Community · Dayton · Divorce · Emotions · Friendship · Healing · Hope · Lacey · Marriage · Memories · New Memories · Numb · Ohio · Spokane · Thanksgiving · Trials · Triggers · Uncategorized · Washington

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?

H e a l i n g

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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Christianity · College · Dayton · Divorce · Emotions · Faith · Healing · Hope · Marriage · Memories · Ministry · New Memories · Numb · Ohio · Spirituality · Spokane · Trials · Triggers · Washington

Story #17 – Stagnant Faith

“The Biblical educator must not only have a Christian understanding of the material, he must have a Biblical understanding of the student. If he does not, then the result will be a hybrid Christian methodology employed to achieve a humanistic goal.” -Douglas Wilson

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In light of most recent news here within the Spokane community, I didn’t realize how much it would affect me personally – most importantly spiritually. & many of you don’t know about my college career, how I ended up in Spokane in the first place. So I decided it was time to open up about my stagnant faith, quite the adventure – my experience attending a Bible college, where I was at spiritually before hand – & where I am currently now.

I attended a Christian school grades 6th-12th – was really involved in my youth group, went on a few mission trips to Mexico with my school & youth group, & right before I moved to Spokane, I went on a mission trip to Honduras that was life changing to me in many ways. Before I went to Honduras, I was trying to narrow down where I was going to go to school, trying to decided what to do with my life. At the time, I knew I wanted to be involved in some type of ministry. & I had visited Moody Bible Institute Chicago a year prior (actually, the same weekend my dad remarried – 10 years ago). I fell in love with Moody – the community, the classes I was able to drop in & how involved the students were, the professors – I knew that’s where I wanted to go. It took so much convincing on my part toward my dad, as we didn’t see eye-to-eye on Christianity, believing in God. At that time – I already felt so alone in many areas of my life & the biggest area then – my mom mentally checking out.

I applied to Moody Chicago – & I received a letter in the mail that basically stated “Unfortunately, we cannot accept you at the Chicago campus. However, we would like to accept you into a 2 year program at our Spokane campus.” Which turned into a 4 year program receiving my Bachelors of Science in Biblical Studies.

Spokane?! Where the heck is that? & after researching where Spokane was located – I was in disbelief – all the way out in Washington State. In comparison to a 6 hour drive that turned into a 3 day road trip. & the process of convincing my dad to let me go – which he did. The moment I graduated from high school & returned from my mission trip to Honduras, I packed up my things, drove across country with a friend & her family who were transitioning to Colorado, stayed in Colorado for 2 weeks narrowing down apartments in Spokane & working on my transfer with my job (Regal Cinemas – all those free movies) & up to Washington where my dad met me with my car & my belongings (my little manual 1995 Saturn that he had to put oil in every 500 miles – he’s the best).

2008 my freshman year at Moody Bible Institute – you were either an aviation major or a Biblical Studies major – resides in a church. Students from all over the country, sharing the same story – applying to Chicago & were sent to Spokane instead because the numbers for enrollment were insane. Chicago simply did not have enough room. Moody was rapidly growing. & I was a part of that growth. My freshman year was life changing in so many ways – I got involved with a local church & their youth group, being a youth leader, helped lead worship, school full-time & work. & – I met Matthew – a freshman as well from California. He also applied to the Chicago campus & was directed to Spokane. We began dating our freshman year & were given the title from the students’ “favorite Moody couple.” We were involved in ministry together, we led worship together (he sung & played guitar – I sung). We grew spiritually together – something I had always dreamed of & prayed for. & it unfolded into reality, every day living.

