Thursday, December 5, 2013

Do you hear the Bells?


Adult Children of Divorce and others who have experienced loss , often feel conflicted at this time of year.  Holidays often bring warm , happy feelings and well-wishes, good food and gifts of many kinds.  For those who are grieving , the messages we receive from others may not match with the way we feel at the moment.

Henry W. Longfellow experienced this on Christmas Day in 1863.  His wife had recently died in an accident , and his oldest son was serving as a Union soldier in the American Civil War, without his father's blessing.  Henry penned his poem "Christmas Bells" when he was feeling the conflict, of the hope and good news of the season, yet feeling his own personal loss at the same time.  Later the poem was put to music.

I have always loved the sound and melody of the song, but only recently truly read and thought about Longfellow's words.  And I added a few stanzas of my own, as follows:

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!


And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!


Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

 
And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"


Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."

( my addition:
Peace on the Earth, in hearts of men!
But not always between each of them
Good will , the goal
For men to be whole
On Christmas Day and in Heaven

Despair and Hope, together be,
May God have mercy on me
In war or peace, in all of these,
Christendom's truth can set us free)

This Christmas, as a person who is grieving the loss of your family after the divorce of your parents,  or as you grieve another loss,   remember the Christmas Bells.

They ring loud and deep.  They remind us that there is hope. Hope of a heart that can be right with our Maker and our God, regardless of if all human relationships are not right.  Do you hear the chime, the chant, the unbroken message of a God who can give us true peace amidst life's most difficult circumstances?  This holiday season, listen.  You  may only hear a soft , faint, whisper but He is there!!!  

( you also may  be interested in the posts  The Holiday  and Things Still Aren't Right This Christmas  if you liked this one ....)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Prodigal Parent


Many adult children of divorce have prodigal parents.

Today I re-read Luke 15: 11- 32 which is given the heading "The parable of the Lost Son" or "The parable of the Prodigal Son" . Jesus told this story as a response to religious leaders as they questioned why Jesus was speaking to an audience of "sinners".  The story illustrates a father welcoming a wayward son home, just as God welcomes a humble, repentant man or woman back into fellowship with him after they have strayed.

If you are an adult child of divorce you likely have a lost or prodigal parent.
They leave, go off on their own , and pursue their own lives and pleasures.

Often we, as children, are left to wait. We have to let them go. Sometimes this means distance, sometimes estrangement.
We wonder if they will ever "come to their senses" as the son in the parable does.
We hope for that and pray for that and we wait.
And we hurt.

In the book "Parenting your Adult Child" , the authors Campbell and Chapman make a case for the legacy we leave to our children.  The following quote relates to prodigal parents:
" There I nothing that hurts as much as a negative change in a parents' integrity and behavior.  When a person rejects the values she has instilled in her children, it is a blow that will stun children to a degree from which they may never recover. "

The story or parable of the Prodigal Son is maybe more accurately entitled "The Waiting Father".  Jesus was trying to make the point to the religious leaders who were questioning why he would talk to sinners,  that precisely God wanted the wayward to come home. God was waiting and that was Jesus' mission to bring the lost ones, who had come to their senses, home.  The main character is the waiting Father.  He let his son go. He also rejoiced when he came home.

As adult children, you may have a prodigal , or lost parent. They are out on their own, following their own path, looking for pleasure and avoiding responsibility to their family. You are the "waiting child".  The wait will probably be long.  The wait will be trying to your spirit and mind.  And we have to face the possibility that our parents may never humble themselves to the point of "coming home" again.  But we can hope for that day , pray for them.

Today many adult parents of divorce have waiting children.  If that is you , continue to let go where you need to . But keep looking expectantly for the day when your parent may come home.  It may not happen, but if it does, meet them with compassion and open arms.  This is what God does for us when we return to Him.  Coming home is a day look forward to !!!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thanks for YOU


Adult Children of Divorce need other Adult Children of Divorce. I am grateful to those who have contacted me and shared their stories and what their struggle entails as they journey through being an adult child of divorce.  The feeling that we are not alone is a great consolation to each other. Thanks for all those who read my blog. I am thankful for you and do remember you in my prayers at this time of thanksgiving !!!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Serenity Everydays




The word Serenity caught my eye.  A new online site is committed to helping us achieve a little peace in our busy , challenging lives.  The quote below is what I read just a few minutes ago:

"For many of us, weekdays mean being stressed, overworked and constantly connected, with little time for pause or reflection. When the weekend comes around, it can be difficult to de-stress, slow down and unplug. What we need is an oasis of well-being, wisdom and wonder. Enter Serenity Saturdays......"       The site encouraged people to send in photos of them relaxing, enjoying and taking time for enjoyment today.

