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How Great Thou Part

How Great Thou Part

Can You Make Someone Work at Your Relationship?

posted by corme

I have spent a fair amount of time regretting the lost years I spent trying to convince my husband to work on our marriage. A lot of time beating myself up for my mistake in believing I could reach someone who did not want to be reached.

Every once in a while, even the writer in me has very little to say on a topic.

If your relationship is struggling and each of you are not placing the same value on fixing it then stop believing you can change a person.

People change for essentially just a few simple reasons.

They allow enough God in their lives that their spirituality allows them growth.
They allow enough family in their lives to see their impact on those they love.
They allow enough confidence in themselves to recognize that counseling is an evolution of growth and not a threat.
They allow enough humbling into their heart to admit they are in a bad place.

What each of these has in common is that they start with ‘they’ and not ‘you.’

You can’t do it for them.

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A Firefighter Who Always Answers the Call

posted by corme

One day when I was first married I heard a knock at the door. I made my way through our townhouse and pulled at the front door. I was living in Baltimore at the time. A little over an hour from where I grew up in the metropolitan D.C. area.

There on the front stoop, much to my surprise, stood my brother.

“I heard you were having a tough time,” he said.

“How did you know?” I asked.

“The girls told me,” he said.

I remember the exchange of those words vividly. However, I honestly don’t remember what it was that brought him there that day. I think it might have been shortly after we lost both of our parents and I was struggling through that pain. My sisters had obviously shared something with him and he showed up.

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This is my brother. He’s been showing up my whole life. He’s been showing up for all of us girls in our family.

In fact, he’s been showing up for just about anyone who needs him. I would say it is the fireman in him only I am not sure what precedes what. Is it that part of him that made him choose the path of selfless firefighter? Or is it the firefighter that makes an already selfless person even more selfless? I think it is the former. My brother has always lived a ‘present’ life. He has always been caring and even more importantly he has always treated us girls and our mother with a reverent type of love.

I was chatting with a friend once about her divorce. When asked about her husband she said he was the greatest disappointment of her life. I understood her choice of words more than I wished to. My dad had actually been the greatest disappointment of my life and now I had married someone who had been the second, greatest disappointment of my life.

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Only there’s been one guy in my life who has never been a disappointment.
One guy who has always showed up.
One guy who never left me.
One guy who is the kind of man that every man should be.

He’s a firefighter who battles every man’s raging blazes. A brother who battles our emotional fires. Be it the loud alarm of a firehouse or the silent alarm of a sister – he answers the call.

He shows up.
He rescues us.

To the world and to strangers, he is a hero. To us girls, he is our ‘superhero.’

BillyFD 1
My handsome brother when he first became a firefighter

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What Leaving for College Feels Like to a Mom

posted by corme

A few weeks ago, I began to get melancholy because it’s that time of summer again. The time that reminds me my ‘little’ kids are now ‘big’ kids. The kinda big that means I only get to borrow them for the summer and Christmas and a few other stolen times in between.

When they are little we beg for a break from them and when they are big they beg for a break from us. And then we beg to have it all back again.

Here is a video story I wrote to capture that love.

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Finding Your One and Only

posted by corme

We were young. Our original family expanding.

Like Christmas morning we waited with anticipation to see who would be our next to love. My sister gave us our first girl. She would end up being our only girl. One out of twelve, she has been called the rose among the thorns and more recently the pearl among the muscles. The boys in the family are fond of the muscle comparison (naturally) and not so much the thorns.

So life progressed and we got to love. We got to love them all – what I always call the ‘twelve great loves of my life.’

And were they loved! They were loved beyond, backwards and back again!

We are a big Irish, Catholic, Clan as my uncle was always so proud to say. That’s code for overly loving, overly involved, overly caring and overly complicated. It’s also code for speaking a love language that’s ridiculously simple to decipher – meaning it is impossible to grow up not feeling anything except that each and every one of us are somehow greater than we possibly are.

