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Story #18 – Thanksgiving

A still, quiet season – season of life full of constant changes that shape & mold. Shaping into an even stronger & more independent woman, full of views & thoughts of the surrounding world – constantly reflecting on the past & finding new ways of continual new beginnings. & this Thanksgiving season?

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Yet, it has been so incredibly hard to get into the spirit of Thanksgiving, the holiday season – my favorite time of year (besides fall of course). I find myself once again feeling numb; completely cold to the idea of even wanting to participate. & as I try to dig deep & find the reason why? It came to me today.

Thanksgiving was highly celebrated with Matthew & his family. & he left right before the holiday season began – left me to answer all the unanswered questions back in Ohio when it came to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family “Where’s Matthew at today?” The year prior being my first Thanksgiving back home in 6 years. We had moved back to Dayton the week prior in 2014. & we still managed to celebrate with his family the night before our trek across the country back to Ohio (Lacey pooped under all our chairs at the table during our Thanksgiving feast LOL).

The times we drove down to Carson City NV to celebrate with his grandparents – always talk about us hosting at some point. Something I have always dreamed of doing. If you know me – I absolutely love cooking – cooking for others especially. Creating a welcoming & safe environment. Blessing & loving my friends & family. I also find cooking to be therapeutic & relaxing. That – & I also can’t have gluten, dairy (I cheat on ice cream every once in a while & cheese), & red meat – so I cook more.

When you’re on one path & it suddenly dissipates in front of you – you feel lost. Confused. Left alone to deal with the aftermath. & to also start all over – from scratch.

I was walking down a path I dreamed of, but Matthew? He was walking down a completely different path. & when my path was suddenly gone – Thanksgiving 2015 approached. We had just decided we were divorcing, & I received a text from his mom (who I had a really good & close relationship with) as I was sitting at the table with my dad – wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving & to let me know she loved me, & was praying for Matthew & I. & I realized 2 things in that moment:

1. Matthew hadn’t told his parents yet about our decision to divorce (we had decided weeks prior).

2. I will never celebrate Thanksgiving with them again. I will never be able to host Thanksgiving for them. Matthew will never celebrate with my family – ever again – suddenly.

I ended up breaking the news about the impending divorce, & I immediately left my dad’s house shortly after in tears – skipped going to Thanksgiving with my mom’s side of the family, didn’t even realize in the midst – that would be my last Thanksgiving with my sweet grandmother – who past suddenly a few weeks later.

The beginning of making new memories, of healing, of not being the victim – started last holiday season. I hosted a Friendsgiving brunch & crammed 10-15 people in my apartment. Followed with Thanksgiving with my dad, followed with dessert with my Aunt & Uncle (just missed my mom, who was depressed about her mom, my grandmother, not there anymore). I went home afterward feeling down. Feeling empty. Drained. Emotionless though. Numbness.

& even though its been incredibly difficult to get into the holiday spirit this year? As I was driving to my dear friend Emily’s parents’ house to join for their Thanksgiving celebration, I realized what I am most thankful for:

My community here – my friends that have most felt like family, coming along side & helping me heal tremendously. I am incredibly thankful for this season in my life. The past 7 months have been some of the best moments of my life. I have never felt so incredibly happy. Quite honestly? I don’t remember the last time I was this happy, this content. My heart feels rested in peace, my soul refreshed, my spirit calmed. Such a relaxing day. Yes, it felt weird not contributing any food (I always make pumpkin pie!), but I’m incredibly thankful for genuine community here. I am so thankful for the changes I’ve made for myself, for my growth, for my self-acceptance & self-love, body positivity & confidence – for finally finding me again, for being me – for not playing the victim – but demonstrated perseverance in the darkest moments of my life, always seeing the light & always moving forward. Always finding the good in the worst moments, the most depressing & draining times. When you feel you’re at your lowest point.

I felt that my last couple months in Dayton before suddenly deciding to move back to Spokane. I knew I had to do something – & with the most gracious & generous help from my dad – my decision to move back to Spokane came about. I had to remove myself from such a toxic environment; a city that was already weighed down in depressing & painful memories from childhood & more added to it – hindering me from really processing my time spent in Dayton, from genuine healing. & the lack of support there (besides my dad & step-mom, my sister, a couple friends)? Didn’t help.

& moving back to Spokane – where the journey of my young adulthood began back in 2008 – I truly feel at peace, feeling more me, notice personally my growth & changes – & I couldn’t have done it without the support of my community here – my family.

