The World Didn’t Come to an End


damn-charliefhfhfA “do over” wouldn’t be a do over without change. For those of you who have followed me on this journey of my Mid-Life Do Over, you’ve seen everything from broken-heartedness, revelation, frustration, excitement, as well as a marriage (and pregnancy!) come about in my public do over. There can be happy as well as sad times. It can be challenging and sometimes downright terrifying. The trick through all of it is finding peace whether that be from God, family, or even a new hobby – though I encourage seeking peace through God.

My changes and transitions have been anything but smooth. I’m a clumsy person by nature so therefore I don’t handle change gracefully. It usually consists of me kicking and screaming, or has been known to keep me in bed with the lights down low, shedding a river of tears for quite a length of time. I’m a Melancholy. Change, whether it is voluntary or involuntary, bad or good, is never accepted well on my end. That is one of my many weaknesses and I am okay with that. At least I am aware of my responses and behaviors. This allows me an opportunity to turn my weaknesses into strengths which in the case of my temperament, means I have to find that particular strength in Christ.

Picture-5For most of my life I have referred to myself as the proverbial “Charlie Brown”. I say this not to feel sorry for myself or to gain sympathy from others. It’s merely to point out to readers that when I’m regularly not met with poor luck, I am usually met instead with some crazy obstacle. That’s okay. In the past few years I’ve come to the understanding that this is either a season of strengthening and learning, or God’s way of saying, “Yo, chick! Listen up! You’re going the wrong way!” And of course, I naturally respond to Him with self-pity followed by reluctant acceptance or – if I want to be real honest with you (and I think that’s best in most cases) – blatant rebellion accompanied with the middle finger. What can I say? I’m human. I’m stubborn. I will speak as though the world is out to get me or the sky is falling only to to find in the end that I have grown, become better, and that He still does all things for my good – even if I gave Him that finger gesture. That’s life. It continually moves on with or without our consent and it’s how we respond that ignites growth and maturity (human AND spiritual). This is when I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes of all time which can be found being delivered near the end of “A Boy Named Charlie Brown” by Linus Van Pelt.
Thank God, I married my Linus Van Pelt.

“I suppose you feel you let everyone down, and you made a fool of yourself and everything. But did you notice something, Charlie Brown? The world didn’t come to an end.”

Charlie Brown kite 2

Married life with Matt has been wonderful – from what we’ve experienced so far. We had a fun wedding. A short reception. A honeymoon. And then reality hit us square in the nose. After we allowed our eyes to water a bit and realized that our “noses” were not broken we were reminded that long before the exchanging of vows and even the popping of the question we spoke of how, if we were to marry someday, that we’d dedicate our lives and our family to do God’s work. I meant it at the time. I mean it now. However, I know that unless God reminds me in a way that only I will take heed to, I won’t follow through. Call it a lack of motivation or a diversion of life. It happens.

Last Christmas, without a promise of marriage, I knew that I wanted to be closer to Matt. The decision was made and I began to follow through. I was moving to Murfreesboro. Since January, I have been beyond diligent in sending out resumes and spending hours upon hours filling out applications online for a job in the Murfreesboro/Nashville area. I knew competition for job openings would be stiff and that it possibly wouldn’t be until May when I’d finally get a breakthrough. PERFECT! The boys would be out of school and by then I would have graduated with my degree in Counseling! God was going to provide that perfect job for me on His timing (aka, MY timing).  I had a few phone and person to person interviews but nothing fully materialized before May. But I knew I was on the right path because on March 31st, the man I loved and wanted to share my life with asked me to be his wife. That had to be a sign, right? May came, I graduated, the boys got out of school with nothing but honor roll year ’round. Things really started looking up… and then I was t-boned with the revelation that I was pregnant. Rolling with the punches, we made our apologies and moved on to utter excitement. I could actually get pregnant still! Not exactly the order in which God calls for, but nonetheless, He was blessing our soon-to-be union with a baby! Our plans continued forward. We were going to even buy a house. I mean, why pay near $900 a month for an apartment that our family could fit into when we could pay $700 a month to own a home of our own of the same size plus a yard?

