Author Archives: staff

Making Friends Mid-Life

I just moved to Fort Wayne 7 months ago and I have so many wonderful friends today!  

I have so many new friends in my life because I said yes.  I said hello. I started a conversation. I smiled. I went to the meeting.  I joined the Study. I accepted the invitation. I went alone. I walked through the door.  You see…. I had decided before I moved here that I was going to make this a life worth living, I was going to meet women and I was going to enjoy my new home in this new place.  

If you want to be a part of a larger circle of girlfriends, it will take you getting out of your fragile way, it will take you being bold and stepping out and it will take you creating something different.  You will have to risk, you will have to research things happening near you and go alone, you will have to be in the mindset of positivity and possibility and love.

So, you say hi first.  And maybe that’s all it is…. is a hello.  This time. And maybe nothing comes from it.  It goes no further than that. But, MAYBE, just maybe… a compliment about her cute sweater creates a coffee date.  Maybe volunteering at the animal shelter turns into a friendship with someone you may never ever have met otherwise.  Maybe going to a yoga class alone and chatting afterwards you end meeting your new bestie and especially when you open your mind to the fact that you and the woman across the street can’t wait to meet each other… you end up creating a friendship only the heart can explain.

So to create a larger circle of friends… yes…. it requires you to go places and do things and kindly say hello.  You never know what could come next. It’s never ever too late in life to make new friends.

xoxo,

Your God girl 

Tracy

Is There Life After Domestic Violence?

****READERS…we have a submission from a domestic violence survivor which I think is an important story to share as I was once in that situation myself with a boyfriend many moons ago—- It is my hope as well as hers that this will inspire you and if you are in a situation like this PLEASE seek help from qualified professionals…a website that has resources by state is www.thehotline.org.   This is a bit outside of our normal content, however I feel that it is an issue that needs a voice.  PLEASE any comments positive and supportive, we don’t do judgment here.  Thanks.  – Noelle

Is There Life After Domestic Violence?

While you’re living in fear, being controlled, degraded, assaulted, abused and isolated it can feel like a hell that will never end. Domestic Violence presents physical, emotional and mental pain that changes who you are and changes who you were going to be. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

I’m out now. I’m 7 years out after being in my relationship for 14 years. And the biggest mistake I made was thinking my life would be ‘normal’ once I left. There is nothing normal about my life as I know it now. But it certainly isn’t the hell that I once endured.

Acceptance

I had to learn to accept what I lived. It happened. It was done. I couldn’t change it. Ever. I had to understand and fully accept that it wasn’t my fault nor did it have to define me. I was free to choose what happened next and what to write in my next chapter. I could make different choices on how I wanted to live my life. And then followed through with those new choices because I accepted that I could.

Professional help

Over the years I’ve engaged counsellors, psychologists, doctors, alternative practitioners, medication and lots and lots of personal development reading and support. It has been imperative in my healing journey that I spoke out loud to professionals. Not to relive my past or the traumatic events in detail but to help me gain perspective and gather my thought processes together. To help me learn and develop strategies to calm my negative thoughts, to ground myself, to be mindful and present. I allowed others to support me and hold space for me while I activated my own healing mechanisms and processes.

Healing

I had to be proactive about my healing. I had to do the work. I continue to do the work. I meditate, write, journal, rest, read, listen to my body and my inner guidance. I walk barefoot on the Earth, I exercise, I drink water. I practise self-care by booking massages and getting my hair done. I try not to feel guilty or shame myself if I eat ‘bad’ food. I say no when I need to. I take steps back from negative and toxic people around me to protect my own energy. I do what’s best for me, most of the time. I acknowledge it’s a never ending journey and I remind myself that the joy is in the journey rather than the destination.

Share your story

Silence hides violence. Tell your story. Write your story. Help yourself by helping someone else.  People think they’re alone until they hear about someone else’s story. You could make a real difference and help change someone’s life by sharing your own story. You could make another human being feel seen and heard. You could spark their own power to get help and begin their healing journey. You could inspire someone else to tell their own story. There is power in the spoken word. There is great power in telling your story and being heard.

Through my acceptance, professional help, healing and sharing my story I have grown confidence and self-worth I never thought I’d ever have. There is peace and happiness inside that I never knew was possible. And I’m so grateful to be alive to use my voice and tell my story.

*****

Lisa Lee is the founder of Lisa’s Sanctuary (www.facebook.com/LisasSanctuary) and the author of ‘Why I Stayed’ written in response to the many times she was asked why she didn’t just leave.

The More Things Change

The more things change the more they stay the same. 

Except so much has changed.

I am not sure where you are, but in my part of the world we are on strict Stay At Home orders until at least the end of April.

