Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Good afternoon, everyone!
It's beautiful day here in Arkansas, and I am loving it.  I have many things to be thankful for, and here are just a few:

1. Grace
My God is a mighty God.  He is mighty in power.  He is the highest authority and the greatest judge.  We show our love for Him by keeping His commandments.  That is exactly why this concept of the abundant grace He gives to us is so amazing to me.  We are SAVED by GRACE through FAITH!!!  I mean...WOAH!!!!!  Thank you, Jesus!  It's nothing that I've ever done or can ever do to deserve to be saved or receive your's only through the GRACE found in Christ Jesus, found by salvation.  

2. My Job
First off, I'm so grateful that I have a job.  I am thankful that I have not only the ability to work, but the opportunity as well. I am so glad that the work I do everyday is helping those who are less fortunate.  I love that I can make a difference.  I am thankful that I work with some awesome people, too.  I have an awesome boss, an awesome coach, and get to work with my best friend.  I'm telling you, I am blessed!  It's not exactly a walk in the park, but's called "work" for a reason, right?  ;)

3. My soon-to-be In-Laws
Meet my fiance's wonderful parents: Charles and Carol.  They are just great.  I mean it.  They are some of the most caring, generous, and loving people I've ever met.  If you told them that, they'd probably tell you to hush.  They really are that humble.  But regardless, I just love, love, love them!  I am so thankful and blessed to have them as a part of my life.  My girls just love them to pieces.  They've taken them in as their own and loved them just the same.  I could brag on these two all day I'll end it here.  Haha!

4. This Kid's Computer Game w/ Dora @ the Public Library
No kidding.  It is awesome.  I had a lot of paperwork to do and print.  We all know kids love to be loud.  And we know libraries are quiet.  Kids and libraries don't usually mesh.  Well thank you, library of the 21st century, for capturing my child's attention!  It seriously saved my tail while running errands on a deadline.

5. Minnie Mouse Cookies
These are the "Ready to Bake/Ready For School" Minnie Mouse cookies by Pillsbury.  I found them at Wal-Mart yesterday.  Seeing as I got my mickey mail today for my honeymoon next month (Eeeeee!!!!!!), we decided to celebrate.  And well, my girls love Minnie Mouse.  :)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Adrian's Proposal

Happy Tuesday, everyone!
In the last post, I said I'd save the proposal story for its own post.  So, for the first time ever, my blogging self is fulfilling my blogging word.  Here it is, as promised....
This portion was taken from our wedding website, so it is written in third-person.  :)

When did it happen?

Friday, March 29, 2013

How it Happened!!!

Adrian had offered to watch Brooklyn (Ava's oldest daughter) that evening while Chrissy (Ava's best friend) and Ava went out to get their hair done.  After getting all fixed up with her make-up on and her hair done, Ava went back to Adrian's parent's home to pick up him and Brooklyn.  The plan was to go "hang out" at and casually look at rings.  Adrian says to Ava, "We need to talk."  Surely those words would strike fear in the heart of anyone.  They go out walking, leaving Brooklyn with Adrian's father and Chrissy. 
Adrian started getting nervous and winded as they walked.  Ava asked him repeatedly if he was ok or if something was wrong, as he continued to reassure her everything was fine.  He noticed how far away the park was and decided they should just drive.  It' was nighttime when they arrived at Daniel Park in Beebe.  He lead her around the park until they reached the walkway to the gazebo.  Ava said, "Oh this is where I chickened out on Valentine's Day because I was freezing."  She was laughingly referring to the surprise date he had planned on Valentine's Day to watch a romantic movie at the gazebo, where they left the park half-way through the movie becauuse it was just too cold.  Adrian led her to the center of the gazebo and started telling Ava of his love for her and her daughters, how amazing she was, and how he adored her.  He went on to say, "What is the sun without the moon?  What is the sky without the stars?  What is the grass without the (long pause)..............ground!?"  Adrian then got down on one knee as he pulled something out of his pocket.  He said, "Will you marry me?"  A small pop could be heard as he removed the object from its container.  He lifted it up revealing it was a....Toy Ring!  Ava threw her head back in laughter.  Trying to quickly regain her composure, she replied, "Yes, of course I will marry you!" 
After quite a big of laughing, giggles, and excitement, the two returned to his parent's home. They made the initial announcement to those present and shared in their joy.  Adrian remarked on how he knew Ava was "The One" because she said yes to a toy ring.  This definitely appealed to the comedian side of him.  They soon departed to go shopping for that perfect ring...together.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wow. Where did the time go?