Anxiety Charlie BrownBy the end of June, our plans began to fall through the cracks no matter how hard we tried to salvage them. I was ordered on bed rest due to a “vanishing twin” and other issues. (By the way, bed rest sucks.) I no longer had the option to work and be a financial team player with Matt. Well, I did have the option but at the risk of losing my surviving baby which is not an option in my book. We were able to re-prioritize our budget and move forward on the house that we had chosen. Granted, things were going to be tight on one income, but it was doable. Sacrifices: no more Starbucks, no more Bare Minerals, excessive driving was to be cut back, no more movies, no more going out to eat (I was going to have to learn how to cook).

July. The month of our wedding. The last month before God re-established himself as a clear focus in our lives. The financial stress of my lack of employment fell upon my parents unfortunately. I hated that. The inexpensive wedding that Matt and I were paying for became my parents burden instead (though they’ll swear it wasn’t a burden). This was my second wedding and call me “old school”, but I didn’t feel like this one was their responsibility. They paid for the first one. But they provided the most fun and amazing wedding anyway and for that I am beyond thankful! And let’s be honest, they did this not just because they love me, but mainly because they love Matt – probably more. *wink* I was served court papers that prevented me from moving my boys to Murfreesboro. This in no way is bashing their father. He’s actually an awesome dad. Since the divorce we have shared custody because he lives close by. I get the boys one week, he gets them the other. The boys love it like this. In my move to Murfreesboro, their father would no longer get them every other week and I wasn’t willing to relinquish every weekend to him due to our religious differences. So, he did what any  loving parent would do – he fought for his children. I hold absolutely NO grudges against him for this. But this was just another obstacle that I would have to hurdle, an obstacle I could very well lose.

Charlie Brown. I told you.

We had a wonderful wedding. I officially became Melissa Ellis-Clyde on July 20th on a hot, sweaty Saturday evening in the dead of summer. Maybe I was so sweaty because I was pregnant? Go figure.

Football FumbleDuring our honeymoon we were faced with an obstacle of not closing on the house in time. Matt was due out of his apartment at the end of the month. That gave us three days after we returned from the honeymoon to move him out, into a storage unit, and clean. Stressful doesn’t even cover it. We agreed that I would remain in Crossville while Matt continued working in Murfreesboro. Matt would commute to see me when he could until we would finally be able to close on the house. So, our married life wasn’t different at all from our dating relationship. Not exactly a picture-perfect start to a marriage, but we agreed to refer to our marriage as an “adventure”, allowing obstacles and risks without any prior expectations.

If you look back, starting at my “Last Christmas” paragraph, you’ll see where we never once seeked God for His will in our lives. We made a plan and ran with it – not that there’s anything wrong with that, but sometimes He requires us to look beyond ourselves and our own selfish goals and to look to Him and what He has in store for us. In the long run, He always proves that His way is better anyway. On August 1st, God made himself very clear after months of giving us clues. Without any details to be given (because quite honestly, it’s really nobody’s business but our own), we were shown that Matt’s time in Murfreesboro was done and mine was never to come. This decision didn’t come lightly and quite frankly, we’re kicking and screaming. But we’re submitting.

It was devastating at first, but as we spent more time reflecting on not only all the signs/obstacles we kept facing but also how we felt led at times, how our heart strings were tugged in certain directions in the last year, we found peace. I never have peace, so that’s proof enough that this is God. All the obstacles we faced in the past few months, those were all God’s whispers. It took a scream in the face for us to listen. So in the last two weeks we have abandoned all plans of our own and are listening for His voice in our next destination. In this we ask that our friends, family, and readers to pray for us and with us that breakthrough in this somewhat scary transition is just on the horizon. It hasn’t not been easy on me, Matt, or the boys.

pitcher Charlie BrownFor the time being, our home is in Crossville. The one town I have tried moving mountains to get out of – on and off – since the age of 12. (Why do I keep ending up back here?) Maybe we were meant to be here all along? Maybe God will bring us right back to Murfreesboro and is just giving us a season to seek Him for a deeper intimacy? Matt is looking for employment, not just in Crossville, but between the Knoxville-Nashville stretch of interstate to keep a wide variety of options open. The boys are, however, thrilled that they have been able to return to their previous school with their friends that they have established in the last three years. That makes any mom’s heart swell.

