Life’s too Short

Find your happy, healthy life without guilt!

Life’s too short. 

While the passion behind it is every bit as moving as a Nicholas Sparks novel, my writing here will no doubt fall way short; so, please give me the grace to stumble through and do my best.  With all sincerity, I hope what I’m sharing here will impact you in some way regardless of where you land in the world of relationships.  If you’re married to the love of your life, be wise and never let them go.  But, if that’s not your case, and perhaps like me, you’ve continued to accept a destructive marriage for way too long, there is freedom. This is for you. To start, I’m going to plant a seed here: release the guilt and give yourself grace to live a healthy, happy life.  Alright, here goes.   

A little background:  Welp, it’s been 96 days since he left us (the 4th time).  And while that’s a necessary detail, it’s really not the part of the story I want to focus on.  It’s simply the pivotal moment in my life that violently shot me in the trajectory of this new normal I find myself in today.  I have learned so, so much as a result of his decision to escape his life. Yep, he escaped with no forwarding address and zero effort to see his girls since that day.  We’ve had birthdays and graduation where I presented our younger daughter her diploma, prom… and in a blink, life just goes on.  I will quickly say here with full confidence, I’m in a better place because I finally let him go.  I’m choosing not to be angry and I do have compassion for his struggles.  But, I fought the good fight.   Yes, of course I made every effort to save the marriage year after year to keep our little family together.  I pleaded for him to be truthful with himself and to get help.  But, here’s the reality:  at the end of the day, my path changed.  I will always be thankful for the good times, but most of all, I’m thankful I have my girls.  And with that background, I can share what’s really on my heart.    

Warning: Especially if you’re a Christian (as I am), fall more to the conservative side (as I do), and are Bible believing (like I am), this may challenge you.  Here’s why.  People like us grew up being filled with a set of ideals from a young age.  It’s “one man, one woman, together forever”, right?!   Our parents, grandparents, and Sunday school teachers were well intentioned.  They were determined in their efforts to instill in us the “right” Biblical worldview and values that formed who we are as adults today. I believed it all and that was my plan!   

BUT, what happens when our real-life path diverts?  In all my years in VBS, I never heard a story that said this: life is going to disappoint you; you are going to struggle; there will be unexpected failures, yet God will never remove His love from you and you will come out just fine. Here are a few truths often glazed over in those stories: God said David was “after His own heart”, yet he was taken by Bathsheba.  And He loved Jonah, who fled in disobedience.  And what about the woman at the well?  Jesus loved her enough to have close conversation with her followed by compassion. All are examples of living an imperfect, unexpected life still loved by God.  Consider these scriptures with me: 

Genesis 50:20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”

Isaiah 61:3 “…he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair…”    

Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Here it is:  What I am saying is this, you may be called to a different path.  And that is the place that well-intentioned Christians sometimes refuse to go.  From childhood, our brains are conditioned to believe there is only ONE “right” path and anything less than that is failure.  There is a disconnect here.  The truth is we are living in a fallen world where sometimes the husband leaves again or a wife becomes disengaged and quits trying.  Sometimes divorce is the healthiest path for you, them, and even the kids.   Spinning into shame and guilt for wanting something more than a miserable, destructive relationship, pushes a message of perfection instead of grace!  Because God is love, (that’s what scripture says) and He’s not a God of disorder, why would He ask us to stay on a miserable path or continue in destruction?  He wouldn’t.   

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “choose your hard.” Marriage is hard.  Divorce is hard.  My personal reality is this: my “hard” was due to accepting a miserable marriage for way too long.  I was paralyzed in those “ideals” from childhood that said we MUST stay married regardless of the pain or destructive, unhealthy behaviors!  So, for way too many years, I gave in to the pressure to stay married because I was supposed to, not because it was the best choice.  I am finally in a better place of allowing myself the grace to live a healthy, happy life because life’s too short to waste being miserable.  I know everyone’s story has their twists of complexity, so choose your hard and forge that path in confidence.     

As a side note, please don’t hear me saying to be negligent in your marriage.  Perhaps my message is untraditional, and maybe it will stretch your thinking.  I hope it does.  But, before many years pass and you wake up one day 10 years older in the same situation like I did, I hope you’ll consider my words. Nobody plans this, right?  But likewise, no one plans to roll over and passively accept misery either.  I did fight, by the way.  I went to counseling… lots of it.  I quit my job when he asked me to.  I prayed more.  I read so many marriage books it’s ridiculous.  I gave up friends he asked me to.  I dressed differently.  I spent less money.  I let him track my location, control all the finances, and make all the big decisions.  I kept myself in shape.  I made good meals.  My house was clean and organized.  But at the end of the day, it was never enough.  Life is too short for that.   

