My Other Ex by Jessica Smock & Stephanie Sprenger A book review among other thoughts


I am at a place in my life, teetering at the edge, where I am just finding my voice, and am at the very early stages of feeling comfortable in my own skin. Defining me and who I really want to be. And you know what? It’s not really what others say about you. It is about what you think of yourself. I think I have finally grasped that. Took a half a century but better late than never, right?

I have a hard time trusting people enough, to really make the friendship effort at this stage in the game. And yet even though I have tons of friends, and several really good ones, I never really felt as if I fit in to any one place perfectly. Today, I just read a great line from a book I am about to share with you guys (below) where the writer said; She refused to make the hard choices, to fight the waves”. Wow! How profound is that?? I related to that sentence so much that it brought tears to my eyes. I never belonged anywhere because I never wanted to fight the waves. I have ridden most of them in to shore. Not that my life has been a picnic but when it comes to making the harder choice, well, lets just say that, THAT line took my breath away!

I was at a shower recently with a bunch of church friends and someone who I would consider more a friend than an acquaintance genuinely hugged me “hello” and told me that they were happy to see me. After a bit of catching up and other small talk, I confided in her that I really felt that I was “faking it”  and “not just here, but really at any of these church things.” And…. Without missing a beat, she leaned over and whispered, “Diane, we are all faking it!” At that moment, I think I loved her more than I had the moment before!

friends talking at table

And I know what she meant, not that we are faking what we believe and that our faith is not real, but that the veil is pulled down a bit further at parties like these. We share just enough. We only know parts of each other. The other half is covered for only the very few to see. The smiles are real, well they are NOT, not real, if you know what I mean. But I want more. I think we all do. And, I always feel glad I made the effort to go, and yet a little empty when leaving. And yet the little affirmation about faking it, about perhaps I’m not the only one that feels that way was like a little unexpected party favor that I got to take home that day.

I just finished reading My Other Ex by Jessica Smock & Stephanie Prenger and I have to tell you that I know what my Christmas gifts for my friends are going to be this year! I am in love with this book! I originally purchased it because a great friend and fellow writer, Leah Vidal was a contributing author. So I knew that I would not be disappointed. But I literally, could not put this book down! It capsulized my friend’s statement; “Diane we are all faking it!” Each story makes you nod and cry and connect and feel as if we are not alone And in someway, I could relate to each and every story and friendship. The twist here… is these stories are of  great friendships, best friend friendships that went awry.

friends two little girls with braids

Some as far back as childhood, some from college, some from business, or through kids or other chance meetings.  All compiled in a format that reminds me a little of the Chicken Soup for the Soul style, and yet the stories here aren’t contrived nor always healing with a happy ending. It is real and heart wrenching and makes you cry and laugh and like I said, nod, a lot!

I have taken away something from every story. No faking it here. No sugar-coating the facts. Just honesty pure and simple and sometimes painful to read. In my lifetime I have had some great friendships. Some that I have shared about here in this blog. But there have also been a few that fell through the cracks, for reasons of their own. Ones I never thought about writing about. So that makes this book even more interesting.

 

It is the first book in a long time, that I haven’t just skimmed over to get to the next page when it got a little tedious. There is no tediousness here. The women sharing are all obviously top-notch writers, hand-picked from the authors and you know from their other projects (see their website) http://www.herstoriesproject.com      that each story was chosen with the utmost care. This one is a no brainer. Ya gotta read it…. If you are a woman and you ever let go of a friendship that still haunts you a little today, this book will help you realize that we all have a lot of the same feelings. kind of like the way I felt… when my friend said to me… “We are all faking it a little Diane!” We really aren’t alone. This book just put it in print!

Note to the authors*  (Would love to buy the audio of each woman sharing their own story!)

my other ex book cover

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JUST HUNGRY


I cried all the way home today. I don’t know their story, she looked a little younger than my daughter, I drove right past her trying not to look, but kind of seeing it anyway. The sign she held said, “Just Hungry” As I passed her, I wondered how many people had just kept going as I just had. I couldn’t do it today for some reason. I pulled over and pulled out a few dollars and a few things from my stash of groceries that I’d just purchased without even looking at the receipt. I pulled up again and I noticed the guy sitting off in the background and wished I’d added something more. The girl jumped up and gratefully took what I gave her as I mumbled something about how I wished it could be more, and she graciously responded with, “Oh this helps a lot, thank you.” I wanted to go around again and empty out my wallet, to offer much more than a few dollars and some token groceries.

It all started with the sign. Just Hungry. I know that much. Such a simple plea and yet the combination of the girl and the guy and the simple fact that I can’t imagine my kids ever having to be; JUST hungry really got to me today.

I know some people might say they are going to use it for drugs or booze or that I was scammed and they have more money than I do. Well, that is not my place to judge. And who knows, maybe the lesson was all mine and had nothing to do with them. I have been in this total funk of feeling stuck where I am right now. Feeling so sorry for me and unappreicated. But I forgot something, it is not all about me! Hey wake up call and all! I have been looking for the wrong people to affirm me.