And we are in search of our new church “home” where we can step into the ministries we were called to. Matt and I were never meant to be “bench-warmers”. None of us are. It’s exciting to know that God is working through us, bringing us to place of destiny. Our hope is to continue healthy and loving relations with our prior “home church”. With that being said, we ask that others refrain from accusations, assumptions, and gossip during this transition. We are leaving our church family with love, grace, and yet a broken heart.

The peace that has now infiltrated this transition has led us already to some amazing rebirths and simplicities. Matt and I are getting a crash course on marriage obstacles and so far, we’re just thankful to be going through this with each other, with God in the center. Where I thought I would have to pull out of my plans for a Master’s Degree recently, I have been given a greater revelation that I am to move forward in my education of Christian Counseling. It may take slower than I desire, but it will be accomplished. I have felt for a long time that I was called into this ministry, focusing on relationships whether it be family, marriage, or even within a church. This education will solidify and intensify the wisdom I hope to provide for others. Bringing me to this…

In September, I plan to unveil my new blog, “Grace and Glass Houses”. It’s my hope to utilize this blogsite to inspire, motivate, and educate the Christian community (and beyond) in our relationships with one another. I hope to have many guest-bloggers and plan to do a lot of hard work in each blog – i.e. research, study, and heartfelt prayer. That blog will be less personal than this one, but still with insight to my own personal revelations – my own glass house. The whole point of the blog is to embrace and love others. To throw grace instead of stones.

In closing, I’d like to  reaffirm that though I worked hard, putting things in play and struggling to keep them together, and feeling as though I let everyone down when the bottom dropped out, and made a fool of myself and everything – did you notice something? The world didn’t come to an end.

On the contrary. All is right with the world.HappinessIsAWarmBlanket_Stills_520-2

Ever Faithful


Okay. So I squelched in my New Year’s resolution to blog at least once a week. I’m only human. And for once, it had nothing to do with the lack of material or the desire to remain private over lame or negative life situations to post. Truth be told, I have been so abundantly blessed in the last two weeks that my head can’t even keep it all straight. The provisions of my needs and wants are practically immeasurable and yet to do service to what I stand for, I must share with all of you.

My last blog post was an explanation as to why my birthday and Valentine’s Day is typically ignored on my end. It wasn’t to sound negative, but to give a background as to why I have been so negative toward them for so long. In my defense, I admitted that despite all of my so-called failures and unhappiness in the past year, I was vigilantly faithful that God was about to turn it all around for me… naturally after a few small moments of “why me?!” every now and again. Like I said, I’m only human. I was “coming out of my desert”, nearing a final breakthrough. Almost immediately upon posting that blog, my breakthrough began and I haven’t really had time to stop and catch my breath, or process the extraordinary turn of events in my life. Continue reading

Dear 16-year-old ‘Me’…


Recently, I came across a video that moved me, called “Dear 16-Year-old Me“. It was a video about Melanoma and how “we” (as a general use) would like to warn ourselves of the dangers of even one bad sunburn before the age of 18. It’s starts out with a bit of humor, warning about perms and that you actually have to practice to get better at the guitar, but quickly transforms into a collection of people communicating to their 16 year-old-self  about the fears and trials they are going to face with this skin cancer. Each one – a personal flare to it. Really, it’s moving and I  encourage every one to check this video out, pass it on to a 16 year-old.

However, I do not have melanoma and this is not about skin cancer. The video inspired me in other ways.

As the people in the video begin speaking to their 16-year-old self, I wondered, “What would I warn my 16 year-old self?”

Wow. Where do I freakin’ begin?

Dear 16 year-old ‘Me’,

Stop coloring your hair blonde; it looks funny with your thick, dark eyebrows and doesn’t complement your skin tone in the least. It just isn’t natural and it won’t at all make you more popular.Enjoy the size you are now in spite of the ridicule you’ve been enduring from others. Your mom is right, they really are jealous. And by the time you are in your 30’s your metabolism will drop and gravity will be working against you. Your jean size willsee double digits, so learn how to excercise and eat healthy now. It’s harder to convert a lifestyle as you get older.
But remember, your size will in no way change your beauty.

Don’t play with the radio when you’re driving. You are not invincible and neither is your car and you risk the chance of getting into a one-car accident that will break your sister’s collarbone as well as her trust in your driving. Your 1979 Chevy Malibu will be totaled and that’s a heavy financial burden on your family.