Our schools closed right before St, Patrick’s Day. Due to the nature of my job I have only been home myself now for six days.

I like everyone, am trying to figure out my new normal.

My daughter is about to start her second week of homeschooling and I’m thankful we have a district that planned and has worked hard to make things not too painful on us.

I’m the midst of this … I’m starting a new job.

So… I’m trying to control what I can control. It’s something I have been doing since G and I first left her Dad. I get up. I do my hair. I get dressed. I even put on makeup. You may say why? I mean if you have been on a ZOOM meeting all bets are off.

But this is my ritual. My thing that I can control in a world that feels so out of control.

It’s my time to quiet my head. Or do my checklist for the day.

The big difference is now I put on a T-shirt, leggings and comfy socks.

With so much feeling out of sync, it’s ok to have those things, Please know though, the days of fake lashes and foundation are probably on hiatus, but a good mascara, lipgloss and a Bobby pin in my bangs make me feel better.

They say the more things change the more they stay the same.

For me I need this same, as trivial and silly as it may seem.

It’s my anchor.

I hope you have one too Mommas.

I am sending you so much love.

Be safe.

<3 Caprise

Teamwork Makes The Single Mom Dream Work

Being a single mom is undoubtedly hard.  It’s hard in a way you can’t really understand until you are in the throes of it.  Like when you were pregnant, and people told you that having a newborn would make you tired.  Remember that?  I recall thinking, yeah, I stay up way past midnight and still wake up and go to work tired, I’ll be fine.  Then the baby comes and your definition of tired is utterly reinvented.  Being a single mom is no different, you must experience it to really understand how difficult life becomes.

The hard parts are different for all of us.  Sometimes it’s financial, sometimes it’s juggling busy schedules, sometimes it’s chasing the impossible work/life balance.  For me, my biggest struggle was trying to be the nurturer and the disciplinarian – roles typically reserved for 2 parent households.  I did my damnedest, but with 2 very different kids I found myself performing a daily Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde routine.  One kid had a great day while the other got in trouble at school.  So, a smile and a high five to you, turn around a deliver a stern look and a consequence for him.  How confusing that must have been for my kids?  I was failing at both roles and leaving a gaping hole in my family.

One day, as I was really trying to figure it all out, I realized that I needed a teammate in all of this.  I was not dating, and fully aware of the complications of bringing another adult into the situation, so that was not the answer.  Instead, I asked myself what if instead of trying to react to and regulate every circumstance my kids encountered, I simply joined them on the playing field.  I decided to start addressing our family as a team. We all had roles to play on the team, and we all had a responsibility to the success of our team.  I sat my kids down and we spoke at length about our new family dynamic.

The truth is, nothing changed as far as my hierarchy in our family.  But instead of dividing and conquering my kids, I encouraged us to all weigh in on the good and bad parts of our days.  We talk so much more, and I yell so much less.  My kids have learned each other’s love languages – one son thrives on physical touch, while the other seeks out words of affirmation.  They have been empowered with the skills to comfort each other and even me on the tougher days.  When one of us has a win – we all win, we all celebrate.

By putting an end to my polar opposite parenting, I’ve lifted a weight off my own shoulders.  I’ve given my kids the gift of an engaged mom instead of an overlord.  I see them growing as better people through their understanding of empathy and teamwork.  We hold each other accountable and we lift each other up.  We are invested in each other’s successes, we cheer for each other louder than anyone else, and we’ve created a safe place to express our thoughts and feelings.

My kids and I are a team now, and there is no other team I’d rather play the game of life with than the people I love the most.

Colleen

TWSM Green Souffle Brunch Omelet Review

I have a confession to make. I love brunch. I love the ritual of brunch. The mimosas; the savory, too rich dishes; the combination of “breakfast” foods and “lunch” foods; the idle chat with friends on a rare relaxed Saturday; the eggs and meat and muffins. Oh, my! And so when one of those videos from Tastemade designed to catch your eye caught my eye while scrolling through Pinterest one evening, I knew right then and there I had to make green souffle omelet for brunch with several of my theater friends following our most recent show. This fluffy, cheesy omelet is packed full of green spinach and flavor.

The technique has more steps and is slightly more time consuming than a regular omelet, but if you’re going to take the time to have brunch, it’s worth making the event special. If you have a stand mixer, it will make the process a little easier, but a hand mixer will work just as well. I felt there was too.much club soda and cut it to just a few tablespoons the second time I made this dish. (Use the leftover club soda for your cocktails.) Also with the generous amount of cheese, mind your salt levels.