But as the education continued, I became spiritually drained. & so did Matthew. I found myself picking up my Bible to read for classes – not for my own spiritual growth, or personal desire. It became another textbook among many. But because of a syllabus – a 30 page paper on theology & discussion of The Old Testament & the old law. Because of philosophical debates, arguments, convincing to believe solely Christianity & not challenging me in other areas, other beliefs & world views. The constant need to evangelize, getting out into the Spokane community, attending chapel twice a week or receive a failing grade if you don’t or accidentally miss a chapel (that happened to me once). Being preached at 24/7, not allowing room for own personal growth. & by the time junior year rolled around – I became numb. I became stagnant in my faith, needing a break, overwhelmed. I stepped back in participating in theological debates & arguments, became an observer, silent. I fought to make my faith my own again – organic & authentic. Matthew at that point had already become incredibly numb, & began drifting away from me spiritually, emotionally. To the point he associated himself as agnostic – but I didn’t find out until months before he left – 6 years later.

& when I graduated in 2012 – I was so relieved. So relieved to be free from such a legalistic viewpoint on life, on religion, on spirituality. Matthew & I both decided we needed to take a step back from the church. I personally – needed time to process my time at Moody. Reevaluate on my own what I believe, how to make my faith organic again. & as I tried to figure that out, Matthew was walking down a different path spiritually – atheist. I remember when I found out – during a podcast he was recording in our living room back in Dayton – months before he left. & I knew at that moment – we were walking down completely different paths – in all areas.

& when Matthew did leave, when we filed for divorce & I dealt with everything on my own – the first people to reach out to me – colleagues from Moody – judgment. Message after message. & my viewpoint about Moody quickly turned negative, suddenly.

But when I learned this past week that Moody Spokane was closing after the school year of 2018 – I found myself shocked by the news, heartbroken. Apparently enrollment has severely gone down (this impending school year only receiving 37 freshman in comparison to years prior). I began reflecting on my time at Moody. The friends I made, the professors who impacted me & invested in me, some of my favorite classes (Life in Bible Times, Intro to Counseling – playing 007 in New Testament Survey LOL), & after I graduated –  I managed the coffee shop on campus – HeBrews. Connecting with students & making new friends there, providing barista skills to my volunteers. There were still many good memories, good moments, & good people. & do I regret receiving my bachelor degree? Absolutely not. Do I have an interest in it anymore? No. But maybe because how stagnant & numb I became. Lost of interest. Because of the constant pounding in my head, my heart – on where I need to be at spiritually, how I should live my life. But in reality the greatest commandment Jesus taught – Love one another.

& that’s what I strive to do daily. Finding ways to bless people, encourage, help, & love. Without preaching or throwing the Bible in peoples’ faces. But to live an organic life to the fullest – loving people. I don’t identify myself as a Christian per say, but do I still believe in God? Yes. Even through the many trials that were laid out in front of me over the past couple years – I still believe, & I will always still choose to love people unconditionally. Do I currently go to church? No & I’m ok with that. Currently, I struggle with the church today, & I believe it primarily comes from the judgment I received from people within the church & Moody. A group of believers that are quick to judge, look to find ways to sneak into your life only to preach at you, gossip about you. Its a group I would rather not associate myself with, & instead build my faith naturally. & I know not every Christian is like that – just has been my experience constantly. But if I were to find a church that I felt at home with & comfortable? I would reconsider.

My heart is sad for the Moody community – for students who have to relocate to either Chicago (which they are also cutting faculty & staff back there too) or to another school; the faculty & staff who now have to pursue new jobs, new opportunities, & all the memories I did make at Moody Spokane – if it wasn’t for my spontaneous adventure out west to Spokane almost 10 years ago, barely 18 – I wouldn’t have moved back into a community I have grown to love so deeply, an area of the country that has really felt like home, an area where I have finally found healing & peace, time to process & really grow, challenging myself – becoming me again.

To continual new beginnings.

One photo from high school graduation with a friend who also went to Moody Spokane, & we roomed together freshman year.

Old but good memories through out my years at Moody. From the beginning as a freshman – to the end of my senior year – 2008-2012.