So what if you’re a virgin? By the time you reach college you will no longer hear derision over the matter and instead admiration from mature friends. Hang on to it as long as possible, because it really is more than just a physical act. It’s the sharing of one’s soul and people can be fickle with your heart. It’s not an easy recovery when they change their mind after the deed is done.

Spend quality time with your family. By the time you’re 20, you will lose the grandmother you’re closest to. She’ll be diagnosed with cancer during Christmas of your sophomore year of college and will not see even Thanksgiving of the following year.

You will move out on your own at 21 and begin to see how the lives of your family members are beginning to branch out on their own as well. Embrace it, but don’t take the time you have with them now for granted.

Don’t judge others so quickly for the mistakes they make and circumstances they’ve been given in life; let your soapbox rest. You may know better, but you’re only flesh – you’re not perfect either. That girl who got pregnant out-of-wedlock? The boy who can’t afford a winter jacket? It could easily be you at any given time.

Please stop gossiping. It makes you look untrustworthy and ignorant and it is no way to keep or make friends.

Singing loudly does not constitute as singing better. You’re hurting yourself and you should treat your vocal cords like gold. By the time you’re 18, you will develop nodules. This will be one time you will not pass off a hoarse voice as an allergy infection and you will catch the problem early to correct it.

And accept the fact that you aren’t going to sing in the same key as an original artist. Just because Barbara Streisand sings  “My Man” in A-flat doesn’t mean it won’t sound just as wonderful if you do it in G. Besides, why are even singing Streisand? In 7 years, you will resign from theatre work. Believe or not, you will study jazz in college and when you are 29, you’ll play bluegrass and then move to acoustic pop. That’s right, I said play. You’re more than just a vocalist; you can be a musician. And you will be a good one. Don’t sell yourself short. Why don’t you try writing music as well? I think you’d be great at it.

And while we’re on the subject of music: You can hide all you want from that still small voice that speaks to your heart, but eventually you’ll give in and it will fulfill you beyond your imagination. Don’t allow your mother’s opinion of Worship music deflect you from what you were called to do. She is only human and wants what’s best for you – what she is comfortable with. But you are you’re own person.

Hold fast to your faith in Christ. In college, your faith will become shaky, even to the point you will be considered agnostic for a short period of time. Remember that your mom and dad raised you with a strong foundation of belief and would never lead you astray. And no matter how far your think you’ve gone, Christ is always in front of you with His arms wide open; always ready to take you back, because you can’t really run from Him if He is yours and you are His.

Worship how you are led, though. That is between you and God; let no judgement affect you. Who are you to judge how the Spirit of God looks and how to praise Him? You will eventual step out of that mold you were raised in – and it will be bittersweet and scary – but you’re doing right by you and your children.

Yes, you will have children.

That doctor you went to in college was wrong. You are fertile. Very fertile. Be prepared.

Jealousy will get you nowhere. It’ll simply eat you from within. Stop comparing yourself to other vocalists you know. You are all amazing in your own right. Amazing and different – there is no comparison so don’t let others feed that idea into your head.

Do NOT date that guy, even though you will anyway. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. He really is cheating on you and he will dump you by the end of the year so he can marry the other girl. Try not to let it get you down or break you. Trust me, you didn’t want that kind of future. You deserve so much better.

And try to forget the other guy. Well, don’t forget; just move on. You will continue to be involved on and off for the next few years, but if you look hard enough, you’ll see that it was truly all done and over with when he moved. You will put too much effort into something that won’t last. It may be a learning experience, but you’re also closing your eyes to other possibilities because of him – though no fault of his. And what’s wrong with being single?

You do not have the makings to be a cheerleader so don’t waste a summer trying to learn when your mother comes up with the brilliant idea that you can get scholarships that way. Being a cheerleader is your sisters’ thing. You will not spend a dime for school anyway. You’re talented.

For goodness’ sake, Do your homework. Changing a report card every 6 weeks is exhausting and that last stretch before you graduate will practically give you a nervous breakdown when it becomes questionable that you’ll graduate. This is what happens when you are dishonest with your parents. It isn’t worth it unless you consider the experience as book-worthy.

Yes, you will write a book. Writing will become a big focus of yours.