If I am to be truthful, which I want to be and try to be,  even though my name is Serenity, I must admit that the state of serenity does not come to me naturally.  My husband and family and close friends will tell you that often I am nothing of the sort!!!  When I began my blog, I chose the name Serenity because that is what I want.   I learn, pray , counsel and read , in order that my sense of serenity grows. 

I believe that God wants us as Adult Children of Divorce, or those of us who are not, to experience a sense of well-being, wisdom and also wonder amidst and in spite of our circumstances.     As Adult Children of Divorce we become stressed as we gain new responsibilities and burdens we did not have before.  We feel overworked, as we try to care for our own families and also the needs of a parent/s and try to keep our families from falling apart completely.   As Adult Children of Divorce, we sometimes feel TOO connected to all the intertwining relationships and conflicts that spiral out of our parent's divorce. 

We , too,  need to pause and do some reflecting!!  My hope is that as I work through my issues I will give up control for contentment.   Adopt an attitude of perseverance, instead of impatience.  And remember to look ahead instead of mourning what I loved of the past.   Thanks for reading my blog. Being able to share my journey has helped me in  this quest of serenity and I hope it has helped you , not only on Saturday's , but everyday!!! 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Value of A Lighter Note

 
Over five years have passed since I began processing my father's affair and the soon-to-follow end of my parent's 45 year marriage.  Grief was loud and dissonant as my life's sweet sound became a irritating and unpleasant ringing in my ear.  I knew as I processed grief and tried to reach out to other ACODs that we would need to leave our deep feelings of anger, depression, sadness, etc. and focus on lighter things. You and I  would need to learn to step away from the drumming of constant thoughts and emotions to hear again the music of serenity. 
 
  That is why I try to put a post entitled " On A Lighter Note" in my blog occasionally. A funny joke, or a light message of courage is all I can handle some days, when I need a reprieve.  Today I need that again.  It is not a cartoon, or a quote today, but today it is music. My fingers on the piano , relieving stress and listening to the harmony of sound helps soothe my re-opened wounds.  Singing at the top of my lungs in the car helps sound out my frustration. Stopping to recognize the chirp of a bird or the humming of a bee, makes me see how valuable even the most seemingly insignificant can be. Listening for God. Sometimes He speaks clearly and without denial. Lately I feel He is whispering. It requires me to be still and to be aware and waiting. 
 
Today , leave room in your day and in your particular issue you are struggling with , to enjoy a lighter note.  Get out that guitar and strum.  Listen to your favorite CD.  Get out and enjoy the music of laughter with a friend.  When experiencing fresh grief , or old grief, as an adult child of divorce, make time and a way to lighten your load and your soul by enjoying a lighter note!!!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Blending In


Adult Children of Divorce just want to blend in, but sometimes we stick out.

As I arrived at the Christian Writers Conference I was recently invited to, my goal was to learn about what it takes to be a writer, what is involved in publishing an article or a book, and to just observe. Observe, blend in and quietly learn.

I drove down the winding road toward the conference center, past a shimmering lake, allowing myself to breathe in the cool calm.   Walking into the room, I was greeted by a welcomed familiar face and others who were displaying welcome. Centerpieces of painting supplies on each table dripped the theme of creating, whether it be by brush, or pen.

Realizing that the frog out of water down by the lake probably felt less uneasy than I did, I determined to act like I belonged.  These were writers. Real writers. Those who write for a living. Those who know how to pay attention to words, adverbs, sentence structure, and write many drafts before they are satisfied. I have journaled, and written a few Bible Studies, and I blog about being an Adult Child of Divorce, but I don't see myself as a writer.  But to blend in , I got to work meeting people and learned that Writers and Artists are just like you and me.

Our conversations swirled around topics such as the weather, our travels to the conference center, and what we were expecting to eat for dinner that evening.
Until that first time I was asked, I truly had not anticipated the question , or my answer and the accompanying emotions and thoughts.  

"What do YOU write?", I was asked.   Write, I thought, ...I don't write, I blog...umm..oh, I have to tell them what I blog about....it is making me feel vulnerable telling a complete stranger something so personal and painful.  I usually don't tear up when I tell people about my parents divorce anymore, why now?  What will their reaction be?  There, I got through that...whew...

Gratefully, my first "asker" was gracious, sensitive and listened with compassion. She shared of understanding grief due to a different situation in her own life. That helped me be prepared to answer the question and tell over and over that I blog about being an adult child of divorce.  I explained that my parents divorced after 45 years of marriage. The responses were all kind. But each time I answered I felt like I was sticking out.  The gracious listeners didn't do anything to make me feel that way. I just know my situation is not the norm.