It wasn’t clear what the recipe meant by “turn on the grill,” which I’m assuming were British instructions. After beginning the omelet in a cast iron pan on the stove for a minute or two, I baked this in the oven at 375° for 10 minutes. Then put the pan under the broiler for another two minutes. Keep an eye on it so as not to burn the cheese. You omlet could be divided in a myriad of ways. Cut into small wedges for a crowd or cut in half for a more intimate gathering. Leftovers do lose some fluffiness, but rewarm well. Serve with your favorite brunch cocktail and some fresh fruit.

~Laura

I Could Use A Hand

Have you found yourself in a situation where you really could use a hand?  A helping hand?  A strong hand?  A loving hand?

Did you sit around and wait for one to show up or did you ask for help?  If you’re not one to ask for help, I get it….then please don’t be the one who complains because nobody is there when you need them.  People CANNOT read our minds.  AND if they’ve never been through what we’re going through, they really don’t have a clue as to what’s needed.  Truly.

Until someone goes through the loss of a loved one, they cannot imagine the rollercoaster that you are on when you lost your sweetheart.  They really have no clue what would calm your never-ending mind babble, tend to your achy breaky heart, comfort your whirlwind of why’s or come visit to offer a quiet long hug.  Really.

A mom who is raising a girl has no clue what it’s like to raise a boy.

A woman who did not go through menopause has no clue what a hot flash is like.

A sister who has never been a Troop Leader cannot fathom the joy of the troop getting a WIN.

What’s in your way of asking for help?  Pride? Ignorance? Selfishness? Lack of Trust?   Whatever it is… think about the people who said “If you need anything, let me know.”  They MEANT it!  They are waiting for you to take them up on it.  They really really really want to help but have absolutely NO idea where to start without stepping on your toes.

Are you able to offer a helping hand to someone?  If you are, be sure to follow-through.  Or if it’s a really CLOSE friend…then just show up.  I remember when a friend did that to me… It made my day!

Go make someones day.

xoxo

Your God-girl

Tracy

Friendship In The Time Of Chaos

Friendship In The Time Of Chaos..

Anyone else feel like the world is on fire?

Holy…

Where do you start, and when does this end?

I am going to say what you already know and have probably heard a million times.

Reach out to your friends. Often. Call them. Email them. For the first time ever social media can be used for good.

I have actually talked on the phone to friends I normally text. We are sharing music, recipes, our fears.

That last one. Now is not the time to hide. If ever there was a time to show up this is it.

People are showing their true colors. Some are becoming the marker in the Art bin everyone fights over. Some are becoming the crayon no one wants.

Don’t be the crayon.

My list of worries like almost everyone is long.

It has felt very reassuring to know I am not alone. To talk it out or not. To talk about something absolutely ridiculous and have a good belly laugh instead of a long cry. I have plenty of those and know more are coming.

I am by no means telling you to text that ex or forgive a hurt. But the people who mean something to you. Now is the time and goodness knows we have time. Tell them. If possible show them.

I still am not a social media cheerleader and I would fly a caution flag there too.

When people have too much time on their hands they think hard. Overthink… so if you think it might maybe just bug them in normal times I’d say in these times … it will be even more so.

I know it is for me.

On the flip side it is keeping us all connected. Take advantage of it. Use it for good!

But that is not the point.

The point is this. You can come out of this better, the person who lost an opportunity, or was a jackass.

Or in much more eloquent terms thanks to Teddy Roosevelt:

“Do what you can with what you have, where you are.”

Things are weird. Try to keep your chin up. Wash your hands, be kind. This is your moment. You can either rise up or fall back.

Sending you love and reminding you to wash your hands.

<3 Caprise

TWSM Book Review ‘The Five Love Languages for Singles’

The Five Love Languages for Singles by Gary Chapman

Reviewed by Liz Fendley

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman started with his original work designed for married couples over 20 years ago. Many of us have heard of the five love languages to help us understand how we prefer to give and receive affection: words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, quality time, and physical touch. This book is dedicated to single adults and addresses our specific needs, including a chapter dedicated to the needs of single parents. It is a great read.

I should probably share the disclaimer that I originally took the five love languages quiz when I was a married parent. As such, I was a bit skeptical of how “real” this book would be for single parents dealing with issues like parenting, work, and dating. My skepticism was dispelled, and I found the book to be refreshing and respectful.

In the chapter on single parenting, Chapman addresses the fact that your children may not have the same primary love language that you do. This one struck home for me. My primary love language is physical touch, closely followed by quality time. When my teenage daughters took the quiz, they both scored with “gifts” as their primary love language. My first response was, “Uh oh. There is no way I can afford this.” Since then, I have learned that something as simple as adding a $1 “gift” to a grocery store or errand run and saying, “I was thinking of you today” can make my daughters’ days brighter. If a loved one tried to do the same thing for me, I would be polite, but I would probably be thinking, “How many calories are in that?” “Seriously, just give me a hug” or perhaps “This house has way too much clutter anyway”.

