I’m Not Where I Used to Be…

Posted August 6, 2014 by DCM
Categories: Catholic Faith, Divorce

My divorce was finalized today.  I filed on March 21st, and it only took four short months.  That’s what happens when you haven’t really been living as husband and wife for over a year and you have no assets to fight over,only debts.

I don’t really know how I expected to feel today.  At times I thought I would be throwing a celebration.  As I approached the judge this morning, I just felt like I was going to throw up.

In some ways I’m relieved that everything is settled in black and white.  The kids and I know what our legal rights and limits are.

I am slightly embarrassed.  I am now a divorcee.  My marriage failed.  I feel a special stigma as a practicing Catholic.  When we say “until death do us part”, we’re supposed to take that seriously.  And I do…and I did.

I know that this is not what God wanted for our family.  God wanted my kids to have two parents who were capable of loving each other in a sacramental marriage.  That’s not what my kids got, though.

I truly believe that God was working in my life in the weeks leading up to when I filed for divorce.  Even though He would have preferred the ideal, I believe God knew that the divorce was the lesser of the two evils that the children and I were facing.  He put events and people in my life without whom I would not have had the courage to do what I was prepared to do in one last attempt to save my marriage or the courage to do what I had to do when it became clear that there was nothing I could do to save my marriage.

In some ways, though, the finalization of the divorce is just the beginning for me.  Next up I will be meeting with my pastor to start the annulment process to determine if my marriage was valid in the eyes of God in the first place.  Through documentation and the testimony of others I have to show that my marriage that we “thought to be valid according to Church law actually fell short of at least one of the essential elements required for a binding union”.  I’ve heard it can take as long as 18 months for the determination to be made.  (I still have a lot to learn about it.)

Part of me would love for the Church tribunal to discern that it never was a valid marriage in the first place.  I think it would make the civil divorce feel more justifiable.

Of course, the biggest reason that most people want an annulment is that they would be free to marry again.  Even though I know that I am not mentally or emotionally healed enough to have a healthy romantic relationship at this time, I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about the possibility of marrying again.  But frankly I am glad the annulment process takes awhile.  It’s like God’s gift of more time to get my sh*t together.

On the other hand, I think about what would happen if the tribunal declared that my marriage was and therefore is still a valid marriage.  That means that I am not free to date or marry anyone else until Ricky dies.  If I were to do so, it would be considered adultery in the eyes of God.

I can see where some people would think it is sad that I would be damned to a “life of loneliness”.  Of course, I’d rather be damned to spending the rest of my mortal life alone (although how can I ever really be alone with 5 kids?) than spending all of eternity separated from God.

I kind of wonder, though, what else God might have planned for me if getting remarried is completely off the table.  Maybe God would have a better use for all of the time that would be spent maintaining a romantic relationship.  Maybe God has a special way that he wants to use my time and talents for the glory of his kingdom once I am no longer busy raising children.

On the way to the courthouse this morning I prayed the Rosary.  As I meditated on the Sorrowful Mysteries, starting with the Agony in the Garden and ending with the Crucifixion, I kept thinking about how my sometimes extremely insightful oldest daughter summarized her feelings about the divorce.  She told me a few months ago that she wasn’t happy about, but she knew it’s what needed to be done.  After all, “Jesus wasn’t happy about dying on the cross, but he knew it’s what needed to be done.”

I thought about how Jesus’ wounds didn’t disappear after his resurrection.  They were still part of his glorified body.  I know that there is a lesson in there for me somewhere even if I can’t put my finger on it right now.

So, on the way home I prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet, asking God to heal me, my ex-husband, and my children (a recommendation my pastor made during my last confession).  And I would ask that anyone who reads this post to please offer up even a small prayer of healing for my family.

 

Meyer quote

Mommy’s Room

Posted August 1, 2014 by DCM
Categories: Uncategorized

When it came time to figure out what color scheme to use in my room, I had no idea where to start.  Home decorating sites and articles will say to look at what you own and figure the color scheme from there.  But I really had nothing going on in my bedroom except worn out and/or hand-me-down bedding and a newer birch-effect chest of drawers (Malm series, IKEA).