Conclusion:   Spending half your life with someone who you feel lonely standing next to isn’t worth it.  The kids will be fine too, by the way.  As a matter of fact, I asked a close friend recently to tell me his thoughts on navigating a life between two families.  He’s college age and his response was refreshing and one I won’t quickly forget.  He said, “It’s made me a stronger, more independent person and I have a bigger family to share life with!”  He’s one of my favorite people in the world!  We have many lengthy discussions and I respect him a great deal.  He’s already lived enough life to have a healthy perspective surviving imperfect, unexpected circumstances. I applaud his parents for guiding him so well.   

Consider this:  Who do you wanna call first when something stupid funny happens?  Who can make your coffee just the way you like it?  Who would you drive two days for to see only two hours?  Who can you really laugh with and never worry about being judged?  If your ‘who’ in those questions is not your spouse, it’s time to be real and move on. I’m saying this confidently only because I’m coming out on the other side of the pain and I see things more clearly now.  Sometimes, God allows events to happen so He can bring you to the next path HE has for you.  Yeah, there may be a storm to get there, but I’ll say it again, release the unrealistic ideals and all the guilt. Give yourself grace to live healthy and happy.  Life’s too short not to. 

3 Anxiety Lowering Tips for Your Day

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. ~ Psalm 18:2

Within the last several days I have found myself in multiple conversations on the topic of mental health. It seems to be an increasingly hot topic, and given how 2020 has gone, I suppose there is no shocker in it’s popularity! I have personally suffered from social anxieties in the past; so, from this perspective, I can relate to the genuine unrest that can occur within our minds, especially during particular seasons of life. Perhaps it’s a pandemic like COVID-19, an accident, divorce, death, triggered fears like abandonment or personal insecurities … the list is long leading to each of our experiences within the scope of anxiety, or at the very least – potentially how we deal with the enormous amounts of stress that happen along life’s way.

Here are my 3 tips for reducing anxiety:

(Because I am a Christian, I see life through this lens; so with that, my content here is based from that worldview.)

1. Read Scripture Morning & Night

My husband has a goal to open his Bible each morning before he puts on his shoes! Reading the Bible does not have to be lengthy or difficult. It just has to be our priority, and all we have to do is open it. In my personal life, I have yet to open my copy of God’s Word and feel LESS peaceful afterward… I always feel more centered. I have more direction. More peace. The Bible is often called the “Living Word” and true to this description, every single time I open it, I “discover” something as though it was new material being revealed to me at the very moment I need it. Reading, even briefly, helps calm my spirit and reduces my level of stress and helps the unrest in my mind. It’s a wise way to start the day!

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

Joshua 1:8

2. Talk with God

So, it’s taken me a lot of years to realize God, as the Holy Spirit, is with us & never leaves us. I love how the pastor of the Marriage Today ministry, Jimmy Evans, simplifies this communication with our Heavenly Father. He says this, “You talk to God, or pray, about what you’re stressed about. There’s your prayer list!” How true! The conversation I have with God through prayer helps me to “get out” what’s on my heart… to get out all the stuff that’s stressing me and causing me anxiety. For me, short chats toward God is how I approach my daily moments. Sure, sometimes I’m bowed, eyes closed, but with our fast paced world, more often I’m speaking right out loud driving down the street or even while doing laundry! In my present season, I pray a great deal in our garage… as I hug my girls each morning I pray as they drive away to school each day. When I take the time to have this talk with God, my stresses and anxious thoughts are much lighter and even relieved when I’m done.

 …casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7

3. Get Moving

There’s plenty of scientific evidence in favor of exercising to reduce stress. Personally, my day typically starts in the order of 1-2-3 here! I READ, TALK, & then MOVE! When I skip the active part of my day, stresses seem to pile up on me more quickly. I feel more anxious, more irritable. Perhaps a good sweat not only releases the toxins from our physical bodies, but helps to clear out the unhealthy thoughts in our minds too! Regular exercise will start my day better every single time… even when it’s hard to get up and do it! I’m thankful for the ability to exercise at home too. (This has definitely worked out well in 2020 with quarantine and social distancing!) I can honestly say that I’m in my best shape since college all because of Beachbody on Demand exercise streaming at home! If exercising at home sounds like your jam – I’m here to help! I work as an online fitness & nutrition coach. Regardless of how you choose to move, just get moving! It is proven to lower your stress and reduce anxieties in your day!

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

I’m here for you!

Like I mentioned, I too have dealt with seasons of mental unrest. It’s not a fun experience. I am not a counselor; however, I can share with you my journey of learning to find more peace, wellness, and a healthier life no matter the circumstances! Feel free to contact me 🙂

God Bless you in your journey-

~ Domestic Chick

God Met Me at the Park

Well friends, God evidently had plans for me this morning.  Of course, who am I kidding?   I am confident He plans my every day; admittedly, I’m just slower to recognize it sometimes.  Today was one of those unavoidable moments, it was different and I’d be selfish if I didn’t share that if God met me at the park, he can meet you anywhere too.  