For most of us, The Five Love Languages for Singles is a great read and Chapman’s background as a pastor and references to scripture will be reassuring. If I have one criticism of this book, it is that Chapman assumes a heteronormative stance due to his specific religious beliefs. If you are an LGBTQI single parent, this book may be less likely to speak to you. Perhaps there are additional resources online that are more inclusive.

As many of us are spending more time at home with Covid-19, I am also happy to say that I found “my” free copy of this book via the Libby app from my local library. The Five Love Languages for Singles is an easy read, and might even keep our homes calmer and happier as we are spending so much time together!

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

~Liz

The Five Love Languages for Singles

Copyright 2014 by Gary Chapman

Keeping The Drama Out Of Your Life

How do you keep the boundaries set that you have spent years putting into place?   How do you constantly not get pulled into the drama of someone’s life?  I have spent the last few years of my life, setting boundaries with my ex husband.  This has made my life much easier and less stressful. There have been less engaged discussions or one sided arguments due to the boundaries that I have created.  I have kept communication limited  to keep my life moving forward.  These boundaries were set to move forward with my life and children.

I feel that my life has flourished over the last 5 years.  Yes, I have had many ups and downs, but I have pushed through them.  I enjoy my life now and I have worked hard to get to this place.  My kids and I have experienced many challenges and somehow gotten through it.  We have created this comfortable and fun life for ourselves.

As I continue to move forward, I feel that others in my life are still stuck at times.  Yes, this is my interpretation, however I set many boundaries to keep all of the added conflict, drama, and arguments out of my life.  This has been a constant challenge. I feel like I’m just walking down my own path, trying new things, and learning about myself… and then all of a sudden I am constantly blindsided by something from my ex’s life.

Some parents have great co parenting relationships, but my ex and I  just don’t.  I have written about our co-parenting challenges and how it does not always work. So as I am moving forward,  I have to constantly ignore the drama from the other side.  This is a struggle.  There are so many times that I want to ask my kids what is going on at dads, but I have to remember that it will only lead to problems.  I do not need to hear about the fighting at dads, the finances, what they eat for dinner, or what he says about my life.

I have learned to not ask my kids about their time at dad’s house.  As kids they do love to volunteer the information freely, so I am constantly reminding myself that it is no concern of mine.  My kids are very comfortable with me, so unfortunately I usually hear everything.   I do not offer my advice to my ex on things that my kids tell me, so freely.  I do not ask questions about his life.  I also need to remember that the things I hear from my kids is their perception and it is not always as how it happened…

I am trying for us both to live as separate of lives as possible, but share 3 kids. In trying to stay out of the drama of his life, I have had to learn to say no to him.  I will help my ex with the kids as much as possible, until it interferes with my life.  I also have a life that is just as important.

In the past, I would have taken the kids at a drop of the hat, if something came up in his life.  I would have changed my work schedule to accommodate his schedule.  I would have backed out of plans with friends to help him, just because I thought it was for the kids.  I thought that was what good moms do… Saying yes did not make me a good mom.  Because in the end, I am the mom that would do anything for her kids, so this is really tough.

I am slowly realizing that he needs to figure this out.  Yes, I do help many times, but I can not always be available.  He will assume at times that I can help him out and I am learning to say no.  Over the years,  I have learned to find solutions to my own conflicts with my kids. I have found carpools and friends to help me out when I needed help.

Keeping the drama out of my life has let me move forward… I am not stuck in my old life.  I have a new life that I created and I continue to focus on that.  I let him figure out how to handle his life and situations.  I do not add my advice or input.  I just go along my own path learning to say no more often, keeping the boundaries, and ignoring the drama.

-Snarky

https://www.snarkydivorcedgirl.com/

My Journey Through Infertility

My journey through infertility…

There’s a 7-and-a-half-year age difference between my oldest and middle child.  People often make comments about it such as, “did you mean to space them out so far apart?”  or, “well at least you have a good helper” and my personal favorite, “oh wow, I don’t think I could have started all the way over!”  What these people don’t know is that my children’s difference in age was not by choice.  When my oldest son was 3, my husband and I began trying to have another baby.

I became pregnant with my first child just before our 1-year anniversary so naturally we assumed that getting pregnant again would be easy.   Ever since I can remember, I’d always had problems with my menstrual cycles being abnormal.  I’d had cyst on my ovaries and been placed on birth control as a young teen to try to regulate my cycle and prevent the cyst from growing.  I stopped my birth control after being advised by my physician that it would take at least a year for me to get pregnant based on my history.

