Endings Are Only Beginnings

But sometimes it’s very difficult – almost impossible – to believe it. It certainly doesn’t feel like a beginning when something ends.

But otherwise how can something begin if something else doesn’t end to give the beginning a chance to begin?

You might want to read that sentence again.

We all have something we’re struggling with; something we know we need to give up, but we still keep hanging on. Why? There are lots of reasons, but here are the main ones:

We think things will improve.

We don’t want to hurt anyone.

We don’t like change.

We’re afraid of the unknown.

They’re all valid fears. But…change is a necessary part of life. Change is required to grow.

But change isn’t fun. Neither is uncertainty. And that’s the really scary part. We feel backed into a corner, with no means of escape. No way to make our life better.

No place to run and hide. No place to go to where our life will be settled again. No one to go and hide with, or to make the problems easier because there’s no one there to help us. Something in our life has ended, and we just can’t go on any longer.

It’s just us…against the world. Us beginning to fight our way out of the hole we think we’re in. Us trying to claw our way out of a dark and lonely place we think won’t get better no matter what we do. We just can’t see how we’re going to get out of this place we find ourselves in. The ending has happened and there’s no way we can turn it around.

Or is there?

Remember, endings are also beginnings.

Love After Divorce

Lots of us have been through it. 

Some of us more than once.

It may be a divorce we wanted, or a divorce that was thrust upon us. But it still happened. 

Some of us were the ones who left the marriage, for various reasons. Falling out of love. An affair. Abuse. Growing apart. Legal issues, sometimes resulting in arrests and jail time. Alcoholism or drug or gambling addictions.

Some of us were left by a cheating spouse. Were left with huge debts by that spouse. Were abandoned along with our children. Were totally unaware of what was happening until it happened.

And these aren’t all the reasons. There are as many reasons for divorces as there are actual divorces. No two cases are ever the same.

The road back to normalcy after divorce isn’t easy. Those of us who think it will be, usually the ones who instigate the divorce, soon discover that it’s not necessarily that simple.

No matter which end of the divorce you’re on, life changes. It’s a difficult change. Sometimes it’s a relief; sometimes we feel it’s the end of our life as we know it.

Sometimes it’s hard to trust again after that. Adjusting to being newly single isn’t easy. At first we may be relieved, but eventually the loneliness sets in.

And we don’t know what to do about it.

Many newly divorced people think finding a new partner will be easy. After all, now you’re free, and there’s nothing to stop you.

Except you don’t know where to start. And quickly become discouraged, especially when your single friends find someone new, leaving you still alone.

That’s when you start trying too hard. And it’s usually obvious. You’re ready to go out with anyone who asks you. You try to be interested in them if they show even the least bit of interest in you. Whether you’re really interested or not. 

After all, isn’t someone better than no one?

Is it? Is it really?

Or the one you thought was really going to be a keeper gradually seems to start losing interest, doesn’t come around as often, or makes excuses for canceling dates.

Or maybe you start feeling that way, but either don’t want to hurt the other person, or don’t want to give up until you have someone else sort of waiting.

Love after divorce isn’t always what you think it should be.

But take these words of advice. Divorce is hard. But it’s sometimes necessary. It takes time to recover whether you wanted it or the other person wanted it.

You aren’t going to necessarily be ready for a relationship for a while, at least not a serious one. Why? You have to heal, whether you realize it or not. There’s a lot to come to terms with, and usually the longer the marriage, the longer the time for healing. 

And that healing can’t totally be accomplished when you’re in another relationship. Give yourself time. Rushing into something you know may not be right will only result in more heartbreak.

Where are you in this process? Are you really ready for love after that divorce, or are you trying to make something happen that shouldn’t be happening yet?

My personal advice? Don’t try to make something happen, don’t try to work things out every couple of months. When it’s time, and when it’s right, you’ll know it. You can’t make something happen that’s not supposed to happen.

And you’ll be glad you waited.

Be Yourself…No Matter What

Because if you’re not yourself, no one else will be.

And what would the world be without one of you? It just wouldn’t be the same.

You’re unique. An individual unlike anyone else. You touch lives every day and don’t even realize it.

