Beliefnet
How Great Thou Part

Here are a few great Etsy shops to spread some Valentine’s Day love!

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https://www.etsy.com/listing/200622290/handwriting-jewelry-personalized?ref=related-1

https://www.etsy.com/listing/175193495/bible-verse-wall-artwe-love-because-he?ref=related-3

https://www.etsy.com/listing/219350460/you-make-my-heart-smile-hand-painted

https://www.etsy.com/listing/502042331/love-pillow-monogrammed-valentines-gift?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=valentines%20day%20gift&ref=sr_gallery_33

https://www.etsy.com/listing/490368517/bucket-list-journal-valentines-day-gift?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=Valentines%20day&ref=sr_gallery_41

https://www.etsy.com/listing/99194143/fluffy-pink-heart-shaped-decorative?ref=shop_home_feat_1

https://www.etsy.com/listing/264276600/valentines-day-blocks-valentines-day?ref=related-0

https://www.etsy.com/listing/219471367/word-art-wood-3d-cutout-i-love-you-to?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=love%20products&ref=sc_gallery_1&plkey=129fe3efece1b046fe3bb5bf9a151623438c958c:219471367

https://www.etsy.com/listing/472594398/gold-rim-heart-ring-dish-ring-holder?ref=finds_l

https://www.etsy.com/listing/274438108/initial-ring-personalized-letter-ring?ref=finds_hl

https://www.etsy.com/listing/231609210/quad-ring-two-stamped-interlocking

https://www.etsy.com/listing/497179453/valentine-shirt-raglan-tee-valentine?ref=finds_l

https://www.etsy.com/listing/476832314/youre-my-person-mug-greys-anatomy-mug?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=&ref=sr_gallery_40

https://www.etsy.com/listing/205169802/valentines-day-gift-11-bath-bomb-gift?ref=finds_l

https://www.etsy.com/listing/210039873/slatted-wooden-bath-tray-3-different?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=bath%20tray&ref=sr_gallery_8

*Always please note each Etsy shop and their location and time frame on deliverables as well as recent reviews.

(Photo courtesy of Pexels)

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on Twitter @colleenorme
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E-mail: Colleen.Sheehy.Orme@gmail.com
www.colleensheehyorme.com

There is no better emotion than feeling loved.

Love is the life charge that feeds our confidence, security, and happiness.

Finding as many ways as possible to express it can only enrich our heart and our lives.

Of course, we do spend time reminding those special people in our lives about love. We may whisper an ‘I love you’ or text a heart. We may make a special meal or call before an important meeting. We may hug them or squeeze their hand as they walk beside us.

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Why not up the proverbial ante?

And get more creative with our love for our spouse, children, parents,  siblings, family, and friends? The more we personalize our unique ‘love’ the more intimate it becomes.

And since love is the true elixir of life, it makes sense to spread and share it in as many ways as possible.

5 Creative Ways to Say I Love You:

1. Game Pieces:

We keep our desks and drawers filled with essentials such as pens and sticky notes. The items we grab for in daily life in order to communicate with each other.

Why not stock those drawers with fun items to convey the average word? 

Or in this case, anything but average words – I LOVE YOU!

Fill a box with scrabble or Monopoly pieces. And better yet, don’t leave them in that drawer. Deposit them in a pretty dish and position it in a place of daily importance, such as the kitchen counter or family room table. A place where they can be referenced often and with ease.

Then without warning, pick the time and day to position those scrabble pieces with the perfect message. Or, take the monopoly pieces and use them to form some special code. Better yet, assign a piece to each loved one. A simple ‘Top Hat’ and ‘Scottie Dog’ out of the dish and side by side on a table says…”One person is sending an I love you to the other.”

There are limitless other possibilities. Go on a scouting trip of board games to choose the perfect one or one(s).

2. Markers on the Mirror:

Sure, lipstick on the mirror has been around for ages but we are not likely to smack it on our own mirrors.

Head to the local office supply store and buy some dry erase markers.

Or a craft store and inquire about what other types of markers they may stock which work best on mirrors.

Find a spot in the bathroom where these are in view of daily living habits. Then wait for a random moment or a birthday, a new job, a tryout, a rough day, a disappointment, etc. and scribble a picture or a few words that express just the love that person needs.

3. A Love Notebook:

Journaling continues to be a popular way to get feelings out and absorbed onto paper. Likewise, many second homes or vacation spots tout guest books – a somewhat ‘communal’ form of journaling.

Why not combine the two?

The ‘journaling’ and the ‘community?’

Buy either a typical spiral-bound notebook or a hard bound family keepsake type journal. The options are fairly limitless, including a hybrid of the aforementioned found at many paper or office supply stores.

This couple of family journal could include special memories or just simple declarations of love.

I love this family because of all the crazy people and outrageous laughs we have!

This was the best birthday ever! I feel so loved!

It could be one comprehensive masterpiece or divided into enough sections for each family member to also have their unique ‘love thoughts.’ Or a combination of both.