I wanted to blend in and now I was feeling that my life's portrait was making others think about their own marriages and the marriages of their friends and their parents. One woman expressed that thinking about my story made her realize that marriage is fragile. People were beginning to wonder if their relationships were made of thick canvas, or thin paper.

How I wished I could say that I blogged about my leisurely summer spent up north,  or that I was writing a Farmer's Market vegetarian cookbook . I prefer to help people draw positive and good conclusions about life.  Then I could blend in better , I thought.

As we writers and artists talked we remembered how in art class as children, many of our teachers would tell us to be creative and work on our project the way we wanted to .  But then the teacher would come around to each desk and direct us to make our picture look just like theirs. The end result would be 20 pictures with the tree, the lake, the cloud, in the same spot. 

Adult children of divorce blend in , we look the same for many years. Our families meet for holidays, we read mail from " mom and dad" , and we feel normal. Now, we stick out. We compare ourselves to others and find a big smudge in the middle of our work. The general idea and beauty is still there, but the colors or brush strokes are not always ours by choice.

As I talked more and heard more about the lives of the other artists and writers, I realized that I DID blend in more than I first thought!  Their stories and topics they wrote about included some textured areas, as well.  Their canvases had smudges in places mine didn't. They , too, had eyes to see the beauty amidst the imperfections.  With the understanding that God has something to do with the colors, hues, shades, objects, and message of our lives, we accept His careful touches with each stroke he makes.

If we as Adult Children of Divorce stick out as different , maybe that is not a bad thing. Others can think hard about their marriages and maybe put more work into them. They can realize how hard on family members divorce really is. They can listen and understand. And then we can do the same as we learn of their situations. 

I see myself more as a writer , after attending the Christian Writer's Conference. Although I may not have blended in as I told the story of my parents divorcing after a long marriage , I observed and I learned that when using our God-given abilities to convey God's working and presence in our unique life expressions, each painting sticks out in the gallery for a reason , just as God intended.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Behind the Curtain

This little wren has brought me much joy . I have known all about him and his coming and going ( literally) and he has just discovered me!!

Bird watching and feeding has been passed down through the women in my family. The enjoyment we get from seeing the amazing color and activity has helped us understand God.  Images of God caring for the birds ("Look at the birds,....your Heavenly Father feeds them Are you not much more valuable than they?" Matthew 6:26)  and images of God covering us and sheltering us with His wings ( Psalm 91:4) has made me watch these little creatures with wonder , realizing I am similar to the birds!

This morning the reality became even more vivid. I had attached a window bird house/box to my home for many years , but this year a wren became interested for the first time. The birdhouse is unique in that I can look out of my window and see INTO the back of the bird's nest.  First , I began seeing a little twig or two in the empty box.  Then I noticed some cotton stuffed into the crevices between the twigs.  More and more twigs and cotton and once in a while I noticed the wren himself , jumping on the twigs and rearranging them with his beak .  In and out of the nest. He was busy building. I was busy watching. But not to scare him, or to steer him away,  the curtain has remained closed.

Only true bird enthusiasts understand not opening the shade all summer long.  Or hardly being able to open the window to let in a cool breeze , in order NOT to frighten the little friend outside the window. Little by little, I would peek from the side of the curtain and watch. His nest got dense and I couldn't see much of him, so yesterday I decided to stand on some furniture to get a look from the top.

There he was! He saw me! He looked my way, startled and hopped to his escape hole, but looked into his nest, past it, through the glass at me again.  Then he hopped to the top and came close to the window and looked at ME with wonder!! I can't describe the moment . He finally saw behind that curtain, which he didn't even know was a curtain. He looked. I was quiet. I slowly withdrew the curtain to its normal spot , and he quietly went back into his nest.

Immediately, I thought " I am that little bird. Busy with the cares of my life, building my life and protecting my home and trying to find shelter from the storms. Yet I am unaware so often of something greater and more powerful than I. A voice and mind and heart is behind my curtain. He knows , He sees, He is watching. He cares , He enjoys me, his creation.  When I discovered He was there,  I wanted to know more about Him and what He was doing on the other side .  And discovering and knowing Him has brought me MUCH joy!!!

Telling the Truth







Telling the truth is something Adult Children of Divorce see as a lost art. Often before a divorce, during the process , and long after mom and dad separate for good, there is a string of lies on the part of one or both parents.  When I confronted my father on his lies, he said " Serenity ( not my real name) ,  Everyone lies!!"   Almost as if because it is so common, it should be accepted.  To me, lies undermine trust and credibility and I want truth. I want to be a truth-teller and to be spoken to , in truth. Early in my blogging I wrote a post that I have linked to , below. If you are struggling to know the truth in your situation,  or working to tell the truth,  or sifting through what others tell you , keep honesty before you!!

