29 November 2009

updates...what updates?!?

Yes, I owe you an update...but frankly I'm tired...

I had an excellent visit with the kiddos...a great drive back home...got things accomplished...learned some things...

I'll post more later, when I'm able to compose my thoughts into something that would be worth you reading and add some pictures that you might like to see :)

In the meantime, check out my daily posts at my project 365 blog.

22 November 2009

in Florida...

with the kiddos this weekend :D :D :D :D

enjoying my time and will update more later!

11 November 2009

Project 365

Okay, here it is...after a little thought and a little encouragement from a few friends and a HUGE desire to finally learn more about using my camera and taking great pictures...I have decided to launch into Project 365. I'm challenging myself to take and post one picture a day for an entire year. I will be posting these pictures on a new blog so that they can stand on their own and not become lost in my ramblings of my day to day life. Check it out and hopefully you'll enjoy...a little encouragement to keep me going would be good too :)

my project 365

04 November 2009

busy, busy bee

I have been very busy in the last couple weeks. It all started with the Habitat build, I got a taste of productivity and a sense of being needed, it was just what I needed to get motivated to moving forward in my life.

So, in the past week or so I have:
  • started working, part-time but it's work and I love it
  • started singing in the church choir
  • continued with my Boundaries class at church
  • continued to read my way through the Count of Monte Cristo...and I'm really enjoying this read :)
  • helped Dad winterize the swimming pool
  • planted crocus and tulip bulbs in the garden
  • started knitting on a new pair of sock for myself
  • made progress on knitting my sweater...I've only been working on it since Margaret was born (2 1/2 years!)...I hope I can finish it this year
  • spackled and sanded the walls in the basement and stairwell (working on a project Mom started)
  • painted said walls, the top half of them, the bottom still needs some primer before finishing
  • organised my room so that it is now a place of my own...still need to find some pictures to hang on the walls, but at least the packing boxes are no longer taking up space on the floor
  • organised my filing cabinet, going through papers from as far back as 12 years ago, throwing away 2 big garbage bags of said papers and appropriately filing the rest
  • sorted through clothes in my closet and drawers and designated 1 big bag for donations...I still have some to add though
  • gotten back to working on my thesis...working on some reading and figuring out my methodology
  • created a calendar and to-do list for myself...this consists of projects in the house, knitting projects, scheduled thesis work time and deadlines
All of this has brought me to a sense of belonging...I'm settling in here...I have a purpose...I'm happy...no matter what is thrown my way, I will take it in stride...nothing can bring me down again...

Yes, I have my moments when the tears well up and I wish I could just hold my kids and never let them go, and I sit in their rooms here and hold their stuffed animals and find the strength to go on...I am doing what I need to do for the sake of my kids...and they will know that and appreciate that one day.

In the meantime, I keep busy, I build relationships in this community and I continue to pray for God's will to be done.

25 October 2009

finally taking root

The past few weeks have brought some interesting emotional highs and lows. Really, I should know to expect them, they have been a fact of my life for a while now. I guess I was just unprepared because here I was thinking that things were finally settling down and I was beginning to be able to make a new start in life.

I was in desperate need of getting away from it all for a while, I needed the mental break from dealing with the process of establishing a new parenting plan and figuring child-support and the difficulty of making everybody happy in the meantime. I was also due for a visit with my kids, three weeks without them is really tough. So, I took off on a road trip to visit friends and ultimately end up in Gainesville to spend a long weekend with the kiddos.

I left on a Wednesday and drove down to South Carolina to spend a couple days with my dearest friend Carole and her family. Her baby girl is about 3 months old now, and I had not gotten to hug and hold and spoil her. So, baby Emma got a visit from her Auntie Sharon...and I can't wait to go back to see her! Carole and I spent a couple days going shopping, staying up late talking and reminiscing and just generally having a great time together.

