How Great Thou Part

How Great Thou Part

Divorced and Working on My Sexy

posted by corme

My friend Trixie and I are talking about fun. 

“People want to be around fun,” says Trixie.

“I used to be fun,” I say.

Scratch that. I was a one woman stand-up, quick witted, last girl to leave the party kinda fun.

“I’m not really feeling the fun so much anymore Trixie,” I say.

“You gotta be fun,” she says. “People wanna get away from their own problems for a while. People love fun.”

I used to joke with my husband that I never feared the blonde bombshell. On the contrary, I feared the funny girl, holding a Stella while everyone roared with laughter. My husband was not attracted to the sultry type. He was attracted to the fun, party girl. We matched quite well that way.

Nah, sadly, I never feared sexy. I’m quite aware of what that says about me. Really, I would love to be the sexy girl. I would just need to talk a lot softer and a lot less. Something that is very hard for me.

So when divorce stalked my fun, let’s just say it was a little overly obvious that I lost my mojo.

What can I say?

It’s just not all about the ‘party’ for me anymore.

No, it’s not about growing up. It’s just my current ebb and flow. I gotta wade through the ‘not so fun’ to be ‘fun’ again.

I am also varying my definition of fun. I want to look below the surface, peek under the lid and dig a little deeper in between the Stella’s and the laughter. Who knows, maybe slowing down between sips, might bring a softer, sexier me (allow me my potential silver lining).

So divorce has slowed my fun.

When I lost both of my parents in my twenties I was told I should move on within a few months. It was well meaning advice doled out by only a few. The naive wisdom of those who had yet to lose one parent let alone two.

More than 50% of the population gets divorced.

Fortunately, most of the people I know won’t experience this utter devastation. Here, in the middle of suburbia I don’t meet the majority of that 50%.

I’m not fun. And I am so okay with that…for now.

I’m working on my ‘sexy.’

(Please share my column if you or anyone you know is ‘funless’ and working on your sexy in divorce)
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Why I Want to Chalk Paint My Life: Decorator Divorce Makeover

posted by corme

My friends “Trixie” and “Loretta” are moving stuff around my house. One grabs a chair and scoots it towards my fireplace. The other grabs a lamp and places it on the piano. They are decorators who in the loving friendship of divorce have offered to give my home a makeover.

Loretta scopes the room as she ‘mind shops’ my existing belongings. She perches each in a new found home within my home. Each time I feel a spring in my step. No, scratch that. I feel the laser precision of an awesome internal face lift.

In between the shuffle we alternate laughing and solving the worlds (at least my divorce worlds problems).

“I turned off life last night,” says Loretta.

Trixie laughs.

“You can do that?” I inquire. “Cuz, I wanna, no I need to do that right now.”

We all laugh.

“I can’t believe you are doing this for me,” I say. “This is one of the biggest things that has ever been done for me.”

“That’s because you’re a wound licker,” says Loretta. “The chickens all line up to get their wounds licked from the wound licker. You need your own wounds licked now.”

Trixie nods. I take everything in. The kindness of friendship. I start to tell them that I have been writing notes for a column on thanking all the wonderful friends who have helped me through divorce.

“Someone once told me to think of friendship as a stable,” says Trixie. “We need all kinds of different friends in our stable throughout life.”

Loretta swipes paint with soothing brush strokes across my weathered mahogany dining room table. The victim of a girl’s Christmas party gone bad with a catered food sterno fire. Loretta sands down the one wound of my table. She then sweeps Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Coco, across the entire surface. It dries and then she distresses it and waxes it.

Suddenly, what is old is new again. What is old is more beautiful than it was. There is hope welling. If not for this old chick at least for anything and everything that I can slather with this flipping amazing chalk paint.

I get choked up and hug them. I am happy that my stable houses these two friends. I am also grateful that they too are fellow wound lickers. And that somehow they let me knock the other chickens out of the barn to be first today in their friendship, wound licking line.

Oh, and you owe it to yourself divorce or no divorce to check out Chalk Paint.

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A Thought from Father Hope

posted by corme

I was listening to one of Father Hope’s sermons recently.

“When things seem to be their darkest that’s when God is most at work,” he says.

Divorce is certainly dark.

As usual, his sermon fills me with hope. A negative time is turned into a positive. My perspective shifts. God has certainly been busy in my life this past year. So He must be close to showing me the benefit of all of His hard work.

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Men Who Are Champions of Women

posted by corme

I have this best guy friend from high school. I will call him, “Daughtry” since he reminds me of the singer. He will love this reference.

