Turn It Up

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Oh my, do I love music. Whether it be the perfect soundtrack for the work day, or a familiar tune that brings all the warm and fuzzies, or lyrics so poetic you want to cry, I adore the volumes a song can speak (see what I did there). Then, there are those songs that speak YOUR exact truth at the exact time you need to hear it. The ones that tell the exact story of your life at the moment you hear it. And your heart is so encouraged that a songwriter somewhere who you’ve never met understands the core of how you feel. Music just speaks to a different level of my soul.

A little while back, I made three different divorce playlists of the songs that portrayed my range of emotions (start to finish) during the whole long saga. In case you’re looking for some tunes to speak to your heart, give these a listen.

Country Music

Jesus Music

Misc. Music

Enjoy, sisters. My prayers are with you!

Image by Elissa Voss Photography


Close the Door

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I recently discovered a blog that I am enjoying quite a bit called, The Catholic Woman. One feature of this site showcases letters that women write in about a variety of topics. A couple weeks back I read one about the story of one woman’s annulment and how the church was her safe haven when she decided to leave her marriage.

It got me thinking a lot about when the decision is made to leave a marriage what keeps you from re-opening the door back in. The process for me was a cumulation of realizing I was worth much more than my ex’s deep disregard for our marriage, accepting the joys in my new life on my own, and through completing the annulment process.

Some may remember reading about my initial resistance to my annulment, but in the end, it provided a type of closure I didn’t know I needed until it happened. So, I am curious, what have been those nails in the coffin that have kept your door to a damaging and unhealthy marriage closed? If you are unsure of what is keeping that door closed for you, or if it’s possible to stay closed for good, I encourage you to reflect on your worth and how much more you are worth than a broken marriage, that doesn’t want fixing.

I always love hearing from my readers. Celebrating your victories or mourning your losses, please keep sharing with me! Peace and prayers to all of you on this Wednesday. ❤

Love, Lent, & Baby

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I’ve seen this Letterfolk message on my social media feed a few times this week and have cracked up every time. I hope it brings you that same laugh. Every year on this day, I love to share a piece I wrote a couple years back. It can be a hard day, no doubt, but I want you all to stay in a good and prayerful place. If you’re dreading what the day holds, READ THIS. I am praying for all of you and hope you are able to take a non-Hallmark spin on the day ahead.

For my readers who observe Lent, how great that it starts today! Take this time to spiritually prepare for the season to come. Every year for Lent, I pray for the intentions of all broken marriages to be healed and all single people desiring a healthy and loving marriage to find that. I love lent so much because it brings us to a place of suffering. Even if in the smallest degree, it unites us to Christ on the cross. If you’ve gone through the suffering of a destroyed marriage, you know that although the hardship is there, much of suffering brings a part of our character that is so rich. It’s hard to focus on that in the midst of the pain, but when you see the glimpses, it guides you toward that stronger version of yourself. This notion is much of what Lent is all about, giving up something that seems impossible, but finding that supernatural strength to power through. Suffering and sacrifice peeling away to a core you never knew you had. I read a great article this morning from Blessed is She reminding us not only of the sacrifices in Lent but the healing God wants to do in us.

God is asking for us to return to Him this Lent. Our best offerings are the very hearts He Himself set within us. He wants those hearts back. He will heal us. He wants us back. He doesn’t want my chocolate or your Dr. Pepper. Those are our reminders. He wants us to return to Him, hearts in our hands, sharing our joy, our love, our sorrow, our brokenness. Everything that we are pondering, holding within, regardless of its beauty or ugliness. He wants it all.”

Annnnd on a completely separate (but happy) note, YES our baby boy, Everett finally arrived! 8 days late. He will be one month old tomorrow. He’s the sweetest boy and we are overwhelmed with gratitude to God for how beautiful new life is. Thank you to everyone who reached out with well wishes, congratulating us.

As always, my prayers are with your hearts not only on this day but during this entire season of Lent. Please feel free to send me specific intentions and I will be happy to pray for them! ❤

Welcome, 2018!

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Hello, all and Happy New Year (one weekish late)! I write to you starting this new year with a heart of gratitude. Not because this is always my natural outlook (although it should be), but because it is a focus of mine for 2018. I want my life to be consumed with more gratitude and less of the compare game. If you’ve followed my writing for awhile, you know I am big on making gratitude lists (even when it’s hard to muster up). This has been my biggest weapon against bitterness and comparison. Comparison is one of my worst vices and I am working extra hard to squash it this year.