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4. Special Object:

How about a love mascot?

Maybe there is a unique person, place or thing that binds your family together. A trip to Disney World, a romantic teddy bear won at a county fair, a seashell from a favorite vacation spot, a cartoon character everyone loves, etc.

Find or buy that special object and find a place of importance for it. A bit of an Elf on the Shelf all year long.

The whole family could sit and brainstorm what the ‘love mascot’ should be.

No real central person, place, or thing? No worries. Choose something that will become important to those you love.

After that is accomplished, the central mascot can travel through the house or be left in a special spot. A smaller or different version of it could find its way to a bedside table on the right morning or a suitcase before college.

5. Favorite Candy or Snack:

Sure, everyone has their favorite candy or snack but what about a designated sugary treat for a rare love that’s sweet?

Food has long been a symbol of sharing and expressing love. 

Candy, in particular, is a food that travels easily. It can be tucked into a lunch, stuffed into a backpack or left on the seat of a car. No special reason, just outta the blue.

The good news for today’s health conscious society is a widening selection of healthier alternatives.

There is something for everyone. 

The candy could be personalized or a common favorite or group pick. Just think of the smile that will cross the faces of loved ones as they see a candy or snack and say, “Oh, that candy (snack) is our family fav.”

 

Love is limitless and thus, so should be the ways to express it.

The sky is the limit.

Let love travel!

Let it be tender and romantic or fun and creative or whatever that special person and special relationship demands.

There is no better emotion than feeling loved.

Love is the life charge that feeds our confidence, security, and happiness.

Finding as many ways as possible to express it can only enrich our heart and our lives.

(Photo courtesy of Pexels)

Follow me on Facebook @Colleen Orme National Columnist
on Twitter @colleenorme
on Pinterest @colleensheehyorme
E-mail: Colleen.Sheehy.Orme@gmail.com
www.colleensheehyorme.com

I once had a big dream. 

To be a writer.

My mother, on the other hand, believed writing was akin to acting.

Business would be a far more sensible major.

So off to college, I would go to learn the practical field of business.

I remember sitting at my desk those first few days in the hills of Scranton, Pennsylvania and scribbling my thoughts on the paper in front of me. My college roommates would be forced to read and listen to a plethora of my contraband musings.

I graduated and found work. Yet, at night I would still find myself pounding the keys of the typewriter.

I would submit a few pieces, get the standard rejections, stop for a few months and then repeat again.

Somehow convincing myself every rejection was a harsh and final truth rather than a stepping stone.

I would repeatedly question whether or not I was meant to be a writer. 

I would try and suppress my passion with each and every rejection letter.

I would pray for the grace to no longer have this somewhat unrealistic dream.

But the dream would never leave me.

There came a point, despite securing an agent and having manuscripts make it through multiple reviews on blind submissions when I still believed it was time to surrender. The publishing industry is what I refer to as an ‘elusive and exclusive’ world. An arena with far more rejections than praise and one where the odds are quite frankly against you.

And then…My bells and whistle moment.

I sat before the computer which now replaced my typewriter to open the e-mail which replaced my mailbox. My work would be featured in Washingtonian Magazine. It would be both validation and the realization of a dream. The Washingtonian not only an esteemed publication but Washington, D.C. the seventh largest media market in the country.

I tell my children I wasn’t a Pulitzer-winning writer, I didn’t get lucky, and I didn’t know anyone. I simply defied the odds in an otherwise odds against you industry because I never gave up.

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My son has a big dream.

It too involves an ‘elusive and exclusive’ industry. He needs to defy a tremendous ratio of odds.

I tell him what I wish I had been told.

God does not make mistakes.

Do not let life confuse you. Do not be filled with doubt upon rejection. This passion quells inside of you for a reason.

God made that deposit in your heart.

It is tied to your purpose. 

No person can stop it. No odds can deny it. No doubts can prevent it.

Do not give into that confusing space where life getting in the way makes you question it.

Go out and show the world who you are. 

Because God does not make mistakes.

 

(Photo courtesy of Pexels)

Follow me on Facebook @Colleen Orme National Columnist
on Twitter @colleenorme
on Pinterest @colleensheehyorme
E-mail: Colleen.Sheehy.Orme@gmail.com
www.colleensheehyorme.com

I need a 12 step program for ‘long-texting.’

My friend who I like to refer to as ‘Oprah’ (again, names always changed to protect the innocent who hang out with me) recently told me as much.

person-woman-apple-iphoneIt went something along the lines that somehow during work she might not have time to read my novelesque messages.

Really? (protests this writer feigning shock)

Me? A ‘long-texter??’ 

In my defense, I’m not really in a ‘short-texting’ – WASUP GIRLFRIEND?! – Stage of my life.

More like a….

You will not believe what just happened!!
Oh my goodness I need my mother but you will do!!
Is this really what my life has become?!!!!
I think I may soon need medical treatment!!
I am seeking a surrogate parent in my life – will you apply?!!
Please text back to confirm I am not in fact, crazy!!!!
God doesn’t seem to be listening at the moment, can you?!!!!