Emotions · Healing · Health · Hope · Memories · Mother · New Memories · Numb · Trials · Triggers · Uncategorized

Story #16 – Feeling Numb – Constantly Swirling

“When you’ve been sad for so long that when something bad happens you don’t cry, you just sit there and feel numb.” -anonymous

So incredibly, fucking numb. Numb to the point I’ve become unsocial, withdrawn, uninviting, secluded to myself. In hiding – mentally, emotionally. Physically? I’m there. Standing. Faking my smile that constantly receives compliments. Faking my niceness when I’m secretly screaming in my head “fuck you.” Feeling incredibly numb.

I simply don’t care – and that’s ok – for now.

This past week, sitting at a favorite coffee shop of mine, crocheting – waiting on a phone call from a friend – when my phone rang. I looked down & noticed it wasn’t my friend, but my sister. Eagerly answered, excited to hear from her. But I could tell – it wasn’t going to be a good phone call.

My sister proceeded with the reason why she called – my mom. If you remember my post from Mother’s Day – you’ll understand & remember the reasons why I don’t have the best relationship with my mom; how she disappeared from my life mentally but suddenly two years ago came back. An already sensitive subject.

Over the past few months, my mom has had these pressurizing headaches to the point it’s making her puke, daily. She has suffered from memory loss, blurred vision, loss of reflexes, body constantly in pain – all over. She finally went & got checked out two weeks ago where the doctor tested her reflexes & confirmed they are gone – believes she either suffered from a stroke & didn’t realize it or most likely – there’s a brain tumor. With how long the headaches have been going on for – he believes it to be a brain tumor & ordered a CT Scan to be done, which she goes in for this up coming Wednesday.

Numb. Feeling completely numb. So much has happened over the past two years. & when I heard the news about my mom? My first emotion – n u m b n e s s

I sat at the coffee bar – numb. Mind racing yet still. Heart feeling drained & heavy. But yet in response – numbness. My ability to socialize & my desires to do the things I love – shutdown suddenly. I find myself sleeping on my couch instead of my bed, motivation to do anything – suddenly gone. The desires to hang out with friends – suddenly gone. Feeling alone in my thoughts – honestly? It’s something I’m use to, but the heaviness of it currently is almost unbearable.

Distracted myself pretty well on Halloween. Kept busy the entire day filled with fun plans. The following day was difficult, back to work with my mom on my mind – constantly. & the next day? I finally called her.

We spent well over an hour on the phone. Lots of pausing, lots of silence. She went into detail whats been going on with her, describing it as something constantly pressing on her eyes, causing blurred vision. Her sense of directions – suddenly gone. Admitting to me what she believes is causing all these symptoms – brain tumor.

She proceeded with asking how I was doing, how were my animals doing, if I was enjoying work, making new friends – “are you truly happy living out there? Are you truly happy?” Explaining to her how happy I am, how I needed to get away & heal from the divorce & my grandmother passing away, toxic work environment, lack of community & always feeling alone – how depressed I was. & ever since moving back into a community that has done nothing but support & encourage me, taking me back in, expanding my community – truly happy.

I could sense a sense of peace – a silent sigh of relief over the phone. Silence.

“You know, I’ve always been a woman who believed in marriage unto the end. I still feel bad that things didn’t work out between your father & I – I apologize. But one thing I do know that I feel good about – I raised you & your sister well, to be good people. & you two have done just that & even more. I hope you know – that I always did my best.”

Instant tears. Fighting to hide the sounds of my sobbing from her. We continued to talk about the past – something we have never talked about before. Recognizing that her & I have divorce in common, & I immediately felt shame & guilt with mine, & she quickly responded “No honey! You have nothing to be ashamed of. It’s not your fault. I love you & I am so proud of you.”

We continued to talk. & I could tell she was having trouble forming words. There was a moment she inquired for my address. Two months ago she got a birthday card for me, & she went to write a check to include in the envelope – but kept getting her numbers mixed up. & when I gave her my address over the phone – it was a 5 minute process.

