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.


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!



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.