Even identical twins have a few characteristics that make them unique.

So the next time you’re feeling down on yourself, feeling unimportant, just remember…

There’s only one you, and if you weren’t around, there’d be no one else to take your exact place.

Confessions of a [Book] Hoarder

I think my love for reading has been going on from the day I held my first grade primer in my hand and learned to read “See Spot run.” I was hooked. I remember coming home that day and showing my mother what I could do. I was so proud of myself! And I haven’t stopped reading since. 

I think this quote from “Sleepless in Central Park” by Sarah Morgan nicely sums it up: “A book can give you most things a relationship can. It can make you laugh, it can make you cry, it can transport you to different worlds and teach you things. You can even take it out to dinner. And if it bores you, you can move on.” Well, it can’t pay for dinner, it can’t drive you around, and it can’t help you around the house, but other than that, the main character does have a point.

And yes, when I used to travel for work, I always took a book to dinner with me! 

I’ve read so many books over the years I can’t even begin to count them, and sometimes I can’t even remember if I’ve read a certain book or not until I start reading the first part of it. That’s because I’d read it so long ago.

And I had this thing about keeping them all after I’d read them. They were like old friends I didn’t want to part with.  Even though they were almost all paperbacks (my reading habit would’ve cost me a fortune in hardbacks!) I still hated to part with any of them, and loaning them to someone else? No. I didn’t want them messed up or lost. Yeah, I was that kind of person. Because other people didn’t take care of them like I did.

But the day finally came when try as I might, I just couldn’t fit another book into the bookshelves. I knew I had to do something. Which was getting boxes and emptying my shelves of so many of my old friends. It was tough. I kept a lot of my favorite authors’ books, and most of my hardcovers, and still ended up with 18 full boxes of books that I donated to Goodwill.

That was hard. But I still continued my reading addiction and eventually I was getting to the same point. And which of my favorites would I end up giving away next?

That’s when I finally decided I had to do something. And quick.

You may or may not know I’m sort of a techie. I love technology. iPhone, laptop, iPad…. But for years I couldn’t bring myself to get the one device my husband kept telling me to try. A Kindle. It made so much sense, but I just didn’t think I’d like it. 

I like turning the pages, seeing how much more is left in the book, and yes sometimes looking at the last few pages to see the ending when I just can’t stand it any longer. And I always read while I’m soaking in my jacuzzi every morning. And in the summer after work I’m always in my pool float with a book in my hand. I couldn’t imagine what would happen with all that water around me. I didn’t want to think about destroying an expensive piece of electronics.

If only there were waterproof e-readers, told myself. But then I started researching and found the Kindle Oasis actually claimed to be waterproof. So did I risk it or what? More decisions.

But eBay had one at a really good price. So I ordered it.

And after I received it and set it up, and used it for a day or so I wondered why in the world I’d waited so long! It’s so easy to use, and I can set the reading style just for me, including font size (for those of us with astigmatism that’s one of the best features), lighting (no book light needed for reading in bed), plus it tells me how many hours/minutes left in the book based on my reading speed. I love that feature! I don’t need a bookmark to keep track of where I was. And I can even highlight passages I want to remember. I’d never do that in a REAL book!

And the book choices….I can download samples before I buy the actual book, which has now resulted in a digital library of gigantic proportions, organized by genre or author, depending on what I need, and I can even mark the books I’ve read and save them in their own folder. No, I still can’t bring myself to get rid of them!

And Amazon knows me now. Really well. So well, in fact, they’re making sure to advertise all these new books on my Facebook and Instagram feeds. Which of course I read, and over half the time I download a sample….

At least I’m saving the books digitally so I’m not going to have to box them up to make room for more. But I might have to upgrade my Kindle.

The King of Cakes

I’ve been seeing these king cakes all over the internet and Facebook. The colors are so pretty and they really look delicious! 

All that sugar mixed with the colored icing….who can resist? And every time I see a picture of one, I keep thinking “maybe I could do that!”

Yeah. Right. But then again….At least it’s not a cake that has to be decorated perfectly with icing….that’s just not something I do well.

