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

 

 

Divorce · Emotions · Healing · Hope · July · Marriage · Memories · Sunflower · Trials · Triggers · Uncategorized

Story #10 – Slow to S P E A K

“Before you say something, think how you’d feel if someone said it to you.” – anonymous-

“If the words you spoke appeared on your skin would you still be b e a u t i f u l?” -anonymous-

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One of my biggest frustrations since Matthew left – the constant down talk about how “I could have done better.” How he was plain stupid, not well-liked, etc. Why on earth, do you even get the slightest thought, that it’s ok to speak to me like that? Or to anyone?

Very recently, I had a moment where it happened. In great company too. And one of my dear friends, who knew him before he snapped & changed, recognized the severity of the rudeness, but I held it together & let this gal speak. Her talking – minutes felt like hours. But yet – I bit my tongue & remained calmed. I let her speak her mind. I sat there, listened, took the brutal talk, brutal words, & listened. Agreeing with her. Because I didn’t want to get involved in an argument, from having a great evening with dear friends – my community. I wasn’t going to allow her painful words – affect & hurt me. But – I can’t seem to shake it.

I’ve been battling with negative thoughts since – was I stupid? Naive? Could I have done better? What is wrong with me to receive such poor treatment? Constantly? Harsh & judgmental words? How suddenly quick she was to speak as well. I sat there in shock, hurt, fighting back tears. I felt so belittled, incredibly stupid. Incredibly low. And I have been since. A thought I haven’t really thought about it.

Ever since Matthew left, I’ve had more people come forward to vocally voice their opinion on how they viewed him, how they disliked him, wandered why I was with him, why I – didn’t leave him. You know by whom? By those who only met & knew him – after things drastically changed between us. After something snapped. Because those people? Didn’t know him before he changed – they didn’t see the caring, gentle, & sweet spirit he was – the little things he use to do for me, like place bouquets of sunflowers on the dashboard of my car – while I was at work. The several times he brought me coffee also while at work, that one time he surprised me with tickets to my favorite band – mewithoutYou – twice! The several times he cooked me dinner, brought me breakfast in bed, told me how beautiful I was, how he really loved me unconditionally – and those who knew him before he changed suddenly – saw his love for me, & his sweet spirit, caring self. He was well-liked by others. My dad & him grew a close friendship tremendously – he even took my dad out to breakfast to ask for my hand in marriage. He was good – really good.

I grieved over what was gone – his old self, the self I missed dearly – sometimes I still do. And for someone who has no clue what the past two years of my life have been like, the last few years with Matthew & what I dealt with when he snapped suddenly – to speak such harsh & hurtful words. “I thought he was stupid & I always wondered why the fuck you were with him. You could have done better. And then he really fucked up when he left you.” Well no fucking shit – he really fucked up & I hope & I assume that he realizes it. But even during the worst times with him – I remained hopeful, because I knew what he was capable of – because I experienced it, & so did everyone else.

I ran into my roommate from college at work a few days ago – first time seeing her in exactly 6 years – literally. One of those moments where you both lean back, looking at each other, realizing you recognize one other – “Marcie?!” “Shannon?!” Shannon was my last roommate before I got married, & by far my favorite. We lived in a house together with 3 other girls, & then it was just us 2 until we both went on our separate ways, both engaged – she now has two adorable little boys, with her husband. And me? Alone. The look on her face when I told her, sudden heartbreak, sadness. “But Marcie! He loved you so much!” I know he did – but shortly after her & I parted ways? He didn’t – suddenly. Sadness. Pain. Devastation. She was experiencing those emotions for me – because she saw, & she knew – What Matthew was like before he – changed suddenly.

I just want to encourage everyone – please, please THINK before you utter any words. You have absolutely no idea what the past 7 years of my life were like. You have not walked in my shoes. You have not experienced what I experienced & went through. To the next person that speaks to me in such a way – I will call you out on it. Right there. To your face. Because that type of treatment needs to be stopped – immediately.

This week has already been rather emotional, full of self-reflecting, thinking, process, continual healing – & that conversation? Was the icing on the cake from everything else this week – & it’s only Thursday.

I’m emotionally drained – when will I stop feeling this way? When will I stop crying? When will I find myself normal again? To not constantly be on the verge of tears? To not constantly randomly start crying? To not let my mind wander to the past? When will I feel like my normal self again? When will I be brought out of this – depression?

& even though last weekend was a huge weekend in celebration toward new beginnings, a brighter hope, a brighter future – continual healing finally taking place – I still have my moments, I still struggle, & I recognize it – & I am trying to figure out what to do – to help myself.

I’m just being real. Raw. Honest. Authentic. Me – thoughts, process, healing – until next time.

14F1818F-961C-40DE-BCEE-51D8A0CB0C8D“You should step into my shoes and walk a mile. Then maybe you’ll see how hard it is to hold back tears and fake smiles.” -anonymous-

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.