Not long after I begin this whole divorce process (days actually) he’s knocking on my front door. It is no matter that he lives all the way in Connecticut. This is “Daughtry.” I don’t remember a time when he didn’t show up for me in life. He has always been present.

We are grown now, yet I can still talk to him as openly as our teenage years. I can still tell him anything and usually he will tell me more than I want to hear. ‘Daughtry’’ has always been brutally honest. I love this about him! His wife and one of our best friend’s from high school, “Charo” will usually try and stop him, but it doesn’t work.

“You can’t say that to someone,” they protest.

“Why not??” is usually his response back to them.

There is no filter. I have always welcomed this about him. Why? It comes from such a place of goodness. He truly cares that much about his friends.

In high school when he referenced us as his ‘best friends’ we would laugh.


“Which best friend would we be of your many?” we would joke.

He’s always had an enormous amount of guy friends and girl friends.

We go out to lunch that day. I am tired, frightened and struggling. I know that internally I look nothing like the teenage friend he knows so well. I have listened to his honesty these past few years. ‘Daughtry’s’ instructions for me to bring back my inner sixteen year old. His truthful view on the state of my life. I think that he is relieved I have taken this step. Me, I’m relieved to sit with him. To figure out the same type of life dilemma’s with him that I did as a kid.

“What am I going to do?” I ask.

“You’re going to think of this like your graduation,” he says. “You are leaving a part of your life that was once wonderful for something exciting and new. This is the next part of your life. It’s going to be awesome.”

We part ways. I am thankful for this positive visual. It allows me the ability to remember that high school and college feeling. You can leave some of the best years of your life behind you and go on to build even more. Who better to remind me of this than ‘Daughtry?’

I hear the song, “Waiting for Superman.” Of course, it makes me think of my own buddy, ‘Daughtry.’ My friend who is a champion of women. A champion of friendship

My friend who is a “Super Man.”
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Are Stay at Home Mothers Powerless in Divorce?

posted by corme

I’ve always respected an individual’s choice to stay at home or work. After all, these are intensely personal decisions which are often shaped by our own life experiences. I am fortunate that I have never met a working woman who has judged me for my choice to stay at home. I am equally as fortunate to have never met an at home mother who has criticized another for choosing to work outside of the home.

My mom was a single, working mother. I was extremely proud of her and what she accomplished. Losing my mother when I was twenty-eight played a significant role in my decision to stay at home.

I also realize that my mom and many others don’t have a choice.

We were in the position that we either needed to hire someone to replace me in our business or hire someone to watch our children.

I always say that no one should hold the power in a relationship, but no one should be powerless either.

In divorce, my choice to stay at home has left me powerless. I am in a position where money can be used as a weapon against me. I am also starting over after years of not having a career. It is confusing, no bewildering to me that in 2014 I am left to feel as though I made no contribution because I made an intensely personal decision to be at home with my children. A joint decision.

I don’t feel that I should defend myself that I helped build our business, run fundraisers, school events, our investments or the other so called, ‘legitimate’ contributions.

I feel that I can stand on my own merits of my ‘internal career’ rather than ‘outside profession.”

I wasn’t unmotivated. I was motivated to work for free.
I wasn’t lazy. I was energetic in love.
I wasn’t not working. I was caring for my children and volunteering.

I didn’t receive a paycheck. I didn’t receive a title. I didn’t receive a raise.

I did do something valuable. I did get called mom. I did receive praise.

I don’t regret a thing. I loved it all. It was where my life led me.

My sister once told me, “Colleen, don’t let anyone make you feel your choice is not of value. This country was once built upon women like you that laid the foundations in our hospitals, schools and charitable organizations. They did this while staying at home with their children.” My sister has her doctorate, has been a college professor and has traveled this country for the World Health Organization. Even with her high career accomplishments she valued and respected that each of us take different paths in life.

I did contribute.

Financial success shouldn’t be the only indicator of time well spent. There are many jobs in this country that people do for free, for lower pay than should be acceptable or for more pay than should be allowed.

I shouldn’t feel like ‘less’ when for me personally this made me feel like ‘more.’

I hope you choose to share this column.
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How Do You Know If You Should End Your Marriage?

posted by corme

“Why did you do it?”

I am asked that question frequently. You may be surprised at the remarks that fly my way…

“Lots of couples are unhappy,”
“It’s better for the kids to stay married,”
“Who do you know that truly has a happy marriage?”
“Stay together for the kids and just live your own life.”
“How will you support yourself and your family after all of these years?”
“The grass is never greener.”
“All men are the same.”

Yes, this is just a bit of the ‘marriage / divorce urban legend’ which exists out there. However, for me, my relationship was at a serious weighted deficit.