With each new year, I lose some of who I was and find who I want to be all at the same time. I just love how we are constantly changing as humans. These changes are refining and humbling. I want to embrace them and find contentment in the in between.

Speaking of changes, I have some changes coming at me any day now, as our baby boy was due on Sunday. With this, I am still committing to invest in this community and my writing. However, it will look different. Not because of the baby, but because my life is vastly different from when this community started.

While my heart/priority is always to help women through the trauma of betrayal and divorce, you will see a shift in the content on the blog. This shift is because I want to share my present-day life with you. I want to share the co-parenting wins, the hope of an incredible second marriage after divorce, and the triggers that still surface. I want to share the rich blessing of starting over and the benefits that come from going through that raw healing I speak of so often.

As always, wherever you find yourself in the journey of betrayal, divorce, and moving forward, search this place for what will help you today. Use the categories of my writing and find what will speak to the current state of your heart. This is always the prayer I have for my readers as there are so many pieces to put back together.

I thank you for your continued support and look forward to this new chapter of the blog and the hope it will reveal to your future. 


Four Keys to United Co-Parenting

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The past seven years of my life have looked a little something like this: happy marriage and sweet baby … turned affair, betrayal, and double life … skip to divorce, grief, and healing … and now, finding love again, an amazing second marriage, and blending all of the above. Successfully navigating through the past seven years has been tricky at best and now, the co-parenting dynamic in a blended family is no different. The complexities that go into the relationships that now make up our new family unit run deep. This has a lot working against us at times. We, however, are all working for one thing, our daughter. So, in my experience, here’s what has helped the most.

We Leave the Past Where it Belongs

More often than not the reason people arrive in a blended family is the product of heartache and trauma. At least two people in the co-parent foursome have experienced the pain of their divorce and that takes serious time and healing to recover from. Taking that time to grieve is crucial in how you’ll operate parenting together. Our magic number was three years. During that time, no one had re-married quite yet, allowing for some focused healing, forgiveness, and mourning the losses that came from the divorce. This time set us up to interact on a healthier level for the sake of our daughter. By the time remarriage was on the table there had been enough time and healing in place to move forward. And what to do with that extra water under the bridge? Make the choice not to drown in it. As co-parents it’s not about your former marriage, it’s about your child(ren).

We Keep the Lines Open

Aside from how we all arrived here, if there’s one thing we can all agree on present day it’s that we want to raise our daughter to be the best little human, thriving in every way possible. Talk about common interest! We could all go on and on about the funny things she says, how amazing her latest painting was, and how proud we are of who she is at only six years old.

As a parent, I will say, hands down the most lingering pain of divorce is sharing your child. From missing the major firsts to simply not getting to tuck them in every night. It gets really sad if you keep your focus there. The ways we soften the blow are a whole lot of pictures, videos, and updates in our “team sweetie” group text that the four of us have going. I missed my daughter’s first flight this past summer, but the video her bonus mom sent me was as second best as it could possibly get. I watched that video on repeat, and it made my heart so happy knowing that she was experiencing this first with a set of parents who love her as much as I do.

This solidarity doesn’t just apply to the joyful and gushy moments of parenting, it’s just as important (if not more) when dealing with the challenges. The behavior issues, the discipline, the consequences, the consistency in all of it … and if you’re a parent, you know that the list goes on. Once you’ve semi-handled one stage of your child, they throw you for a loop and it’s something brand new to deal with. We keep our rules and expectations as identical as humanly possible across the households. And with this, we are all in the know about everything that goes on. If there’s a behavior issue at one house, we all know. At school or soccer practice, we all know. She knows she’ll get the same answer, consequence, reward and so on from each one of us. She knows that we all talk and share and that between the four of us, she can’t get away with much.

We’ve found that there is an exception to the parenting rule when your child is one of a blended family. Some days, they need a little grace when going back and forth from household to household (and that’s okay). They aren’t robots and we can’t expect for them to act like ones. We notice more emotional outbursts and acting out in our daughter when she goes from house to house. She doesn’t express exactly what she’s feeling, but there’s something she’s processing internally that’s beyond us. Do we let her get away with murder? No, but we are mindful that there is an adjustment period needed at times. We give her that space to settle into one environment, family dynamic, and set of parents to the next.