I've pretty much proven myself to be an inconsistent blogger, at best.  Haha!  But here we go again!  I had a friend at work tell me about how she used to read my blog, and how encouraging it was to her.  It inspired me to write again!  So here we go.....

Where do I even begin?  Ok so here's the nutshell version:
July 2012 - I run into this guy that I had a HUGE crush on in Jr. High and High School at a local coffee shop he volunteered at.  He loves Jesus.  He starts talking about the Holy Spirit speaking to him when he's on stage doing his comedy routine...and suddenly he had my attention. 
August 2012 - I felt led to start going to this new church. Turns out this guy goes there, too.  I started my first semester back at ASU-Beebe, working towards a teaching degree.
September 2012 - Money was super tight.  I had no idea how I was even making it by most days.  God was faithful and provided our every last need, including money needed for school.  "That Guy", Adrian, asks me out on a date.  We started dating and our first official "date" is September 7th.
October 2012 - Everyday relying on God, busting my tail in my college classes, spending as much time as possible with my kids.  Adrian and I had our first kiss and officially decided to get together in a relationship on October 10th.
November 2012 - Lots of college, good times with the kids when I wasn't studying.  My birthday was Nov. 19th.  Adrian treated me to going out for ice cream and we watched "White Christmas" together.  It was the first time I'd seen it.  Adrian's extended family came down for Thanksgiving.  So they had what they called, "Thanksmas" (Thanksgiving/Christmas).  First time I met all the about nervous!
December 2012 - Finished up my first semester back at ASU with a 16 hour load and a 4.0 GPA!!!!!  Adrian spent our first Christmas together, and the girls and I had our first Christmas back in Arkansas.  It was absolutely amazing!
January 2013 - Started back at ASU for the spring semester.  Doing my college student thing again.  Adrian and I started getting a bit more serious.
February 2013 - Good month, busy with classes.  Had the best Valentine's Day ever, hands down!!!  Adrian busted his tail cooking me dinner, afterwards taking me to the park with blankets and a movie on the portable dvd player!  It was so romantic!  All except for the fact that my toes were freezing in the cold air and we had to leave before the movie was done since I was frozen!  Random note: the movie was Sweet Home Alabama!
March 2013 - Had a great month, a nice spring break.  Adrian and I got engaged on March 29th, 2013!!!!!!  The proposal story is great!  But I'll save that for its own post later.
April 2013 - This was a very exciting month, as we were helping friends of our who were getting married on the beach.  I was maid of honor and he was the best man.  The couple had a beautiful wedding on the beach and we were honored to be a part of their special day!  To add even more goodness, this was my first time, EVER, to see the ocean!!!  It was magical!  And I got to share it with Adrian.  The back-story here is that when I was 13 years old, I prayed that God would allow me to see the ocean for the first time with the man I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with.  Interestingly enough, I had never seen it with my ex-husband.  Opportunity has presented itself, but it never worked out.  I bet I know why!!!  ;)
May 2013 - I finished out the semester at ASU with another 4.0 GPA!!!!!  Rockin' it out!!!  I was so excited!  I never did that in high school or as a college freshman.  It was quite an accomplishment for me, as a single mother with 2 children, ages 1 and 4.  As school finished up, so began the throes of wedding planning for Adrian and I.  Also, we felt God leading us to start attending church at The River in Judsonia, AR. 
June 2013 - Time with my kids, wedding planning to the max, thanking Jesus for a change of pace! It was also great to start seeing old faces of people I cared about at The River.  I had no idea how much I missed this amazing part of the body of Christ!
July 2013 - Wedding planning continued and Adrian and I tried to spend as much time together as possible.  I continued to spend tons of time with my girls, it was such a blessing.  God used this time to draw me nearer to Him.  I started a new job working at The Heritage Company on July 29th!
August 2013 - Well, here we are.  It's August.  First off, it's just hit me the past few days that I'm getting married next month.  To the man of my dreams, nonetheless!  I can't believe I can say that...NEXT month!!!  Wedding crunch time is here and I'm feeling the pressure.  It's the time where it all comes down to what its gonna be.  Deadlines, final payments, dress fittings, attendant gifts, sending final invitations, finalizing the menu...and the list goes on.  Reminding myself that it will be a successful wedding day, as long as I'm ending it as Mrs. Adrian Rogers.  :))))))
Second off, I'm excited about my new job!  Excitement tempered with a good deal of nerves.  My perfectionist style is good for my employer in that I will do my absolute darndest to do job to the best of my ability, right down to the wire.  On the other hand, it can feel like I'm playing Russian roulette.  I've just got to remember that I'm NEW.  And on top of that, as long as I'm giving it my best, working as unto God and not unto man, I can sleep at night knowing I am doing a good job.  Reminding myself not to be so self-critical is key here.  Prayer for me here would be appreciated!  I'm very blessed to have this job and am extremely thankful for the opportunity.  My prayer is just that God would use me there as a light, and I will give God all for glory for everything that I am able to accomplish.