Next stop was Virgina to visit another dear friend. Matt just recently started his new job as a French teacher at a private school near South Boston, VA and he happened to be on break this week. It was a wonderful visit, doing a lot of nothing...staying up late, sleeping in, catching up on life...we did take a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway and also out to Appomattox and into Lynchburg, were we met another very special friend of mine for dinner...Rick and I spent a good amount of time chatting about the old times in high school and where everybody was these days (I'll get up there again soon to see him and his wife and baby). My time in Virginia made me realize how much I really missed it up there.

Then it was on to Gainesville to see my babies. I was dreading this visit for one reason, this was the visit to tell them that I would be staying in Indiana to complete my PhD and that I would see them on a monthly basis and also for school breaks. I think this was one of the hardest things for me to do, ever. After, that hurdle was jumped over, we settled into Becka's home for the weekend and ended up having a decent visit. It was a very stressful visit for me, but I think they will each get better as we all get used to this routine.

This trip happened to coincide with the University of Florida's homecoming weekend and so I took the kids to the homecoming parade and we watched the Gator game together. I also bought them each their Halloween costumes and we played in a park. We went to church and just generally tried to spend some good time together...it was difficult to tear them away from the computer and TV at times, but I'll figure out how to prioritize my time with them a little better for the next time.

Coming back to Indiana was both difficult and easy. I discovered that I really do not enjoy being in Florida anymore, particularly when its almost 90 degrees in October, but coming back home, with no job and having to face the reality of my life was not a pleasant thought either. I had some really tough moments with Mom & Dad, figuring out where we all are in this process emotionally, figuring out how much more we can handle...and I think that we are ready for whatever is yet to come.

I took a drive up to Bloomington to finally meet Dr. Auger and see the campus...I think I'll love it there. Dr. Auger is a wonderful person and I really look forward to working with her over the next few years and the campus is simply beautiful!

I also found a job, well, mom helped me find it. I start tomorrow, working in a daycare center, part-time, but it's a job, I can't turn it down when there are no other offers. I'm building relationships with people in the church, finally getting out to meet people. Dad and I worked on a Habitat build this weekend, good, quality time with other people, something I've been in need of.

So, this past week, I went from feeling like I was floating around with no place to call my own, to finally feeling like I'm taking root in this community and in this state. I think I'll be okay here...it might still take a little more time...but I'll be okay.

04 October 2009

life in small-town USA

This week brought a true taste of what life is like in a small farming community. This Saturday was the church's 2nd annual hog roast. These types of social events are a huge part of little Mt. Vernon. Every church has an annual social...pork chop dinners, hog roasts, the list is incredibly long for a town of 7500 people (there are a lot of churches here). Mom's church does the hog roast...a time for working together, fellowship, food and fun. It was so good to be a part of it, these are hard-working people and it is good to work alongside good people.

I came to Mom's office with her several days this week too...I'm not sure how she ever gets anything done...she pretty much has a revolving door, there is always someone coming in, for some reason or another. I also went and got my Indiana driver's license...and I had to take the written test to get it! I've also been filling out job applications...need to find something to start paying all those bills I have :)

This week is road trip time! The plan is to visit some friends and then back down to Florida to see the kids...I can't wait! It'll be good to be with friends again, I really miss my friends...and, more than anything, I can't wait to hug and hold my babies :)

27 September 2009

Home is where the heart is...

and yet where is home when your heart is torn in two?

I am home. There is no question about that. Being home with Mom and Dad is possibly the most healing thing that I can do for myself right now. It's good to be with them, and not be alone at night, to take a break from the constant worry of daily life.

There is a joy in riding down the country roads with Dad in his pick-up truck, windows open, talking enough, but mostly just being in each other's company, listening to the radio and occasionally singing along to the same songs. Working with him to unload the branches from the truck and trailer and listening to his plans for the next house projects and knowing that I will be able to work with him on those too.

There is a joy in sitting in church with Dad and listening to Mom give a worship service and to be in the presence of those people who have been praying so much for me and the kids and who continue to pray. To be able to say that I'm looking for a job and hear someone say that they will keep their eye out for something. To be fully welcomed in a community as one of their own is an indescribable feeling.