Time of my life!

I promise I will return to ‘short-texting!’ After all, I have no desire to appear technologically ancient! I aspire to all forms of anti-aging tools and methodology far outside creams and botox.

I will muddle through the last part of this divorce and return to carefree life. ‘Oprah’ will then miss my history lesson texts as they will be replaced by:

“Okay def will!”

“IDK LOL.”

“OMG that’s baddd!”

EMOJI EMOJI EMOJI EMOJI

Who am I kidding? I am a writer! ‘Short-texts’ are my kryptonite!

Who’s idea was it to drive phone calls to the point of extinction?

Some of us over communicative dinosaurs still need them!

Especially when we aren’t in a – WU GF! – Stage of our lives.

More like a…

“@TEOTD 2M2H CLAB LHM” 

Time of my life  

Hey, ‘Oprah’ short enough? You just helped shave ten technological years off me – feeling younger already!

TMB GF : -)

(Photo courtesy of Pexels)

Follow me on Facebook @Colleen Orme National Columnist
on Twitter @colleenorme
on Pinterest @colleensheehyorme
E-mail: Colleen.Sheehy.Orme@gmail.com
www.colleensheehyorme.com

There are a ton of unhappily married couples but seldom do you hear someone say, “Hey, I might give divorce a try. What’s it like? Can you tell me a little more about it? Do you think I could handle it?”

Nah! That just doesn’t happen.

Divorce is more frightening to the average individual than remaining in an unhappy marriage!

No matter it’s for the REST OF YOUR LIFE!

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Wow! Think about that – It’s a lot to process.

No one wants to jump off a cliff they have seen others pushed and nose-dive from. 

Instead, the ‘unhappy’s’ party on the marital cliff with you and stay far enough back they can witness the divorce demise but not so close they may accidently fall off the cliff themselves.

Worse, a lot of the ‘unhappy’s’ have a somewhat irrational fear divorce could and may be contagious.

Hence, divorce remains a dirty little secret. Even to those who ultimately succumb to it. Making critical survival information fairly scarce. But boy DO you ever need a plan! The wicked wilderness of divorce will eat you alive and the scary animal screams will keep you up all night long.

So whatever you do, don’t just go out and naively hire an attorney. Have an “I better be massively prepared, this is a super big cliff, my parachute might not hold me, God please help me kinda PLAN!”

A few things to do before you party too close to the cliff:

1. Save Money: 

This means be prepared for a rainy day, a bad divorce, a primary income earner having too much control over your ability to begin again type of savings goal.

It does NOT in any manner, mean unethically and dishonestly trying to gain a financial edge on your soon to be divorced, partner.

This is a tricky dilemma.

I myself believed this was an unethical thing to do in the time I gave thought to leaving my marriage. Therefore, I refrained from doing so. However, as a woman who spent many years at home raising my children, I ultimately put myself in a more vulnerable position. Though I had worked part-time for nearly a decade I was not the primary income earner and because I didn’t need the money, most of my work was devoted to people I knew or my freelance work.

I should have honestly saved. This means not concealing or stealing to take from one spouse or another. It means the very moment you believe you may have exhausted your options, starting just a modest slush fund in case you are left with zero ways to pay for groceries, gas or necessities if your spouse does decide to opt for unethical behavior.

2. Do Not Underestimate Your Spouse:

My marriage counselor once told me, “Colleen, you have always worn rose colored glasses and now they are black.”

I was indeed ready to end my marriage and decidedly fed up, but down deep I was still leaving the love of my life. Not a person I chose to believe the worst of though at times it may have seemed that way. No, those were the words of a wife venting. Down deep I still saw the best in my husband.

Make no mistake. Divorce is ugly and people who do not do the hard work of counseling will use it as a means for venting their anger.

More than likely, the person you divorce will not be the person you married. Worse, any faults could intensify ten-fold. If they worshiped money they will worship it more, if they were controlling they will be obsessively controlling.

It’s hard to process this notion when considering a divorce. A better way to prepare for it is to understand the dissolution of anything is arduous. A business going belly up is NOT pretty.

Take the emotion out of your expectations. Rather expect this could be an individual you no longer recognize who may be capable of things you never dreamed you could imagine. 

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3. Stock Up On Essentials:

Good, bad or ugly, money is a commodity in divorce.

Even minus any financial bad behavior, you are dividing one household into two.

Get ready for this.

Start clipping coupons, catching buy one get one free specials and the like. Stock up on toiletry, pantry, and necessity items. Remember the days of stockpiling diapers and baby wipes.

Once again, seize that mentality. BE PREPARED!

When you are low on funds, you will be thankful.

Tell your family and friends who understand where your life is heading, to please buy you gift certificates rather than Birthday or other special occasion gifts. The day you are out of gas and Starbuck’s is a divorce luxury, you will be able to fuel up in more ways than one.