I am so incredibly thankful for community.

Will I choose to make Spokane my long-term home? I don’t know. That’s something that’s been on my mind constantly these days, as I feel ready to really move forward – either purchase a home, move back to Dayton feeling refreshed & be near my family again (especially my mom), or move elsewhere. Maybe go back to school, or buckle down & start working toward my long-term goal of opening up my own coffee shop – the idea of dating is slowly becoming more realistic & welcoming – though my fear of another huge heartbreak is there. But my community here? Has tremendously helped me work toward everything – process & healing.

To everyone here in Spokane – my community

Thank You

To continual new beginnings 🌻💛

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Anniversary · Basset-Hound · Divorce · Dogs · Emotions · Friendship · Healing · Hope · Lacey · Marriage · Memories · New Memories · Patrick-Hound · Trials · Triggers

Story #13 – 4 Years A Go – Today

4 years ago today – someone special came into my life. Someone I didn’t imagine at the time – would just end up being her & I. I’ve always been a firm believer that when you bring an animal into your life, they become part of you – part of your daily routine, your life style. They become apart of your intermediate circle, your companion, your best friend – your most trust-worthy & loyal sweet friend.

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Matthew & I at the time, were looking to adopt another dog. Our basset- hound, Patrick – whom we adopted a year prior back in 2012, had the worst separation anxiety. It came to the point it started becoming a problem, one that needed to be addressed immediately. We had talked about adopting a second dog, doing our research & thinking about it, & Lacey came along. Her original owner had passed away & she was given to her daughter. Her daughter’s dogs kept bullying Lacey & Lacey was having a difficult time adjusting the living out in the country when all she knew – was apartment life.

We drove up to Green Bluff with Patrick, to meet sweet Lacey, & I remember sitting down on a step – Lacey came trotting up to me, & instantly  threw her cute self onto my lap & looked up at me, wagging her tale – I knew from that moment we would become the best of friends.

Something my dad has always taught me when considering bringing a dog or animal into your life – Don’t choose the animal; but let the animal choose you. & I felt in that moment with Lacey – she was choosing me.

Patrick Hound? Could care less at the time – but they became great pals quickly afterward, always side-by-side. It was difficult separating the two later on. Emotional.

Lacey became my best friend. She can sense when I’m sad, down, upset. She can sense when I’m about to cry or when I’m crying – & always comes up to snuggle me close. Allows me to hug her tight during those times. & one time in particular – I will never forget.

One week after adopting Lacey, it was my 24th Birthday. & my sweet friend Allison had spent literally 13 hours with me, dreading my hair. I was recently getting over a case of strep-throat, & Matthew? He did nothing for me on my birthday. He said that adopting Lacey was enough ($50 rehoming fee), & he remained silent on my birthday. Not even a “Happy Birthday! I love you!” Not even picking up coffee or making me breakfast or getting a bouquet of flowers for me – nothing. Yes, he did work that day, but there were chances through out the entire day where he could have at least done something. I remember feeling alone, uncherished, not special, like I didn’t matter. & having that feeling on your birthday? Is completely heart-breaking & miserable.

After Allison finished dreading my hair (around 930pm after arriving at 7am), Matthew asked, “What would you like to do for your birthday?” My response ” Well, I would like to go to The Hop Shop & just grab a beer with you.” His response “Ok great! I already invited a couple friends of mine to join.” My response “But, I just wanted to spend time with you on my birthday?” His response ” Well they are already on their way.”

We joined his friends at The Hop Shop (favorite bar of mine that sadly closed down later on due to the owners ready to embark a new business journey), & I remember feeling completely alone. I already hadn’t heard from my mom on my birthday (surprise, surprise since that stopped several years back) & I had to force myself to be social with people I already felt uncomfortable being around, not to mention didn’t want to be around at that time because hey – it was my birthday & I should feel as if I can do what I want to do on my birthday, which was get my hair dreaded & grab a beer with my husband, even if he didn’t do anything for me for my birthday.

& when we got home afterward – everything unfolded. One of my worst fears played out, & I honestly? Should have left him then before he decided to leave me a few years later, even after forgiving him & continued putting up with his abusive & manipulative behavior. Honestly? I don’t even remember what was said, what the fight was initially about. But I do remember he was mad at me because I wasn’t social enough with his friends. What do you expect?! Force myself to be social after recovering from strep-throat & having my head pulled on for 13 hours, to one of your friends actively telling me I looked awful (really, that was said) – to you ignoring me & not including me. I tried to have a genuine conversation, & his anger snapped. Something that quite honestly? Frightened me – for my safety.