So, the first thing I did was pick out a new bedspread.  I searched several websites for something affordable that I liked well enough.  I chose this Chevron comforter from Target.  I bought new sheets and pillow cases from Wal-mart to match.

Mine 3

I matched the blue on the comforter against several Glidden paint chips until I found the perfect shade for the accent wall, Bermuda Bay.  I knew that shade of blue would probably be too over-powering for the entire room, so I chose Pebble Gray as a neutral contrast.  I never would have thought of gray at first, but it really came out well.  I used Swan White for the trim.

For the first time in 11 years I put my mattress and box springs up on a metal frame.  They had been on the floor in order to provide a shorter fall for little babies.  Since Cassidy is big enough to climb down properly, I no longer have to worry about that.  This also opened up storage room under the bed.

Mine 1

I found this metal table in the bathroom section of IKEA and fell in love with it.  I purchased the lamp at Goodwill for about $5 and a replacement lamp shade at IKEA.  I previously owned the candles, and the plaque with the Memorare prayer was purchased during my trip to St. Meinrad Archabbey in May.

Mine 2

When I was painting I got a wild hair to paint the trim over the closet with the Bermuda Blue.  The curtains are the same that had been in the room previously, but I purchased a new white curtain rod and metal pull-backs.  It’s nice to be able to let in all of that natural light.

Mine 6Mine five

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I still need to prime and paint the doors.  That will be one of my next painting projects.  I also have a ton of decorating ideas; unfortunately, I don’t have a ton of money.  There is a lot more space left in the room than I thought there would be, so I think I am going to move my puzzle table back up from the basement.  I know from the past that it will fit perfectly under that window when I want to use it, or I can keep it folded up neatly when it’s not in use.

I really love my new room.  I actually want to make my bed everyday, which has usually never been very important to me.   It feels calm and clean and beautiful and like a fresh start.

 

Master Bedroom to Girls’ Dorm

Posted July 31, 2014 by DCM
Categories: Home Improvement

When I was married, we had talked about how we would fit five girls in one room.  I felt confident that I could squeeze two sets of bunk beds in the smaller bedroom, but it would be crowded.  We talked about one day possibly switching rooms, giving the girls the Master Bedroom while we took a smaller bedroom.

There was no hurry, though.  We were still using a queen and a twin smashed together to hold us and our two youngest (and #3 when she would crash through the door in the middle of the night).  Plus, we knew that the Master Bathroom would need massive work before the girls could use it.

023

This was what the girls’ room looked like when I reorganized and added the bunk beds in Spring 2012.

Once I decided to start fixing up the house, I also decided that we would go ahead and switch rooms.  The girls and I haggled before agreeing on Arctic Blue (Glidden) for the walls.  I chose Swan White (Glidden) for the trim.  After painting the walls, it was really a waiting game until my handy man could come and dismantle the bunk beds and reassemble them in the Master Bedroom.  Once that finally happened, I was able to do the rest of the heavy lifting and furniture assembly to get the room put together.

dorm nine

This is the view from the bedroom door.  You can see the top of Bailey’s bed.  The doors on the right are for a smaller closet being used for storage:  boxes of hand-me-downs, large musical instruments (guitar and keyboard), and the travel bags they need for visitation with their dad.  The other door is for the walk-in closet.  We’re going to pretend that the walk-in closet is neatly organized with clothing and toys all in their proper places.

dorm five

Here we have  the foot of Bailey’s bed and the new dresser from IKEA (Malm series) for Bailey’s and Piper’s clothes.  The little pink object on the dresser is a cute little lamp I also picked up at IKEA that serves as our new nightlight for the room.  The black-out curtains are the same as were in the room before, but they have been washed and a new curtain rod and metal curtain pull-backs were installed.  The girls also upgraded into the only upstairs place where we could set up the portable air conditioning unit.