Be thankful that your parents are still married and love each other deeply. Show empathy to those whose parents have divorced. It’s hard on them, even when they don’t show it. Someday, you will be a part the statistics and your children will experience a hurt that you’ve never fully grasped. Be patient with them and show them love. Don’t feel guilty for your decision though. You did what you thought was best for everyone involved.

Dear 16 year-old ‘Me’:

Relax. It’s just a breakup; it wasn’t in God’s plan and He wants you happy. You will be happy. It’s just money. It can’t buy happiness. It’s just a transition; you will adapt and overcome.

It’s just a diagnosis; not the end of the world. Over 17 million people suffer from it. A doctor will tell you at 19 that you too have a chemical imbalance called clinical depression. Try not to wallow in that, though it may seem impossible at times not to. At 21 you’ll consider suicide. Don’t. It’s a selfish way out and in spite of what your brain tells you, many will be devastated by your loss. You have so much potential. Tune in to CBS the night you sit at your dorm room window before Christmas break. Linus Van Pelt will remind you that Jesus came to the Earth to give peace. In that instant you will find that peace and go home to collect yourself. It will be a struggle, but you’re a fighter.

And God gave us two P’s to help us. Prayer and Prozac.

Slow down. Walking fast everywhere you go and driving in a hurry doesn’t increase your time for other things, it only increases you chances of an accident or make you miss the sweeter & simpler things in life. Besides, I don’t think a few more seconds is going to make that much of a difference in time management.

Don’t act unappreciative over the birthday parties your mother throws for you. Eventually, the parties will stop. And when you’re 30, in battle to embrace a milestone you so desperately want to reject, you will have to throw your own party, because your husband at the time forgot your birthday altogether.

I know you’re bored with horror movies right now. They haven’t been the same since the early 80’s. But in a few years Wes Craven will put out a movie called Scream and will revamp your enjoyment of this genre. A few years after that, a new breed of horror will take the genre by an independent film called the Blair Witch Project. Some will hate it. You will love it…but it will also make you motion sick.

Avoid Rob Zombie’s remake of Halloween. Only bathing yourself in acid can make the tainting of that film go away.

Go to your senior prom stag or you will be miserable with the date you choose.

In two years your family will finally buy a computer and you will be introduced to the internet. It will literally be information at your fingertips and you will never research in a library again. High school will be over, so this will piss you off, but at least you can still utilize it in college.

And you will be mind-blown with its possibilities when you become an adult.

Being 20 does not make you an adult and you don’t have the all the answers at 25. You sound dumb when you act as if you do.

Crossville is your hometown. I know you hate it. But every time life kicks you down, you’re only able to get on your feet and dust yourself on when you’re back home. It’s much like Scarlett O’Hara and her beloved Tara Plantation…just less dramatic and sensational.

Don’t ever try a Starbucks’ latte. It’ll be like crack to you. Not only will you spend a ton of money on this habit, but your butt and thighs will reap what you sow. But it will taste so darn good.

Relying on someone to support you financially is a mistake. You will leave your job behind and when you divorce at 34, you will not only be broke but have a large employment gap during a bad time in America’s economy. Being hired somewhere will be difficult, but it will happen. Keep faith during this struggle.

Be selfish. Enjoy that, because when you are 26 your life will center around a beautiful baby boy instead and selfishness will have to be a thing of the past. Don’t laugh too hard at your parents’ stories about you as a child. Your second child will give you a run for your money. Be patient with him and guide him the best you can. He has a good heart, he’s just mischievous and stubborn – like you.

Your marching shoes are in no way to be worn off the field. They provide no traction in the halls of your school and you will fall and break your elbow during Homecoming week. Like a nerd, you will be wearing a poodle skirt for 50’s day and your underwear will make an appearance. (This is why they tell you not to run in the hallways.) Some people will not forget this incident, but don’t worry. Eventually, you’ll find it humorous too.

If you don’t taste banana in the punch then you can go ahead and stop drinking the punch because 99 Bananas is not part of a fruity recipe. It will all reappear that evening with the frozen pizza you ate earlier. You will never eat frozen pizza again. But the lesson will be learned.

You’re still listening to Debbie Gibson religiously though she is gone from the public eye already. It’s okay that you enjoy her music, but know that she does not make a come back. And don’t buy the playboy issue with her spread in it. She does this to show people how she’s grown up. It’s stupid. And you look like a lesbian even if you are just buying it for the article.