We were sitting on our bed – he was yelling at me, raising his voice. I sat there in silence, not knowing how to respond, felt completely degraded – the next thing I know the word “bitch” came out of his mouth & a rather hard sting across my face – & instant reaction on my part – a sting across his face, pointing my finger at him saying, “You don’t dare lay a hand on me, or I will call the police on you.” I’ve never seen him so angry – his anger went from 0-100 in a matter of seconds. He immediately stood up & leaned over my end table next to my side of the bed, & with both of his fists – he began destroying my end table. Thousands of wood chips flying all over our bedroom. Me? Sitting on the bed, frozen, yelling for hm to stop – but he didn’t. I began to cry so hard, & the next thing I know?

Lacey came running in, hopped onto my lap, & allowed me to bury my crying, tear-stained face, into her. She remained calm. She remained still. Shielding my eyes from the pieces of wood flying into her – I strongly believe – Lacey saved me emotionally & mentally that night. On my birthday – a week later after adopting her. & ever since that moment four years ago – Lacey has never left my side sense.

Animals become apart of you, apart of your routine, apart of your life style, apart of your intermediate circle, apart of your family – they become your companion, your adventurer, your best friend. One of my favorite things to do with Lacey is take her to a brewery with me. She loves people, & she sits so quietly & begs for a sip of my beer 🙂 She also loves coffee beans & anxiously waits for me to give her one when I’m grinding coffee in the morning. She loves raw veggies, freshly popped popcorn, & snuggles. Lacey enjoys car-rides, camping, hiking, going on walks in our neighborhood. Most importantly – Lacey loves people, she loves cats (my cat Arwen & her are besties), & other dogs as well. She is incredibly well behaved, very mellow, very relaxed – & she just enjoys being with me, by my side.

There was a reason for adopting Lacey – & I’m so thankful she’s mine. & now that it’s just been her & I now for the past two years – I wouldn’t have it any other way.

To new beginnings

Lacey loves her popcorn! She also loves playing with my crochet projects. Sweet soul.

Our last day in our apartment in Spokane before moving back to Ohio. & When it became just her & I suddenly – we went on so many hikes together.

Lacey loves being outside & also making new friends! Right when I adopted my cat Arwen, they became best friends.

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& a little tribute to Patrick Hound – Lacey’s first best friend, her side-kick, her partner in crime though Patrick caused the majority if not all of the drama.

Happy 9th Birthday Lacey Lou!

Until next time

Anniversary · Divorce · Emotions · Friendship · Healing · Hope · Marriage · Memories · New Memories · Sunflower · Tattoos

Story #12 – NEW b e g i n n i n g s

“You’ve got a new story to write. And it looks nothing like your past.” -anonymous-

One year ago today – a day that approached so quickly, & yet felt so far away. Anticipation. Anxiously waiting. The end of 7 years of my life, of what I thought my life would be for long-term. August 24th, 2016 – literally exactly one year ago to the T. Because this took place on a Thursday as well. Perfect alignment. Reflection. Process. Reliving the events of that morning – & yet reliving the special memories I made afterward. & today is all about making new memories toward NEW beginnings.

Matthew flew into Dayton the Sunday before our court date to finalize our divorce – a lengthy process that took nearly an entire year. All because someone wasn’t ready to officially file, to officially part ways – but yet wanted to keep me as a “back-burner” & pursue a new life style, relationships – while me? Just wanting to move forward, to start my life fresh – all over again.

But he asked if we could meet & talk. I agreed. The day he flew in, we met at my favorite coffee shop that him & I use to frequent together when we lived in South Park – in the neighborhood. 2pm on a Sunday afternoon. I walked into Ghostlight – anxious, nervous, waiting. He showed up & the first thing I noticed – the smell of heavy alcohol on his breath. He showed up pretty intoxicated, & I felt so embarrassed & already wanting to bolt. But I had to remember he did just fly in & literally was dropped off by a friend right afterward. Was he nervous & that’s the reason why he had so much to drink? Fuck yeah. Good – damn good – because he had every right to be nervous.