I’m doing my best to remain hopeful, to remain optimistic. But thoughts of the past, of the present, & of the future constantly overwhelm me. The down whirled spiral started two years ago when Matthew up & left, followed by two months later my sweet grandmother (my mom’s mom) suddenly passed away from a heart attack in her home right before Christmas, followed by a sweet friend passed away in Spokane, followed by two weeks of severe strep-throat, followed by a toxic work environment that forced me to get a second job, followed by the lengthy process of divorce, followed by the constant battle of trying to make new friends in a community that I felt excluded from – living a life style that was not me, making me even more depressed – not having really anyone to help build me up & encourage me during a time where I needed it the most. Yes, I had friends that were great & brought me out of a dark time of my life. But community? No.

& as I begin to plan my move back to Spokane, my mom began to tell me then that she was experiencing health issues. She never went into detail, but did let me know. & I considered staying. I considered staying for her, along with finding out Matthew was also moving back to Spokane, along for someone else that unfortunately ended up breaking my heart – but I knew I had to move in order to heal from everything. I had to move to find people that I could surround myself with to help me heal, to offer encouragement, to support me – finally.

But sometimes now I can’t help but think – if I hadn’t gone through what I did go through my two years living back in Dayton – I would most likely be there, helping my mom through this time. & with that – I am completely numb. Full of anger, full of pain, yet completely numb.

& it’s also interesting too – friends I made in Dayton – my hometown – haven’t reached out since hearing the news (besides 2) – but the support & love I have here through this – even when I feel completely numb – overwhelming.

to continual new beginnings – remaining hopeful

Anniversary · Crochet · Divorce · Emotions · Healing · Hope · Marriage · Memories · New Memories · Portland · Sunflower · Tattoos · Trials · Triggers

Story #15 – Two Years Ago t o d a y

To continual new beginnings – a brighter hope, an even brighter future – moving forward


I feel free. I feel renewed. I feel I have found myself again – self-rediscovery. It has taken me quite sometime to finally get to this spot. Yes, I have my down days – my depression I constantly battle, constantly fight. Feeling drained. Feeling suffocated by my thoughts, by my heavy emotions.

Yet I feel alive – I feel free. Happy. Myself – once again.

How time has flown by. The many years of losing myself in a downward spiral. One that kept pulling me in a black hole – sinking.

Today marks 2 years since Matthew left. Since he decided marriage wasn’t for him. The desire to be with me – suddenly gone. Like I didn’t matter. As if I were just a waste of time to him, or better yet – a passing time of distraction until he found something better, something/one that would fulfill his temporary happiness. One he constantly fought to keep filled with something “new” & “exciting” because apparently – I lost that to him. I wasn’t that to him anymore.

Last year on this day – I was at work when I received a text message from him, finally coming to terms with his abrupt decision to leave suddenly. The longest most emotional text message I have ever received- apologizing. I was working at a doctor’s office at the time, & I sat quietly in my cubicle – sobbing. Sobbing because not that I missed him, but the fact that he finally apologized. He finally recognized what he did & realized how his actions affected me emotionally & mentally – along with my every day life of trying to live a good life by supporting myself with two jobs. I never once thought that I would want to try & maybe get back together after his apology (I’m pretty sure he wanted to try – he regretted his decision, never admitted he regretted but I knew) but a sense of peace moved in, one that I felt my power slowly coming back. & today – I realized that power is officially back.

I actually forgot up until this past week what today was. I scheduled a tattoo appointment for today not realizing what today was. I was suppose to have a friend from Ohio come to visit & we were going to explore Portland together & road trip all over the Pacific Northwest – not remembering what today was. But she recently backed out, which at first I was sad about. I’ve never had the pleasure & experienced to show any friends from Dayton my home, where I have grown to love – the 6 years that I lived in Spokane for school, & now most recently moving back – I’ve always been the one to go back to visit – & its tiring emotionally, to be honest.

But I had already scheduled my tattoo appointment & paid the deposit. & I decided to take this weekend to m y s e l f – to regroup, renew, to continual processing & to continue to get my power back – my strength.