Words are important.  Jesus says over and over in the gospels, "I tell you the truth".  And the book of proverbs, which encourages wise living, speaks often about telling the truth.
Proverbs 12 :18  "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing "  Watch what you say and what you hear. Watch for the sword and be the healing.  What a different world we would live in if we could say " Everyone tells the truth"!!

honestly-whats-acod-to-believe    ( click on this link to go to former Honesty article)

Monday, July 22, 2013

ACOD Times To Remember

Adult Children of Divorce can't decide if they like calendars or not!

You flip the page on your calendar and see May 9th and the ache deepens once again. That was the day you got the call that your mother was leaving your father for another man. This is a date you don't want to think about.

You see pumpkins , smell leaves burning, and feel a cool autumn breeze . Later as you turn the calendar from September to October you no longer have warm, nostalgic feelings the way you normally do.  Instead, you feel a lump in your throat.  Last Fall you attended your parents divorce , and nothing has ever been the same again.

Plans for Easter are made, but the whole time you feel unsettled and can't quite figure out why.  Then you remember that was the time you usually celebrated mom's birthday and now you hardly keep in contact with her.  This is a time you don't like to remember anymore.

Remembering negative times and bad memories is common. Our bodies are wired to remember trauma or pain , as to avoid the trigger in the future.  This is important, but equally helpful is training ourselves to remember good things, thus balancing our memories and providing positive thinking during a difficult situation.

What if we ACODs decided to also focus on remembering that it was June 22nd last year when we saw mom laugh and smile after months of observing her anguish of divorcing late in life?    

Or remember that last Spring we began our counseling and when we see tulips and smell the spring rain, we will always think of our growth and how far we have come in healing?

And the first time you felt an epiphany when you realized "I can't fix this" and it is o.k?

As well as the time last week in the Hallmark store when you  looked for a birthday card for your mother and didn't cry or become angry, as you realized your feelings for your mother had changed since your parents' divorce? What if we remembered that!

Or remember the party, where when asked how your parents were doing, you could explain the divorce to an unknowing person, with a sense of strength and clarity, instead of crying.

As an Adult Child of Divorce, you can learn to like your calendar again. Begin this week. When you turn the pages this month, think about progress,  joy,  healing, and milestones you are making in your journey. Those are the times ACODs should remember!!


A Time for Everything  :  Ecclesiastes 3 : 1-8  ( read the whole chapter too!)

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.




Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Too Many Choices?

How many of us have looked at that old t-shirt in our drawer and wondered why we even keep it.  The color is faded, it may be too small or too big.  Misshapen or full of a few select holes, it still feels the most comfortable and is the wardrobe choice we go to when we want comfort, consistency and a sense of the familiar.

To liken marriage or divorce to wearing an old t-shirt is not completely a perfect analogy, but it may work as we talk about late life divorce.  According to an article in AARP's magazine from November 2012 called Why Long Married Couples Split   one of the reasons we see more later life divorces is because of a change in the number of real or perceived life choices.

Boomers live longer and like an old t-shirt, marriages fade and become less than they were in some respects as people age.  The colors may not be as vibrant, the "fit" may be different than before, and we may just tire of the look.  Boomers who have this attitude become discontent and begin to look around for a new choice.

People have always had choices about their marriages,  but maybe we have too many choices today.  Once we interacted with our immediate neighbors , family and a smaller local community.  Today we interact with hundreds of people via social media and email and our personal phones.  Once people expected to live with one person, grow old and somewhat complacent with one person and were content with a less-than-perfect relationship.  Today we think our relationship should always be vibrant, exciting and meeting our needs.

Too many choices and options can be bad.  It is a proven fact that our ability to make a good choice lessens when we have too many choices.  Experiments have shown that we are more likely to buy a home when we are given three houses to look at when house shopping rather than ten and we are more apt to buy ice cream when given just a few flavors to choose from rather than dozens and dozens.  Too many choices can cloud our thinking and cause poor decision making.

My thinking is to be careful what we PERCEIVE are our options.  Maybe we need to come back to our old t-shirt.  Adult children of divorce know what it is for a parent to obtain a new wardrobe in place of what is known and well-worn.  Maybe choosing what is comfortable, familiar and known , isn't such a bad idea after all.

The decision is maybe more about the choice to value the intrinsic worth of something that is cherished for past and present function and memory, especially in a long term marriage,  rather than agree with the "out with the old, in with the new" mentality.