Take the time to anticipate your first year of separation leading to divorce. Buy presents for your children’s birthdays so they have the luxury of a typical birthday and do not get lost in their parents divorce drama. Buy them clothes they may need for the next six months or so. Whatever ensures they suffer the least amount of disruption as the emotional disruption will be more than enough for them even when done as well as possible.

4. Get Yourself in Counseling:

Believe me, you will not be prepared for the impact of the fall from this cliff.

You need someone to help catch you before you hit the ground.

Go to counseling as soon as the marital problems start – even if you have to go alone. You are entering into a supremely treacherous territory.

Think about the classic airplane parental air mask. Give yourself emotional oxygen so you will be able to help your children breathe.

5. Get Your Kids in Counseling:

If it is not possible to have your children in counseling before your divorce, they certainly should be in it throughout your divorce. In fact, if you and your spouse are in serious marriage counseling, i.e., not a little marital hiccup, it’s a good idea to get them to a few counseling sessions at that time.

Kids understand when their parents are struggling. Therefore, including them in several counseling sessions to see how they are doing while their parents are experiencing difficulty is healthy for them.

Then, if it does lead to divorce, the child or children may be more open and comfortable with the idea of counseling in general.

Again, since funds can be minimized in divorce, any pre-divorce counseling may be critical.

Both parents can become different people in divorce, stress can change people. Children deserve a thoughtful plan.

6. Have a Workout Plan:

Let’s be honest, unless you are a supremely type A personality, you are not going to have the energy to commit to working out regularly. And even a few type A’s may fall by the wayside.

Develop a plan and figure out what type of plan will best work for you. What does it look like?

Is it enrolling in six months worth of spin class ahead of time? Is it asking a friend or two to keep you on a regular walking plan? Is it going to sleep in your workout clothes so you literally wake up and walk the dog or jump on the treadmill?

Do not fool yourself into believing you will have a physically healthy plan without developing one. Unless of course, exercise is your drug of choice and something that no matter what spin your world takes will call to you.

7. Have a Healthy Meal Plan:

Think about it – stress and fatigue not necessarily the bedfellows of nutrition. 

As in the gym rat analogy, unless you are a foodie and it is your passion, chances are divorce will deep six any healthy nutritional habits you may have once had or aspire to.

Enlist the help of some family and friends – maybe even ask one to help with a meal plan.

In the beginning of a divorce, so many people attempt to help us only we believe we can go it alone until we are knee deep in the pizza and the pinot.

At that point, we feel pretty crummy and have passed the point of a friend knocking at the door with a healthy meal.

All we need to do is get a jump start on divorce. It is grief. If we can attend properly and accept the help of those who love us we may navigate the first few difficult months and transition with more momentum to eventually care better for ourselves and our children.

8. Check Out Your Financials:

Run your credit score. Find out all you can about your financial situation. Is there anything you were not aware of? Is there debt you did not know about?

A troubled and neglected relationship distracts us. It throws us off of our proverbial game.

While we sludge through the muddied waters we lose sight of the shore and how long we have been out there. Hence, without even realizing it, you may not be aware of half of what is truly happening in your financial arena. Whether you both have your own jobs and debt or whether one of you has the primary income-earning job.

Take the time to assess a situation you may have inadvertently let your guard down on.

9. Get a Job:

I worked part-time so I did not fear re-joining the workforce. I kept my resume current and progressively stayed ahead of the trends in my field. I made myself a perpetual student even in the years I stayed home with my children. I read all the industry news I could get my hands on.

I somehow believed I would have the luxury of a year to resume full-time work. I would give my youngest son what I gave my other two children. I believed divorce was a desire to heal on both sides. A dedication to our children and what they needed.

What a surprise when I realized my husband believed divorce to be a game of monopoly.

He would rely heavily on the words of an attorney who advised, “Don’t leave her until she’s got a full-time job.”

Of course, these sage words of advice were to counsel my husband into paying the least amount possible. To not let the ‘wife’ get one over on him.

All the while, the ‘wife’ was ill-prepared for these type of intimidation games. The more bills left neglected to incent her into service, the more stressed both she and her children became. The financial and emotional warfare blew up in his face. It had the opposite effect.

The children and the ‘wife’ became immobilized by the constant unpredictability and fear of anticipating his next move.

Don’t lull yourself into the belief you can attempt to give all of your children the same experience.

Unfortunately, divorce means be prepared immediately for change or someone else may change your sense of well-being.

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10. Find Your Safe People and Hold Onto Them:

Whatever you do, don’t expect the world of the people in your world.

Instead, be mindful of the select people who no matter how crazy your world still remain crazy about you.

They are your ‘safe’ people.

The ones who regardless of your crazy cliff dives – alternate between cheering you off the cliff while fluffing your parachute…

OR nose dive before you so they can catch you when you fall.

As the famous saying goes, or to paraphrase – look for those who remained in the room (or for our purposes on the cliff) while the rest of the world walked out of the room (or off the mountain).

They are the adventure seekers in your life.

They will pitch a tent beside you in the wicked wilderness.

They will fend off the scary animal screams that threaten to keep you up all night long.

