Friday, May 1, 2015

No Longer Surviving but Thriving - changes

Happy Friday everyone! If you haven't been around lately there are a few changes and there will most likely be more on the way.
As we age and grow as people there are many changes that happen with those changes our lives evolve, so as a blogger my site has evolved and changed with me. It has been some time since I made changes and have felt the need to change/adapt Spatulas for some time but have held off for reasons I can't totally go into but the time is right, the time is now, changes are underfoot.
For protection of my sons, who are grown, and our privacy I have held off on details on my private life. I have eluded to certain changes but didn't want to embarrass them or loose followers due to my life changes. The last part is crazy I know but it was part of the "people pleasing" mentality that drove so much of who I was. Key word there is was. My blog started off as a recipe/food blog but over the last 3 years it has become a lot more. As I have changed, the recipes included stories, family events and more photos. As you see in my new cover, my blog is and has always been about my passion, food. Now it includes food, writing, health, photography and life. Last year I joined with Karen at Baking In A Tornado and other bloggers for a weekly writing challenge which quickly became two, three and now four challenges a month. Those are posted on Fridays. I am sure you have been by for the "Fly On The Wall" post which was how I started and now the Use Your Words post is uber popular with my continuing saga of Pearl and William.
Life changes...sometimes life changes and we have NO control of it. I found this out all to well this last year. I had been married for 24 years and together for 26 but suddenly found myself single, discarded, broken and alone. At almost 50 it was not how I envisioned my life but I have to say, it was one of the best things to ever happen to me. I apologize now to my sons and their wives if they are reading this but it is nothing they do not know already. I tried to be happy, to please everyone, to make it a "forever" marriage but you can't make someone stay, can't make them love you and you sure as heck can't make someone faithful. So in all honesty, his leaving was the third best thing he ever did for me. The other 2 were our sons. Our two sons were my life and once they were grown and gone I realized just how empty and alone my life was. Blogging helped fill a need of love and acceptance but still did not fill the void I had.
In December of 2013 I made some big changes with my life. I began working out and eating clean. With that I learned a lot about myself and changes began. I realized  I had neglected myself for years, had let myself go, not just physically but emotionally as well. I no longer thought I was worth the effort of taking care of. I had heard it for years, been beaten down verbally and believed the lies. I was not beautiful, I was not attractive, I had no education, no job and no one would ever want me. Well, I stopped listening to the negative influence in my life and set boundaries, that is when some of the issues began to grow. When a person looses control over another they become mean and living with them becomes even more miserable than before. Sometimes that person can become violent and I beg you, if you are in this situation, find a safe place! No one deserves to be hurt by another in the sick claim it is love and for your own good. That is a lie straight from the pit of hell. 
The more weight I lost the more confident I became but more importantly I realized that I am worth the effort, capable, smart and able to do whatever I set my mind to. More issues raised their ugly little heads as the days passed and the inner strength I was gaining was being challenged daily. I remembered who I was. My daddy raised me to be a strong independent person and not take any $h!t from anyone. When I began to assert myself my daily life became very difficult. I was miserable but determined to stay and be the faithful dutiful wife I had always been. But no matter how hard I tried I could not make him happy and the more I tried the more miserable I became. So when he left it was a relief.
In September 2014 it all hit the fan. I had gone back to NC for my oldest son's wedding and my 30th class reunion. I was determined that for the first time in 27 years I was taking a vacation, enjoying life and doing what "I" wanted. When the cat is away the mouse will play and play he did. I had been gone 3 days when I got the call. I decided then and there that it was time for me to be happy. I went to the beach, rode the ferry to the Outer Banks, drove a convertible, had lunch with friends, went shopping and just had a great time. When I returned to GA and confronted him I learned more than I ever wanted to know and within 3 weeks my middle son, 3 cats and our handful of belongings were on our way back to NC. No idea what would happen but we knew we'd be okay.
Within 6 weeks of returning to NC I had enrolled in college and 6 weeks after that I was working and living with my mom.
Fast forward to now...I'll fill you in on some other details next week in my SSS post. Gotta do something to get you to return. hahaha