***Change of Subject***

You know, God has raised up a generation for such a time as this.  I keep hearing "such a time as this" everywhere.  And well, it doesn't have to be super special and all glamorous.  It can be as simple as a smile given to someone having a hard day at work, or a "way to go!".  It can be a helping hand to someone at Wal-Mart, struggling to reach groceries.  It can be that simple willingness to throw it all on the line to help a friend in need of emotional support.  It's not hard.  It's love.  If we are abiding in Jesus, we should be walking in Love.
" Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God."  - 1 John 4:7

So that's where I'm at, ya'll.  Let's go and love some people today.  Let's walk like the God of the universe is living inside us...because He is!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Well, let's play catch up, shall we?

Let's do just that.
2012 - you were such a terrible and wonderful year!  I went through a very painful divorce, watched my baby Lilly turn into a 1 year old, started back to college working on a teaching degree, and began a relationship with the most amazing man I've ever met.  
This blog was filled with emotionally-packed information throughout the past year.  And while I cannot honestly write without spilling my heart, I want a new direction this year.  You see, this year will be a year of restoration and setting things back in the right place.  This year will be a year to press forward and regain the territory taken from the enemy of the Christian faith.  This year is will be a year of pressing into the depths of the Father's heart and discovering His will for my life at every moment.  God began a work in me in the summer of 2012, and I am fully confident that I will see the fullness of that work in 2012.  So I am committing to seeing this blog take on a new life this year so that it may bring God more glory.  