Dorm seven

You can see next to the dresser a previously purchased STUVA storage cabinet from IKEA.  The bunk beds were purchased a few years ago at Ashley furniture.  Next to the bunk bed ladder is a  previously purchased Trofast frame from IKEA with storage buckets.  (We actually have four Trofast frames around the house; they are very versatile.)

dorm 3

The top bunk is Piper’s domain.  The bottom bunk will be used by Sabrina (hopefully within the next year).  The “little bed” is a size in between a toddler bed and a twin.  We purchased it from (guess where?) IKEA two years ago for Katie, and she decided she’d rather keep her little bed than move into the bottom bunk.  Katie’s clothes are in the drawers under her bed.  Sabrina’s clothes are in the drawers under her bunk.

Dorm two

And here we are full circle.  This is Bailey’s new bed (Malm series from IKEA) with an old, shorter Trofast frame.  We tried moving the desk and chair (both from IKEA) down to the basement, but Bailey found all of the noise from the main floor too distracting.  Then we have the laundry basket and a small trash can tucked in there, too.

We still have wall decorations to put up and things to organize, but the girls seem to really like their new room.  I have a few ideas of what to do when Cassidy gets old enough to need her own sleeping space.  I could try to move Piper and Bailey down to the basement.  Or I could squeeze another “little bed” in where the desk is maybe.  We’ll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it.

And since I couldn’t find a link to the cute little lamp, I just had to add some pictures on my own.  It’s real glass, with an LED light underneath it.

At night, it sparkles against the ceiling.

At night, it sparkles against the ceiling.

Isn't it pretty?

Isn’t it pretty?

Home Fix Up: Master Bathroom

Posted July 30, 2014 by DCM
Categories: Home Improvement

Four of us moved in to our three-bedroom, three-story town home in June of 2006.  Then we had three more kids in the span of six years.  Then in October of 2011 my mother-in-law moved in with us.  In March of 2014 I filed for divorce from my husband of 14 years, and he moved out.

I was kind of uncertain as to what would happen with our house.  It is underwater, being worth way less than what is owed on the mortgage.  As part of the divorce agreement, though, it was arranged that my ex-husband would keep his name on the mortgage for five years, but then I have to sell or refinance into my own name.  So, for now the kids get the consistency of staying in their own home while dealing with the changes that divorce brings.

It was about a week after the separation that I began to realize that with the kids leaving the house every other weekend to go to their dad’s that I might actually be able to fix the house up.  The idea of painting was something that had just seemed too over-whelming while dealing with 5 young children, a horrible marriage, and crippling depression.  But with the activation of my Zoloft and dropping the burden of trying to stay in the marriage, things suddenly seemed possible.

My first plan of action was to fix up the Master Bathroom.  It had basically been my ex-husband’s private bathroom.  It had an old soaker spa jet tub, whose jets had broken a year or two after we moved in.  I had rarely used them anyway, because mildew and soap scum would always build up in the jets, making bathwater gross enough even before you added the air bubbles.  The toilet had been leaking for a few years, and I had been seeing the effect in our water bills for about a year.  Mildew had basically taken over the whole room, and in the course of eight years almost every fixture (including the gigantic, mirrored medicine cabinet) had fallen off the walls.

Whether we were able to stay in the house or had to sell it, the Master Bathroom had to be partially remodeled.  First I had the toilet replaced.  Then we had to remove the old tub, put in a new tub, and do a tile patch.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford to re-tile the entire bathtub area or replace the tile with a new liner.  My handy man also discovered mildew under the floor tiles when he was putting in the tub, so I had to get new peel-and-stick vinyl floor tiles.  There was also water damage to one of the walls where the shower curtain had not been closed properly.

Once all of that was done, I scrubbed and painted the walls (Glidden Water Chestnut) and the trim (Glidden Cinnamon Spice).  Then my handy-man returned to finish adding new trim and put up a new mirror, hand-towel ring, and towel hooks.  So, here is the finished product.

Master Bathroom 1

New shower curtain and towel rack.

Master Bathroom 2

New bath tub and tile patch.

 

Master Bathroom 3

New toilet, rack, mirror, and sink accessories.

 

 

New hand towel ring and sink accessories.

New hand towel ring and sink accessories.

Nailed It!