It puts things in perspective. We have grown suspicious and selfish and it horrifies me that I even drove by and  had to think about stopping. I understand that not everyone who holds a sign that says: WILL WORK FOR FOOD really wants to work, and I do know that some of the sign holders are actual scams and have witnessed a few of my own. But how sad that we have grown so hardened that we pass them ALL. God forbid that one of our kids ever needs help like that. But if every now and then my heart is pricked and I am touched when some other mother’s child is Just Hungry, how can we not just help?

 homeless

It’s in the discomfort where we learn the MOST


running through the field2

We live in a world of instant gratification. Of fast food drive thrus and microwaves, where the click of a key allows us to pay a bill, buy a birthday present or reconnect with your past, all in a quick minute. We have remote controls to change a channel, turn up or down the volume, and turn off and on lights, we can now, even start our car from inside our house! They even have new techniques where a machine does stomach crunches for you with electric shock rather than good old-fashioned sit ups! So we’ve become entitled creatures of habit and expectation.

I’m sorry but it’s just not that easy. A good old-fashioned sweaty jog around the block a few times is better than some magic pill. I know. I’ve lost and gained and lost and gained the same freaking thirty then forty and now fifty pounds over my lifetime and am heading toward losing again! Hopefully!!!! And have found that it is in the hard work of counting calories and maybe being a little uncomfortably hungry to see the results. Things worth working for take time. And it in the discomfort where we learn the most! I find it so funny when someone asks me how I lost weight when I have in the past, and answered Weight Watchers and seen their disappointment. Everyone wants me to have disovered this magical way of losing so they can get in on the secret. When in fact, there is no secret other than calories in and calories out. Sorry. And if you watch Bambi a thousand times, his mom still dies. 😦

 I think the same goes for all things in life worth working for. We have to go to school for approximately 12 years in order to graduate. Not all twelve years is pleasant but in the end the accomplishment is worth the work.

I know that when I was a young mom, newly married, with a baby and a full-time job and not much help from my husband in way of child care or helping around the house, I wished that I could fast forward everything to an easier time. And to all the young moms out there, I am here to tell you all that you don’t need to push that button, it happens faster than you ever can imagine! Suddenly, those babies are getting married and having babies of their own. I look back and remember how overwhelming it all  was and wonder…. how can I even miss those chaotic days  now? Well, I do. At least from time to time. And I wonder…  Did I remember to kiss those fat smudged cheeks enough? Did I breathe in the smell of freshly washed baby hair as many times as possible? Or did I just rush through their baths to get some “me time”? I am here to tell you that you WILL get your share of “me time” soon enough. So enjoy being without a moment to call your own, because eventually they will be abundant and you will want to rewind back to the crazy days when you had no help and thought it was too much to handle. Or at least put NOW on pause and someday realize that even though some days are really hard, they will someday be your Good Old Days. I know, I look back and wonder what was really that hard? Don’t get me wrong. I remember the panic and pain I felt, but wow, there were some pretty great times that I missed altogether just being so upset.

I also remember how disappointed in my marriage I was. How selfish my once very attentive and handsome young husband suddenly seemed to become. I mean, we were both working full-time jobs. It seemed as if he checked out as soon as he walked in the door. Popping a can of beer and turning on some game, totally tuning me out. I felt so alone and disillusioned. Hind sight is 20/20. I look back at all the hard times and see where I could have handled them differently, where my reactions could have been more clever. And yeah, if you want to call that game playing, well I wish I’d played more games!  I also see why I am so desperate for affrimation now. I wish that my marriage hadn’t ended in divorce the first time around. I wish I could show that I appreciate my much more attentive (somewhat more helpful)  🙂  husband now. At least he keeps my car maintained and fixes my computer issues and loves me like no one else has. I guess I can pick up his dirty clothes and rinse the dishes he leaves in the sink a little more lovingly. 😀

I guess my point is, that in that first marriage I was disappointed in, or the diet that seems to be a constant test, or the job where I know that I  definitely deserve better, or wherever it is that I need validating in, it is not a fast fix. Things take time, (as for my job… maybe ten years is enough! ) But in the meantime, we need to gather the lessons learned and see that the solution may not happen like an instant breakfast or flicking a remote control, it may take time to really get it right, but it is in the lesson where the magic is! And I guess the magic is…. realizing that every moment is important and it is up to us define every single one!

quoteYou-only-live-once

Bunny Flower Crowns DIY


Fern & Bone

princess brisbySpoiler Alert: This post may contain too much cuteness. 

 

I have been meaning to post this for some time but these little buggers never want to sit still long enough for me to properly capture all their sweetness. My new green chair was the perfect solution. So how do you make your bunny/kitty/dog/llama as fancy as mine? I will tell you! You will need just a few things. 

supplies

.glue gun & glue sticks (I usued about 5 small ones for both crowns)

.thick wire (you can get this in your jewelry section at your craft store)

.fabric or dried flowers (I used a mix of different ones from Michael’s but Rachael and I were in Hobby Lobby today and they have a far superior selection, especially when it comes to more life like foliage)

.floral tape

.wire cutters

supplies

There are so many ways to go…

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