Taking my wedding & engagement rings off my finger was a huge, and painful step for me. I felt naked. Depressed. Scared. Stigmatized. That life as a single mom was all too real.  I was shocked at the intense feelings removal stirred up.

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Deleting your Ex

July 8, 2010

Imagine, no more running into your Read the rest of this entry »

Saving Money with Style

April 15, 2010

Separation and divorce brings many gifts and challenges, especially in today’s economy. Amy Fuentes, our dynamic Second Saturday speaker on the subject of credit, has just produced her own TV show Stretching Your Dollar with tips and encouragement about saving money on everyday things from haircuts to eating out.

Her tips are great, but what’s even more impressive is the way she shares how she tackled times when her family’s money was cut drastically thanks to job loss or the economy.

Instead of sticking her head in the sand (as I am prone to do) or becoming paralyzed (me again) she enthusiastically researched, analyzed and tried new approaches. The result: She found the silver lining … and seeing her do so just might help you shift your perspective from feeling overwhelmed to enjoying the challenge!

Another bonus: You won’t feel so alone. Watching her program I was struck by the fact it’s not only single parents who need to stretch their dollars….

If you live in Fairfax County you can catch her show on Channel 10 (log onto their website for dates and times at www.fcac.org) … or you can watch it on youtube in 3 segments. I’ve posted Amy’s extended version below because I like her opening message… Enjoy!

Today I’m running to the bookstore to get Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage.

Given my line of work, friends have been sending me links to Gilbert interviews and of course I am gobbling it up. Her previous book Eat, Pray, Love was a great escape for me when I first started dealing with my post-divorce battle. Problem was, I was raising 2 teenage daughters totally on my own and reinventing myself through travel was totally out of the question. My adventure was finding a way to feed, clothe, and shelter us while dealing with braces, school books, drivers’ ed and my darlings roar for independence. A “romantic” segue way out, and into a new life, was not a possibility as my daughters were mine 24/7.

I’ve been more like Gilbert’s grandmother’s story, minus the cleft palette:

Interviewer: You tell a story in the book that is pivotal for you, about your grandmother. She was born with a cleft palate and thought to be unmarriageable, so she got an education and took care of herself, one day rewarding herself with a $20 fur-trimmed, wine-colored coat, which she adored. Eventually she does marry. And when she gives birth to her first daughter, she cuts up the coat to make something for the child.

Gilbert:That’s the story of motherhood, in a large way. You take the thing that is most precious to you, and you cut it up and give it to somebody else who you love more than you love the thing. And we tend to idealize that, and I’m not sure we should. Because the sacrifice that it symbolizes is also huge. Her marriage and her seven children, in a life of constant struggle and deprivation — it was heavy. And that beautiful mind, that beautiful intellect, that exquisite sense of curiosity and exploration, was gone. Excerpted from Lucy Kaylin’s interview.

However, unlike Gilbert’s grandmother, I plan to enjoy the autumn of my life reviving the free spirit with lots of dreams. Soon my daughters will be launched and mine will be a fresh start at a most advanced age. Hopefully, I’ll at least have some wisdom going for me.

So, are you up to reading Committed with me and sharing your thoughts? Let me know if you want to join my virtual book club. Hope that’s a yes!

We all know the famous letter, Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. I know it worked miracles when my then 8 year old daughter brilliantly outlined all the reasons Santa could not possibly exist.

Now it’s your turn to experience the magic of letters. You can do so by writing two separate letters (for your eyes only) to the Universe.

Your assignment, should you accept it:

  • Get really comfortable, gather your favorite pen and a journal or some stationary. A cup of tea, wine or chocolate might help too.
  • Ready? Here’s the first letter – Write about the tiny changes you’ve made this past year that have made a great difference in how you approach your daily life. Can’t think of any? Then write about wishes and dreams for your future.
  • Now you are ready for the second letter. Date it this time next year, and describe how your dreams came true. Outline your glorious, ideal future self in detail–exactly what you are doing, how you are doing it, and who’s doing it with you.
  • Wishing you a truly magical experience!

    Once upon a time…

    December 8, 2009

    fairy tale dreamsSuch powerful words, especially if you grew up reading fairy tales. There was the struggle, which made us cry, followed by the happily-ever-after ending which brought visions of a brilliant, wonderful life.

    That’s what I believe makes separation and divorcing so dreadfully painful. Giving up the dream. You worked hard finding the “perfect” mate and celebrated with a beautiful wedding for all the world to see.

    Now the honeymoon’s been over a long time, and perhaps negotiating the dreary details of life has turned your tale into … a nightmare. I’m sorry.

    Remember, you can’t control life. It’s not your fault your spouse has an addiction, a mistress, issues of rage or mental illness. Remember also, what you can control is your perception of it.

    The quote I share today, from Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance is:

    You can never lose something if you never had it to begin with. You were never in control and never will be. Let go of that illusion so that you can cut your losses and move on… “We trade a life that we have tied to control”, Melanie Beattie reassures us, “and we receive in return something better—a life that is manageable.”

    That quote was my “aha” moment, when I realized I was grieving the loss of something I never had. If this holiday has you stuck in the “should I leave, should I stay” place ask yourself if what you are torn about is an illusion. A dream that never truly existed.

    The answer just might help you cut your losses and release the guilt…
    so that you can move on to create the life you deserve.

    Today I’ve been stumbling upon money news, most not uplifting but definitely food for thought. The news:

  • Did you know that, according to Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren, the American Middle Class is being squeezed so badly it may disappear? And she’s just talking about intact middle class families, so what does that mean for single parents? More info …
  • Did you know that women entrepreneurs, who account for more than half of all small business owners, earn an average of $27,000 a year? Or that while we contribute $3 trillion annually to the economy, 87.5% us us account for only 17% of the earnings. Read about it…
  • Since I’m a single mom, and an entrepreneur, the news was enough to make me pick up my tattered, decade old book of comfort Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnech.

    When I was facing my decision “to be, or not to be” married anymore, which I also saw as “to have, or not to have” a priviledged lifestyle for my daughters and me, this book helped me put it all in perspective. So, as my holiday gift to you, from now until Christmas I will share a nugget of wisdom daily, drawing on the Simple Abundance path.

    Today’s gift, wrapped in heartstrings, is:

    When I surrendered my desire for security and sought serenity instead, I looked at my life with open eyes … “No trumphets sound when important decisions of our life are made. Destiny is made known silently.” —Agnes de Mille. — excerpted from Simple Abundance

    What do you think?