I think if the old t-shirt still fits, in some way, shape or form,  wear it!!!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Grief Revisited


Today I remember Grief. He is a companion that comes and goes, sometimes unannounced and other times I know he is coming.  He has visited again.  And he is visiting others about whom I care deeply.  He has visited a coworker  as she faces legal issues concerning a late life divorce.  He has visited a family who is reeling from the unexpected news that a father and grandfather has broken vows of marital faithfulness. He comes and he goes and we must deal with him.   

My journey blogging began when I decided to write about how Grief had visited me and how I had had received help to deal with him.

 Please go to the bottom of the Time For Serenity blog to see the earliest posts I wrote. They follow the stages of grief ( shock, denial, anger, depression, etc.) and may be helpful when Grief comes to visit you !!

http://acodtimeforserenity.blogspot.com/2012/01/adult-children-of-divorce-and-grief.html

Grief is real because loss is real. Each grief has its own imprint, as distinctive and as unique as the person we lost. The pain of loss is so intense, so heartbreaking, because in loving we deeply connect with another human being, and grief is the reflection of the connection that has been lost. We think we want to avoid the grief, but really it is the pain of the loss we want to avoid. Grief is the healing process that ultimately brings us comfort in our pain.
ELISABETH KUBLER-ROSS, On Grief and Grieving

Thursday, June 6, 2013

ACOD Ripple Effect

 
 
Imagine with me a pond.  The clear , still water reflecting trees above.  A sense of stability and consistency abounds.  Sounds in the distance resound like a whisper. Time stands still . 
 
Plop!  A pebble is dropped off the shore and immediately there is movement. Circles of change begin around the pebble's imprint.  Creases of water move , slowly , but ever increasing and ever expanding.  Soon the outer ripples lap against the shore with a soft resonance.  Fish have been disturbed, a bird has fluttered away, and people have watched with eyes mesmerized as the ripple effect has once again captured those who are near.
 
 
Imagining that scene reminds me that you and I are the pebbles, in the ponds of our relationships and what we do will be felt by others.  The pond is made up of close family, extended family , friends, coworkers , community and society as a whole.   Our pebble's effect can be positive or negative and much of it we are in control of and responsible for.
 
As adult children of divorce, we see many effects that our parents divorce has had.  But I was surprised to read of the influence that one person's divorce has on another person's marriage.   In my own life, I began to watch those around me within the past several years.  When a divorce occurred, it seemed that not too long after, another divorce of someone associated with the first divorced couple came to light.
While reading the Life After Divorce blog , the author shares that after her divorce of 11 years, her mother saw her daughter's new life and treated it as an "awakening" and divorced her husband as well.  Not only did the daughter go through her own divorce, but the divorce of her parents within a short amount of time.  The author stated that her parent's divorce was more difficult that her own divorce.  It seemed that one divorce influenced the other divorce.
 
Good Morning America did a segment back in July 2010 called "Is Divorce Contagious?"
James Fowler ( University of California San Diego professor)  seems to think that divorce spreads like a virus. The statistics are very high that if a sibling or especially a friend divorces , you have a greater likelihood to as well.  Watching someone in an unhappy marriage find perceived happiness pushes others to think and act in similar fashion.
 
In my humble opinion, I have noticed that older people are trying to be like younger people.  Is that a cultural shift? I don't know.  But I question whether other generations of young people wanted to be older, more mature, selfless,  have responsibility and settle down with stability and purpose.  Is it that today's values have shifted?  The older people want to be younger, selfish , immature ....and travel and have less responsibility and purpose, except for personal pleasure and the good life , at the expense of other more lasting, meaningful things?  I don't know. I just wonder.  Does this ripple effect hit us in a negative way, while generations, people staying together was the ripple that influenced the society in a positive way?  Lots to think about.
 
Regardless, our choices affect others!! Your pebble will make ripples.  What kind of ripples do you want to make?    Research has shown that smoking, drinking, weight gain does spread in social groups.  The opposite is true : healthy living, eating and healthy relationships encourage others in those areas ! 
 
So, when you realize the effect others have on YOU:  Find other pebbles who show healthy behaviors and drop with them.  In marriage, surround yourself with others who value commitment and counseling and communication.  
 
And when you realize the effect your marriage has on OTHERS marriages:  Nurture your relationship.  So much more is at stake than just the "two of you".  Be positive with your spouse, take time to talk and work through problems.  Establish goals and a vision that is greater than your marriage and family. 
 