I have one week left in my first college semester. It has been overwhelming, daunting, exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. I have changed jobs, reconnected with friends and wake up each day thankful. Life is good actually very good. In fact life is great. I have my family, the love and support of friends, a job, college, my sons, their wives my daughters-in-love, grandkids, kitties, blogging buddies, my church family and a new man. This journey has not been easy and to be honest there were times I just wasn't sure where our next meal would come from or how/where we would live but even during those times I was thankful and yes even happy I was no longer in a toxic relationship. Living in a shelter and being happy with me was better than living with someone and being miserable. In the beginning I had no car, no job, no money, what little I owned was in storage and I had no idea whatsoever what I would do. There were days I cried my eyes out because I felt like a failure and didn't know how I would provide for myself or my son. I had to look at the idea of giving up my furbabies and selling what little I did own. People say they understand but they don't. If you have never been in a situation like this, you do not understand you can't and that's okay. I did a lot of praying and had to humble myself and ask for help, something I was not in the habit of doing. I had always been the one to help others. Pride comes before the fall is a true statement. If you do not humble yourself and ask for help, your pride will be your down fall. What I learned was that it did not make me a bad person, a worthless person or a failure, it meant I was human. 
A tree can not grow big, tall and healthy without some pruning, pruning is a process of cutting away the dead or diseased limbs so healthy stronger ones can grown. So it is in life, we cut away the dead/toxic relationships, stop bad habits and develop new ones so we can grow. It is painful but necessary.
During these times you find out who your real friends are. I had friends who were super supportive, loved me, prayed for me and let me use their car. I also lost friends or dropped dead weight depending on how you look at it. Yet here I am - happy with ME, who I am, what I'm capable of and more importantly that I am okay by myself. I can survive, I can become a better person, I can attend college and succeed, I can find a job, I can provide for myself and my son and I can be happy all by myself. My confidence has never been this good. But what I know is that I did not do any of this on my own, God provides, is faithful and has been my source of strength through it all.
My blog has suffered due to all the changes but I believe it will thrive if I allow it to change with me and not pretend to be who I was fake it to please others. So you'll see more writing along with recipes, health info, photography because we all know I'm a huge shutterbug and details about my life, because I actually have one now and I'm passionate about living life, enjoying it and making no excuses to anyone for that.
Live Love Laugh and YOLO were once just phrases that I rolled my eyes at, now I embrace them. As a Christian I have counseled a lot of women and teens but did not take my own advise. Being a child of God doesn't mean being a stick in the mud or a door mat. It's okay to live life,  to laugh, to love, to enjoy things and to take time for myself. It is not selfish it is taking care of yourself so that you can be there for those who love you and enjoy what God has blessed you with.
I have found new interest, new talents, new likes and admitted to some dislikes without excuse or apology for them.
So it is my desire that this blog will be more than recipes and that my following will not suffer. If I loose some that is okay but I'm sure that as I change and grow my following will do the same and I'm okay with that.
THANK YOU for sticking around and reading this LONG post. I can be wordy, lol.

Can you see a difference? I can. 
The photo on the left was taken about a week after I started blogging, the one on the right was taken about a month ago. Yes, I'm smiling in both, but in the second one I am smiling from within not just on the outside.

THANK YOU to my supporters and YOLO make it a good one! I no longer survive but thrive!

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  1. Wow, what a tremendous accomplishment and victory. I'm sorry for all your struggles, but I have to say your smile in the second photo seems more confident/genuine. To be able to look back and see all you've gotten through must be a terrific feeling. All good things ahead!!

  2. You are SO amazing! SO strong!!! Good for you for taking back your life!!!!! <3

  3. What an amazing and touching post!! I'm sure many women see themselves in your words. I know I did. I went through a very similar situation-albeit years ago-and I know how difficult it is to overcome verbal abuse, and regain your confidence! I am so VERY proud of you! You are beautiful in both your photo's-but it is obvious in the recent one-that there is a new 'sparkle' , and a bit of SASS in your eyes now! BRAVO!! I'm so glad you are part of our blog hop, and I look forward to getting to know you better!!!