Diane's Everyday3

Faith, hope, depression, Jesus, Love, grateful, Family, hope, appreciation

One Stepmom’s Story February 4, 2017

Filed under: Appreciation,Christianity,Divorce,Faith,family — Diane Turk Rogers @ 5:31 am
Tags: , , ,

Nov. 30, 1986 changed the course of my life. Thirty years later I can honestly say I believe I am right where God planned for me to be., then and now. That fall night is when I met Larry. We talked about many things… his job in real estate, my job as concierge at Marriott Hotel, our parents and siblings, him being divorced, the usual stuff. None of those subjects caused Larry’s pretty blue eyes to light up. We were simply making nervous “getting to know each other conversation. Then I asked, “So, do you have any kids?” He smiled so big and he proudly said, “Yes, I do”… He told me all about Ryan, 9 and Jennifer, 7. His reaction warmed my heart. The rest of the night we danced and talked for hours.

As a young girl, I always dreamed of being a mother. I imagined myself having a son first then two years later a daughter. Coincidence you say, I think not. Little did we know, God’s plan was being set in motion the night Larry crashed the employee event at the La Jolla Marriott Hotel.

It was obvious Larry’s devotion to his children was his number one priority, as they should be. He fought hard to be in their lives. He shared legal and physical custody with Ryan and Jennifer’s mom, Lisa. Sadly, the divorce was not amicable which made things hard on everyone involved. Especially Ry and Jen.

I moved in with Larry just a few short weeks after meeting him. Not the ideal role model for them, as we were not married yet. We had fun… Baking cupcakes, doing homework, and shopping for school clothes, celebrating birthdays, etc. We did the typical things families with young kids do. Each week, when it was time for us to take them back to their Mom’s, you could feel the tension. There were no friendly greetings, no exchange of pleasantries, “how were things?” “Anything I should know about school?” They simply got out of the car, hugged and kissed us goodbye, and that was it. This was the norm week after week for many years.

Because our days off from were during the week, we had the kids on school days. Larry wasn’t just a “weekend Dad.” It wasn’t long before a comfortable routine took shape. The kids had chores and made a regular allowance. Ryan mowed the lawn and helped with other yard work. Jennifer cleaned up our dog Keri’s poop (ewww) and bathed her regularly. We did major homework assignments and projects with them as well as attended conferences, field trips and other school events. We swapped Christmas Day with Lisa. She had them Thanksgiving and Easter. We had them Halloween and 4th of July. We were truly a family.

Anyone who knows Larry knows he absolutely loves taking pictures. I kid you not; we have an entire wall in our garage filled floor to ceiling with boxes of pictures. We always had tons of photo albums and collage frames throughout the house to recall sweet memories at any time. Field trips with their classes, trips to the Del Mar Fair, sleepovers with friends, San Diego Zoo days, Mexico vacations and camping trips… The list goes on and on. All have been captured forever in pictures and lots of videos too.

Every now and then someone would ask me if Larry and I were going to have children together. I broached the issue with Larry a few times and he always said he would not have any more children. Jennifer used to tell me she wanted a little sister. I don’t remember how I would respond. But I was actually fine with the idea of not giving birth to children and being their stepmom. To this day, I’m still alright with not giving birth and being their stepmom. People still ask me if I regret not having kids of my own (that’s how they put it) and I tell them I do have kids of my own. I just share them with their mom. I can’t speak for other stepparents, but for me, I can’t imagine loving a child more than I love Ryan and Jennifer. They gave me their hearts. I gave them mine. We figured out how to make our family work. Were Larry and I perfect parents? Nope. Were there bumps along the way? Oh yes. I would not change a single thing about the last three decades with Larry, Ryan and Jennifer. Everything we went through makes us the family we are today. And I love our family more than I can explain.

I’ve even had someone hint about being a “stepmom” is just not the same as being a “real mom.” Who are they to say? How do they know my heart? They can’t feel what I feel. Nor can I feel what they feel. No one can experience things exactly like someone else does. We can have similar life circumstances but each of us is an individual who brings our own reactions, emotions and baggage as we experience this thing called life.