"Now godliness with contentment is great gain."  - 1 Timothy 6:6

This is how I'm starting out the year, with this verse.  Godliness is the act of living a good, reverent life towards God and others because of what Jesus has done in us.  It's our ever-growing attempt to become more like Jesus by being imitators of Christ (Eph. 5:1).  And for a godly woman, we have received instruction in 1 Peter 3:3-4, "Do not let your adornment be merely outward - arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel - rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God."  Also in 1 Timothy 2:9-10, " like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works."  And even more in 1 Timothy 3:11, "Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things."  I think I've painted a decent picture here of some of what the scripture says about what a godly woman looks like.  
Contentment is where I'm going to focus in on here.  The word means to be sufficient, to be enough, to be full.  Its a beautiful concept.  Contentment can only be found in God through His grace.  He is all sufficient, enough, and full.  Therefore, we can only find it in Him.  Paul tells us in Philippians 4:11, "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content."  We are told in Hebrews 13:5, "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have..."    This word contentment is also translated as sufficiency in the scriptures, as we see in II Corinthians 9:8, "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having sufficiency in all things, may have abundance for every good work."  And in II Corinthians 12:9, when Jesus said, "...My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness..."  Contentment is the confidence of faith in God's sufficiency to provide all my needs and the confidence of the sufficiency of God's grace for every circumstance.  Basically to experience contentment is to experience God's peace.  
Now I am content and confident in God's sufficiency to provide my needs, as this has been an ongoing work that God has been developing in me throughout the past year.  So here is my confession:  I struggle with allowing God's grace to be sufficient for me in every circumstance.  It's something I always aspire to do, and put forth effort to do so.  But I believe that this key component is what God has means to accomplish in me this year.  The aspect of raising the unanswered questions and desires of my heart to God in every situation and allowing Him to just BE enough for me, to just BE content and allow God to fulfill that in me.   Its the ability to honestly tell God, "Thy will be done", and mean it.  I want to take every thought captive and bring it to the submission of Jesus Christ.  I want to take every desire, want, emotion in myself and turn around and give it right back to God to do with it as He pleases.  This is my goal this year.  This is what I aspire to accomplish this year.

"Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me."  -Philippians 3:12

I have two quotes which go hand in hand with this subject, that come from two amazing people.  Jim and Elizabeth Elliot.  If you have never heard their stories or read their books, I highly encourage you to.  Elizabeth Elliot has had a huge impact on my Christian walk and has been a huge inspiration to me as a godly woman over the years.  

"Help me, Lord, not to mourn or weep for those things, once precious, which you teach me are but dead (whether pleasures, desires, or whatever may be precious to my soul now), but give me a willingness to put them away out of my sight."
- Elizabeth Elliot

"If thou calls me to resign what most I prize, it ne'er was mine. I only give back to thee what is thine. Thy will be done."
-Jim Elliot

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Conflict & God's Will

Conflict is such a interesting topic.  External conflict is one thing, but internal conflict is a whole new ball game.  And we all talk about how important communication is.  But honestly, when its most important to be effective in communication - we often drop the ball.  How should we expect others to understand what we are trying to say if we can't say it how we mean it?  And how are we supposed to interpret what they are saying if they can't say what they mean either?  Then its just one big, jumbled up miscommunication.  Wow.  Talk about an EPIC fail.  Lol!  I know its funny, but I'm serious.  I'm sure every last person on the planet has experienced this situation, at least once.

We also have what I guess I will call a conflict of wills.  My will vs. God's will.  But when you truly want God's will above all, you disregard any personal pain in order for God's ultimate will to be accomplished.  So then, you pray that God have his way in your life and submit your internal conflict to Him multiple times over so that He may have control and lead the way, whichever way that may be.  You recieve confirmation over and over again, you are patient, you wait, and continue to submit and follow His lead.  Then when the whole thing comes to a head and its time to say it now or forever hold your peace, you become vulnerable and lay it all bare.  The response catches you off guard.  Then that moment comes, you know the one.  Lol.  The one where you begin doubting who you were hearing from.  "I'm trusting you, Lord", turns into, "Can I still hear you, Lord?"  You remember how the scripture says that His sheep know His voice and you start to wonder if you've gone deaf.  "Why Lord, would you bring me here if you know how it ends?  Or did I listen to the lies of the enemy, thinking I heard from you?"  Its a scary place to be.

So here's where I find myself.  Praying and seeking the Lord, wondering who I'm listening to.  I thought I could hear God's voice, but now it feels like I've been fooled.  Ah, the fool, yet again.  In more ways than one.  This internal conflict led me here.  I just want to be near Him.  I want to hear Him.  I want to touch Him.  I want to feel Him close.  I want to see Him.  I love Jesus, my husband, my lover, my very much.  I just want to do anything and everything possible to make Him happy.  I want to put a smile on His face.  I want to please Him.  I want His will.  I want what He wants!!!!!!!!!  If that means dying to myself and my desires ten billion times a day, every single day of my life - then SO BE IT!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Favorite Recipes - Green Bean Almondine

Ok ya'll, seriously, I am failing as a blogger.  I will do better.  Promise!