I wasn’t dressed for this event at all.  I had on zero make-up, a hat, tennis shoes… and, to risk being a bit graphic, while in the direct morning sun, I feel confident my aroma was nothing less than pungent as well.  And this is how God chose for us to meet. 

It seems that the storms in life are where one tends to “grow” the most.  With this, I definitely am referring NOT to physical growth, but speaking in regard to emotional and mental growing.   And in authenticity, this is the season where I find myself currently.   

As I mentioned, it was hot this morning, and Shelby & I were out walking together for exercise, as we often do.  We laugh together, we solve problems, talk about relationships, friends, our struggles, college classes, ethical questions…. I guess we cover it all.   🙂  These are definitely moments I count as blessings with my sweet girl.

Today as we rounded the park, we saw Blake* at a distance. He was walking “Cookie” as he always does – while reading a book – which he also always does while walking around the park. Over the past year, we’ve shared a handful of conversations, I guess. Mostly we discuss books, our views on politics, college plans for my girls, and most importantly, our common faith in the Lord. He has a higher than typical intellect, as is common with chemical engineers, but what is remarkable to his personality is how is relates in conversation. Through his own self-admission, he has an unusual ability to take on the feelings of others around him. As I mentioned, in all my 46 years to this point, perhaps I’m in the most difficult storm yet.

Catching up to Blake*, we exchanged a few pleasantries, gave Cookie some attention and a little scratch, then briefly discussed our quarantine lifestyles.  Somewhat randomly, he shares with us a song he recently enjoyed while worshiping out on his back patio… and he begins to sing.  Instantly I’m thankful to be hiding behind sunglasses, as the tears emerge.  He follows this by quoting some scripture… of course, the exact verse I have been praying specifically through this storm in my life.  And, I felt the very presence of God.  By now, there is no hiding my tears, as much as I tried.  Our intention was not to dive into real life with Blake* today, but it was God’s plan that prevails, not ours.  As our conversation unfolded, he poured scripture over us and shared about the work of Jesus in his own life.  In humility, he shared his regrets and some of his own life’s mistakes.  Ultimately the three of us held hands (yes, during “social distancing”) and we three prayed together right in the middle of the park to our mighty Lord, the only God who is capable of miracles. 

Some days I’m stronger than others, but perhaps today I needed a little boost.   Jesus knew exactly what my heart and my spirit needed today.  He knew how I’d be dressed, where I’d go and exactly who to place in my path bringing me the reassurance, security and peace during this storm of my life.   God met me at the park today through a man walking his dog and reading a book.  He poured out His Spirit and showed me that His love has no boundaries.  Praise the Lord!      

*name changed

Thanks for reading, y’all. 🙂

~Domestic Chick

Book Lovers Day🥰📚2019

“Books, Books… I need my books!” 🤣~ Jerry Seinfeld

Yes! What a fun day to celebrate… National Book Lovers Day! If I had to choose my biggest purchasing weakness, it would no doubt be books. So, in light of this celebratory day, I’ll share a few of my favs with you. 😍 To start, here are my personal favs & GREAT PICKS FOR MOMS

My FAVS for Moms 🙂

Ok, ladies! At various times in life, we all just needed a book on THAT topic… whatever it happens to be at a time. You know what I mean. Mine have been on struggles or some self-improvement topic I wanted to know more about. Heck, sometimes I’m simply drawn to a book ’cause the cover looks so beautifully intriguing! Take a look and browse these titles I include in my personal favorite GREAT PICKS FOR WOMEN

My FAVS for women 🙂

Friends, if you happen to be married, these are for you! Eventually I will take time to write many more posts on marriage, but for today, I will share the books that I find tremendously helpful during all kinds of seasons relating to marriage. With almost 25 years hitched to my college sweetheart, I believe I’m a credible source! 😉 With that, I highly recommend the following GREAT PICKS FOR WIVES

My FAVS for wives 🙂

Alright teachers! I saved us for last due to our serious obsession in this department, I had little doubt you’d read all the way to the bottom! 😂👌🏽 I love my teacher friends! 💕💚 I won’t exhaust this list… there are so many we could highlight here. These have made recent impressions on me. So, I hope you’ll take a look at my GREAT PICKS FOR TEACHERS

My FAVS for teachers 🙂

Hopefully you will find one or two titles here to enjoy as I have! I’ll just go ahead and say the obvious…perhaps we should grab a glass of something happy along with a new book, & celebrate National Book Lovers Day, y’all! Enjoy 🎉💚

~ Domestic Chick