There is something about this land as well. Something that calls me home here. It's not my mountains where I really long to be, but there is a freshness here. This open land dotted with fields and houses, horses and the occasional oil well. The open road that connects the farms to the small towns and then to the larger communities. The same open road that you could follow and in no time end up in another state. The star-studded night sky that is an amazing sight to behold, when it's not cloudy. I feel a peace in this land.

But only half of my heart is here, the other half is still in Florida. There is a constant nagging sadness, and no matter how happy and at peace I will feel here, that sadness will not go away. I miss my babies. I long to hug them and hold them. I look at their pictures constantly. And yet, I know that I must face this difficult time in order to discover the sweet rewards on the other side.

18 September 2009

"The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley."

OK, so life doesn't always hand you what you expect, and the best laid plans are often changed...I'm learning that these days...it's not an easy lesson to learn.

But before there are any more changes in my life, there are some good things going on too.

I met up with my dear friend Stephanie this week, she is at a crossroads in her life right now and I am so excited for her. She's on her way to France to teach English in a high school for 7 months. She will be fantastic!

This weekend I'm taking my kiddos to Disney, thanks to my Aunt Mary and Uncle Tim! When my dad was here and we drove down to Orlando to see my grandmother and other family, all the kids could talk about was how much they wanted to go to Disney World...and let me tell you they are so excited! Margaret wants to see Little Mermaid and Pooh, I haven't seen Joseph this excited and happy in so long and Elisabeth is excited in a cool middle school way ;) I can't wait to share this fun with them!

And then life will continue, with the all the joys that go along with it...I'm looking forward to seeing my Oma and other friends in the near future. There are many decisions to make, many changes to be made, many plans to reevaluate and make anew.

Despite all that has happened, I remain positive, I hold no grudges, I keep strong faith. I must or I could never go on.

"Life may lead you where you least expect but have faith in that you are exactly where you are meant to be." -from the movie Snow Buddies

13 September 2009

and now a sharp turn...still not a dead end...

The results of more court time:
  • The honorable judge reversed his original decision and denied my right to relocate to Indiana with my children.
  • I am still in Florida.
  • We have returned to our 53/47% parenting plan.
  • The children are having a very difficult time.
  • I must now analyze my life and decide on a direction to move toward.
  • I still hold a hope to give my children everything they deserve in their lives.
Please continue your prayers for my family.

The words to this song mean a lot to me right now.

25 August 2009

A bump in the road...

So, after a week in beautiful southern Indiana, I am back in Gainesville with my three kids. We have hit a bump in the road that needs to be navigated. More court time is in our future.

I will not say any more at this point in the process. I only ask for continued prayers for everyone involved in this situation...especially the kids.

"A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others throw at him or her." - David Brinkley, TV newscaster

01 August 2009

We're moving!

The honorable judge rendered his decision on Thursday afternoon and I received an ecstatic phone call from my attorney, on her mommy day off, shortly after.

I have permission to relocate to Mt. Vernon, Indiana, to the home of my parents...with my three children! Simply amazing!

Moving day is set for August 9th, the kids start school August 11th and I start August 31st.

More to come in the next few days :)

25 July 2009


The deed is done and now we wait. My relocation trial occurred yesterday, a three hour trial that was extended to four and the attorneys didn't even have the opportunity to give closing arguments. The judge did not give his ruling at the close of the hearing, and so now we wait.

I cannot speculate as to what his decision will be and I will do myself an injustice in thinking it will swing one way or the other. I am confident that his decision will only take into account what is in the best interest of our children. I will accept his decision, no matter what it is, with grace and dignity and move forward in my life making the best of whatever this life will bring.

I only ask that you continue to pray for this situation. I do not ask for prayers for myself, for the answer that I want. I ask for prayers of wisdom for the judge as he makes his decision.

07 July 2009

Impatience may be appropriate at this time.

This is the fortune I found while cleaning up my bathroom the other day. I've been mulling it over in my head since then. It seems to fit my life right now.