So much is happening in and around my world and heart that it would take forever to explain it.  Long story, short: God is awesome.  God has healed my heart and I moved on to better things.  But that's a story for another post.  

I wanted to share with ya'll a delicious, healthy, simple recipe.  It's called Green Bean Almondine and its simply amazing!  Brooklyn, who happens to be the biggest junk food junkie, loves this stuff!

Here are your ingredients:
2 cups of fresh green beans
2 tsp unsalted - extra virgin olive oil butter
1/2 cup chopped green onion/shallots
1/4 cup silvered almonds
(you can buy the almonds whole and slice them yourself or but them pre-sliced like I do)
4-6 cups of water

Put butter in a small saucepan with heat on med-low.

Boil about 4-6 cups water in medium saucepan on high heat.

Add shallots/green onion to small saucepan

Add silvered almonds to small saucepan.  Saute.  I prefer mine a tad bit burnt...I think it adds more flavor.  

Check the water, make sure its boiling real good.  Add fresh green beans and parboil for 2 minutes or until they turn light green.  If you boil them much longer and they turn dark, they lose tons of nutrients that gives them their life force.

 Drain green beans

Rinse green beans with cool water until they are lukewarm.

This is what my mixture in the small saucepan looks like when its done.

Put green beans in your dish, add the mixture from the small saucepan.  

Voila!  The end result!  Green Bean Almondine!  Delish!!!


Friday, June 22, 2012

The Truth is Setting Me Free....Seriously.

Ok everyone, please excuse me from being a terrible blogger.  I apologize for my extensive absence.  In my defense, I've been busy healing and reconnecting with my kids.  

I'm going to attempt to be completely honest with all of ya'll.  I do not like secrets or half-truths.  If it's going to be told, it needs to be the truth.  And the truth really does set you free.  So let my freedom ensue...

This year has been dreadfully difficult.  The day the new year came and I realized my husband was still cold as stone and wasn't going to change his mind about wanting a divorce, I took the first step to accepting reality for what it is.  Had I contemplated refusing to divorce him and convincing him of my undying love and devotion, at which time he would realize that he still loved me and wind would blow through my hair as we had an amazing kiss worthy of fireworks?  Certainly.  Was that reality?  No.  The truth was that he may have physically been there, but in every other way - he was already gone.  I had attempted to salvage our marriage twice before, and succeeded.  But this time I could feel it, he was already gone.  Nothing would change his mind this time.  January 1st, 2012 was the day I finally accepted that it was truly the beginning of the end.  It broke my heart and I cried, in desperate pain as I held my newborn daughter.  Talk about one heck of a way to ring in the new year, right?  

Cold, snowy winter in Northern New York was so beautiful the previous year.  But this year it was a constant reminder of my pain and loneliness.  I began growing bitter, like the northern cold.  January and February are really mostly a blur of trying to hold myself together and not completely die on the inside.  It was terrible dealing with the pain, seeing him everyday, and watching the distance grow between us.  He was never home, never made an attempt to reconcile, and was almost impossible to speak with.  So unfortunately, I gave up in every way so I could attempt to hold onto my sanity and keep it together for my kids while I also battled postpartum depression.  Nobody, including my ex-husband, even knew that I was dealing with postpartum depression.  So in his defense, I'm sure he wasn't intentionally cruel.  He was probably acting like any man who was feeling cold towards his wife and wants a divorce would act.  Lol.  I know that didn't sound too good, but he really didn't understand what I was going through.  I didn't feel it was my place to speak with him about all of my problems because I felt it wouldn't have been heard anyways.  I may have been wrong, but it is what it is.  All I know is that those two months were miserable.  I felt like I was being forced out of my home and robbed of everything I held dear.  I spent that time desperately attempting to ignore my emotions and dream about how good home would be.  