& it has been so incredibly fucking good

So incredibly – fucking good

I decided to visit all new places instead of my favorites. There is so much to explore. So much to see. All over really, just in general. But Portland has always been a favorite city of mine.

So many coffee shops, tried a couple new breweries, visited new shops. Bought a few house plants (now have 38), & the biggest reason I came was to add to my right arm of sunflowers – my favorite flower.  A work in progress of a collection of sunflowers from different tattoo artists. What an adventure it has been!

There’s something about traveling alone that’s refreshing. I bet people stare at me wonder why I’m alone – but who cares right? I have the freedom to do so, to be independent & strong. & I’m not ashamed of it. Especially working two jobs in customer service where I am constantly talking with people – its tiring, & traveling solo & keeping to myself – I’m perfectly fine with it.

& crocheting at bars? Fuck yeah.

I also have had opportunities to meet new people, which Portland is great with. One of the coffee shops I went to this morning – I talked with the owners & a lady who was sipping on an Americano.

& as I’m sitting at Breakside Brewery, writing this post – my latest crochet project in hand, people watching – I feel refreshed. I feel renewed. I feel me again. I don’t feel sad. Nor anger or hatred toward Matthew from what happened two years ago today – but I feel myself again.

a l i v e

Once again

Really ready to begin my life – to seek new opportunities whether it comes to job, dating, & so forth. One thing I do know for sure.

I want to make the Pacific Northwest my home.

Permanently.

It would have to take an incredible amount of convincing to move back to Dayton. I’m realizing more & more that no matter how hard I tried to be apart of the community there – yes, I moved away for 6 years & then back for over 2. Its my hometown & I know things were never going to be the same. People lose touch with one another, lose connection – its authentically natural.

But when it came to making n e w friends. When it came to dating – to seek genuine connections. When it came to building community, building support.

There was nothing – like I was an outsider peeking in, trying to be apart of a community that in reality? I was never welcomed to be apart of. & that’s ok.

Ever since Matthew left – I did literally everything on my own – alone. Solo. No support. No community. Besides my dad, besides my best friend sweet Soleil (best friend of 16 years) & a couple new friends – Lauren, David, Amelia ♥️ but instead received judgment & no support. From my hometown. From a community I should have been welcomed into naturally but instead – the complete opposite.

& I’m ok with that. Really.

& even though I was suppose to enjoy this trip to Portland with a friend I had made during the time I was actively trying to build community back in Dayton – trying to actively build genuine friendships & connections – I’m glad to be alone & to take time to myself.

To continual new beginnings.


Stopped in Hood River for their annual fall fest & bought a couple plants & squash I’ve never heard of. I have some cooking to do when I get back home!


Kainos Coffee – their pour over of their Tanzania was seriously on point.


The Grotto – a place of solitude & peace – simply beautiful.


Migration Brewery – such good food & beer!


Famous Powell’s Bookstore. I usually go & look for an old book on WWII but just had fun exploring it more.


Met with an old & dear friend here for drinks. A friend I knew back in Dayton who now lives in Portland. What a blessing it was to reconnect after so many years!


Doe Donuts – a vegan donut shop & holy shit – 🙌🏻


Kiosko – their kalito of their Mexico was so good. Such friendly owners as well!


Water Avenue Coffee


As I was trying to kill time waiting on my tattoo appointment – I came upon this place just right down the street.


Sunflower #6 from No Hope No Fear Tattoo Studio – I left speechless I was so happy with it!


Grabbed a cone sprinked in freeze dried beets from Cheese & Crack – #sorrystomach


Took home plant #38 from Pistil’s Nursure located in the Mississippi District.

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Stumbled upon this place in The Mississippi District – Wolf & Bear’s Din – I left speechless.


Cutest boutique!


Breakside Brewery – as I finish this blog post here.

What a fantastic trip – to continual new beginnings

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