He sat down after grabbing coffee, started talking & catching up. He then surprised me with, “Are you really wanting to go through with this?” My response “Yes. Are you reconsidering?” His response “Kinda…” I immediately reacted in such a way I never had before to him – stood up for myself & explained what he did to me & how much he had hurt me, & I wanted to be set free – officially & finally. He almost started crying & immediately apologized & said “I’ve never heard you stand up for yourself like that. That was incredibly brave of you. Thank you.” We decided to walk around the neighborhood, continued talking, grabbed a bite to eat in The Oregon District where my best friend & her girlfriend joined us. We then – parted ways. Healing began taking place.

I was so nervous, so sick to my stomach – one year ago today. The idea of even going to court made me nauseous. We were to arrive at 8am, downtown Dayton. I had taken the entire day off from both jobs, knowing emotionally? I wouldn’t want to be working, with both jobs being so customer service oriented. I sat there, waiting, waiting, & waiting. Texting my sister freaking out – is he coming?! He finally arrived. I could tell by the look on his face – he had been crying. He was regretting his decision – to leave me. But I held it together – I never felt so strong in my life. We had to walk to a window to pick up our papers, & as we waited outside the room – Matthew tried to hold my hand. I let him for a brief moment, then pulled away. ‘Why is he being like this? This was YOUR decision. You wanted to move on & start fresh with your life.’ Thoughts rolling through my head.

And as we were called into the court room, I remember him trying to hold my hand again, & that time? I didn’t allow it.

It all ended in 5 minutes – 7 years of my life – ended in 5 minutes. The judge was pressuring me into taking alimony from Matthew. I responded I didn’t want it & her response? “That’s not a good enough reason. You could easily lose your job tomorrow! I need you to give me a better reason.” This was an on-going battle & I threw my hands up & started crying & said “I want nothing to do with him! This has already been dragged out long enough. I don’t care if I lose my job & I am very well aware of that. I have family who would support me. I want no ties to him from this point on.” Matthew looked at me & instantly began to cry – sobbing. The judged then moved on & began questioning Matthew “So how long have you lived in Colorado now?” Matthew “10 months.” The Judge “Since the beginning of the separation? You left first?” Matthew “Yes.” The judge shook her head in frustration & marked on our papers that Matthew? Abandoned the marriage.

Afterward we were directed to walk down to the Clerk of Courts office to hand in our papers to officially have our divorce recorded. Before we walked in, Matthew pulled me aside & asked if we could have a moment. He was literally – sobbing. Me? Stone cold. Emotionless. Afterward he asked if he could walk me to my car – I agreed. We stood there for a moment. He continued to sob. And he said to me “I will always cherish you, & consider you as one of my best friends. I’m so sorry I caused you so much pain.” He handed me a stone, remembering how much I love semi-precious gemstones – I can’t remember the name of the stone, but it was beautiful – pink & white – that represents healing & moving forward. I placed it in one of my plants & still have it, today.

Before we parted ways, I encouraged him to go take some time to himself at one of his favorite coffee shops he frequented when he lived in Dayton – Press. I went to Ghostlight, where I cried, processed, sat alone, regrouped. A couple dear friends of mine – David & Stephanie – joined me shortly afterward. Stephanie brought me one of her delcious treats, a cake in a mason jar with this beautiful apple on topped that she created to make it look like a rose.

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My dad checked in on my. My step-mom did & we grabbed coffee the following day. I went home for a moment & received a phone call from a dear friend here in Spokane. She just felt like she needed to call me & see how I was doing. Alignment. Blessing. She’s the one that helped me with my transfer back into Spokane at Trader Joe’s.

My sweet friend Laurie & I met up for lunch where I was able to continue debriefing. And my sweet long-time friend from way back (second grade, Sunday School class LOL) Rebekah, met with me where we treated ourselves to pedicures & cheesecake. Today? She reached out to me & asked how she could bless me today – she’s setting me up an appointment for next week to receive a pedicure (thanks to groupon!) Blessed. Friendship. Community from afar. Words cannot express how much that meant to me.

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Afterward I met with my best friend Soleil & her sweet girlfriend Julie. Where Soleil made some damn good eggs (what at 10pm?! LOL) & we went out for drinks in the district where our friend David joined up with us again. What an incredible day full of emotions of all sorts but yet – instantly began making new memories toward new beginnings.