That guy who lied about sleeping with you? Don’t worry about it. You weren’t even dating him so no one really believes him. You have a good reputation, too. He’ll continue lying about things as an adult and behind his back will be a group of your mutual adult friends laughing at him. Chances are that if he’s still lying at 35, he’s sick.

Continue taking piano lessons and don’t let your husband give your piano away for free just because you’re moving to an upstairs apartment.

Be bold.

Be brave.

If you change your mind about something, then change it and don’t be ashamed.

Dear 16-year-old ‘Me’:

Love yourself. It seems to be the hardest thing for you to do sometimes.

Life is short so try as many things as possible while you are still breathing and young enough to enjoy it.

35 is still very young.

Take care of your skin. Wash it regularly and moisturize it.

Sleep. If you’re tired, sleep. It keeps you healthy and young-looking. And I promise you won’t miss much during your down time.

Cut back on Mello-Yellos…well, sodas, in general. They’re bad for your teeth. No matter how tired you are before you go to bed, brush them. Every night. No exceptions.

Spend your money wisely. Start making good financial habits for yourself.

Don’t wear orange. It may be your favorite color, but it’s not appealing on you. Get the charcoal colored sweater instead.

Don’t sell your banjo. Your best friend may want to learn to play someday – or at least toy with the idea of learning.

Finish college. Don’t major in music or theater. Major in a Plan B.

Avoid Myspace and Facebook if you can. Sure, you will be able to catch up with friends and family better than way, but it will consume too much of your valuable time with no benefit in return. It will also make you look as if you have no life.

Follow your instincts. $6,000 is a lot of money to invest on a business you really have no faith in – so don’t. You’ll lose it all within a month.

And lastly, 16-year-old ‘Me’, know that you are not alone. You never have been and you never will be. You have friends and family that will stick by you even in your lowest of times.

And a Father who holds a boundless love for you even when you don’t believe in Him.

He will bring you back and you’ll be better than ever.

You will not peak at 16 and be done with like so many others. You will stay on top as long as you desire. It’s always your choice.

Love,

34-year-old  ‘Me’

P.S. You can do this! I believe in you.

An Independent, Independence Day?


Quickly approaching is my first major holiday and apparently, I’m going it completely solo. They call it Independence Day, and yet strangely, I don’t really want to be independent that day.

I have a few of my favorite holidays: Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving…. and the 4th of July. Looking over them, I realize that I enjoy the “kid-friendly” holidays the most. Maybe it’s my maturity level? Halloween, we get to dress up and eat candy – of course, I’m like a fat kid in a candy store when it comes to the horror movies. Christmas – TOYS!!! Thanksgiving is simply exciting because you’re with family and really, it’s a preview of Christmas – TOYS!!!! The 4th of July is to be filled with Sparklers, “ooohs” and “aaahhhhs”, barbecue, lake time, summer sun, parades…. and all of this is greatly provoked by children or friends.

Well this year, I have offered to let the boys be with the dad for the 4th because his family always has a big gathering in the countryside to shoot off a ton of fireworks. Plus, being a family business owner, it the ONLY day he has off. I refuse to hinder a solid relationship between my boys and their dad. That relationship is just as important as the one they have with me. Besides, I can spend the weekend before the 4th with my boys. I can spend the 4th with my friends….

Wait a minute. I don’t really have any friends.

I don’t want you to think I don’t have people to turn to, to talk to, and meet up with for lunches. I truly do! But for the last ten years of my life, I have had my husband, his family, my boys, and my family. The friendships I had acquired through the years were watered down to Facebook and Christmas cards. I no longer have girlfriends to have “Girls Night Out” with or to have weekend getaways with. Not that I expected to. When we settle down, we focus more on family instead of friends. The few friends we do keep are usually because they, too, are married and with kids about the same age as our kids. They all have families of their own now. Seldom do we actively stay in constant contact with our single friends with different goals and focuses.

So here I am, close to a week away from the 4th of July and no plans to speak of. Nothing to do. It is quite depressing to say the least. My children will be with their dad, my friends will be with their families. My family members will either do something with in-laws or with their family friends. I haven’t the foggiest idea as to what I will do. It’s not a romantic holiday, and yet I sense a loneliness if I don’t partake in some sort of celebratory event.