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For a year we have been building. We have been getting ready. We have excitedly awaited our ‘one and only’ (niece) getting married.

To her ‘one and only.’

The day finally came. It was bright and warm and sunny. The perfect kind of day for a ‘one and only’ – to join their other ‘one and only.’ It was one fine day.

I know people talk of the day of getting married – of joining two families. I don’t think of it that way. I wanted to make sure we were passing the baton. I wanted to make sure they would love her as we do and in turn, that we would love their “one and only” as they have.

Shouldn’t every wedding have that responsibility?

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When the honeymoon is over and the first argument happens (as they inevitably do), shouldn’t each of them (rather than carry the physical dowry of yesteryear, carry the emotional dowry that brings the responsiblity of “LOVE”) and take themselves out of the argument. Shouldn’t they remember that they promised each other and each other’s family that would love them beyond, backwards and back again?

I watched my niece. Our ‘one and only’ with her ‘one and only.’

All I could see was love. The two great loves in each other’s lives. I could only feel joy. Love is beautiful. It is even more beautiful when you can see it.

I know that it will stay that way as long as they realize love is our greatest gift and when unwrapped it becomes not only our most precious gift – it also becomes so exposed that it demands even more care.

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They are young. Our family is once again expanding.

Like Christmas morning, I wait with anticipation to see how many more will be our next to love.

For the twelve great loves of my life ( my very own “one and only’s” are growing up) and will soon introduce to us the rest of their “one and only’s.”

I will take this obligation seriously.

I will grab the baton and love them beyond, backwards and back again. Just as I have done since the twelve best Christmas mornings of my life…

When the love in our family expanded.

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My gorgeous niece Bridgett with her very handsome ‘one and only’ Tyler

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Are You Out There ‘Pimpin Joy?’

posted by corme

I pull into the parking space. I sip my coffee as I listen to “The Bobby Bones Show.” A nationally syndicated country radio show based out of Nashville, Tennessee. A caller is on the line.

She tells of getting a flat tire. A couple of guys stop to help her fix it. She apologizes that she has no cash to offer them for their kindness.

“No problem,” they respond. ‘We’re just out Pimpin Joy.’

I raise my coffee cup for another sip and get lost in thought.

I dig this phrase, “Pimpin Joy.” After all, I always say that ‘Life should be an experiment with joy.’

‘Pimpin Joy’ is a movement started by “The Bobby Bones Show” when co-host Amy’s mother realized that she would battle cancer a third time. It seems that when she found out this heartbreaking news, Judy (Amy’s mom) went to the chapel and prayed.

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“She asked aloud that she would somehow be used for a positive purpose in this circumstance. Essentially praying to see the good between the blessing and the mess.” – (a quote from Amy’s sister, Cristi on http://pimpinjoy.com/index.html)

So ‘Pimpin Joy’ became a thing. It became Judy’s thing. The good and the blessing in the mess. The joie de vivre movement to get people to ‘Pimp Joy’ on a daily basis.

I listen to them respond to the caller.

I get choked up. You know me – at this phase of my life I’m pretty much bleeding Kleenex. I alternate my fascination with Judy and her astounding grace and Bobby Bones and his captivating, transcending, transparancy. I know big words for even this writer.

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A while back I wrote one of my columns about Oprah. I wrote about my fascination that none of the television big wigs can understand how to replace her. They just keep slapping celebrities on talk shows. That’s just not gonna work. Oprah is a missionary of life. She has a captivating, transcending, transparency. We know her. We know her story. We know she’s just finding her way, trying to inspire, trying to make a difference. Oprah keeps doing this with full disclosure and along the way introduces us to others that do the same.

Bobby Bones is just a guy just making his way. He’s not afraid to share with full disclosure. It’s who he is. He’s not a radio celebrity. He’s a missionary of life. We know him. We know his story. At the same time, he introduces us to inspiring people like Judy along the way (well by way of Amy that is).

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I dab at my eyes. Shut the car off and head to my appointment.