Posted July 9, 2014 by DCM
Categories: Catholic Faith, Religion, Virtues/Gifts/Fruits

Since I am in a huge period of discernment and because I stalk  follow Jen Fulwhiler and her blog, I decided to try out the Called and Gift CD set along with the Spiritual Gifts Inventory that she recommend.  Both were developed as a workshop by the Catherine of Siena Institute
to help people discern with which charisms they may have been gifted by the Holy Spirit to aid them in their vocation.  In other words, the Holy Spirit sometimes has specific ways that He wants to use each individual person within his or her vocation.  The theory is that if we can discern how the Holy Spirit normally uses us then we can more fully cooperate for the benefit of others and the glory of God.

Anywho, even though I thought my chances of actually being able to listen to all five CDs without a bazillion interruptions were slim, I actually found several times where I was able to listen to them with few interruptions.  (It had to be the Holy Spirit at work.)  I filled in the circles on my inventory, and eagerly looked to see where my high scores are.  Now the program doesn’t promise that those are the spiritual gifts that you have, but the inventory is supposed to help you narrow down which ones to investigate more thoroughly.

The program tells you to look at your top five.  My highest score was for the charism of Knowledge.  The next two that I remember were Evangelism and Writing.  And I totally can’t remember what the other two were, and my answer sheet is in one of these various piles of paper stacked around my kitchen.

I did all of this in May.  While I have kept it on my mind the past two months, it has been on the back burner while I’ve been dealing with other issues.   A couple of days ago, though, I came across the Spiritual Gifts Resource Guide that I had purchased along with the CDs and the inventory.  (It was in one of the piles of paper stacked around my kitchen.)  I sat down with it and went straight to the pages on Knowledge.

The program describes the charism of Knowledge as such:  Knowledge empowers a Christian to be a channel of God’s truth through diligent study and intellectual activity that enables us to better understand God, ourselves, and the universe.

Well, that sounds pretty spot on for me.  God’s truth?  Check! Study? Check!  Intellectual activity? Check!  Making connections about how everything applies to God, myself, humans in general, and the universe? Check!

So, then I look at the Scripture and Catechism references.  Of course, the first three are from three of my favorite Old Testament books:  Proverbs, Wisdom, and especially Sirach.  I love me some Sirach.  I fell in love with it when I was bored to death on Senior retreat when they locked us in a chapel for what felt like two hours to journal and all I had was my Bible to read.  The book of Sirach just cuts to the heart of things with no b.s.

The first book on the recommend reading list is The Dumb Ox:  Saint Thomas Aquinas by G.K. Chesterton which I have been slowly been making my way through.  The Patron Saints for this charism include Thomas Aquinas and Edith Stein.  Thomas Aquinas is, well, Thomas Aquinas.  This is the second time in the past few years, though, that I have been pointed towards Edith Stein with no real previous knowledge of her.  I may have to read her biography next.

Here’s where the punch line comes, though.  These are some possible expressions for those with the charism of Knowledge:

teaching

scholarship

apologetics

writing

RCIA/religious education

home schooling

Did you catch that last one?  HOME SCHOOLING!!  I literally laughed out loud when I read that.

I guess the Holy Spirit was leading me even when I didn’t realize it.  He’s sneaky like that.  I will still be homeschooling for at least another year or two (God willing), but I will need to start investigating other avenues (hopefully paying ones) for the Holy Spirit to put me to work.  But it looks like the inventory really had my number.

I can’t wait to see what else the guide has to say about the other charisms in which I tested high.

 

Baby Birds

Posted July 2, 2014 by DCM
Categories: Homeschooling/Education, Parenting

The hardest part of parenting is when you have two choices and you have absolutely no idea which way to go.  Do you push your little bird out of the nest a bit so that she can spread their wings and gain some confidence, or do keep her under your wing a while longer?

I decided a few months ago to transfer my second daughter, age 8, from the homeschool to our parish school for third grade.  Homeschooling had been extremely rough this past year with a lot of arguing.  Plus, since she was loathe to participate in organized activities, I felt that she could really use more social opportunities.  She seemed to lack confidence in herself, and I thought a successful venture into school would give her a boost.