I researched quite a bit to try to find all the history of this sugary concoction, and really didn’t find any in depth history like I’d expected. 

The King cake tradition was started in France and brought to New Orleans in 1870. According to countryliving.com, the cake actually got its start in the Middle Ages, made in Europe to celebrate Epiphany (January 6), which is also known as Three Kings Day, a celebration of the day when the three Wise Men were said to have visited Baby Jesus and given him the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. What happened in between that time with the cake, I still haven’t found out.

But when the French came to Louisiana in 1870, they brought the tradition of the King Cake with them, and it’s been a part of Mardi Gras ever since, and not limited to New Orleans. It’s seasonal, like the Hot Cross Buns at Easter, and it goes away on Ash Wednesday, since good Catholics are traditionally giving up something at the start of Lent. (But for us non-Catholics, I think we can still eat the leftovers.)

As most of you may know, the cake is usually made from a yeast dough with various fillings, cinnamon, chocolate, or cream cheese. Traditionally, the cake is also baked with a miniature plastic baby inside, which traditionally symbolizes Baby Jesus. When the cake is served, the person who finds the baby in their slice of cake is the one who is supposed to provide the king cake for next year’s festivities.

The cake is colorfully decorated, with icing or glaze and sanded sugars or sprinkles in alternating colors of purple, which signifies “justice; green for “faith”; and gold for “power.” Many times the cakes are decorated with paper crowns and/or the traditional Mardi Gras beads in those same colors.

Now I do like to bake as you all know, and I do enjoy making my mother’s cinnamon buns every holiday, and a few other times during the year, so I’m thinking I can probably make one of these as well.

I guess we’ll just have to see. And here’s the recipe I’m going to try, which comes from Betty Crocker.com. So we’ll just have to see what happens. The directions seem long, but based on what I do with my cinnamon buns, it really shouldn’t be that bad.

New Orleans King Cake

  • 3 1/2 c all purpose flour
  • 1 pkg Rapid Rise yeast
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 tbl unsalted butter, softened, cut in 12 pieces
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 tbl unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbl milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • colored sugars and food coloring
  • 1 miniature plastic baby (from a craft store in the baby shower section)

Mix 2 1/2 c flour and yeast in mixing bowl of your KitchenAid, using paddle attachment on low for about 30 seconds.

Heat 1 cup milk, sugar and salt in small saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and milk is between 120-130 degrees.

With mixer on low, pour in liquid and mix. Add eggs one at a time Continue mixing until a shaggy dough forms. Clean off paddle and switch to a dough hook (which I’ve never used before but have been wanting to try). Mix in remaining 1 cup flour as needed to make a soft dough. Add softened butter, one piece at a time, kneading until each piece is absorbed.

Knead 8 minutes on low until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. If too sticky, add additional flour, 1 tbl at a time.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times by hand. Form dough into a ball. Place dough into a greased bowl. Turn once so greased surface is on top. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

While dough is chilling, make cinnamon filling. In small bowl combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Combine the 4 tbl butter and mix well.

Roll chilled dough into a 10×20 rectangle. Spread filling on half of long side of dough, Fold dough in half covering the filling and pat down firmly so the dough will stick together; Cut dough into three long strips. Press tops of the strips together and braid. Press ends together at bottom. Genty stretch braid so it measures 20 inches. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise til doubled, about an hour.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place dough on cookie sheet and bake til golden brown, 20-30 minutes. remove from oven and let cool 10 min. Then place on cooling rack to cool completely. To hide baby in the cake, make a small slit in the bottom of the cake and put in after cake has cooled.

While cake is cooling, make icing. Mix powdered sugar, 1 tbl milk and vanilla until smooth. Add more milk if mixture is too thick or powdered sugar if too thin. Separate into 3 small bowls and food coloring to desired tint, Spoon icing over top of cake and immediately sprinkle on colored sugar and/or sprinkles, alternating the colors.

I really do hope it’s as simple as it sounds. Well, simple is probably a relative term, but we’ll see. Maybe.

However…if this seems way too much work, here’s a shortcut version. i may try this first!

