only man who had ever made an impression on me that actually meant something. I had dated other guys. I’d traveled the world. But he was always in the back of my mind. So when I saw him that night I just had to ask if he thought of me too. He said he did. He wanted us to be together but our circumstances wouldn’t allow it. There was no way we could have been faithful to each other and we both knew it. He said he would call me and see me from time to time. However, once we went our separate ways he was gone again, just like the wind. It would be 3 years before I talked to him again.

After college I moved to Germany to play professional soccer. I got a Facebook account to reconnect with friends while I was overseas. Guess who was suggested to me as a friend? Well, well if it wasn’t Jaden. Handsome just upgraded to FINE. We chatted casually throughout my year overseas. It was nothing serious just two friends reconnecting. One thing I can say hands down is he was the BEST friend a girl could ever have but the WORST boyfriend material in AMERICA. I won’t say the whole world just yet (wink).

Upon return from my year spent traveling Europe I moved to Raleigh NC. You wouldn’t believe it if I told you but Jaden lived a mere 8 miles away from me in the same city. Of course I had no will power and called him immediately. He helped me move into my first apartment and I almost cried when he walked through my door again after 5 YEARS. He was a very welcome sight for very sore eyes. The boy, now a man, and the girl, now a woman, finally staring each other face to face. You could feel the unresolved tension between us and could cut it with a knife. I’m so glad we were able to play it cool because mom and dad were also at my apartment that day.

That entire year felt like old times and we just picked up were we left off. I called him my daytime boyfriend because he always went home at night. What we had was a friendship not a relationship. We vowed not to cross that line again and just be best-friends. We hung out, watched movies, ate dinner, shopped, worked out, went to bars, etc. Then it happened, the line was blurred. Once again we didn’t know what to call ourselves anymore. We weren’t dating but we were certainly more than “just friends”. We were playing house and saw how happy our lives could be together. He told me he was all in and asked if I was. Was I? For the first time in 13 years I hesitated. The little 12 yr old girl finally got her man 13 yrs later but I was scared. There he was, the man of my dreams. He finally chose me, wanted only me and I couldn’t do it.

I am sure you’re wondering WHY?! Well, I had already been hurt too many times by broken promises. I had been cheated on, forgotten about, stood up, and left behind. I was never a priority and it was hard for me to believe him when he said I would be, though I wanted to with all my heart. My head hit the brakes and I came to a screeching halt. That screeching halt had a name: Deacon.

He was tall, handsome, smart, a gentleman, and someone who put me first from the first time he met me. He always told me the truth even when it meant me being angry with him. My head could really see a real future with him. I was literally trying to figure all this out in a mere few seconds. Deacon or Jaden?

The girl in me would always choose Jaden, but I wasn’t a little girl anymore. The woman I was knew her worth. She was over being hurt and manipulated. Though it broke my heart and I lost my best friend, I knew our time had passed. It still took me 2 more years to push Jaden completely out of my life. I will never forget that last phone call I made before I changed my address, email, and phone number. I told Jaden how he meant everything to me once and I loved him. However, he could not remain in my life or he would ruin what I had with Deacon (our friendship only ever ruins the relationships we are in.) I saw myself marrying Deacon one day. I told him that this would be the last time I would ever talk to him. We are too old to be acting like kids anymore and I would not jeopardize the things God was blessing me with.

Days turned into months, turned into years, and I had all but forgotten about Jaden. Then one day the phone rang and like the wind there he was. He said he had gotten my number from a cousin and he wanted to tell me he was getting married. To my surprise I felt a twinge of sadness followed by overwhelming happiness for him. I was so happy that he was going to have a loving wife as I had a loving husband and son. He said now that I am getting married this means we could be friends again right? I said I wish I could be but our time has passed and that is ok. We didn’t need each other anymore because our lives were already full of people who loved and cared about us enough. He said he understood but I know he didn’t really. After he hung up I wanted to call him back and make him feel better like I always did, but I did not. I instead sat in the rocking chair on my porch and I saw my husband playing with my son through the window while making dinner and it filled me with gladness. I realized that what I had was all a little homeless girl from Bahia could ask for. A beautiful home, a loving husband in Deacon, and the wonderful son he gave me.

THE END!

**Editor’s note: In case you are wondering about the title as I was “Graphophobia” is the fear of writing and “Collywobbles” is pain in the stomach or bowels. I don’t know what she’s talking about though since I think she is as great a story teller in writing as she is in person. If you have an encouraging story you’d like to share please email me at unforgettablyordinary@gmail.com.

This Diet Works! (as long as you don’t get too happy)

There is a diet out there that works. I know because it worked for me. Without adding anything to my daily regimen of NOT exercising I dropped 20 pounds! And this didn’t just happen once but twice. I call it the Separation Diet. All you have to do to achieve this dieting phenomenon is experience the loss of a spouse or significant other in the form of an emotional or physical separation. That’s all folks! All this could be yours for the very low price of a broken heart, shattered dreams and a dismal outlook on your future. So who wants to sign up?

Haha. All joking aside, this is an actual observation I’ve made and I’m sure it’s been scientifically proven at some point. If not it definitely should be. When I was going through my separation/divorce, I noticed a handful of others going through a similar situation also losing a ton of weight quickly. Some looked better than they ever did before and some looked like the walking dead (I specifically make that reference because I hear B watching The Walking Dead downstairs. Always a pleasant mood enhancing soundtrack…if you want to eat some brains or shoot some zombies in the head! Or maybe write a blog?).

Rabbit trail:  Has anyone else noticed that when you are going through a particular something you all of a sudden know so many people going through the same thing? Whether it be marriage, pregnancy, divorce… it’s as if your awareness is heightened to others of likeness. Sort of like when you buy a car and all of a sudden you see the same car everywhere! Okay, ending the rabbit trail now.

I received many compliments when I was losing the weight. My favorite was from my then sister-in-law (case in point to my earlier rabbit trail: we are no longer technically related due to her own divorce). She told me I looked like I had peace, that I smiled more and just looked like I felt lighter. I replied that it was probably because I no longer had to worry about not meeting my husband’s standards which were impossible to achieve anyway. It was seriously a HUGE weight lifted. I was able to be myself…finally.

So everything is great now, right? I survived the heart-wrenching failure of my marriage, I radiate peace and lightness, I’ve met the love of my life and I loss a lot of weight!

Disclaimer: Unfortunately there’s a flip side to the Separation Diet and that is Happiness Weight. Beware! It just seems to creep up on you when you’re busy living your happy life!

It’s true. Since I’ve met B I’ve gained 10 pounds back…eeek! B has also gained some weight back although I still think he looks like the Tall Blonde I fell in love with. B and my moms will say I still look beautiful and I believe they mean it biased or not. BUT I can definitely feel the difference and I DON’T LIKE IT! As in every facet of life there is still hope. Since the Separation Diet is no longer an option (AHEM, B) I guess I’ll have to do it the old fashioned way. Eating well and exercising! WHY OH WHY?!!! I think I’ll start next week. 😉