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& this photo – that random ass dog just chilling in this bar – LOL Oh dear…

& as today began to approach, I realized how this anniversary is still very much raw. I instantly began planning to make new memories. & one of those was adding a sunflower to my right arm. The gal that did it too – so incredibly talented with such a sweet spirit! I thoroughly enjoyed talking with her. When I first messaged her I explained what this day was & what it meant to me. & she usually has Thursdays off, but new how important it was for me & took me on. I didn’t know that until after I arrived for my appointment – Thank you so much Chole! Words also can’t express how much that meant to me.

& as I am sitting at one of my favorite coffee shops (Vessel Coffee Roasters) writing to you, I’m realizing a whole new chapter of my life – is officially about to begin – toward new beginnings, a brighter hope, an even brighter future.

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NEW beginnings – in my handwriting – a phrase I have dedicated to myself. & now I have a constant reminder under my favorite flower that also holds many meanings. Undead Ink Studio in Spokane Valley – Chole is so talented & I look forward to getting another piece done by her in the future! Look her up on instagram.

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& that almond milk latte sweetened with honey – iced – on point as always.

Until next time.

Camping · Emotions · Friendship · Healing · Hope · Memories · New Memories · Trials

Story #11 – r e n e w a l completely

“Its purpose is self renewal, and this is accomplished by spending time alone, immersed in the beautiful blanket of silence.” -anonymous-

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Camping. Something I haven’t done in over two years. Actually, the last camping trip I went on – for my 26th birthday to Hocking Hills in Ohio – was with Matthew. Exactly one month before he decided to up & leave, with no warning. That trip? Was suppose to help rekindle love that was lost, forgotten. In many ways, it was a great trip. But also – I had a distinct feeling, that something was about to change my life – forever.

Camping is something we did constantly, created so many wonderful memories. Being out in nature, with nature. Being away from the world, from daily routine, from responsibility – to just be free, be at peace, self-renewal. Camping is one of my favorite things to do. I much rather camp at a state park, a lake, or national park for vacation instead of going to the beach (don’t get me wrong, I like going to the beach! I like that tropical life too!), but camping is a time for me to step back – relax, breathe, regroup, renew.

The final weeks with Matthew, after he announced his leaving – he asked what we should do with all our camping equipment, as we began dividing everything up. “Um, I’m not sure. Maybe just divide it up?” We did receive it all as wedding gifts. Later on, turns out, he gave half of our camping supplies away to friends – and tossed the rest. I was heartbroken. Something I cherished & loved. Something that meant so much to me, something that I enjoyed doing greatly – suddenly gone. In a blink. I haven’t camped since.

My sweet best friend & I, along with a couple other friends – went camping. My first time since that camping trip back in 2015. We drove up to Priest Lake, Idaho – about an hour & half  from Spokane  – we drove up on a campsite that was unoccupied, settled in, & Emily made dinner while I prepared corn on the cob to roast over the fire, to go along with dinner. After dinner, we traveled down to the lake for a night swim. I sat on the beach with Lacey, contemplating, thinking, processing – pure joy, pure happiness, some sadness as old memories resurfaced. One of my thoughts – “Matthew & I would go camping often. I loved it.” What a beautiful view (first picture posted up above), & I remember feeling at peace, ready to make new camping memories, toward new beginnings.

The entire weekend was spent eating great food, drinking great beer (so much beer… LOL), laughing, conversation, silliness, swimming, relaxing, connecting with nature – connecting with friends. Lacey had the time of her life! Channeling her inner wolf. The smell of campfires, crocheting, reading – relaxing, regrouping, renewal.

I’ve come to the realization more & more – there are some things that I’m ready to let go, officially. & the thought of holding on to certain things, certain people – it’s time to release them. It’s time to focus on my future, & it’s time to focus on really settling in to my new home in Spokane – & what I believe it to be – my long-term home. To not be afraid of Matthew being back, to not let that affect my love for Spokane & the people, the community, all the booming local businesses, the easy access to nature, to camping. Certain people I kept holding on to back in Dayton, or at least the idea. Released officially.  & the freedom I have, the feeling – indescribable. Pure joy – pure happiness.

To new beginnings – a brighter hope, an even brighter future – cheers to camping

 

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Priest Lake – Idaho – incredibly beautiful & peaceful!

Lacey seriously had the time of her life! She went swimming, relaxed by the campfire, well-behaved the entire time. She snuggled with me under my blanket at night. And boy, did she received a good bath when we got home!