We All Show Up

Softball games, parent-teacher conferences, dance recitals, school meetings, soccer practice, birthday parties, preschool graduations … We all show up, all the time. We continually show her that she is not only lucky enough to have the love, support, and encouragement from mommy and daddy, but also from her two bonus parents. She will never be short on love or support, that’s for sure. We also show her all of our different strengths and interests and see if they spark anything in her. Whether a child has two parents or four, personalities and passions will differ. Children will find that in certain seasons they’ll relate better to one than the next. We hope that she sees what each of us bring to the table separately as something that helps guide her. Parent to parent will always look a tad different, but what looks the same is the consistency of love and support our child receives. Our daily choice to all stay united and show up for our daughter trumps every reason the past has tried to divide us. We choose day after day to be the adults, to show up, and to ensure our daughter always has the loudest cheering section at the softball game.

We Respect Each Other (and our new family units)

As much as it benefits our daughter to be a united blended family, we are still big on developing and fostering each individual family unit. She has separate outings, traditions, and routines for each household. This gives life to each family unit on its own. Yes, we are blending and co-parenting, but we need each side to have its own individual foundation. We respect that in the other. It’s easy to have that sense of “I was here first” when watching an ex-spouse start over. However, this is not the hand we were dealt, nor is it the attitude we should carry. Point one on repeat. We leave the past where it belongs, and let our new families start over and grow. We keep our communication about our daughter and nothing else. We give each family unit the necessary space. If our daughter misses any one of us or wants to talk/facetime while she’s at the other household, we always allow her to, but we also try to respect the time she’s spending with each set of parents.

Her relationships look different with each one of us and we all respect that as well. No one is out to replace or compete against each other. We respect our daughter’s feelings towards each one of us and find joy in the relationship she has with each of us individually. We each take her out on solo dates, we spend time with her in our separate family units, and we spend time all together. Each facet of time spent is respected, encouraged, and important.

Divorce doesn’t end family life; it reorganizes it. The points made above are all daily choices we make FOR our daughter. Some days there are triggers of the past or painful memories that work against our choice, but we don’t let them win. All in all, we keep our heads above that water left under the bridge and focus on that greater good our child deserves.  

Pain & Our Babies

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Since I am two years past my divorce, and close to five years past the beginning of the crazy downward spiral, my pain has been dealt with. The pain I feel is no longer my own personal heartbreak. Healing, time, and prayer have been there along the way to help rid that pain. However, the residual pain is different. It’s less personal and more channeled for my daughter. I feel pain that I anticipate her feeling because of our divorce. I feel pain when I think about how she was the innocent victim of two people’s choice to sin. I think about how she will feel if she finds out what I went through, what her daddy did to mommy. All of this hypothetical pain can get exhausting.

One of my favorite authors about all things self-help and overcoming hardship is Glennon Doyle. She was actually a huge motivator for me to finish my book. Anyhow, she wrote this recently about our fear as parents. It resonated with me and as much as I still resist the thought of my babies ever experiencing pain, I do see the beauty on the other side. And that is not all bad. Quite the opposite.    

“I always feared that my babies’ pain was my failure. But if learning to step into life’s struggle is my warrior journey, isn’t it theirs too?

More than anything, I want my kids to grow up to be brave, kind, wise, resilient humans.

So what is it in a human life that creates bravery, kindness, wisdom, and resilience?

What if it’s pain? What if it’s the struggle?

The bravest people I know are those who’ve walked through the fire and come out on the other side. They are the ones who’ve overcome again and again – not those who had nothing to overcome. They are the ones who no longer avoid the fires of life – because they have learned that they are fireproof.

What if we are trying to protect our kids from the one thing that will allow them to be the men and women we dream they’ll be?

Maybe our job as parents is not to protect them from pain, but to hold their hands and walk into their pain with them.

If we want to invite our children to be warriors, we need to look at them and say: ‘I see your pain- it’s big and it’s real. But I see your courage, too – and it’s bigger and more real. That fire won’t burn you, you’re fireproof.”

Be encouraged, friends. Don’t let fear bog you down. Walk in the pain with your children. Hold them, pray for them, hear them, and show them the beauty that can come when we let courage take over.

Light of the Broken

FullSizeRender (2)I hope this post finds you all enjoying summer and finding moments of joy wherever you can! Summer has me traveling and enjoying the sunshine with my family.  My prayers, of course, are still with you! And thank you for those of you who reach out to me for guidance. I truly love helping you through whatever stage you’re in.

I am working on a few side projects right now that I am eager to share with you. One is the much-awaited piece on co-parenting that I’ve had brewing in my mind for about a year now. That dynamic is not one to be explained simply, so it’s not surprising it’s been difficult to craft.

All that aside, I read this quote a few weeks back and it really encouraged me. I hope that you too find that there is much beauty to be seen in the pain.