Do I ignore the holiday and call it an early night – sleep through its marvelous beauty and fun? Do I post on my Facebook wall that I haven’t any plans and want someone to take pity on me & invite me to their function? Or do I celebrate Independence Day independently?

This is the part of my journey that feels scary… and sad. But the last thing I want is pity because this was ultimately part of MY decision.

“Do Over!”


“Do Over!” – This is such a funny, but common phrase with children when they make mistakes or realize they can do something better a second time around. This phrase has repeatedly coursed through my mind in the last several months as my husband of almost ten years and I have decided to get a divorce.

I’m 34 years old. Yes, I am aware that I’m not “mid life” yet, but I figured that since my Grandma Ellis died at 67, my Grandpa Ellis died at 54, my Grandpa Perdue passed away at 79, my Grandma Perdue (now affectionately coined as G.G. – for Great grandmother) is still alive and kicking at 82 and both of my parents are still breathing, I could very well be in the middle of my life expectancy. I see my life as a time line (remember those in school?). The beginning would probably have the terms “Infant” or “Toddler” followed by “Puberty”. “Teen Years”, or “The Years I Had to get the Last Word In” would probably be next, right before “When I tried College and hated it” and then “My Early 20’s” (Which I considered tagging as “The Years I Thought I Knew Everything”). Starting at 24, I started the “Richard Years” when I said “I do”, and the sub-category of “Mom” started 2 years later at 26. For some women, they lose their identity at this time. I don’t think I lost mine. If anything I added to my identity.

When I met Richard in 1999, I made choices that I neither regret or celebrate. I had been a “starving artist” working as a singer/actress in theatre since the age of 16 and at 22 when I “fell in love” I felt that I could no longer lead that lifestyle (and yes, that job requires a different lifestyle than that of a normal person). So I gave it all up to work a normal retail job. I managed a music store just before Napster ambushed the CD industry. I was informed early on that I may have difficulty getting pregnant (which has proven to be completely untrue), so I was surprised to find out a week before our one year anniversary that we were expecting our first child. Aidan (now 8 ) was born in 2003 and again made the choice to be a full-time stay at home mom, like my mother and GG before me. I wouldn’t change that for the world. I enjoyed spending that time with both of my boys, Aidan and Ethan (now 5). But did I feel like I lost some of myself? Sure!

I missed my music like CRAZY! So at the age of 30 (which I had a hard time with, I won’t lie. I hope 40 isn’t as bad..) I felt that my youngest son, Ethan, was old enough for me to actually leave behind with Richard and Aidan at the house more often than just for a quick trip for groceries. I began playing music again. I wasn’t gone a lot. It started out as a night or two every month, but swiftly grew to every weekend. My children adjusted fine with this. I was with them every minute of every day during the week anyway.

But it hit the marriage.

I won’t go into details. Sometime explanations are simply not needed. We grew apart. I began relying on other people for support instead of family and it only made things worse.

Which brings me here – to this part of my time line… My mid-life do over.

I declared a “Do Over!” in 2010. We’ve parted as friends who care deeply about one another and for the upbringing of our children. I know many people say that, but in this case we truly mean it. We regularly send funny texts to one another, take playful jabs despite the hurt, fear, and angry we both feel. We spent 12 years together. Why make that 12 years seem like a waste? Our relationship has gotten better which proves that we made better friends than husband and wife. I detest the word “Divorce”. The word always seems to carry baggage of bitterness, loathing, and a blame-game. So my big “D-word” is “Do Over!”

My life is not done. I may be mid way… and then again, I could drop dead tomorrow. Nonetheless, I still have time to correct what some may deem as a mistake (which I don’t). This is my “Do Over!” and I’m going to make discoveries about myself, my children and others during this journey. Hopefully, I’ll gain better footing as an individual and get a better grasp on how I work in this world – not how the world works, because it NEVER “works”, let’s face it. I’m going to make mistakes. I’m going to see light at the end of the tunnel. I’m going to have dark days. I will feel relief at times and also anger and fear. And there are so many possibilities!! Will I spend the rest of my life as a single girl focused solely on my career, children, and myself or will I find another companion? Will I date again? Will I marry again?

Only time will tell… and I’m okay not knowing in advance.

Welcome to my mid-life do over!