So I asked myself these questions:

Had I exhausted marital counseling?
Had I assessed our priorities to make sure we were living God and family first?
Had I exhausted personal counseling and self-assessment?
Had the example for my children become less than favorable?
Had one party made it clear that relationship growth would not be possible?
Had only one of us attempted to fix our problems?
Had I sought and exhausted the counsel of clergy, family and friends?
Had we emotionally outgrown one another?
Had our relationship become unhealthy?
Had my worries for my children duplicating this type of relationship grown?

The answer to all of these questions was ‘yes.’

In addition to that, my own personal ‘brand’ no longer had any real shelf value. If I no longer had a strong and authentic self (brand) then how could my purpose be profitable in life? How would I be of value and not waste what I am meant to contribute to my children, my family, my friends and to the world?

I believe that only in happiness can we truly be generous in life…
generous of heart,
generous of love,
generous of kindness,
generous of respect,
generous of loyalty,
generous of confidence
and generous of spirit.

I knew that I need to be happy enough to be a giver again. It is my utmost personal belief that unhappiness makes us takers. I had spent far too much time immersed in my own little world and my own problems. I did not enjoy the world view from that place. I was reduced to depleting those I loved and not rejuvenating them.

Therefore, the simple truth…
The day came when my fear of staying overpowered my fear of leaving.
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Are You Feeling the Process of Divorce?

posted by corme

I am continually reminded that divorce is a grieving process. It the midst of living through it you recognize all of the stages of grief.

The kids of divorce feel these stages as well.

It’s important to recognize this. We all grieve differently and we can’t always lean on each other. This life change can send a family typically elasticized by love to far corners. It tosses your family into a hurricane of emotion. These are just a few of the universal truths of loss.

You must endure the process. A process that isolates you until you reemerge and resistantly let go of a love the way you knew it.

Yes, grief (divorce) is a time of stillness. A time that brings you wholly back to yourself. A time when you can be surrounded by many, but feel singularly present. When you feel that quiet there is no place else to run. When you feel the rest of the world walk out, you feel God walk in.
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Thanksgiving’s Emotional Leftovers

posted by corme

It is completely unnatural to sort through our parents home once they leave us. It is counter intuitive to rip the puzzle pieces apart when we grow up needing them all to fit lovingly together.

My brother and sisters and I tried to respectfully honor both our mom and our own memories. We traced the steps of our youth from room to room. We would lift an item
and remember it’s roots….recall a mom moment…..laugh about who really dinged or broke what………and smile at our mom’s somewhat organized ‘disorganized‘ collection of kitchen gadgets.

We would tip toe through each moment. It meant giving each puzzle piece the dignity and value it deserved. We would each choose ‘heartfelt treasures’ that we needed to have. The items that were most uniquely destined to be our memory of our mom. A remnant of a grand love and an exceptional time that sculpted us.

As we crept through the interior of those cherished four walls I tried to capture its emotional leftovers. The now sweet sounding arguments over dirty dishes. The thunderously blissful chaos that five children running through the house would emit. The rich warmth of basking in our mother’s love that made these walls safer than any other. The shared and salty tears as we all cried over our “Figaro,” a cat that was indeed that iconic childhood pet.

That is how the day progressed until we entered the dining room. We stared at the fairly unattractive, Early American dining room set that our mom and dad had bought years before. I remembered well the many times our mom had told us she didn’t really care for Early American. It was our dad who had liked it at the time.

“I guess we shouldn’t be too sentimental about this,” I said. “After all it was never mom’s favorite.” My sister Kathy looked at me with horror. “This IS our family,” she said. “The years, the dinners and all of our family moments.”

So it was that it became a part of Kathy’s home. It was fine with the rest of us. I guess we, much like our mother, were not lovers of the Early American style.

The first holidays after our mom passed away were difficult and Thanksgiving was no exception. Soon though with each passing year, every Thanksgiving, the door from my sister’s house would swing open. The first thing I’d see was that somewhat unattractive dining room table, mom’s desert rose china, and the smell of her stuffing and turnips. I
would gleefully receive that unexpected gift of home happily slapping me in the face.

Then I’d sit in those stark, Early American chairs and though they were just plain, hard, flat wood they felt like I sank right into them. The rest of us sat there happily realizing that our sister had knowingly rescued the best part of home for us all.

Recently, my sister decided to sell her house and she mentioned that she thinks it’s time to get rid of mom’s dining room set. “What?” I thought. It was then that I realized that my boy’s may hear me saying the same thing my mom said growing up, “I really never liked Early American furniture, BUT……………………”
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Are Your Hands Equally Weighted in Thanksgiving?

posted by corme

I read this quote today on Beliefnet…

“You have two hands. One to help yourself, the second to help others.” – Unknown.