Super Easy King Cake

  • 3 14 oz cans refrigerated sweet roll dough
  • 2 12 oz cans creamy vanilla ready to spread froting
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • food coloring and sanding sugar and sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease baking sheet.

Open cans of sweet roll dough. Unroll dough from each can into 3 strands. On clean surface place strands side by side gather together to make one large strand. Fold in half and roll slightly to make a fat log. Repeat steps with remaining dough.

Place each log on baking sheet and shape to make a ring, overlapping the ends and pinching together to make a circle. Pat into shape to make ring even in size all around. cover loosely with foil.

Bake in preheated oven until firm and golden brown, 50-60 minutes. check oftem to be sure ring doesn’t overbake. Place on wire rack and cool completely.

Place on serving plate. Cut slit along inside of ring and insert the tiny plastic baby pushing in far enough to be hidden.

Divide frosting into 4 bowls. Stir 1 tbl milk into each to thin. Use frosting in one bowl to drizzle over cooked cake. stir yellow food coloring in one bowl. green in another. Use red and blue in lat bowl to make purple. drizzle onto cake to make pattern. Dust with sugar and sprinkles.

I think I’m trying this one first. How about you?

Love Can Be

Wonderful. Exhilarating. Exciting.

Frightening. Scary. Heartbreaking.

Amazing. Too good to be true. 

Disastrous. Heart wrenching.

Your very best moment.

Your very worst experience.

How can love be all of the above? 

Because when it’s truly love, it’s the best part of your life.

When love is one-sided, it’s your worst nightmare.

Make sure the love you have is truly love. 

It’s February 14

What does that mean to you?

Notice I didn’t call it Valentine’s Day. 

Or Galentine’s Day. 

Or Single Awareness Day. 

Or International Quirkyalone Day (Yes, that’s real. I saw it online. It’s been around since 2003 and is for singles and those in platonic relationships.)

Or Let’s Make This Day Go Away Day.

Tell Someone You Love Them and Forget Them the Rest of the Year Day.

Pretend You’re Still in Love Day

Try to Impress Her Because You Really Screwed Up Day. 

A lot of people “celebrate” it that way, you know. As our daughter says, why the big fuss over Valentine’s Day? If you love someone you should tell them all the time. Not just one day a year. She’s always felt that way, even after being married for almost seven years with two kids. 

She does have a point, you know. We should tell those we love how we feel a lot more often than we do.

Of course, she makes sure her daughters have Valentine gifts, and helps them make cards for their friends and grandparents (us), and buys them valentine themed shirts for pictures. One year she even had a valentine photo shoot with them.

Don’t get me wrong. I do enjoy Valentine’s Day. My husband and I exchange cards, sometimes balloons or flowers, and go out for a great dinner. 

I’ve even started decorating a few areas in our house for Valentine’s Day; our kitchen table has a Valentine centerpiece collection, our foyer table has a few little valentine nuggets, and since I still work remotely, my home office has Valentine gnomes spread around. (I really don’t like gnomes but these are cute!) It’s fun and gives a bit of color and whimsy that’s so needed after all the glittery Christmas decor is put away.

A lot of women authors are beginning to recognize that Valentine’s Day is also a holiday that needs to be explored a bit more. I recently read a novel called “The Holiday Plan” by Emma Lynden about a woman who totally wanted to avoid Valentine’s Day and everything involved with it. She wanted to avoid it so much she booked a weeks’ vacation during Valentine’s week at a resort away from everyone. Except unbeknownst to her, there was a huge week-long event there for singles in honor of, you guessed it, Valentine’s Day. It’s a great read, and I highly recommend it. Whether you’re in a relationship or not.

The thing is, no matter how you feel about it, how you celebrate it, or not, it’s a day that’s here to stay. 

So if you’re not in a relationship spend the time with other friends in the same situation. Send each other flowers. Go out to dinner together, or arrange a private dinner at someone’s home. Or maybe even do a “chick flick” movie night/pajama party.

And if nothing else, just remember all that leftover valentine chocolate will be half price on February 15!

An Unconventional Valentine Treat

I’ve been searching for something to make that’s different (and easy) for Valentine’s Day. Yeah, I know we can do brownies from a box mix and add white chocolate and pink M&M’s to the batter, and then maybe put frosting with sprinkles on them after they’re cooled. We can even bake them in a heart shaped pan.