When you see that your pebble will drop.....it will make waves ( ever it be so small or big) and when you see that your little pebble will serve as a catalyst for change in others lives and worlds, you will want to think about the ripple and the effect and do what you can to make it a positive source of movement in YOUR pond!!!!
 
 
 

If you want your life to count   ( FOR GOOD ) , if you want the ripple effect of the pebbles you drop to become waves that reach the ends of the earth and roll on for centuries and into eternity, you don't have to have a high IQ or EQ; you don't have to have good looks or riches; you don't have to come from a fine family or a fine school. You have to know a few great, majestic, unchanging, obvious, simple, glorious things, and be set on fire by them , ( and then live by them, being aware of how your decisions have great impact beyond yourself!)  "
                   John Piper    (   and  extra words in the parenthesis’ added by Serenity)


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Lord's Prayer : Adult Children of Divorce Version

 
 
Matthew 6:9-13 is one record of the Lord's Prayer.  Jesus prayed!!  If he needed to, so do I!!   After teaching about rules ( Matthew 5 and 6) , murder, adultery, divorce, vengeance, enemies, giving to the needy ( and who says Jesus isn't relevant?) , etc.....he comes to the topic of prayer.
 
He tells his disciples ( and us) HOW to pray.  The Lord's Prayer gives us a format.
 
God knows I have spent much time thinking and praying about rules, adultery, divorce, vengeance, etc, and MORE since my parent's late-life divorce.  Here's my attempt to use Jesus' format to give an example of what conversation between us ACODs and God may look like.  May it get all of us started talking to God!!!
 
Our Father in Heaven       Some of us have lost relationship with our earthly fathers or mothers and we still need what a father or mother can give
 
Hallowed Be Your Name   Who you are is holy, set apart from all other fathers and mothers ---and may it stay that way!
 
Your Kingdom Come        We have created little kingdoms of "family" and "society", but there is MORE!!
 
Your Will Be Done        We see life from one perspective, you see it all!!
 
On Earth as it is in Heaven      Please bring a bit of your love, justice and sovereignty into our worlds today
 
Give us today our Daily Bread     Give us today what we need to survive and be nourished
 
Forgive our Debts         We fall short of giving you what you deserve and we have failed others....forgive us
 
As we also Forgive our Debtors    Others have failed and hurt us and may continue to. Help us to keep forgiving!
 
And lead us not into temptation    Protect us from facing tempting decisions and help us to stay away from those situations if we can
 
But Deliver Us from the Evil One    If we are ready to fall into sin, please come and take us away from he who is and all that is opposite of you!!!
 
(For Thine is the Kingdom , Power and Glory Forever and Ever Amen)     It's not about us, but about YOU!!  Help us remember that.
 
 
START praying!!  KEEP praying!!  DON'T STOP!!!
 
 
Coming Next :    The Ripple Effect

Monday, April 22, 2013

ACOD Writer's Block

 
I have been an ACOD for almost 5 years. I only began writing a little over a year ago. In the past , my mind was racing, everything I was thinking about , processing, having to physically deal with, and practically do after the fall-out of my parent's marriage came fast and furious.
 
Now, I still have a lot to process and new information from the past, or new situations of today come into my world, but the daily mental and emotional and physical toll has become lessened with time and my ACOD thoughts do not consume me, and life is at a more normal pace again.
 
My writing at first mimicked what I describe above.  Words came, thoughts came, things counselors said were fresh and I wrote.
You read . And I am grateful for what it has meant.
 
Now , my thoughts come less often and less intense. I am often not sure what other ACODS want to hear.  At first I was hoping for more comments and interaction, but I realize this is a personal , painful experience and I found people wanted to read , more than respond.
 
I would love some feedback as to what the readers of this blog WANT to hear.  I would love to know what their biggest struggles are at the time.  I want to feel what they are going through right at the moment.  That will help me know what to write so Time For Serenity truly is a place to come for a bit of help and hope.
 
SO..... send me an email at Serenitytime8@gmail.com
 
I would love topics, situations, other topics that maybe aren't even ACOD related to write about , if you want to keep reading..... So I am counting on you to help this "writer's block"!!
 
 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

No Facebook Account for this Serenity

I recently saw that there is a similar name as Serenity time that has a Facebook account. It is not me.

On A Lighter Note : Perseverance

"...we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance,  perseverance character, and character ,hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts ...."     Paul's letter to the Romans Chapter 5 Verses 3b -5a

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Welcome, About Me and Topics





 I have had some trouble getting my pages to show up in the header bar...so this is the best I can do  :)
 
WELCOME:  Creating a place for Adult Children of Divorce of every age to come for a bit of hope and help has been a desire of mine as I have navigated the rough waters of finding my place within the aftermath of my parent's divorce.  The counsel I have found and from which I have benefited in the past few years is what I will share with all of us in an effort to encourage us that we are not alone and there is hope. May this place be where we can all go to move us toward times of serenity and peace within our circumstances.

