Finding J O Y

Also, as many of you may know I am sadly going through a divorce after 20 years of marriage.  It has been a tremendous time of growth and learning.  I think divorce is horrible for children and believe deeply that every effort should be made to prevent it.  If that effort has been made then I believe it is best for the children to go through the divorce with grace and peace.  It is the greatest challenge not to let bitterness or anger or any of those negative feelings enter into what I describe as a "Natural Disaster."  Since a divorce feels much like an earthquake or a house burning down.  The "world as you knew it" has now radically changed.  But beauty, grace and blessings do abound if you look for them.  After Christmas I will write more about the HOW of going through a divorce with Grace and Peace.  It involves a lot of prayer and journaling and compassion.  A willingness to rise above and do the best that you can.  And while this is best for the children it is also best for you.

I realized when redesigning the blog that there are many articles about my former husband as well as pictures of our family.  I have decided to leave those as they were when I wrote them because they were true at the time.  I don't want current circumstances to alter them since they were written with sincere feelings.  As I explained to my children, I will keep all the happy memories from the time with their dad but for now it is best decision that we go forward with the divorce.  

I know a lot of you are going through really trying times in your life right now.  I want to share this passage that was sent to me.  I also want to emphasize the incredible importance of gratitude prayers.  There were often times that I prayed for peace in my heart or comfort but I have found the most powerful prayers of all are "gratitude prayers."  I was just talking on Monday with Kara.  For those of you who have followed the email list for a while, you will remember that Kara's daughter, Joele, died of a rare form of Nieman-Pick AB at age four, just after Jeanette died of cancer.  Kara was explaining to me the importance of gratitude prayers and how truly important they are in your worst moments, when you are the least grateful.  I will tell you that during one very hard time I said many prayers of gratitude, praise and thanksgiving at 4:00 in the morning.  I can't being to tell you the difference it made in my life the following day and that i actually let me sleep.  

Then interestingly enough that following day, Robert Jones, emailed me and said he needed to return the book HERE IF YOU NEED ME by Kate Braestrup.  I had forgotten all about it.  I bought the book at the bookstore the moment Jeanette died.  Just after I found it, I got the text that Jeanette had died.  The book is very comforting and it's basically about us all being there for each other.  The authors husband died in a car accident when they still had three young children.  The book describes that God is present when we are there for each other during their difficult times and that through these efforts small and large miracles occur.  The timing of him returning the book was like getting a big hug and another wonderful reminder about gratitude.  It in fact seemed like yet another one of those Divine coincidences or small miracles.

‎"But then, a grateful heart beats in a world of miracles. If I could only speak one prayer for you, my children, it would be that your hearts would not only beat but grow even greater in gratitude, that your lives, however long they prove to be and no matter how they end, continue to bring you miracles in abundance."
-Kate Braestrup

I was also sent the below that I found very encouraging.  I've read it over and over again.

In life, we think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem. The real truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together for a time, then they fall back apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that.

Personal discovery and growth come from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.

Suffering comes from wishing things were different. Misery is self inflicted, when we are expecting the “ideal” to overcome the “actual,” or needing things (or people, or places) to be different for us so we can then be happy.

Let the hard things in life break you. Let them effect you. Let them change you.
Let these hard moments inform you. Let this pain be your teacher. The experiences of your life are trying to tell you something about yourself. Don't cop out on that. Don't run away and hide under your covers. Lean into it.

WHAT IS THE LESSON IN THIS WIND? What is this storm trying to tell you? What will you learn if you face it with courage. With full honesty and -

~Pema Chodron

The irony is that I began this recipe testing email this morning with the intention of sending you the link to Santa Barbara Magazine.  My mom and sister's gingerbread houses are featured in this month's issues.  I had posted a link to it on my blog.  Melissa Madeline and I were looking at it together and she was helping me chose the new layout for the blog.  Then all of our family pictures popped up from Yosemite.  They made us both sad for a moment and that was when I told her I wasn't going to delete them.  I was going to leave them as they were.  And I need to add last years trip to Yosemite when the girls and I went on our own and still had a magnificent time.  If anything, I think the girls are learning to be strong women.  To find their own interests, abilities and things that make them proud of who they as individuals are.  They are learning perhaps too soon what some women learn in their 20's or 30's but they are learning the lesson.

Perhaps it does make sense to send the link to the gingerbread now.  Because the bakery was built by their grandmother, Susan Halme, and is run by she and my sister, Melissa Halme Redell.  So it is yet another example of strong women in their family who work hard following their passion and in turn that passion brings JOY to others.  

Which reminds me of another small miracle.  When I was married our stocking holders were the word N O E L.  There was one letter for each of us and then Princess had a snowflake.  This year we needed to buy new stocking holders.  I wanted to get P E A C E and just use the three middle letters.  Melissa Madeline said how about J O Y.  We looked and looked and it took us quite some searching to find the stocking holders that said J O Y.  And we were joyous when we found them.  Since then, JOY keeps coming up in amazing places.  The little miracles reminding me I have filled our little house with joy and that my girls feels joy living here.  

Sending JOY to all of you,


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