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One thing important that I reminded myself of – raw, natural beauty. Going without make-up (which I actually don’t wear a lot of anyways, but have my moments where I like to get fancy with it), I reminded myself how beautiful I am. Something that I struggled with for the longest time – my body, my looks. Primarily because Matthew down-talked me constantly, shattering my self-confidence. The times he got on me about my weight, the way I dressed & presented myself. My last year with him – I went to the gym 5 days a week, pushed myself, didn’t eat much – & I lost so much weight. I felt too skinny & wasn’t happy. It was also too late for him to even notice. But I’ve gained a good portion of it back & realized – I’ve a curvaceous woman, embracing it more each day. Camping to me? Allows me to be free, to not focus on how I look, but to feel more confident in my physical appearance. A gentle & sweet reminder. Embrace your body & take care of it – love & appreciate it. Remind yourself – just how beautiful you really are.

Until next time

 

 

Anniversary · Divorce · Emotions · Friendship · Healing · Hope · July · Lavender · Marriage · Memories · New Memories · Sage · Triggers · Uncategorized · Wedding

Story #9 – 7.9.11

“At last – my love has come along. My lonely days are over. And life is like a song.”

“You smiled, you smiled. Oh and then the spell was cast. And here we are in heaven. for you are mine. At last…” -Etta James- (song we had played while we kissed at the alter)

6 years ago T O D A Y – 7.9.11 – a life long commitment that was made in front of family & friends, vows that were made, the hustle & bustle beforehand to prepare for this moment of my life, the excitement leading up to it, the pamper of myself, the magical moment where I became a bride, ready to unite with her groom, someone who I thought loved & cherished me unconditionally. The beauty of community surrounding us in support, the merging of two families from across the country. The love & promise between husband & wife.

Today would have marked 6 years of marriage with whom I thought was my best friend, my life partner, my soul mate, my companion. Today marks first wedding anniversary – divorced, single, alone. I remember this day last year – I turned in our dissolution papers to the post office one last time. And when I arrived, standing in front of the gal, I realized what day it was, the oddness of turning those papers in one last time, that shortly led to the court date to finalize my divorce – a month later. I never imagined myself in this position. I had made a promise after all – quitting was not an option. Leaving, abandonment – was not an option. But it was to him. And I couldn’t change that. All the handwork I put into our marriage, because I cared & loved him unconditionally, but didn’t receive it back. Nothing matter.

I remember our wedding day very clearly – in a little old chapel located on my high school campus (I know, weird right?! But an orphanage built in the early 1800s? Lots of great old historic buildings), sunflowers as my main flower (obviously), an ivory colored wedding dress, my closets friends by my side, my best friend, Soleil, as my maid-of-honor & my sister right next to her, my family & his. I wanted to get married back in Dayton OH, primarily because I wanted to give my mom the opportunity to attend – but she didn’t. In her state of mind, I had a feeling she wasn’t going to be there, but I had hope, & wanted to give her that chance.

It was incredibly humid, no air-conditioning in the chapel. Matthew was so nervous, he consumed an entire container of altoids! I was so sweaty, I asked for a fan to be put directly underneath me, the cold breeze shooting up my dress (LOL), my relatively small heals were killing my feet – so I kicked them off & walked down the isle with my dad holding me lose -shoeless, peaks of the blue polish on my toes showing. But time stood still – a beautiful moment that I had dreamed of & prayed for, was coming true. Who knew, that everything would come crashing down & abruptly end a few years later? Because he simply didn’t want to be with me anymore? Because he decided to stop pursuing his faith that now has me questioning mine, because of what happened & all the incredible amounts of judgement I received from Christians, when it wasn’t even my fault in the first place? Everything – suddenly changed, the future erased, the path became unknown & unsteady, rocky, shaky. Alone. Afraid. Heartbroken. Emotionally & mentally destroyed.

As today was approaching, & after finding out Matthew was back in Spokane – I began to worry, get down on myself, sad. How was I going to face today? What was I going to do to turn this day into a positive one full of new memories, new beginnings?

I took the day off work. I was determined to make new memories, toward new beginnings for myself. I didn’t want to dread this day today & in the future, but to look back & remember the good memories I made.

It started out with coffee at one of my favorite coffee shops, Vessel Roasters. I met with a new sweet friend, what a beautiful spirit she is! Her husband is a local musician, & such a talented one! And I met her at work, last month, when I was doing a carry-out for her & her adorable baby girl. We got talking & I put the connection together. We grabbed coffee this morning, & what a sweet blessing it was. I began talking about my divorce & everything. And after the conversation, I remembered thinking to myself “I wasn’t sad when I talked about it.” A new friendship blossomed.