Bobby Bones is just talking about life. He’s really good at it.

And I am listening.

In the meantime, I’ll be ‘Pimpin Joy’ as a thing. As Judy’s thing. The good and the blessing in the mess.
#PimpinJoy
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Are You Hiding Your Scars?

posted by corme

I just read a quote on Pinterest.

“When you refuse to hide your scars they become a lighthouse for someone else” – Jon Acuff

I think people who are divorcing want to hide their scars more than most. There is somehow a ridiculously, undeserved shame to failing at marriage. In other aspects of life, failures are seen as stepping stones only in relationships we hide the failures until they become so permanent that they result in divorce.

For me, love is like business (at least the marketing work that I do). It is so unbelievably simple and core like, yet so difficult to do well.

I didn’t want to be a lighthouse. I am certain the others like me don’t want to be either. Only whether it’s writing this column or turning to a friend and offering support, we need to be because divorce is one of our darkest hours.

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Scars are a sign that we are healing. Albeit slowly, we are healing nonetheless.

If your wounds are still raw – find your lighthouse.

I hope that I am one of them.

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2 Reasons for Tears in a Relationship

posted by corme

I am catching up on some reading. I flip through the pages of a months old Elle Magazine and happen upon an article. A quote jumps out from the pages.

“There are two main reasons people cry: Being separated from an intimate relationship or feeling powerless.” – Elle Magazine

I can only agree heartily with this quote. I shed a lot of tears for the loss of my relationship. However, I shed far more over the sense of powerlessness I felt as my husband called the shots. I did not see my husband’s controlling ways when I first met him. He was not overtly controlling and as a young girl, I had no concept of the term ‘passive aggressive.’ I did not know that there were two types of controlling personalities.

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I thought I had married the most laid back man in the world.

What a lesson I learned within months of being engaged and more powerfully once I was married.

I can understand control. I can even understand a need to be in control.

I cannot; however, understand the need to be in control to such a point you would find satisfaction in the tears of one you love. I cannot understand the need to be in such control that you would render one that you love powerless and helpless.

No, I would not call that control.

I would call that bullying. I would call that abusive. Tears are a submissive action.

So I would not call that a relationship.

I would call it one person being controlled by another.

I would say if you are shedding tears because you feel powerless…You have given your power to someone who cannot be trusted with it.

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I wish someone had told me this. I wish someone had told me to take off my blinders, stop making excuses even once for a man that can make you cry.

I wish someone had told me to grab my box of tissues, wipe my mascara off my face, and look into a mirror. Look hard at the face that man created so I could see that love was not staring back at me. That a man who felt a powerless self-esteem was never going to do anything except try and remind me he was powerful even if watching a woman cry at his hands was necessary to do so.

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I Blame Catholic School for Being a Rule Follower

posted by corme

I am at the barn. The morning sun is just beginning to get intense. I untack Rhythm. He is the sweetest of horses. It is obvious he was more than well loved by his first owner and now equally as loved in his new home.

I walk him across the street to graze a bit. A few cars pass by and wave. I oblige and wave back. I think for a minute that it feels much like being on a boat. It’s a club of like minded people whose etiquette includes a wave to their fellow kind. The others like them.

I think back to a few minutes before. As I untack Rhythm I am with my mentor who spies someone coming our way. She, too waves her hand to signal ‘hello.’

She chuckles and says something about waving as her arm flies up in the air.

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So this rule following Catholic girl waves as well.

“No, not you,” she chuckles again.

It seems she was laughing at her friend approaching while waving. And not, that in fact, she is asking me to wave to essentially a complete stranger as though I have known him all my life. Well, at least long enough to get excited that he is coming my way.

Can you blame me??

I am new (well, old and reintroduced) to this horsey club. I get a little carried away that I think I have found the ‘old Colleen’ here. The one that grew up yanking buttercups, jumping over logs, wading in creeks and riding bareback through the country outside metropolitan Washington, D.C. Never mind that I don’t remember exactly how to tack a horse or stay on one any longer.

