Tuesday, March 31, 2009
At least, not while you're in crisis.
I care about you readers. I care about sharing what God is doing in my heart. I care about having some type of recording of the death of my marriage. I care about sharing my day with you.
But when I'm constantly on the edge of exhaustion, no matter how much I care, I can't make myself blog. I have sympathy emails that have been in my inbox for three weeks, maybe longer. I CARE about them. I read them time and again. But somehow there is a dichotomy of energy between reading them and responding to them.
Today was a big day for me. This is the day my lawyer filed the petition to divorce. Today it became all too real. But something great happened today, too. Should I dare to say I'll blog it tomorrow? Will that MAKE me write again so soon?
Let's give it a shot, because I know YOU care and will be back to see what it is!
Monday, March 23, 2009
Oh, I've had that remade song from Alice in Wonderland running through my head all day! Has it been a hard March 23? If I stopped to think about it, I'm sure it would be. The key is to stay very, very busy. ;-)
But when I contrast this night thirteen years ago to tonight ... Kevin and I made more than our fair share of "mistakes" while dating, but we signed the True Love Waits promise cards more than a year before we married, so our wedding night was still much anticipated. I've gone from that to blogging in my pink sweats! I know!
What helped me get through the day?
I took the day off the hard labor I've been putting in and drove to Salem. One of my dearest friends lives there. Brooke and her husband were THAT couple to Kevin and I. You know, the ones you went on vacation with, played cards with, talked for hours with. It's been hard on them to ... to lose a friend. Which made her the perfect person to hang out with today. My three kids love her three kids and we got to spend some girl-gab time.
Many of you have asked what you can do to help a friend you have that's going through a similar situation. (And, let's be frank--there are WAY too many people in similar situations right now. What is going on with this world???) I'll share a few of the ways people have reached out to me and maybe it will spark an idea for you.
~a meal given, frozen, to be used on a night when I don't have the energy to make anything for the kids and me.
~cards sent. Many with awesome verses. One with a particularly appropriate hymn. I was saving all the super-cool verses to use in a single post, but the document was corrupted--hmm ... why does that not surprise me?--and I don't have time to recreate it right now.
~emails. They last longer than a phone call. The encouraging words can be poured over in the dark of the night, when emotions are larger. The challenges can be absorbed and prayed over. My agent sent me this gem: “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose hearts are completely His.” I want my heart to fit His criteria!
~CDs. One friend sent me a music CD based on a book by Stephen Lawhead. Another sent me her unopened copy of a marketing CD.
~plants. My green-thumbed friend came over with a flat of petunias. She helped clean out the dead flowers from last year, planted the new ones, and then proceeded to weed the entire row of beds with me. This so inspired me to work outside that Dad and I took down a dead tree by ourselves that afternoon when she went home. (Insert growly Home Improvement sound.)
~more plants. My parents had ordered 1000 sedum sprouts before our family changed. The plants arrived on Friday and needed to go in the ground ASAP. Nine people from church came over Sunday afternoon and got muddy. Though it hailed in the five minutes before we hit the eroding slope, the weather cooperated the whole time we were out there.
~painting or other home projects. OK, I haven't taken advantage of these offers yet, mainly because I like painting and Dad's been doing most of my maintenance and upgrades.
~repair. We had another man from church come out and work on the four wheeler to get it running at its best.
~gift cards. Mine was to a coffee shop, but you could tweak it to home-improvement store cards or coupons for free babysitting.
~babysitting! If I were to add up the sheer number of hours I've spent at the doctor's, lawyer's, or in substitute-related meetings when I needed childcare for "Angel," I'd probably kiss my friends' feet. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Angel is the poster child for foster care. No exaggeration; there are no fewer than four families who would be interested in adopting her if I were asked to and were unable!
~praying. This isn't always as obvious to me, though tons of people have said they are. There may be some of you reading this that don't ever comment, don't live near me, and in general have remain anonymous. Yet you've prayed for my family. THANK YOU! It's because of you that I can say, "The LORD is my joy and my strength!"
~buying his/her book. I'm pretty sure this will work for the majority of people going through divorce, but on the slim chance that your loved one is having a tough time and he/she doesn't have a book releasing, I offer The Familiar Stranger as the next best thing to buy.
Coming soon--pictures of the house!