 

ABOUT ME:

I am a 40 some thing adult child of divorce who has been married more than 20 years myself. My parents divorced within the past few years after years of what I thought was family closeness and no sign of what was coming. Within the past few years I have received wonderful help and counsel and I want to share with others who are going through a parent's divorce. You may be 20 or 50 and experiencing this change in your life and I hope we can help each other heal and move forward.

          Contact me at serenitytime8@gmail.com if you would like to chat about something personally.

 

 

The general order of topics is as follows below...and How to navigate to certain topics:  On the LEFT upper corner of the toolbar, click on Sidebar and then go to either snapshot or flipcard, to scroll through the different posts. OR use the search box in the upper right hand corner to type in a topic.


JANUARY TOPICS : Help and Hope

Grief

Bonds Unravel

Pain

Anger

 

FEBRUARY TOPICS: Anger

Counseling

Bargaining

Triangles

Honesty

Depression

Waiting

Boundaries

 

MARCH TOPICS: Accepting Change

Forgiving Parents

Time For Serenity

Things/Objects of Meaning

House

Rings

 

APRIL TOPICS: Postcard

Holidays

Recipe

Photo Album

Pathway

 

JUNE/JULY : Reflecting and Writing again

 

AUGUST:

Acods and Listening

Acods and Materialism

Acods and Identity

 

SEPT/OCT:

New Look to Blog

Serenity Prayer Extended Version and Worksheet

Simplicity

Why do we Blog???

 

NOV/DEC:

ACOD Serenity Prayer

ACOD Fathers and Mothers

Things Still Aren't Right This Christmas
 

JAN/FEB/MARCH:

Blog Anniversary

Grandchildren of Divorce

Keep Going!

ACODs and affairs

Forward and Back

 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

ACOD Forward and Back


Adult Children of Divorce heal.  We move forward.  We laugh again and have some hope for a happy future.  We walk , looking ahead. 

That is what I experienced a few days ago.  I was looking for some old photos and spent time going through many old photo albums.  I saw photos of a once-together, happy family.  Amazingly, I could view these photos from the past without bawling and with actually feeling warm feelings of what we had in the past. I didn't feel like I was grieving what we lost, but instead I was able to be thankful for what we had.
Moving forward felt good.  I was grateful I had come so far.

Then.... 

I stopped in my tracks and began to move one step back.  I won't go into detail about what it was THIS time, but I think all ACODs know this phenomena.  It can be a new story you hear from a relative or past neighbor about something you never knew before concerning your parents marriage.  It sometimes is a phone call.  Or a decision you need to make.  It can be driving in a car past a familiar place that was special to your family in years past.  SOOOO many things can cause us acods to take a step back and grieve a bit again.  The evidence that I am healing and moving forward helped the blow of my stepping back.

Adult children of divorce step back.  We stop for awhile.  We grieve again and wonder what the future holds.   But we keep walking. One step at a time.  One foot in front of the other. 


Friday, February 22, 2013

Keep Going!!!

 
Adult Children of Divorce sometimes need to just keep going!  I was reminded of that last week when I took to the slopes for some winter downhill snow skiing.
 
I consider myself a fairly able snow skier. I like the slower , more relaxed trails, so the first run down was nicely comfortable.  My second time down I decided to ride the lift all the way to the top. Not having skied this particular hill before, I really didn't know what I was getting myself into!   The view from the top was spectacular , but when I looked at the slope, I knew I was not prepared!
 
But, prepared or not, I HAD to go down. So, I began down. Skis in the slow/brake position, to prevent myself from going too fast. And before I knew it I was head over heals, laying in the snow!!  I could not "right" myself. I was in one position on my side and just decided that I would let gravity take me down in that position. After a few feet of sliding on my hip and laughing and hoping no other people were looking at me, I realized I needed to have a new plan.
 
So, I righted myself , with the help of my kind husband, who looked on with pity and sweet disbelief.  I decided that I would go down like everyone else. Straight on , feet facing down, in that braking position, but I would just have to keep going!!!
 
I began down in an upright position and before I knew it, instead of toppling head long, I must have leaned backward and I was descending the hill ( which later I found out was a black diamond run) skis on the snow, and my back on the snow as well.  There was nothing I could do. The speed and gravity was holding me down, snow was spraying up under my coat all up my back and into my eyes, my skis were flat on the snow, helping me continue, and all I could do was laugh.  Up over a little hill, airborne, and back down....halfway down that run. 
 