Separating all of our things into "his" and "hers" and then moving mine to the truck was one of the hardest things I've ever done.  It was one of the most gut-wrenching, heart-breaking things I've ever had to do.  I walked through the empty apartment on that last night and just cried and cried.  All the blank walls with all of the memories.  This was were both of my children were brought home after they were born.  This is where my husband returned to me after being in Afghanistan.  This is where my whole heart was.  My whole life with my husband and kids was here...and I had to leave it all behind.  I'll never forget that walk through the apartment.  Even after 4 months, it still triggers a heavy emotional response.  

March came and I found myself and my children in Arkansas living at my mother's house.  March was jam-packed with loneliness and tears.  It was terrible!  And my mother and I were arguing over every little thing because we weren't used to each other anymore.  I felt to out of place and helpless.  My chest hurt all the time and I couldn't seem to get myself out of a funk.  I don't even really remember March except for the massive blur of intense emotions.  I really felt like I was going to die.  I had started doing Beachbody stuff in March and doing the TurboFire workouts.  I did well for a while.  But it was so incredibly difficult to focus.  I wanted it to distract me.  But really, my emotions distracted me more and made it almost impossible to focus on anything.  

April came and I was gung-ho about getting out and living life!  I just wanted to wash the past away and have a night, or a weekend, or a week on the town.  I was definitely looking forward to my next trip to the liquor store most of the month.  But really, I was unknowingly attempting to mask the pain and shove it under a rug.  I spent a lot of time away from the house.  And the rest of the time, I was researching things to do with the kids or other ways to get out of the house.  April was all about escape.  And escape, I certainly did, a lot.  I just wanted to hide away from everything.

Here came May in all it's glory and I thought I was finally starting to get better.  But really, I was getting bitter and angry.  I thought I was getting stronger, more independent, and getting it together.  Wrong again.  I was getting bitter, putting up walls, shutting things and people out, and getting a generally angry feeling with everyone - especially my (then) husband.  I finally got the separation papers in the mail and suddenly my sadness turned to rage.  I barely even talked with my husband, but he was still the reason for all my pain and needed to suffer.  I can't even count the number of times I daydreamed about little plots to get revenge, even though I'd never really do them.  I wanted revenge.  I wanted him to suffer.  I wanted him to feel what I felt.  I wanted everything to bite him in the butt.  I wanted him to feel the weight and consequences of his decisions.  Oh I was so angry.  Was it healthy?  I'm not sure.  Was it normal, given my position in the divorce?  Definitely.  Was it a good example of a woman in pain who puts her trust in Jesus?  Woah - certainly not!  I'm definitely not condoning my feelings, behaviors, or Facebook status' at that time.  But I told ya'll I was gonna be honest.  

Ok so the end of May/beginning of June gets here and I stepped away from the Beachbody 90 day challenge.  I realized that I could not focus on it and be successful because I simply was not ready given my emotional status going to a default of crazy most days.  I wanted to do the challenge so bad and I certainly still will start it again, hopefully very soon.  But one thing at a time.  I needed to be healed in the head and heart before I could set my mind to something that intense.  But some days were so difficult, ya'll.  There were days that I didn't even have the motivation to get out of bed.  I just wanted to lay there and not even feel, let alone get up and do a good workout.  How was I going to motivate myself to workout when I couldn't even motivate myself to get going and be productive at all?  Anyways, with the end of May/beginning of June, I decided to stop ignoring everything.  That's the problem.  I didn't address the issue.  I swept it under a rug.  I ran from it.  I tried to drink it away at times.  I tried to be too busy to feel.  But the problem was still there, everywhere I went.  I was still heart-broken and not moving forward.  