Chez nous, we have been impatiently watching swallowtail caterpillars grow and change and we're now waiting for them to emerge as butterflies from their protective chrysalises. I have been impatiently working on my thesis and getting frustrated with its slow progress. I have been impatiently waiting for a court date to be scheduled while watching the days tick away.

Sometimes it takes impatience to make me work harder for things, to make me get things done.

The thesis is progressing, I'm reading and rereading and writing and rewriting...and taking appropriate breaks so I don't get overwhelmed. The progress is still slower than I would like, but I'll get it done.

The court date has been set, July 23rd. I have done everything I personally need to do to prepare, it is now in the hands of my attorney and then ultimately the judge's decision. I'm finding peace in my thoughts about this process, I'm not sure how, but it's there.

So my impatience has paid off in a way, but now I must remember that patience is even more important. I must be patient with myself in my writing, patient as I wait for July 23rd.

And good things do come to those who wait, the first Black Swallowtail butterfly emerged yesterday. God's world is beautiful and he provides so many opportunities for us to learn from his creatures, if only we will take the time to listen and watch.

16 June 2009

On the Knitting Front

Looking back, I have been in love with the fiber arts for a very long time. I think it really started when my Oma taught me to cross-stitch that week she stayed with us while Mom and Dad were in Germany, I was 10. I still remember that first project too: screen-printed flowers on a muslin-type material, I still have it, it's still unfinished; something about my perfectionism and those pesky french knots that kept me from ever finishing that particular sampler. I have gone on to finish many more projects over the years, gave many as gifts, and I still have many languishing in a box labeled "unfinished x-stitch projects". Maybe I'll finish those one day.

Around the same time as my introduction to cross-stitch, I learned how to sew with a sewing machine. I think I had already done some hand sewing, making little things for my dollhouse or a little pillow for my dolls, I don't really remember learning how to sew that well, it's one of those things I feel like I've always done. Anyway, I ended up making both my junior and senior prom dresses in high school. I still have those, and a stack of patterns and fabric I'd like to get back to eventually.

I think it was in those same elementary years that I received my knitting knoddy from Oma, a red and white mushroom. I made yards and yards of knitted tubes with it and sewed them into various shapes, some of them ended up in my dollhouse too. I also learned how to make a crocheted chain, this was an art Mom and I worked on together. Unfortunately, I never got past the chain stage at that time.

Hurtle through those teenage years, I was content sewing and cross-stitching, really enjoyed them and excelled in those arts.

I picked crocheting back up as an adult, Joseph was a baby and I had just begun watching kids at home and I needed something to occupy my "off" time. So I started crocheting again, I learned how to make some really pretty doilies and started working on a couple afghans. The doilies got completed, the afghans are in a box labeled "unfinished crochet".

My sister is the one who introduced me to knitting. She came to visit, bearing a fuzzy blue yarn and size 8 needles. One of her friends in college had just showed her how to knit and she wanted to share her new-found knowledge with me. Thank you Becka!

We struggled with the yarn and needles that night, the yarn was too bulky for that size needles, I know that now, but neither of us understood it then. I think I must have gone out and picked up some yellow yarn, or found some in my little stash of crochet yarn, I also bought myself a book to help me out. So with Becka's first instruction and my new yarn and book, I launched myself into a new art which at times seems to overtake my life. The first thing I knit was a bright yellow acrylic square, I think it's still floating around somewhere. After mastering the knit and purl stitches, I naturally moved on to something that I wanted to knit for myself...a pair of socks! Since I had no one to tell me that socks are supposed to be difficult, I just looked for a pattern online bought the required yarn (it was acrylic, not having been introduced to the joys of knitting with natural fibers yet) and needles and launched into it. Before too long, I had my very first pair of purple socks. From there, there were no limits to what I could do.

I think the next thing I did was buy myself a sock knitting pattern book, The Sock Calendar. And then I visited my local yarn store, and I learned about knitting socks in wool...this was love!