Finally I got to a level area , up righted myself and skied beautifully down the remainder of the easier lower level of the run.  After I had brushed myself off, laughed more at myself, thanked God that I was not hurt, looked around and saw no one staring at me,  I realized that "sometimes you just have to keep going!!".
 
It may not be pretty, you may be unprepared for what is ahead, you may laugh or cry.

The terrain may be unfamiliar, you may be afraid , and you may try different ways to keep moving.  But the most important thing is that you KEEP GOING!!!
As Adult Children of Divorce, when you find yourself in awkward positions, feeling unsure of how to proceed, think of me, and find a way, anyway, to keep going!!  :)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

ACODs and Affairs

Many of us ACODs have witnessed the burning down of our families due to the fuel of an affair on the part of one or both of our parents.

Affairs can sometimes be "explained away" to a child.  Reasons of friendship, having grown apart, or a new chance at love may seem reasonable to a child, although hurtful.

As adults, we are familiar with the concept of affairs and we often observe it from afar in the lives of others, but when the many levels of deception, betrayal and destruction are experienced first or second-hand, there is a deeper clarity and pain.

Since the discovery of my father's affair, and subsequent choices of his ended family as we all knew it, I have heard many people refer to affairs in common terms.

They may call it a "mistake" or "just an affair".  Some say things like "all sin is the same in God's eyes" or they minimize the personal responsibility by claiming that sometimes people can't "help it".   On the outside, looking in, these comments seem to make sense and I think they help us cope with something that is unknown to us.    But when you are on the inside, you realize the depths, intensity, and breadth that the lies and selfcenteredness envelope.

One fellow blogger wrote something like  " a mistake?  NO! 1000 mistakes"....and I would add,  1000 calculated, deliberate decisions.   An emotional spark may have started, but those sparks were fanned and tended to until the fire grew.  Each choice became a choice for self above a spouse, children, grandchildren, friends, family name and legacy.

One of our parents may have fanned a flame, stoked a fire....the other one may have ignored signs of a dull glow or the smell of smoke....and yet another person ( the girlfriend or boyfriend...note "girl" and "boy" ...connotes some immaturity in my view) kept putting logs on the fire of the forbidden.  Some ACODs can not reconcile any or all of these...they can not forgive the offending parent, the betrayed parent or the "friend".  The adult child can not, or will not, or is not able to have a relationship with one or all of the people involved in the aftermath of a burnt out home.

Knowing my parents mutual love had died, and they would not be a cohesive unit any longer destroyed the foundations and the basic structure of my world, even as an adult.
But understanding that another person entered our life without all of our knowledge, permission or blessing and that they fanned the fires of destruction and then stole things that did not belong to them out of the rubble, just rubbed ashes and hot coal into the wounds.

Fire can be debilitating or life-giving.  It can be  injury-inducing, too hot and damaging or it can be warmth, light and security.   Fire-proofing your marriage today is a wise step.
The fires of true intimacy, commitment and togetherness can be encouraged and give energy to those around us, not pain. 

The links below give some very practical tips about being accountable and setting boundaries to make your marriage affair-proof!!  This is important , because as most ACODs will tell you,  an affair is not "just an affair" or " a mistake".  It is a destructive fire, out of control.

http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2012/november/friendships-go-too-far.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/samantha-parent-walravens/10-ways-to-affair-proof_b_2167564.html


Topics

JANUARY TOPICS : Help and Hope
Grief
Bonds Unravel
Pain
Anger

FEBRUARY TOPICS: Anger
Counseling
Bargaining
Triangles
Honesty
Depression
Waiting
Boundaries

MARCH TOPICS: Accepting Change
Forgiving Parents
Time For Serenity
Things/Objects of Meaning
House
Rings

APRIL TOPICS: Postcard
Holidays
Recipe
Photo Album
Pathway

JUNE/JULY : Reflecting and Writing Again

AUGUST:
Acods and Listening
Acods and Materialism
Acods and Identity

SEPTEMBER:
Serenity Prayer Worksheet
ACODs and Simplicity
A New Look to the Blog!!
Serenity Prayer Extended Version/Worksheet
Simplicity
Why do we Blog???

NOV/DEC:
ACOD Serenity Prayer
ACOD Fathers and Mothers
Things Still Aren't Right This Christmas

Grandchildren of Divorce
ACODs and Affairs
Keep Going
ACOD Forward and Back
Lord' Prayer ACOD version
Ripple Effect
Grief Revisited
Too Many Choices
ACOD Times To Remember
Telling the Truth
Behind the Curtain

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