“The broken will always be able to love harder than most. Once you have been in the dark, you learn to appreciate everything that shines.” -Zachary K. Douglas

My hope and prayer for you is that the darkness you’ve endured through your divorce will be the means of seeing the world in a brighter light than before. I know that I certainly appreciate the life God has blessed me with now all the more because I lived through such a season of darkness. Divorce is dark and painful, no one is denying that. However, the brightness that comes in the rebuild is beautiful. Love and prayers to all of you, my friends.

Divorce is Not Failure


I came across a really powerful article and wanted to share it with all of you. I related so closely it was as if the words were my own. It’s so easy to feel like if your marriage ended in divorce it failed. This not the case, friends. Give this article a read and be encouraged that divorce is not a failure, but an avenue for strength.

To choose divorce is not to choose failure.

To choose divorce is to sink lower than you ever thought possible. Then once you reach that abyss, when you are in your weakest hour, divorce grabs you by the scruff of your neck, slams you against the wall, and demands that you find the greatest strength and courage of all — an inner strength from somewhere deep inside — to carve out a new path. It is a strength that takes a long time to find and an even longer time to recover from.”

Find the article, To Choose Divorce is Not to Choose Failure, over at ScaryMommy. If you’re a mommy, I recommend following this blog anyhow. It’s so spot on and quite hilarious!

Have a happy Wednesday. My prayers are with you!

“God Gave Her to Me”


This past week I went to an adorable celebration at my daughter’s school called Moms & Muffins. I don’t say this to sound like mom of the year nor to be cliche, but one on one time with my daughter is gold. My daughter and I spent four years, just her and I. And now, with our present day blended family, I share her with three other parents. Are there perks to sharing in the parenting of this beautiful little girl? Absolutely (another post I am working on)! Qualities, attributes, and love shown to her by four parents instead of two is not all bad, folks. Okay, let’s stay on topic here … I am convinced the days and nights we spent just the two of us created something real special. She was my drive to keep my shit together when I was on the verge of losing it. She was this insane beauty beaming through the ashes of my dead marriage. That bright bond we created through such darkness will always be there.

Our morning together, celebrating Mother’s Day at her school is a time I will always treasure. We ate muffins, read stories, and she showed me all of these insanely cute projects she had been making for me. When her teachers asked her why I am special, her response was: “God gave her to me” and then of course, what I was good at: “sweeping the floors” … Oh my, I freaking love her.

Her first answer really did make me want to weep on the spot. “God gave her to me” … I think as mothers we can agree that this is how we feel about our children. God gave them to us. They are our gifts. For divorced mamas especially, they are this silver lining that came from so much heartache. And here I am reading her words, God gave ME to HER. ME? Ugh. I am not sure how many of you are with me in that I feel like I fall short as a mommy more often than not. Yet through her eyes, I am this amazing gift. Humbling, no doubt.

I read this really great piece about the Good Shepherd last week and it spoke to my mama heart pretty hard:

“You know yours, and they know you. Just like the Good Shepherd, you rise every morning to lay down your life again. Even in small ways the world never sees. But the Father sees you and loves you. He knows your heart longs to be like the One who is Love.

If you listen, you will hear His voice. What you long for will lead you.

He promised you this. His promises do not fail. He is the Good Shepherd.”

What an incredible encouragement for mothers. Knowing our shortcomings, our sin, and the stuff we lay down morning after morning is made whole through His love and promises. God’s good grace fills in the gaps of our mommy fails. And our little ones? They have hearts eyes for all that makes up our beautiful mess. We are their gift and they are ours. Let us not forget this truth!

Divorce and single motherhood can really magnify the ways we think we are “failing” our littles. Promise me this, if this Mother’s Day greets you mid-divorce or as a single mama, read some advice I wrote when this too was my reality. As most of you know this will be my first Mother’s Day in four years that I do have an amazing husband to celebrate with (there’s hope!). However, I feel deeply for you ladies on the other side. Give my words a read from last year describing past Mother’s Days.

I pray that ALL the mamas out there will feel loved by their little ones, peace from our Good Shepherd and overwhelming gratitude for the many amazing ways they’re raising these incredible gifts we’ve been given. ❤

I Do (take two)


I shared my story over on one of my favorite blogs this morning! It’s my first article where I talk about God’s gift of a second marriage and all the feels that go along with starting over. Excited to write more about this current stage of remarriage, co-parenting, and living out our blended family in the best ways we know how. Enjoy!