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I laugh at the thought of waving excitedly with my mentor at a complete stranger. In my defense, he was so nice that he paid no mind to me acting as happy to see him as she was.

I watch Rhythm graze.

My thoughts are interrupted as another car rolls by. It’s a service car this time. A pool truck. He waves.

A truck follows his and it too, is a service vehicle. This driver also waves.

It seems they speak this same rule following language that I do. It’s no matter that they are just passing through. A wave is expected in horse country.

I think back to a few weeks ago. I am in the inside ring. My mentor instructs me. I follow her instructions or so I think.

She starts to shake her head and laugh.

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“You are the only person I have that takes me so literally,” she says. “You are such a rule follower!”

“Yes,” I know. “I blame Catholic school.”

She begins to laugh. I recognize that familiar response. I know that she too, is a Catholic school girl.

“It just never left me,” I say.

I seriously don’t know how it ever left any Catholic school kid. I never understood anyone who broke the rules. After all there was detention, the board of education and Sister Agnese to deal with. Who wouldn’t be scared?

So when they said line up. I lined up. When they said do your school work. I did my school work. When they said it was hot dog day, I said, “I love hot dogs.” When they said my skirt was too short, I said, “Of course it was.” When they said you are going to be an angel AGAIN in this year’s Christmas play, I said, “I love being an angel.”

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I pull at Rhythm. It’s time to bring him back to his stall.

This time it is not a car that stops to wave, but rather a gracious and friendly woman who exits her trailer dragging, car to say, ‘hello.’

It’s no matter that she is just passing through. We speak the same language so she stops to chat and introduce herself.

All this time, I have been thinking that I have rediscovered that country girl inside of me again.

Only now I think I might have actually rediscovered that rule following, Catholic girl inside of me. After all, it’s a club of like minded people whose etiquette includes a wave to their fellow kind. The others like them.

The rule followers.

Rhythm the sweetest, most patient horse for even the rule following kind
Rhythm
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Some Surprise You Others Disappoint

posted by corme

My son is getting ready to go somewhere. I can see the visible heartache. I know what is bothering him.

“Why do you care?” I say in exasperation. “If you peel back the layers. It’s one person. Only one person that is weighing you down. Every single other person believed in you. Why are you giving that one person so much power?”

Not long after I am walking with “Cookie” and “Candy.” We chat as we always do about all things life.

At one point, I am thinking about all of the people in my life who have gotten me through this and all of their overt and subtle kindnesses. Only I keep dwelling on a couple who have voiced their opinions quite strongly about still wanting the ‘old’ Colleen back and how uncomfortable they are with the ‘new’ Colleen.

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The truth is that tally would come to numbers that could be counted on just one hand.

So why am I giving those few people the power?

I think for two reasons. Like my son. I never just cared. I cared deeply. Secondly, they were at one time, people of great influence in my life.

Here’s the problem. That one person in my son’s life that temporarily disoriented him from knowing who he was – He was wrong. His actions were based on his own insecurities.

We give so much credit to people’s opinions. I used to weigh heavily in on my husband’s opinions. The truth is…it is actually quite shocking how little my husband actually knew me. He saw me through his own ego’s lens.

So it stands to reason, that there were also a few others in my life that were viewing me through their own lens. A few that had a little too much to say. If they only knew I had a little too much to say about them at times only I never did. I wouldn’t have been so bold, yet they didn’t see their apparent lack of boundaries as such.

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I remember one of my best friends from high school reminded me that after she lost her father, I said, “Some will surprise you and others will disappoint you.” Now certainly grief is not a time for judgements. It just sort of happens. You walk into the church and you see someone sitting there that surprises you. Then months later you suddenly realize there is someone close to you that you never heard from. You don’t mean for this to be a defining time. It just is.

