Monday, September 10, 2012

Avoid Martyrdom!

I just returned from a trip in which I visited the town of Annonay, France. There is not much of significance in this town anymore, but I took the walking tour, following the map provided by the tourism office. I came upon the Tour des Martyrs, seen in this picture, and have tried to find out the history on the tower, to no avail. I am curious as to who the martyrs were and if they were imprisoned in the tower, or took refuge here.

In modern times, we use the word martyr to indicate someone who considers themselves a victim. Taking on victim status can be pretty easy after divorce, however, being a victim is not going to serve one well for very long. Being a victim essentially locks you in a tower of your own making, one friends will quickly desert and grow tired of, one that will keep you from moving forward in your life, and is certainly not going to include happiness.

If you are feeling like a victim for any reason, it's time to stop the pity party and start counting all for which you can be grateful. It is natural to go through a feeling sorry for yourself stage after divorce, but staying there is not going to benefit you are your children. Move on. Decide to make a new life for yourself and make it great. You only live once, so what's your life going to be? Martyr or Life Maker?

Tips for leaving the pity party: Spend time every day writing down a few things for which you are grateful. Inspire yourself by reading about someone who has faced incredible adversity. I just read the book, Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard, by Liz Murray and believe me, when you read this young woman's story, I think you will see how great your life really is and can be!

Peace and joy!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Poverty is not just about money

Approximately 60 percent of U.S. children living in mother-only families are impoverished, compared with only 11 percent in two-parent family homes, according to research at the university of Ohio. I watched my sister deal with this very problem as she raised her kids, put herself through college, and then struggled on a beginning teacher salary. However, poverty due to income, while it can make day to day existence difficult, poverty of joy and intellect can destroy lives. Poverty does not just apply to income. When any of us, children and adults alike, are deprived of love and kindness, as well as intellectual stimulation, our lives become narrow and dark. Divorce can make the walls seem like they are closing around us, but refusing to narrow our world and staying in the light, can make the difference. And this doesn't just apply to divorce. Anyone is in danger of poverty of spirit by closing themselves off from others or from learning. If you are a single parent, bitterness and anger will definitely narrow your world, but most in danger is the world of your children. Allow them to freely love their other parent and his/her family. Love goes a long way in keeping the spirit nourished and joyful. As for the intellect? Avoid allowing the television, computer, and video games to raise your kids. Get out of the house. Take advantage of free activities available in the community. Read together. Hike. Do chores together. Travel if possible and expose yourself and the children to new ideas. And let others assist in positive ways, including even a stepmom or stepfather. And if new siblings or step-siblings come on the scene, be sure to include them when possible. Poverty of money makes life difficult for the moment, but poverty of the mind and spirit makes all of life a struggle.

Peace and Joy!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ruin is the road to Transformation

The ruins of a marriage do not have to mean life is over. Out of the ashes can rise a phoenix, ready and willing to transform into new life. This is the opportunity to set a new course for yourself, to discover what you enjoy, taking advantage of the time now afforded you to do just what you like. Divorce feels like the end of the world and sadly is for many people. Don't let that happen to you. Take time for you and transform your life into the best life possible. Ruin really is the road to transformation!

Need help transforming?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Be Present

In becoming connected through Facebook, Twitter, email, and all the other means of "connecting" these days, we are disconnecting from the people who are right in our presence. Parents walking with their children are on the phone chatting, instead of engaging their child(ren) in conversation. Couples sit at dinner tables and spend the entire evening on line instead of with each other. Adult children spend their time on devices instead of visiting with parents when together. All this "connecting" is affecting the relationships that matter most. Put the devices away and talk to each other. Look people in the eye and engage. Yes, it is great to connect with people out in the world, but they are not the ones who bring us a hug, who actually laugh out loud with us for real, or give us a kiss. XOXO LOL are just letters. The real thing is a better bet!

Peace and Joy!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pawns in a Divorce Game

Let's have a chat over tea, shall we? I talk about the kids a lot when it comes to divorce, as they are so often nothing but pawns in their parents divorce and this constitutes a form of emotional abuse. When children are fought over it is not in their best interest. No one really wins, no matter the outcome. Children need both parents in their lives. They need to enjoy the benefits of the different relationship they have with each, and both parents need a break from the kids from time to time, so coming up with a plan that works is essential. Allowing lawyers to get involved in this process is going to make it expensive and ultimately ugly. If the two of you have difficulty talking to each other in person, send emails with no accusations, no demands, just thoughtful comments. If this is impossible, try a mediator who can be the go between and make recommendations. In the end, the children should have generous amounts of time with both parents and holidays should be generously divided as well so that the children learn the traditions of each family and have time to see relatives on both sides of the family.

Unfortunately, I have seen far too often, parents set out for revenge through their children, turning them against the other parent, the grandparents and other extended family. This is abusive and will affect their ability to trust and bond with a spouse in their future. If you make their relationship decisions for them now by turning them against people who love them and they in-turn loved, they will not make the best decisions for themselves when the time comes.

Share your children generously. Their world will be far better and more populated with love when they see that the two of you are willing to allow them to love you both. Children are not your pawns, but developing humans who need more than anything love.

Peace and joy to you,

P.S. If your spouse is seriously turning the children against you, read Divorce Poison, by Dr. Richard Warshak and get help before it is too late.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Gearing up

A lot has happened over the last year. My new website is off the ground and running, but because it is primarily about health, I feel like I left my Choosing Happiness friends out in the cold. I am returning to this blog and will be posting every Monday. I am adding posts about remarriage after divorce as well so look for this addition. I look forward, as always, to your comments and hope you will join me here each Monday for a Choosing Happiness message. Find me also at, which will be coming soon with a totally new layout and indexed recipes. Have a great weekend and I'll see you Monday!