Friday, March 20, 2009
I've been pursuing the higher classification of substitute teaching as hard and fast as I can, but there is an incredible amount of red tape. Last week I was fingerprinted and paid the $77 in fees to do it. On Thursday, I found out that I have to do it. AGAIN. And pay $77. AGAIN. I admit it brought me to tears. It takes money to make money, right? Now I'll have to work two full days to repay the costs so far. And who knows what remains undiscovered? (That use to be the tag line for my novel before the name was changed.)
What else have I been doing this week? Painting. Painting. A little bit of painting. Cleaning. Doctor appointments. Applying for an ACFW scholarship. Cleaning. Watching Andrea do a Greek dance in her school's musical. Praying for the people God is going to bring to buy our house. (Please, Lord!) Doing paper work for the divorce. Meeting with three different principals. Packing. Dinner with a friend.
As I finish a room--and I mean every little detail is taken care of--I take pictures while it's perfect. I guess that's one advantage of selling a home yourself. The realtor doesn't need to have the entire house spotless at on time to get good photos.
Want to see some of the rooms? (Yes, this is a little bit of tease, but it gives you a chance to comment!)
Friday, March 13, 2009
~(Most general first) A call about my foster child that pointed in a positive direction.
~A nap from 9-10 AM because I couldn't keep my eyes open and knew I had a lot of editing to do.
~A message on facebook from my high school pal, Kim Steele, saying she had just pre-ordered my book.
What???? Pre-ordered? How is that even possible?
~I type my name into amazon and BOOM! there I am!!!! Though the book won't ship 'til the end of August/beginning of September, it IS available online--amazon and christianbooks--and through your local bookstore. Just go in with my name (Christina Berry) and the title (The Familiar Stranger) and you can be among the first to read the book when it comes out!
~Another friend sees that post and hops online to purchase her copy. So, I haven't even turned in the final copy of the book, and I've logged TWO sales. :-)
~The nap and the news that The Familiar Stranger is on the market work their magic and I sail through the last 150 pages of checking my timeline for inconsistencies.
~At 2:30 PM, I turn in the edited version to my editor at Moody. Despite the total upheaval in my life, I beat my deadline by three days!
~I check the mail at the PO on my way to get the kids and find my ID badge for the first phase of substituting in our local school. In a way, I now have a source of income, even if it's spotty.
~Come home, dress up, and go out for dinner. Which my grandparents pay for to celebrate the completion of this phase of the book.
~Then head to the Hillsboro Symphony--Mom bought my ticket--where I about burst with pride. My daddy was Acting Concertmaster and played two amazing solos. Also, all three kids were amazing through two hours of music. Not too many two-year olds can pull that off.
I can't wait for the NEXT Friday the 13th!
Saturday, March 07, 2009
Thankfully, the peace that passes all human understanding has been with me since February 9 so I'm NOT a weepy drama queen. :-)
God is mighty orchestrator. I had recently discovered new information, info that felt like getting kicked in the stomach when I was already down for the count. I will say this about lies. Lies are poison to my bones. The physical pain in my very marrow makes me wonder if I can survive ever being lied to again.
I had found an equilibrium to life, but the new revelation felt like a separate and distinct loss. I had hoped for and envisioned going through the divorce in a certain way. Then the info made its way to me by a miraculous, meandering path. Now I had not only lost my husband, but had lost him as my best friend. And yet ... when I was hurting all over again, I was surrounded by godly women, my true sisters in Christ, who prayed me up and sent me back to face the life I now must find joy in.
One of the great things to come from this was an emotional separation I was unwilling to choose at the beginning. I feel so much healthier, so much freer. Some issues I had been avoiding now have my attention. Kevin and I sacrificed so much to keep me as a stay-at-home mom for the last decade. Weary at the very thought of finding a "real" job, I had put off writing my resume. One week later, I'm praying for the position for which I've applied. (Can't end on a preposition when I'm talking employment, can I?)
I'm full of hope and appreciating each accomplishment of painting, making a writing deadline, or getting caught up on bills. I know God has good plans for my life!
Want to know the topic of the retreat? Bonnie Leon spoke on Living Without Masks, and it was fantastic. Though I'm pretty much as transparent as Saran Wrap, there will be times in the future where I might be tempted to wear the I-can-handle-it-all mask as a divorcee. If you're looking for a speaker, I highly recommend Bonnie. She helped us strip away the social trappings.
The last week I've been doing a LOT of pre-marketing for The Familiar Stranger and in doing so, my mission/passion/ministry/tagline fell into my lap: Living Transparently; Forgiving Extravagantly! It captures the theme of my book and the theme of my life. It's a challenge we all should accept.