I drove & met with my friend Rashel, who I went to Moody Bible Institute with. Her friendship has been a huge encouragement to me. We always have some of the greatest conversations & times together. There was a U-Pick lavender festival that I wanted to check out & she wanted to go with me! We each brought some snacks, water, and a pair of socks (admission to the festival as a donation for a local organization). We picked bundles of lavender, while being serenaded by a harpist, laughing & taking photos. After we finished, we drove up to Green Bluff (all these local farms where you can pick produce) & went to a brewery & enjoyed a lavender IPA that was fantastic, followed by cherry picking. After we got back into town, I met up with another sweet long-time friend, Emily. What an incredible blessing she is & has been to me. “This is your night! I’m just here for ya, along for the ride.” Drove & picked her up, went & purchased a small bundle of sage, went out to eat at one of my favorite places – Ruins. Up the street in The Garland District that’s become a favorite place of mine to one of my favorite bars for drinks, Bon Bon. Sat, ate popcorn, had a couple drinks, knit/crocheted, all the laughter. Spontaneous sunset photo shoot in my neighborhood, & back to my apartment where we had a sage burning ceremony – cleansing all negative energy out of us. Outside, in the cool summer breeze, as the sun was setting. The smell of sweet sage, burning, cleansing my soul, my spirit – healing – toward new beginnings, a brighter hope, a brighter future. And as Emily was covering me in sage – I thought to myself “I rid what this day use to mark, & start fresh, toward new beginnings for myself.” And after we finished, I felt free.

The community here in Spokane – has been overwhelmingly incredible. The support, the encouragement, the genuine connections, the healing. Something I struggled with constantly back in Dayton when I was there over the past two years – my hometown. A time in my life where I really needed the support from community, but instead – received nothing. For the first several months of Matthew gone & I was struggling making ends meet for myself, I was alone, & dealt with nothing but negative energy, judgement, shame. All from a situation that I had no control over, that wasn’t from the root of my own personal problem, but his. I tried fitting into a “community” that was made apparent that I didn’t belong. I stopped caring for myself, out every weekend getting intoxicated, desperately wanted to fit in, to not feel alone, but in reality? I still felt incredibly alone. Yes, I made some new friends along the way, toward the very end of my time in Dayton, that I am incredibly thankful for – for I believe they helped bring me out of a dark & depressing time of my life. But over all? I was struggling. I was in a funk, a pattern of constantly being stuck, depressed. On repeat. And my abrupt decision to move back to Spokane, where it all started with Matthew, determined to make new memories in Spokane, a city I always had a love-hate relationship with – I knew it was time. To move back to a community I knew would have been there for me, to help me through my time of depression, my divorce. And the moment I returned – nothing by reassurance of that very fact – and today, proved it tremendously.

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My sweet friend Rashel – so incredibly thankful for her & her friendship over the past several years!

Vessel Roasters w/ new sweet friend Nina – Big Barn Brewery & Cherry picking w/ Rashel!

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So incredibly thank for Emily & her sweet friendship, her encouragement, & her badass self – strong & independent.

7.9.11 to 7.9.16 – complete healing – toward new beginnings, a brighter hope, a brighter future – toward self-rediscovery, to being strong, independent, uniquely beautiful, to finding purpose in life & seeking new opportunities – to finally being free from pain, heart-ache, trauma – to complete healing.

Thank you to all who reached out to me today – & to Nina, Rashel, & Emily especially.

Until Next Time.

Anniversary · Divorce · Emotions · Friendship · Healing · Hope · July · Marriage · Memories · Photography · Trials · Triggers · Wedding

Story #8 – Month of July

“She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25


The month of July use to be one of my favorites. Officially summer viben, bbqs, pool & beach hangs, roadtrips, cool summer mornings, cool summer evenings, all the berry pickin & jam makin – summer time in full swing. July 4th is a favorite holiday of mine. I get so excited to see the sky light up, filled with lovely displays of fireworks. Seeing the excitement on everyones’ faces around me. Sparklers. One July 4th, back in Ohio at a little park, the fog was so low to the ground – filled with lightning bugs going off simultaneously as the sky above showered a display of my favorite & what I like to call it “the wheeping willow” gold, shimmery firework. 7-4-11 – 5 days before my wedding day.