And they will make sure divorce doesn’t eat you alive.

 

(Photo courtesy of Pexels)

Follow me on Facebook @Colleen Orme National Columnist
on Twitter @colleenorme
on Pinterest @colleensheehyorme
E-mail: Colleen.Sheehy.Orme@gmail.com
www.colleensheehyorme.com

 

The other day, someone asked me…

Why children will smile next to a parent who has repeatedly hurt them and behaved badly? They were voicing their obvious confusion. 

I understood their logical take on the otherwise illogical topic of a love turned messy.

As a child of divorce, I know certain truths. 

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If you had seen me out and about with my dad you would not discern in actuality he had left me when I was five-years-old and barely returned. I smiled next to him despite the fact he had chosen alcohol over our family. What else is a child to do? We have just two parents. And even the ones who disappoint us and potentially threaten to destroy us – we still love.

Not in the way we love our healthy parent. The one who always chose us above all else.

But in a childlike, for better for worse, these are my people kinda way. 

We don’t want to remember or be reminded this parent failed to choose us first, repeatedly. We want in that limited time together to hold onto the time before that. When they had magically fooled us into believing we were the center of their worlds.

It is painful to watch my children experience memories that I myself can recount.

Even more painful to know my choices brought this forward in their lives.

I now find myself revisiting the childhood truths of divorce. Trying to understand them from an adult perspective and not just my youthful view so I can help my children navigate the same waters.

7 Truths of the Children of Divorce:

 

1. Children of Divorce Will Keep Smiling:

At home, children may verbally act out in the form of tantrums and disrespectfulness. After all, the safest place in their world just became the most uncertain.

Divorce is a lot for children to process even when adults try to do it well. 

The pain of a child can also be emotionally distributed in numerous non-verbal ways. It may be falling grades, missing practice, withdrawal and more. A small child may not know how to express their pain and an older child may choose not to. These negative side effects can occur even if children are in counseling.

However, aside from all the verbal and non-verbal indicators of distress, many children will continue to smile.

A teacher or coach may not notice the extent of their pain. They will go along to get along as best they can during one of the most trying times of their young lives.

Divorce is impossible on adults so imagine the burden it presents to children. 

Exactly, why adults should focus on a healthy and timely resolution because as a parent, children must come first in divorce.

2. Children of Divorce Will Worry:

One of the most unfortunate outcomes of divorce is children feel the need to assume the role of parenting the parent.

Part of this will be a need to make sure they can still count on the parent and part will be a need to rescue.

They might begin to ask routine questions more often, such as, “How are you doing?” “You okay?” Or make loving promises such as, “I will take care of you one day.” “I will buy you a house one day” “I will never leave you.”

It’s so important to diminish and quiet their worries. To remind them they are children and you are the adult and you do not need to be taken care of. Even if the divorce is brutal and the situation is extreme, reinforce their ability to remain a child by saying something such as, “I may not have everything figured out yet, but I soon will so you do not need to worry about me. It’s my job to worry about you.”

Explain that this is a temporary hiccup in their otherwise secure world.

That it is normal to feel sad while experiencing a loss and it will pass and things will get better.

3. Children of Divorce Absolutely Know the Truth:

All children need and want to love both of their parents.

They also instinctively trust both parents. 

Unfortunately, some parents will attempt to ‘use and confuse’ their own children in order to exercise their spousal anger. Sadly, this will work in some cases. After all, before the divorce, more than likely, the child could trust this parent to protect them. This horrible game of emotional ping pong may actually work.

Ultimately, children are much smarter than adults give them credit for and they figure it out. 

Likewise, if one parent behaved badly during the marriage and/or divorce (above and beyond the aforementioned spousal alienation) the children lived it. They fully understand which parent they consistently could count on, was predictable and made their world safe.

We teach children from a young age to treat others well.

They understand when a mother and father fail to do the same. 

4. Children of Divorce Won’t Necessarily Take on the Parent That Disappointed Them:

A child of divorce will stand next to the parent who has disappointed, mistreated and hurt them and adults will be none the wiser. 

Out in public, they will look happy rather than sad when with this parent.

This happens for several reasons.

-They may have been disillusioned so many times the child realizes it isn’t worth taking on the parent.

-They have witnessed their other parent trying to get this parent’s attention for years to no avail so they know it’s futile.

-They realize if this parent is a difficult personality, an addict, an abuser etc. it is not someone they are willing to confront.

-They are loving and caring and more of an enabler to the misbehaving parent wanting to still hope for the best in them.

-They simply no longer have any type of deep attachment to the parent and do not care enough to be upset anymore.

The children never wanted to be put in a position of conflict, to begin with. If they could, they would have run away from it.

Clearly, it makes sense, the majority of the time they will avoid any more of it.

5. Children of Divorce Have a Great Sense of Right and Wrong:

As in all other terrible experiences in life, some good does bubble to the top. 

Children of divorce have a strong sense of right and wrong. 