Also, I really need more time to focus on her next younger sister.  My third daughter has Sensory Processing Disorder that mainly manifests with her eating habits.  However, I have also noticed some motor skill issues which I think are related to the SPD.  She’s extremely intelligent, but she struggles with certain life skills.  I need to start doing some therapy work, in addition to first grade homeschool work, to try to bridge the gap with her eating and motor skills.

On top of that, with the divorce, I need to start focusing on gaining some marketable skills to get a job in the next three to five years.  I’m looking at taking the ParaPro assessment to get licensed as a teacher aid.  I’m also looking at online Masters programs.  This means I need time to study.

However, DD#2 was getting extremely upset about the idea of going to school.  She got along fine during her two shadow days at the school in May, but she was miserable on the inside the whole time.  We found notes saying that she wished she was dead, and she said it was less about the divorce and more about going to school.  I began to wonder if I was doing the right thing.

After discussing it with her counselor, we all agreed that she will not be going to regular school after all.  She will be homeschooled for at least one more year.  However, this year I will be switching to a formal program.  Both my 3rd grader and 1st grader will be registered with Kolbe Academy Homeschool.  I’ll have to tweak a few things, but for the most part I will be using their book list and course plans.

It will definitely be more work and more structure than I would normally use at these grade levels, but I just don’t have the time or energy to put into planning my own curriculum this year.  I think a more formal program will better prepare them for the eventuality of school, which wasn’t really a concern of mine previously.  Of course it brings up questions like:  do you use the spelling program that you think will teach them more or the spelling program that will get them used to how they teach spelling in schools?

 

7 Quick Takes (v. 81): St. Meinrad

Posted May 24, 2014 by DCM
Categories: 7 Quick Takes

7_quick_takes

1.  Last weekend I had the privilege of joining my best friend Kelly at St. Meinrad Archabbey and Seminary in southern Indiana.  I took a few pictures of my time there, but I was too busy experiencing life there to spend a lot of time documenting it.  The location is absolutely gorgeous, and the architecture and art work are amazing.  I strongly encourage you to check out their photo gallery and their Art and Architecture page.

2.  Kelly and I were roomates for two years in college.  Fifteen years after graduation, we were roommates again.  We had to stop ourselves from chitchatting in the darkness all night, just like in the old days.  Instead of going to sleep to the sound of blaring train horns passing our dorm window all night, we got to listen to the monastery bells ringing every fifteen minutes.

3.  I really wish that I could have had one more day at St. Meinrad (and not just to have one more day away from the kids).  I really felt like I didn’t get to do half of the things I would have liked to do.  I didn’t get to spend nearly enough time walking the grounds, especially the woods.  I would have liked to have more time to sit in prayer and meditation and introspection and exploration.  And it is just so beautiful and peaceful there.

4.  One thing that really struck me about my time at St. Meinrad was the spirit of everyone who was there.  There were the monks and the employees of the archabbey.  There were the professors and the lay graduate students.  There were the deacons-in-training on retreat and the other visitors.  Everyone just had this spirit of peace and kindness and respect and humor.  It was like a little taste of heaven.

5.  I spent way too much money between the campus book store and the gift shop.  I also picked up a few used books from the library for a dollar a piece.  I probably spent close to two hours in the huge gift shop debating which wall decorations I wanted to purchase as I prepare to paint and rearrange the whole house and set up a prayer corner.  There’s nothing like a Catholic book store for getting my full Catholic nerd on.

6.  I also had the opportunity to sit in on Kelly’s graduate course about the Apostolic Fathers.  I LOVED it!!  I probably would have gone to every class meeting that weekend if there weren’t other things that I wanted to see and do during my stay.  As a result, I am seriously looking into online programs for getting my M.A. in Theology.  I’m still in a huge period of prayer and discernment for the future, and I feel like a window may have just opened for me.

7.  Yesterday was my 37th birthday.  I felt like the trip to St. Meinrad with Kelly was like an early birthday present.  For the first time in a long time, I am very excited about the prospects of the future. I don’t care that I am approaching forty.  You know the saying “Life begins at 40″?  For me it feels like “Life begins at 37!”  God bless!!


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