Or the traditional chocolate chip cookie, again possibly with pink M&Ms or white baking chips rather than the traditional chocolate chips, but that’s still a bit too commonplace. Yes, they’re delicious but I kept thinking there had to be something a little more unique. And easy.

I do like to bake, as I think you all know, but that doesn’t really give me much leeway to improvise, since for me, baking has to be sort of precise or I’ll screw the whole thing up.

Now my husband really likes rice krispies treats. You know the ones made with marshmallows and such. But I’m really not a fan. One of his clients actually gives him a couple of the pre-packaged ones each week, because they know how much he likes them. Works for me.

And the other day she surprised him with a bag of heart shaped rice krispies treats that’s she’d dipped in chocolate and added red sprinkles.

Which was good, since I didn’t have to do it!

But still, there had to be something else unconventional I could come up with.

There are always the traditional pretzel sticks drizzled with chocolate or white chocolate tinted pink, but neither of us are really into pretzels.

Then I came across several recipes for Valentine’s Chex mix snacks. Well, I like sweets as much as anyone, but I also like salty as well, so this sounded like a great combination to please everyone.

So why not?? Anyway, I’m sharing the recipe now, and I think I’ll get my husband to make this one with me. With the Super Bowl this weekend, it sounds like a great addition to our junk food snacks that we’re planning, so why not see what happens?

Let me know if you try it as well. It’s always interesting to compare notes!

Valentine Snack Mix

  • 2 cups corn chex cereal
  • 1 cup mini pretzel twists
  • 2 cups rice chex cereal
  • 2 cups Honey Nut Cheerios
  • 1 bag valentine M&M’s
  • 3 cups white baking chips
  • 1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
  • Valentine or colored sugar sprinkles.

Prepare large sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a very large bowl combine cereals, pretzels, and M&M’s. Stir to combine well.

In medium bowl combine 3 cups baking chips and vegetable oil. Microwave 30 seconds; stir and microwave another 15 seconds. Stir until melted and smooth. If needed, microwave another 15 seconds, stirring for 10 seconds between each time. Pour over snack mix.

Working QUICKLY gently stir until all ingredients are coated and then quickly transfer to prepared baking sheet, spreading into one even layer. Immediately add remaining M&M’s on top and additional sprinkles. Add a bit of additional melted baking bits if desired. Allow chocolate to firm up and harden either on counter or in fridge. Break into pieces and serve.

Please note: I found this recipe online at chelseasmessyapron.com. So it’s not my own creation.

White Lace and Promises, Part 3

You’ve now read about her two bad marriages; the second by far much more disastrous than the first. It’s no wonder that the last thing she wanted after that ordeal was another man anywhere near her, let alone a boyfriend or a husband!

Marriage, she’d decided, wasn’t all it was made out to be. At least in her case. Although she still thought about having a family, it sure seemed like that was something that just wasn’t in her future. And right then she was ok with it.

She had a job she really liked, her family was supportive of her, and actually relieved she’d gotten away from the second man she’d married without serious injuries. Or worse.

And yes, most of her childhood friends were still married and had several kids, but right now she wasn’t spending her time envying what they had and what she didn’t.

And she felt free. Her priorities had changed, and she was ready to concentrate on making herself happy BY HERSELF for a change. It was time to pursue new interests; new hobbies,

She’d always been interested in photography, so she bought herself a new camera and decided to learn to take better pictures. One day she was walking around the mall where she worked and one of the store managers asked her where she was going. She told him the zoo, and he said if she’d wait another hour he’d go with her. 

Absolutely not! “I’m going now and going by myself. This is my day off!” Before her second divorce, if she’d been single, she’d have jumped at the offer. How far she’d come! She didn’t need, or want, a man in her life right now! And she was learning to have a great time by herself!

That next week, though, she noticed the same guy seemed to be popping up around her. Having lunch near her table in the food court. Standing outside the store when she’d walk by delivering memos to some of the businesses. Good grief, was he stalking her?! That’s all she needed.