A bad situation was addressed and therefore, they understand people acted to take them out of the wrong environment and make their world right.

They then witness the aftermath, good and bad, further reinforcing how they will and won’t want to treat another human being in the future.

In addition, many grew up with a perceived injustice. A parent who treated either their other parent and/or them badly or whose bad behavior hurt them over and over again.

This intensifies a strong feeling of what is right and what is wrong.

6. Children of Divorce Are Intensely Loyal:

Fortunately, there are some divorces where both parents did a decidedly great job of being wonderful examples. In this case, the child remains loyal to both.

On the other hand, children of divorce often develop a great loyalty to the one parent they felt they could always depend upon.

The one who repeatedly put them first as parents should.

Not the parent who had an affair or drank too much, left repeatedly, and so on.

Loyalty is a terrific quality; however, in this case, it stems from one parent being unable to demonstrate the type of mature, selfless and accountable behavior children deserve and demand.

This is not entirely black and white. Many good parents make mistakes and behave badly and go on to correct them.

A lack of loyalty for one parent and extreme loyalty for another is not the result of parental imperfection.

It is the result of years of repeatedly bad behavior, experience, abandonment, etc.

And that one parent is not just a mother or a father to the child of divorce. The one parent who they genuinely feel unconditionally loved by morphs into both parents and takes on the role of mother and father.

7. Children of Divorce Do Not Want to Make the Same Mistakes:

Children of divorce must go to counseling. In truth, many families even with married parents should go to counseling.

Our family of origin is the original blueprint for our lives. 

We will either set out into the world to attempt to correct the mistakes of our youth or repeat them.

The difference of children with married parents and divorced parents is the children of divorce have an elevated awareness of their parent’s mistakes.

Children of divorce need the counseling and tools to avoid the negative patterns in their parent’s relationship.

If anyone deserves this it is the children who have already experienced this heartache in their youth.

They do not need to feel the pain and regret a second time as adults.

 

Our children get lost in our choices, both good and bad. 

What we decide as young and somewhat relationship clueless individuals moves forward with our children. 

Even for someone like me, who believed I was wise enough to avoid my mother’s mistakes. I repeated them in a different fashion but I did repeat them.

Fortunately, my mother taught me God was guiding me all along. I have never had anything more than some short-term hurt and anger at my father never any long-term bitterness.

And of course, the decidedly daughterly judgments my mom, the parent who never left me – never deserved.

I never felt sorry for myself.

I wasn’t a child of divorce. 

I was a child of God.

And God knew well the plans he had for my parents which would ultimately involve me.

And now I remind myself God knows well the plans he has for my children despite their mother wishing she had been wiser.

 

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Okay, so no one chooses divorce. 

It chooses you.

It is a last resort. An ending to a story you wish was otherwise written.

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And you hold onto that ending for a long time. No one wants to leave a movie feeling like they could have written it better. 

It is, after all, so much easier to join together ‘two’ than it is to unwind a union years in the making.

Yet, once you muddle through the hairy and the scary – there truly is a ‘merry.’

And every person owes it to themselves to continue to treat the wounds of divorce rather than permit them to become scars. The hurt should be attended to and not covered up. It should be treated by a doctor if necessary.

It should shape you not change you. 

And once that happens, a brighter perspective can be seen.

3 Surprisingly Great Reasons Divorce Can Improve Your Life

1. Self-Restoration –

Just the word ‘restoration’ alone sounds liberating. Add the ‘self’ in front of it and it becomes exciting.

Divorce is an emancipation.

It is empowerment. 

When you let go of an unhealthy relationship you seize control of our life. One that may have involved discarding much of yourself throughout the unhappiness. Another liberating benefit? Often in a bad relationship, you feel trapped as if you have few choices or ways out. Making the bold decision to decide you deserve better erases the former feeling of powerlessness.

Therefore, the move to divorce sparks the beginning of restoring your personal choices and self-protecting.

You can improve your life. You can improve your happiness. You can improve yourself.

Even more exciting? What does your own personal brand of ‘self-restoration’ look like? Do you hope to go back to school? Learn how to improve your next relationship? Take an adventure-filled vacation? Improve your self-image? The choices are endless.

2. Peace –

Most would expect this heading to be explained by ‘no more arguments.’

On the contrary, ‘peace’ comes with once again, liking who you are.

A sour relationship brings out the ugliness in all of us, regardless of how good we may have been, to begin with.

There is an undeniable peace which comes with letting go of a situation you ultimately could not fix.

However, peace is not immediate. That would be impossible because grief immediately follows the difficult decision of divorce. Peace is an evolution. It is derived from a process of shedding sadness and regret and with every layer lost, a bit of tranquility moves in to take its place.

Suddenly, one day you feel proud of who you are again and of your behavior. You recognized how unhappiness exposed an ugliness and you corrected it. There is no more shame.

There is a peace in feeling right with the world and comfortable in your own skin.

3. A New Beginning –

As much as you may have resisted your unwanted ending, it finally gives way to a fresh beginning.

New beginnings are opportunities to surprise ourselves.