I discovered the wonderful online community associated with the fiber arts and thus began another adventure. I originally began this blog so long ago as a way to share my arts with others (and to show off my kids). So if you scroll back through the archives, you'll see some of the many items I've knit both for myself and for others. I joined Ravelry.com, perfect for my list-making tendencies, I can organize all my list of my books, pdfs, yarns and needles, and it's all electronic!

Sadly, with graduate school and life in general, all of these loves had been put aside for a while. I am now finding the importance of carving out the time to indulge in these little pleasures again. Mom reminded me the other day how knitting seems to calm me the best, and I have now remembered that, having picked up the needles again.

I've almost finished a swiffer cover, have been working on Becka's bridal shawl (which will now be a christening shawl when the time comes) and have picked up my beautiful Clessidra socks again. I am finding peace in the repetition of the stitches, the yarn running through my hands and the occupation of my mind with the pattern.

15 June 2009

On Mondays.

Before church yesterday, while I was in the shower, I had this wonderful blog post roaming around in my head (I always mull over my writing for a while before I even begin to type it out). Anyway, too much happened after church, a massive caffeine headache that left me lying down for most of the afternoon until the Naproxin kicked in, a lengthy phone conversation that I'm still trying to figure out whether it served any purpose at all, and needless to say I never got to posting my thoughts yesterday.

Thinking about it again this morning in the shower, it is where I do my best thinking, I decided that it was a worthy topic to attempt again...of course only after I've gotten coffee in my system.

I was thinking about the calendar yesterday morning and decided that I really like how French calendars are laid out. I know a weird thing to think about, but when you teach a language these little tidbits of information always come up in the classroom, and me being the thoughtful type....well, often it turns into a blog posting.

So, the French calendar starts each week with Monday, now you Monday haters are going to wonder why this pleases me, but I happen to love Mondays. I was born on a Monday, my youngest daughter was born on a Monday, I've always had a fondness for the day. I also like to think about Monday as a fresh start for the week, it's a chance to launch into the week with a new vigor and make it a good one.

I also reason that Sunday belongs at the end of the week, no point in splitting up the weekend. I look at Sundays as my day of worship, closing out the previous week and opening the opportunity for a positive week to come. I feel this sense of worship whether I choose to attend church or not, Sunday is still my day set aside for quiet meditation and praise.

This week is monumental, my last week teaching at UF, ever, and transitioning to working full-time hours for the first time in several years, while still keeping motherhood as my top priority and carving out time to write my thesis before mid-July. I am so close to the end of this journey to my Master's degree, yet still so far to go.

Elisabeth has been in Washington, DC with the school safety patrols this weekend. They left on Friday morning at midnight and traveled through the day to arrive Friday evening. Today is their third day of touring and they return home tomorrow. I am so proud of her for taking this trip, this is such a big step for her. But I can't wait to see her tomorrow, I miss my girl when she's not here.

Joseph survived his first week of summer camp at the Y. He ended up going with me to teach on Friday because he had a fever, his comments upon leaving the classroom, "Mommy, I've never been that quiet ever." and "I've never heard a class that quiet before!" It was a test day, and apparently the silence of the classroom really impressed him. We ended up enjoying a great afternoon together, it's not often that I get one-on-one time with any of my kids, so when it happens, even if it's because they are sick, I really treasure the time together.

Margaret is, well, Margaret...she truely is her own person, unique, strong, hilarious. I love watching her grow into her personality and seeing her attempt to keep up with the big kids, and succeed, is the coolest thing. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for her, because it can be nothing short of greatness.

So, here's to Monday...and a great week ahead.

13 June 2009

no more anonymous comments

When I reactivated my blog, I inadvertently left the ability for anonymous comments as active. I have corrected this oversight, and now anyone who wishes to comment to my blog must first register. In addition, I will now be moderating comments. If I do not recognize your user name and you do not identify yourself in the first line of your comment, not only will your comment not be posted, I will not read it either.

Therefore, if you wish to make comments such as the one to my previous post, you should have the decency and fortitude to identify yourself.