A few more weeks went by. One day she saw him talking to her boss and they acted like they were having a really important conversation. She didn’t know what to think, especially when her boss said something about what a nice guy he was, and he really wanted to talk to her about some advertising ideas for the mall. Well, that sounded harmless. She was always ready to talk about new ideas,

Then one day he walked into the office, a smile on his face as usual, and asked her if she’d had lunch yet, and if not, how’d she like to go with him and talk about some ideas he had. 

What could it hurt? Business was business.  So she agreed. 

But lunch was anything but what she expected. They spent the majority of their time talking, but not about marketing the mall. He told her about his background, how he arrived in that city from across the country, and asked her all kinds of questions about herself. And she didn’t feel pressured, controlled, or being interrogated like her ex-husband made her feel.

They had a great time, and then he took her for ice cream before heading back to work. They still hadn’t discussed any marketing ideas. 

Later she realized he was marketing himself to her! Which actually worked! But it was way too soon for her to get involved with anyone after her last disaster of a marriage.

Right? 

But still, he kept pursuing her. Yes, they eventually did talk marketing ideas, and he was a big help in planning some of the mall events, and even videotaping a lot of them for her. 

Eventually things progressed from him being just another marketing consultant to, well the two of them becoming a couple. And they moved in together. He’d been married once before, and we know what she’d experienced. Naturally they were both a bit hesitant to contemplate anything else. They talked about it once in a while but neither was ready to seriously discuss it. They were happy the way things were.

Until one morning when there was an unexpected staff meeting at her office. She didn’t think much about it, though, until she walked in the room and was asked to sit in the middle of the room while everyone else was seated around the conference table. That couldn’t be good….  

Her boss stood up and said, “Now that we’re all here, we have something special taking place this morning.” And he looked right at her.

As the conference room door opened, music began to play, and a man in a white tux, white top hat, and a white cane came dancing into the room, right over to her, and kneeled in front of her. She was…

Nervous. Embarrassed. And totally thinking everyone had lost their mind. What was going on?

He introduced himself and said his name was Mr. Wonderful, her boyfriend had sent him, and then he started singing. A marriage proposal. He ended it by grabbing her hand, and telling her her boyfriend was waiting for a phone call with her answer. And then he danced out.

The room burst into applause. She sat there speechless until her boss said, “What are you waiting for?! Go call the man!”

She walked out of the room in a daze; her head was spinning. She thought she was imagining things and then realized she wasn’t.

And of course she called him and told him yes!

This time, though, she was going to do things differently. After two formal weddings that had had disastrous endings, this one was going to be different. 

Small. Simple. She was more concerned about the marriage itself and what it meant, rather than another wedding.

No white lace this time. An off-white suit for her. Instead of a large white bouquet, a few red roses. Instead of a church with organ music, they were married in her mother’s home in front of the fireplace, with her cousin playing the piano. Just family and a few close friends.

This time, there were no “what if’s”, no cold feet or nervousness. Just promises that would be kept. In sickness and in health. Forever. She knew it wouldn’t always be easy, but it was going to be worth it

And 37 years later, they’re still married and still in love.

If you haven’t had the chance, be sure to read the first two installments of White Lace and Promises, published on January 31 and February 7.

Could It Be?

Sometimes we make mistakes. Or mistakes happen through no fault of our own.

But sometimes the surprises life sends us, the ones we think are really bad luck, or terrible mistakes, turn out to be part of a plan far better than we ever could have devised for ourself.

Is that mistake, that bad luck, part of a bigger plan for your life?

Could it be this is the way you’re meant to go?

White Lace and Promises, Part 2

You read about her first marriage, that first wedding. How she had all the feelings that it wasn’t right, except she just couldn’t bring herself to cancel it all and remain a “Miss” rather than becoming a “Mrs.”

At the time of that first wedding, she thought adult life was supposed to start with marriage, then a job of some sort, and then kids. That was the way it was back then, in the early 70’s.

But it wasn’t that way for everyone. And when you try too hard to make things work, you discover that if things are meant to be, they will be. And if they’re not, well, life has a way of letting you know.