On the 30th of May, the divorce was final.  When I got the paperwork a few days ago of the final divorce decree, I broke down.  You see, I decided to finally let myself feel the pain.  I decided to confront it, stare at it, and analyze it so I could finally get through it and start to really heal.  I decided to confront it with God's help and quit trying to do it on my own.  I won't get through this on my own.  I need God to help me.  And God has been showing me some things that even I didn't realize.  I've come to realize something I've always known...that I have to forgive my ex-husband.  I'm still very hurt and very angry, but I'm beginning to let it go.  I certainly don't have it all figured out and I'm nowhere near where I'm going to be, but I'm heading in the right direction.  It's funny because God has also been showing me my own heart.  I thought I would be on with my life and good on my own by now.  So why aren't I?  Well, it's because I do still care.  Just because he said he didn't love me and gave up on me doesn't mean that I ever really stopped loving him. If I did stop loving him, then it wouldn't hurt like it does.  Do I trust him?  No.  Do I think he deserves my attention or affection?  No.  Do I still love him?  Certainly.  I don't believe I ever stopped and I don't know that I ever will.  Does that mean I'd take him back if he came running?  No.  I'm not honestly sure what I'd do.  I'd probably want to hit him with a frying pan and give him a hug at the same time.  Do I forgive him?  I'm definitely trying.  Of course, these are my feeble and fickle feelings and in no way reflect God's will, because I don't know what that is.  But I do know that God has a plan.  I'm not sure what that plan is and I don't know why this had to happen.  But now that I'm not running from my true emotions, I'm beginning to get a hold on my life and sanity again.  *Beginning is the key word here*  I don't feel like I'm going to break down all the time.  When people ask questions and talk to me about things, I still feel very sad - but not destroyed anymore.  I can feel the strength starting to return to me.  I am so happy that I can finally focus on my kids.  I've been with them this entire time, but I've been so distant.  I couldn't emotionally connect with them because I was so torn over losing their father.  In trying to disconnect from him, I was disconnecting with them, too.  I didn't even realize it until I sat here and it dawned on me that my poor Lilly has been robbed.  I have been severely depressed and trying to keep my head above the water since before she was born.  I was so sad that I couldn't truly be there for her like I was with Brooklyn.  Given that when Brooklyn was her age, I was fighting against getting a divorce.  But I still had hope then.  I was trusting God and I just knew that it wasn't over then.  I had hope that my husband would wake up and come back to me, and he did.  But  Lilly has had to endure my emotional despair and it breaks my heart for her because I feel as if she's been cheated.  But thank God, I'm getting back to a place where I can focus on my kids emotionally and be there for them.  I want to invest in them and bond with them and it be positive.  I want them to feel positive energy from me, not this constant sadness that I've been trying to hide.  

Well, the need for sleep just hit me like a ton of bricks and I'm all but completely disoriented and want to stop right here and go to sleep.  But long story short, I'm healing.  Things are getting better.  I realize that I don't have to stop loving my ex-husband in order to heal and move on.  I have to forgive him and let go of the hurt, anger, and bitterness.  That's the key.  Whatever gave me the notion that in order for me to live again, I had to stop loving him because he said he didn't love me - and that if I continued to love him, I wouldn't be able to have a healed heart and move on with my life?  Ha - well love is exactly what I will need to keep in my heart because otherwise I would want to cause him harm when I saw him again.  I don't need to grow cold and bitter and lose my capacity to love.  My ability to love the way I do, wholeheartedly, is truly a gift.  Yes it causes me to be vulnerable and that's extremely scary given how I've been hurt.  But God is in control.  God is healing my heart and allowing me to see that it's not only ok, but good to love.  I'm going to stop fighting it and just see where this takes me. 

 Just to let ya'll know, my original intent for this post was to tell ya'll how happy I was that I can finally focus on my kids.  And let me tell you, I am indeed extremely happy about it.  The past few days have been wonderful.  We haven't done as much or been as busy as usual.  I've been spending much more daily time with the girls and really connecting with them.  It's been such a blessing to finally have the emotional capacity to really love and lavish love on my kids.  I feel like this is what they've needed all along and I'm finally healed enough to be able to give that to them.  It brings me so much joy, which in turn, is helping this healing process  even more.  Goodnight, ya'll.  Going to watch my beautiful, fairy-tale princesses sleep for a few and then go crash!  :)