12 June 2009

a dream is a wish your heart makes...

With the ups and downs in my life lately, sometimes it just seems easier to resort to dreams. I seem to go through cycles lately, passing from nights of wakefulness when I am happy to just catch two or three hours of restless sleep to nights of such deep, dreamless sleep that leave me feeling just as tired as those sleepless ones.

But my favorite nights are the dream-filled ones, ones where I awake with such a feeling of warmth from all the positive thoughts swimming around in my head, ones I emerge from and want to immediately retreat back into their cozy cocoon. I have cycled back to these dream-filled nights and I am quite happy here. These nights leave me feeling that there are good things just on the horizon, I only need to reach it.

This is probably one of the most transitional times I've experienced in my life, and also one of the most uncertain. The negativity surrounding this relocation case and the uncertainty of it is starting to take it's toll on me. I am finding I need more and more self-reassurance that it will work out according to God's will. And I find myself retreating more and more into my own dream world, an attempt to escape from the harsh reality of it all and to try to find a sliver of good in this life I live.

I have experienced many blessings along the way, and I relish each and every happy moment I have. I must, when without fail, the best days are turned sour. I long for the time when I can savor my joy for as long as I wish, and not allow it to be taken away by anyone else. Knowing that I cannot change anyone but myself, I am personally working toward this, it is a difficult road, requiring me to change thought processes that have been ingrained for more than 10 years.

In the meantime, I go through the motions: I teach, I work, I take care of my kids, I take care of myself, I dance, I write...and I dream, wishing all the while that they would only come true.

09 June 2009

Coming back to blogging...

My life has been a whirlwind this past year and many of the things I love have been put on the back burner. Things have not really begun to settle down yet, but I am making a commitment to myself to begin to enjoy those past-times that once brought so much joy to me and those that I have not had the opportunity to experience for the past 12 years: knitting, dancing, spending time with true friends, blogging...so here I am again.

I figure I will put a very brief update here for those of you who may have thought I'd fallen off the face of the earth, if anyone who ever read this little blog are still around. I am now divorced, still have 3 beautiful children, still working on that MA in French and looking to move my life forward in many ways.

I've been accepted to the French Linguistics program at Indiana University and I'm currently working on getting permission from the courts in Florida to move up there with my kids. This will mean moving in with my parents who live near enough to the university to commute daily and who will provide an awesome support system that I have been lacking for so long. I won't go into details of the case since it is pending, still waiting for the court date, all I will say is that it is proving to be more difficult than ever expected.

I have found through the experience of my divorce and this process of relocation that I have some amazing friends, old and new. Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with some of my high school friends and they have proven themselves to be true friends, providing the support of a listening ear and prayer. I have also discovered that I've been working with some really cool people for the past two years, finally having the ability to spend time with them and build true relationships, I have discovered those same listening ears and prayerful support, as well as fun people to hang out with. I only wish that I would have realized it sooner, we are all going our separate ways in a few short weeks and I will miss everyone dearly.

The kids have fared as well as can be expected through this past year. I have seen many changes in them for the positive as they are being exposed to a new environment at Mommy's house, my understanding is not the same of their behavior at Daddy's house, but I can never know for certain. They are adjusting well to the time-sharing schedule of spending about half of their nights at each house, but they are so adaptable, I feel they would adjust to whatever life throws their way and still come out on top.

They have all grown so much, it's hard to believe that Elisabeth just finished 5th grade and will be moving onto middle school next year, Joseph has completed 1st grade and was accepted into the gifted program (but is still bored in school) and Margaret is now 2 years old and shows no delays in development due to her prematurity...they are all amazing children.

These next few weeks will be a great challenge for me. I will finish teaching my last class at UF in a week and a half, I will need to focus on getting my thesis finished by the end of July and also prepare for a relocation trial around the same time as my thesis defense. Being someone who thrives on planning her life, whether the plans fall into place or not, I am finding myself struggling with the uncertainty of my life right now and leaning more and more on prayer and the support of those around me, both near and far.