And that’s what happened with her. Divorce. The first in her family. She was relieved it was over, but more concerned how her family would feel. But they loved her, and they reassured her that it was ok; things would work out. And that mistakes had a way of turning things right again. 

But sometimes it takes a while for that to happen.

The freedom she’d initially felt was quickly replaced by loneliness. Most of her friends were still happily married and having kids. A lot of her single friends were in relationships. She became restless, unhappy, and wanted a change. Any kind of change that would allow her to start her adult life over again. And hopefully not make the same mistakes.

So she found a new job in a different city, and made the big move, some two hours away from her hometown. Close enough to be with family when she needed to see them, but far enough away to start her life over.

And maybe, hopefully, she’d find the man who’d make her happy; the guy who’d sweep her off her feet, and give her the life she so desperately wanted. Who’d erase the loneliness she felt and want a life together with her. As a wife, and then eventually a mother. But she was careful to never voice those hopes and dreams to anyone, in case none of it came true.

She’d found a good job in her new city, and slowly met new people. People at work, and a few in her apartment complex. But no one really interesting. No one she could even begin to get close to. 

Had she made another mistake by moving there?

Then one day a young detective walked in her office. He was there investigating a break-in at a nearby business. They had a brief conversation about the case, and then ended up going to lunch together.

Over the next few months they casually dated off and on. She hadn’t really met anyone else. And they just sort of drifted into a relationship. 

It wasn’t one without problems, however, and as time went by there were arguments. But somehow they always worked them out. Eventually. And she figured all couples must go through times like that. 

Didn’t they?

They started talking about marriage. Something inside her started saying “be careful”. But surely she wouldn’t make another mistake, would she? After all, everyone has problems that need to be worked out.

And they did love each other. At least she thought so. And she accepted a ring. That later she found out he’d bought for someone else, and took back when they’d called things off. But of course that was something she didn’t discover until a lot later. 

Once again a wedding dress was bought, flowers were ordered, and a small reception was planned. Maybe she shouldn’t have another formal wedding, she thought, but she was determined this would be the one for keeps.

But the morning of the wedding they had another argument. And it took over an hour for him to apologize. That should’ve been enough to call it off, but she didn’t. She convinced herself it was going to be fine.

And it was. For about 3-4 weeks until the arguments started again. Over little things. She wasn’t home from work on time (never mind that traffic was backed up). He worked too hard during the week and was too tired to help her around the house (even though she worked full time as well). 

He didn’t like the way she answered one of his questions. He found something around the house that had her previous married name on it and accused her of wanting to get back with her ex-husband (really)??

Then he started pushing her around when he was mad. A couple times he pushed her so hard she fell on the floor. And he accused her of faking it. 

And of course every time he got mad it was her fault because she said or did something wrong. After all, he was the man of the house and what he said was what would be done.

She knew she had to leave, before she was seriously hurt, but was embarrassed to tell her family. And afraid what people would think. That she was to blame for another broken marriage. Surely something was wrong with her!

So she hesitated. Until the evening he got so mad at her he pushed her and she fell down the stairs. Fortunately she didn’t break anything but ended up in a cervical collar for several days, which of course he said she was only doing to make people feel sorry for her! 

That was finally enough. She secretly found an apartment away from where they were living, made arrangements to move her things, which was most of their furniture since he hadn’t had much of his own. She called an attorney and filled out separation papers.

When she confronted him about her leaving he was furious. She was scared he’d attack her again, so she’d arranged for a couple she’d become friends with to drop by and say they thought they’d see if they could all go out to eat. That most likely prevented her from being hurt again, because he stormed out and left. The people she’d arranged to get her things came by, moved them out, and she was gone.

She’d been married to him for eleven long months.

Fortunately he never looked for her, and surprisingly didn’t try to go by where she worked. Probably he knew she’d have told the security guards what happened, and they’d be on the lookout for him. And thankfully she never heard from him again.

“Now what?” she asked herself. “Where do I go from here?” Once again, the white lace and promises had been forgotten. In fact the lace had been ripped apart and the promises smashed under her soon-to-be ex-husband’s heel.

Be sure to read White Lace and Promises, Part Three, to be published on February 10.