There is a bit of fear coupled with the realization that anything is possible.

A much better alternative to your pre-divorce dilemma where you were already fairly certain of the outcome.

So what would you like your new beginning to look like? Where do you want to take your new story in the long-term?

These questions are exciting though of course, divorce initially makes them appear overwhelming. Why? Because you have too many re-runs playing in your head to even begin to think about an entirely different show.

Yet, it is a different show. You get a chance for a do-over. 

There are so many wonderful choices to make. So many great experiences to have. So many paths to walk.

You have given yourself a different type of re-write. Your marriage ended because you have an evolving story to tell. So do the exhilarating and soul-searching work of delving into your purpose and what drives your heart. It will lead your in the very best direction of your new beginning.

 

No one chooses divorce.

It chooses you.

And then YOU choose where you go from there.

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My kids always roll their eyes when I tell them we are going to write down our goals.

I know, most people believe goals are for adults.

Only, I always loved to see my children write down their hopes and their dreams. A little peek inside exactly who they are and are meant to be.

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You would think by the classic eye roll that I made them do this to the point of duress. When in fact, it was about once a year.

I would buy several notebooks usually before New Years. A few times; however, I did it just as a fun thing in the summer when we went out to dinner before the new school year.

You get the point. Essentially, it was before new beginnings in their lives.

I wanted to know what they were thinking because I felt as a mother it would help me to help them. A manner of actualizing their dreams. It didn’t come from a helicopter mom nor did it come from a nosey mom nor did it come from a controlling mom.

I just have always been a believer in dreams.

In part, because it is intrinsic to who I am and in part because my mother was a realist.

She didn’t subscribe to asking me what was in my heart. Instead, her fear for me one day being a single mother (just as she became) made her quiet those dreams in favor of a solid plan.

I never snooped inside my children’s dream notebooks. I knew their hopes because we shared them. We would all start writing our resolutions, goals or bucket lists and then we would share them along the way. In between bites of food we would laugh to see what one another wrote or be silent enough to respect them.

I love that about my kids. I love how respectful they have always been. They knew exactly when to have a good-hearted chuckle when listening to one another and they absolutely knew when to respect one another.

Some goals are light-hearted and fun and others, well they come from the soul. A place of deep longing. A place which demands respect. A place that says ‘this is who I am’ and I need you to know that.

Perhaps, this has been one of the most profound benefits of encouraging my kids to write their goals from a young age. They grew up around it and came to honor what one another hoped for and not just diminish it.

Recently, I  was sifting through some memorabilia and I found a few of those notebooks.

There is quite honestly, nothing more honest and heart rendering than looking at the scribbled notes of the babies you raised.

The evolution of their hearts literally rendered in their handwriting. The only other greater gift is the evolution of their hearts in scribbled pictures.

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I imagined for a moment the in unison classic eye rolls.

What a great memory and how I wonder if they too, will one day feel the same. I am no naive mommy. I absolutely realize that one or all of them will forever be goal writers or one or all of them will hate it because their mother loved it so much she made them do it.

But me, the mommy, will always love the moments when they told me who they were with their words.

A gift to any parent. A peek inside their youthful souls.

I gingerly opened each of their notebooks. Hoping to find how they evolved into who they are today. Since it had been some time since I had gazed upon these pages.

In between, better grades and going to certain colleges, there were words of substance. The type of thing that makes a mother proud.

To be better to their brothers.

To make a difference.

To try harder.

All along I believed my children writing down their hopes and dreams would be helping them achieve what they wanted to do in life. An exercise for them and for me. I would teach them how writing down their goals magically achieved them. And how me knowing them would position me as their best support system.

In hindsight, it did exactly what goals are truly meant to do.

Be a window into a person’s soul.

It showed my children’s intrinsic goodness (which of course I already knew) and it reinforced that as they were tiny people growing up, they did not just…

Reflect on what they hoped the world would promise them.

They reflected on what they hoped to promise to the world.

 

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There is nothing more exciting than a New Year which promises a fresh start.

A time to refresh our hopes, our dreams, and our energy. 

Most importantly, it is a time which commands that we center our spirit. And remind ourselves of our purpose in life and what God has whispered in our hearts.

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It is this whisper which compels us to look inward.

A self-examination that far exceeds the last few pops of champagne and fireworks.

The New Year has forever been a time where we ask ourselves just one absolutely monumental question…

Who are we and who do we hope to be?

Here is the quintessential January irony.

Each year we relentlessly hope for a new ‘us.’ When in reality we write down the same hopes and dreams which have forever been within us.

The ones we lose sight of as we sidestep through life’s interference rather than hunkering down and seizing and believing in who we are meant to be.

This is the year to not be distracted from your sole (soul) purpose. 

A year to methodically map out a plan to ensure the New Year brings about the true you.

The following four exercises will help achieve just that:

1.  Your Goals:

While you are still enjoying that bubbly allow your resolutions to ‘bubble’ to the surface.

Who are YOU? What do YOU want to do?