Well 5 weeks later, I was pregnant.  So you can see how I just figured that this next go round would be the same way.  Wrong!  I was so unprepared for the emotional roller coaster that came with my failed attempts.  And that’s exactly how I looked at it, MY failure.  I mean I’m a woman.  This is what my body is supposed to do.  Besides, I’d already done it once before.  What was wrong with me?  Of course my cycle became irregular again which made the process even more emotionally draining.  I’d go as far as being 4 days late and get super excited just to be let down by numerous negative pregnancy test.

Month after month I’d beat myself up about not getting pregnant.  I was depressed, and so angry at myself.  Others’ opinions didn’t seem to help either.  People would say things like don’t you want your son to have a brother or a sister?  You aren’t getting any younger, you’d better hurry up if you want another one.  Sometimes I’d just want to scream at them in anger of their ignorance of my suffering.  Other times I’d find myself going into the nearest bathroom to cry.  I felt alone and broken.

My husband was hurting too.  He wanted another child just as much as I did.  And my son was too young to understand.  All of his friends had siblings and he wanted one too.  He often complained of being lonely and not having his own brother or sister to play with.

Everyday I got up in the morning and went to work with a smile on my face but all the while I was dying on the inside from the heartache of my infertility.  After years of money wasted on ovulation and pregnancy tests, my OBGYN suggested taking medication which would force consistent ovulation. He said he almost always saw pregnancies within a few months of use.  I began the medication and was super hopeful.  I began having stomach issues which resulted in weight loss.  While I am always happy to lose weight, I still was not pregnant.

After months of the medication with no success, he suggested a slightly invasive procedure that should also aide in fertility.  I was really apprehensive about surgery.  Outside of having my wisdom teeth pulled, I had never had anything done before.  What if it didn’t work?  What if they messed something up and made my problem worse?

I discussed it with my husband, and we prayed about it.  Neither one of us felt comfortable with this option.  But after serious prayer, I had such a peace about the entire situation that I can’t explain.  I kept hearing in my spirit that I would have another baby at the right time and when I did, it would not be because of anything that another man did but because of what God did through me.  And I believed it!  So much so that I went back to my OBGYN and told him that the next time he saw me I would certainly be pregnant but not because of anything he had done.  He just smiled and said he would believe with me but in the meantime I should strongly reconsider the option of surgery.  My mind was made up and so was my heart.

Several months later on Valentine’s Day of the following year to be exact, my husband and I were sitting in church.  They were having an alter call for people to come up if they wanted prayer.  We’d never talked about going for prayer before about having a baby.  It was embarrassing and also we didn’t want people to think we were having marital issues if we walked up to the front of the church together for prayer.  That day something changed.  We looked at each other and didn’t care what anyone else thought.  He grabbed my hand and up we went.  We told the man who was to pray with us that we’d been trying to get pregnant for 4 years with no luck.  He prayed over us and then told us to find a few scriptures regarding fertility and place them in the room where we spent the most time.  I put them on sticky notes in our bathroom and bedroom and would try to keep them in mind throughout the day.  Again, this was Valentine’s Day 2016.

On March 4, 2016 I woke up to get ready for work like any other day.  My husband was fumbling around in the bathroom and asked if I ever got my cycle?  I hadn’t realized that I was 5 days late seeing as how my cycle tended to be irregular anyway.  We agreed that I should take a test that I’d had in the drawer just to check.  Neither one of us were necessarily expecting anything.  We weren’t anxious this time either though.  We both had such a peace that no matter what the results were, we’d be ok.  I took the test and continued to get ready for work.  A few minutes later we both happened to glance at the test sitting on the bathroom counter.

It was positive!

Two rose colored lines were present.  We both cried and thanked God.  That November I gave birth to our second son.

While I know this isn’t every women’s story, it is mine and it matters.  It’s one of trial and faith.  It’s one of perseverance and self-criticism.   It’s one of hopelessness and healing.  I learned so much about myself, my marriage and God’s love throughout those 4 years.  I now understand that whether I have a baby or not, I am still complete and whole.  I know that my husband loves me no matter how many children we do or don’t have.  And I know that God is faithful beyond comprehension and will give you peace in the midst of your situation.  As previously stated, I know this won’t be everyone’s story and some won’t necessarily have the endings that they’d hoped and prayed for. However, I hope that this does leave someone out there knowing that you are not alone, you are not damaged goods or incomplete as a woman, and most importantly, you are loved.

 

~1spentmom~