In one week – the first anniversary will come & it will pass – first wedding anniversary of officially divorced. I never thought I would be standing in this position – not once. I believed in tradionally staying together until ‘death do us part’ no matter the circumstance, the hardships, the pain, the hurt. I believe in fighting for each other daily, that love conquers all. What girl doesn’t want a fairy tale ending after all? I dreamed of my wedding day & leading up to it was so exciting full of love & joy. A new journey that I felt ready to embark. Yes, I was 21, but age simply does not matter – its the individual(s). And since I’ve been divorce, all the people I’ve encountered hear my story, ask me how old I was when I got married & I tell them & their first response “Oh well you guys were so young & not ready.” Every time someone had said that to me, & I had a mason jar for each individual to toss a $1 in as they said it – I would be rich.

Matthew & I dated a year & a half, had a year long engagement – almost 3 years together before we got married. I was cautious, I was patient. But someone wasn’t being honest with me in all his entirety – & unfortunately it came about after we got married. I was tricked. I was fooled. I thought I knew him well.

7-9-11 – 6 years ago. & here I am today, not where I thought I would be. Divorced. Single. Alone. & right when I finally felt that I was in a good place mentally, emotionally – I recently learned he’s back – in Spokane. I learned he was moving back two weeks before my move. The time he learned of my move, the many times he tried “reaching out” to me, even after having to block him on social media, not giving him my new phone number, but seeing emails from him shortly after my move, inquiring for my new number so that he can “keep in touch with me sometimes.” Not responding, emails again, & my dad calls him in response. & when I f i n a l l y felt at peace of doing me, being me, processing, healing tremendously, content – he moves back 4 months early then when he originally planned. My heart sanked – an instant anxiety attack came on. Right before the first anniversary of our wedding of officially, being divorced.

When I learned he was back, memories overwhelmed me. The manipulation, emotional & mental, even physical abuse – those moments flooded my mind. I began to self-doubt myself, that I wasn’t strong enough, that I simply couldn’t face it. That I wasn’t pretty or skinny enough – remembering those lies that were constantly fed to me, embedded in my brain, my heart. My first emotion – anger. I was fuming. Furious. Why the fuck now?! Why can’t he just stay away? But instead disturb my peace, my moving on, moving forward? The first week of him being back, I nearly had a run-in with him that brought instant anxiety. Then it happened – driving right past each other, sudden eye contact. Instant anxiety. Instant emotion. Instant anger. Instant hurt.

People say “Oh it sucks when you run into your ex. You just need to get it over with.” But you know what really sucks? The idea of running into your abuser, the man who you put your trust in, your husband – who vowed to take care of you for the rest of his life, to love you unconditionally, forever – to love you just as Christ loved the church. But instead did the complete opposite – abandoned me, left me to literally fight to survive – alone – after all the emotional, mental, physical abuse. Left me to deal with all the harsh judgement, constant pressure to hurry on with my life & find someone quick because apparently my “clock is ticking,” left me to deal with stares from fellow classmates we went to college with & who knew us as one of “Moodys’ favorite couples,” left me to deal with it all – alone. I never want to run into him – I never want to see him again. & here he is – back in the same city, & we all know just how small Spokane is – real fucking small.

But I am determined to not let that overwhelm me. I am determined to keep moving forward toward new beginnings, a brighter hope, a brighter future. & today was a huge step toward that. My sweet friend from college got married today, & a couple months ago she reached out & asked me if I could be her wedding photographer. With no professional experience, I decided to go for it. Nervous leading up to it, not to mention first wedding I’ve attended single,  what an incredible & rewarding experience it was. I felt renewed, refreshed, me. I had a blast capturing her sweet wedding day. It also shined hope, light – that one day, that will be me. United in front of family & friends, with my future husband who shows me his love unconditionally – about to embark on life’s journey – together.

Month of July – making new memories. Toward new beginnings; a brighter hope, a brighter future.

Healing – it’s really happening 💛

Until next time.


My sweet friend Jaimie! We went to college together at Moody Bible Institute back in 2008 & graduated together in 2012. Her sweet son Bingham 💙


The happy couple ❤️ LaRosa & Jaimie Johnson






Two families merging into O N E ❤️ simply beautiful.



Simply b e a u t i f u l ❤️



What a beautiful bride Jaimie was ❤️



Cupcake reception after the ceremony. Walking back to the chapel to retrieve my car – there were a few cupcakes left.