Scribble down those wishes you wholeheartedly deserve.

You can make one main list or even better make several lists. You can put the proper header at the top of each list, i.e., personal goals, professional goals, spiritual goals, recreational goals, parenting goals, etc.

It’s a good idea to compartmentalize these goals and then ultimately make one big master plan to abide by. In other words, write them all up separately on different pages and then whittle them down to a master list several pages long with the different subheadings. This is you. It is who you are. It comprises your spiritual, personal, family and professional goals.

The initial individual pages should be all your thoughts and dreams in each of those areas. Then because it is difficult to do all things at once, take the two to three most important aspects of each of those individual pursuits for your master plan. Ultimately, as you achieve the first several goals in each area, your individual pages will serve as a reference point to review the other things you hope to achieve.

You can’t spread yourself too thin when achieving goals. You must be able to highlight the most important and achieve those first and then the others at a later time. If you do not focus, you will not achieve any of them and you will become discouraged.

2. Your Calendar:

Now that you have two to three goals in each of your individual pursuits, i.e., personal, family, spiritual, etc. It is time to make a calendar to accompany these goals.

For instance, you want to return to school and get a new degree. This would be listed under ‘personal goals’ and the calendar date would be your date when you would ultimately begin or complete your new degree.

If your goal is to take a family vacation, it would be listed under ‘family goals’ and the calendar date would be the month you hope to take that trip.

If your goal is to lose weight it would be a ‘personal goal’ and the calendar date would be when you plan to lose a certain amount of weight.

If your goal is to give back more it would be listed as a ‘spiritual goal.’ And the calendar date would list when and how you would be giving back.

The calendar date is your goal completion date. It is the long-term achievement of your goal

3. Your Plan:

Your plan is the accumulation of objectives and dates which will lead you towards accomplishing these goals.

It may sound counter-intuitive to list the calendar date before your plan; however it is not. You have to have the ultimate completion date in mind before you can create a plan.

You have to understand that if college is the ultimate goal then it will take four years to complete that goal. And likewise, what is the plan to achieve this? First, we must research colleges, then apply and by what date? etc.

The plan is your step by step guide to achieve your goal. It is an examination of each individual goal and what you need to do to accomplish it and by what date it needs to be done. 

Thus, ensuring your goal is met by your Calendar Completion date.

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4. Your Visuals:

Visuals are extremely important in accomplishing goals.

The world gets busy and we forget what we are working towards. A visual reminder can be very powerful. An overall vision board is the best. Look at different magazines and pull out all of the pictures and words which best describe the goals and plans you have for your future.

Then compile them on a bulletin board or poster board which is front and center in your life. Do not create the board just to leave it in a closet or out of the way place. Make sure it is positioned where you will see it daily.

Even better?

Take a few elements that are really important goals and tape them to your mirror. A place you look into every day. If it is a trip then make it a picture of that destination. If it is a new car post the image there. Make sure you look at it every day as a reminder of where you are going either literally as a vacation or figuratively as the next stage of your life you hope to achieve.

5. Your Accountability:

Goal accountability can best be explained by the professionals who subscribe to it the most.

A sales professional has to write down goals and promise to deliver them.

They understand goals because their profession and incomes depend upon them.

They can never afford (quite literally) to ever lose sight of the goals they make. They must be ACCOUNTABLE each month as to how they are keeping their eye on the original goal and the calendar date it is ultimately promised by and the plan which will lead them to this and the visual which will remind them.

Sales professionals know the secret of achieving goals because they can’t afford to forget it.

 

I started out in sales many years ago. I learned some of my best life lessons from those hard working men and women.

And I have put it to good use over the years.

I was always tenacious but that in itself does not promise you will achieve your goals. You have to operate from a core belief that everything is obtainable if you have a plan and that you must be willing to suffer three times the losses to get that one sale.

That is how goals are achieved. By understanding that dreams and hopes absolutely must be transformed into a methodical plan and along the way, you will be humbled more than you will be hopeful.

But, ultimately and gloriously, in the end, you will hopeful from all that humbling.

And you will know exactly who you are and be doing what you hoped you would be.

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Wishing you a Happy and faith-filled New Year!

 

“God will open doors.” – Colossians 4:3

“Pray first. Act second.” – Isaiah 8:20

“Always put your hope in God.” – Hosea 12:6

“Forget the former things; Do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:18-19

“God has something great in your future.” – Isaiah 43:19

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“For I know the plans I have for you declares The Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

“I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says The Lord.” – Isaiah 66:9

“God has more in store for you than you can even imagine.” – Ephesians 3:20

“May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” – Psalm 20:4

“Commit everything you do to The Lord. Trust him, and He will help you.” – Psalm 37:5

“Commit to The Lord, whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” – Proverbs 16:3

“Nothing can stop God’s plan for your Life.” – Isaiah 14:27

“Don’t be afraid; just believe.” – Mark 5:36

“The Lord will fight for you; you only need to be still.” – Exodus 14:14

“Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will make straight your path.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

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