I love it! I think it’s perfect for this Thanksgiving celebration. It reminds us that to live a truly thankful life we need to be conscious of our blessings compared to the needs of others.

It also reminds us that we need to be fully accountable and help ourselves.

I love that It speaks to balance.

I found out the hard way that going to extremes (even while good intentioned) is counterproductive.

This quote is a great visual compass.

Are your hands equally weighted in Thanksgiving?
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How to Survive the Holidays during Divorce

posted by corme

It has been said that divorce is like grief. I would agree. It is a loss and loss is felt especially during the holidays. I know that as I move forward that my boys are still acclimating to the changes in their home.

A little over a week ago, my family came to my house for dinner. It is a rare treat. It is difficult as our kids get older for us to get together with frequency. The laughter is rampant as always. There is nothing like the the community of a table to bring us together as an undeniable whole.

As everyone is bidding goodbye, my son asks me if I will make a fire.

I understand what he is trying to tell me…that for those few hours our home felt truly like a home again.

The one where I always had a fire going, food on the table and loved ones milling in and out. A home that felt alive and not dulled by the pain and length of a long goodbye. He is looking for a home that is ‘living’ again. The marital problems and divorce have suspended such fluid activity.

I am happy to know that he finds comfort at home again.

Those of us who are experiencing divorce should not kid ourselves. We should be able to admit that our once coveted four walls temporarily represent sadness for us and our kids.

This experience made me realize that I need to have a plan for the holidays.

That maybe we could…

Do many of our old traditions for comfort and start a few new traditions to symbolize the hope and motion of moving forward towards a new happiness.

Invite family or friends over to cook with us, address cards, or help with some of the typically joyful things that are more challenging now.

Pick a charitable activity to do with my children so that their pain is lessened by the heightened awareness to the struggle of others. The simple activity of ringing a Salvation Army bell outside of a grocery store or checking on an elderly neighbor is a healthy compass for blessings.

Mostly though, I realize that our house needs to come ‘alive’ with family and friends.

This needs to happen at our house, the point of impact. The place where sadness pierced its arrow.

And if you know someone who is divorced or going through a divorce, this is my advice:

I would tell you to show up at their house with takeout, flowers, a bottle of wine and a log. I would tell you to bring them coffee and bagels. I would tell you that these things are what bring a house ‘alive.’ The community of togetherness, of breaking bread and of co-joined love and laughter.

I actually realized this familial deficit some time ago. I knew that my children needed to be enveloped by the ones that loved them. It seems that people see divorce as strictly a counseling arena. The truth is the loss is so dramatic for the children that people need to show up just like they do in grief.

Love is the greatest healer of all. Love overcomes all.

So if you have a friend or loved one who needs to get through the holidays and divorce…

I would tell you to fill their house with love.

Help it come ‘alive’ again.

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Previous Posts

Divorced and Working on My Sexy
My friend Trixie and I are talking about fun.  “People want to be around fun,” says Trixie. “I used to be fun,” I say. Scratch that. I was a one woman stand-up, quick witted, last girl to leave the party kinda fun. “I’m not really feeling the fun so much anymore Trixie,”

posted 4:18:58am Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Why I Want to Chalk Paint My Life: Decorator Divorce Makeover
My friends “Trixie” and “Loretta” are moving stuff around my house. One grabs a chair and scoots it towards my fireplace. The other grabs a lamp and places it on the piano. They are decorators who in the loving friendship of divorce have offered to give my home a makeover. Loretta scopes

posted 3:41:18am Dec. 15, 2014 | read full post »

A Thought from Father Hope
I was listening to one of Father Hope's sermons recently. "When things seem to be their darkest that's when God is most at work," he says. Divorce is certainly dark. As usual, his sermon fills me with hope. A negative time is turned into a positive. My perspective shifts. God has certainl

posted 1:52:13am Dec. 14, 2014 | read full post »

Men Who Are Champions of Women
I have this best guy friend from high school. I will call him, “Daughtry” since he reminds me of the singer. He will love this reference. Not long after I begin this whole divorce process (days actually) he’s knocking on my front door. It is no matter that he lives all the way in Connecticu

posted 3:19:49am Dec. 12, 2014 | read full post »

Are Stay at Home Mothers Powerless in Divorce?
I’ve always respected an individual's choice to stay at home or work. After all, these are intensely personal decisions which are often shaped by our own life experiences. I am fortunate that I have never met a working woman who has judged me for my choice to stay at home. I am equally as fortunat

posted 3:51:35am Dec. 08, 2014 | read full post »


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