I still have so many in my life that love me despite my poor choices and length of misguided devotion to my marriage. Actually, when I write it that way it becomes even more clear that those handful of people should have no credence in my life. I didn’t lose anyone because I mistreated them. I lost them because I stayed with someone who mistreated me and then wouldn’t work on our marriage and then wouldn’t leave me either.

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I shouldn’t say lose because they are still in my life only I hear their subtle disapproval. In reality, I have so many friends that never lost sight of me nor walked away from me. So why do I care about less than a handful?

Why do I give them so much power?

For the same reason I couldn’t leave my husband even though he wasn’t a good friend to me. I care too much.

People who walk away from you at your worst, never had the ability to love you at your best.
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It’s Just Lunch

posted by corme

I am out with four of my girlfriends last night. Everyone is taking turns catching each other up in our lives.

I joke about “going on my second husband field trip.” It is simply divorce humor since I am still not, yet divorced. Even more humorous because the truth is I can’t imagine dating again. It doesn’t sound remotely exciting. In fact, it sounds horrific.

We laugh a bit about the hunting grounds of divorcees. I mean, I guess it makes sense. There has to be a strategy since the pool isn’t stocked with as many fish as it used to be.

A bar – yuck sounds swarmy! Don’t want to meet someone in one of them. I’ve already witnessed that “Lucky Lounge” choreography from afar. No thanks.

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Joining clubs – I don’t have the energy for myself and my children. I can’t see joining an organization at this point in the hopes of hooking up. Too much work.

Dating sites – now we have some significant laughter as we throw out the options, a little match.com, a little Christian Mingle, a little Our Time? Am I the only person who doesn’t remotely find those options appealing? I’m not being snobby. They work for a lot of people. I just am either not remotely ready or they all seem like too much work too.

Our friend who is in visiting us from Florida, I will call her “Philomena,” always jokes that she has enough friends. We joke that we got in under the radar (before the cap – Lucky us).

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I think I am on page with “Philomena” at this point in my life. Maybe I already know enough people. Maybe I’m not really interested in meeting anymore. Maybe, I’ve had enough with one husband. Maybe I don’t need anymore.

This morning I log onto my e-mail. I open one of my job alert’s. It seems there’s a position (I know really not the best word to use) for a sales director for “It’s Just Lunch.”

Hhmmm, a new job with a matchmaking company?

I read the description. Seems I’m not the best fit.

I wasn’t ready to make new friends anyway.

After all, I have my girlfriends and like “Philomela” says, “They are enough.”
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Previous Posts

Can You Make Someone Work at Your Relationship?
I have spent a fair amount of time regretting the lost years I spent trying to convince my husband to work on our marriage. A lot of time beating myself up for my mistake in believing I could reach someone who did not want to be ...

posted 12:23:10am Aug. 28, 2015 | read full post »

A Firefighter Who Always Answers the Call
One day when I was first married I heard a knock at the door. I made my way through our townhouse and pulled at the front door. I was living in Baltimore at the time. A little over an hour from where I grew up in the metropolitan D.C. ...

posted 11:40:37pm Aug. 20, 2015 | read full post »

What Leaving for College Feels Like to a Mom
A few weeks ago, I began to get melancholy because it's that time of summer again. The time that reminds me my 'little' kids are now 'big' kids. The kinda big that means I only get to borrow them for the summer and Christmas and a few other ...

posted 10:31:48pm Aug. 19, 2015 | read full post »

Finding Your One and Only
We were young. Our original family expanding. Like Christmas morning we waited with anticipation to see who would be our next to love. My sister gave us our first girl. She would end up being our only girl. One out of twelve, she has been ...

posted 2:24:42am Aug. 17, 2015 | read full post »

Are You Out There 'Pimpin Joy?'
I pull into the parking space. I sip my coffee as I listen to "The Bobby Bones Show." A nationally syndicated country radio show based out of Nashville, Tennessee. A caller is on the line. She tells of getting a flat tire. A couple of guys ...

posted 4:10:14am Aug. 14, 2015 | read full post »

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