What I do know is; I still haven’t had any regrets about my stepmotherhood. Being a wife to Larry and stepmom to Ryan and Jennifer have been the most important roles in my life. Recently Jennifer told me she appreciated me coming into their Dad’s life when I did. She said their lives became more stable after I arrived. You see, after Larry’s divorce from Lisa, he moved around quite a bit. He even had a stint living in his RV. All the while having joint custody of the kids. Once I was there, we created routine and stability for Ryan and Jennifer. Don’t get me wrong. They were secure in their father’s love for them and the fact that he provided for them. But moving around, not having a permanent “home” or a bedroom to call their own while with Dad surely caused some insecurity in their little hearts and minds. Until Jennifer said what she did about being thankful I came into their lives, I wasn’t sure she and Ryan thought much about what influence I have had on their lives.

There you have it, one stepmom’s story. The lives and circumstances of families effected by divorce and remarriages varies widely. Each person bringing his or her “baggage” into the equation adds layer upon layer of confusion for everyone, especially the innocent children.

 

Heart-Check August 27, 2013

Filed under: Appreciation,Christianity,Faith,family,God,kindness,Sincerity — Diane Turk Rogers @ 4:33 am

Now that I’m 50, I should know what my purpose is in this life, right?  So much time wondering, praying, hoping, and I still haven’t heard God’s thundering voice telling me, “Diane, here is what I want you to do and here is how I want you to do it…” 

God sent me two clear messages recently.  The crux of both messages was that my heart must be sincere in every action I take.  The first message came when I was reading my Jesus Calling devotional one morning.  The night before while I was saying my prayers I wondered, “Does God want me to say my prayers out loud or is it alright that I say them in my head?”  The next morning’s devotion answered my question.  It said if I pray with a sincere heart, God will hear me whether I” pray silently or shout it out loud.”  I had to read it twice because I couldn’t believe God’s answer came so plainly.

A few days later I received the second message from God by way of an email from Dusty, a special pal I met online.  For the past several months I’ve been praying about what my purpose is in this life.  What does God have planned for me?  How do I know what he wants me to do?  I sent an email to Dusty asking her to pray for me about it and here is her response;

“You’ll be in my prayers girl…..and for what it’s worth?   This is what I’ve learned…

I used to stress too, about where God wanted me and what He wanted me to do

and what was His will for me in my life…..then one day, I heard His answer as

plain as day:    He said He would love me no matter what I decided to do or where

….as long as my heart was sincere in wanting to do HIS work….then anyplace, any

decision would please Him and He would bless what I chose to do!   We will keep

you in prayer!   Remember that God is in control and don’t sweat the small stuff!!
Love you!! 

Again, a clear message from Heaven!  Thank you, Miss Dusty!  Now comes the test…  Is my heart sincere?  I’m writing to tell you about my heart-checks to see just how sincere my heart is in my everyday life.

The first area I thought about was my marriage.  Wow.  There’s an eye opener.  My husband is my partner in life.  He is my best friend in good and bad times.  He has been my biggest fan.  If that’s so, why am I so impatient with him?  Why am I defensive and sure he’s attacking me all the time?  Why do I harbor past hurts?  God’s wish for my marriage is that it is a place of safety and peace.  If my heart is sincere in wanting to create harmony with my husband, I have to work at it.  I have to submit.  There, I said it.  Why is that such a hard thing for wives to accept?  My husband is the leader of our family.  He is our protector.  He is our provider.  I am in a very safe place in my life because of the plans and decisions he has made for us over the last 25-plus years.  I think I can trust in and submit to that, with a sincere and loving heart.

Next, I did a heart check on my relationship with my stepchildren and grandchildren.  Is it with a sincere heart when I offer to help with the kids… make dinner… stop by after work…?  Are my intensions to gain acceptance or praise?  God’s wish in this area is that I accept my position in the family as step-mother with grace and loving kindness.  Accepting my role with a sincere heart means not putting demands on the kids to treat me in a certain way.  It also means when I buy surprises for them and when I call to check on the kids or other acts of kindness I am doing so with a sincere heart of love and not to gain favor.  Thinking about this deeply, I realized I always start with a sincere heart then the enemy sneaks into my thoughts and says, “This is such a nice thing you’re doing, they’re probably going to think you’re really cool,” or “Why do you do these things, you’re never going to gain the place in their hearts where you want to be…”  I always have to go back to my original intention and get that devil out of my head!!  My silent prayer with each kind deed is, “God, please keep my intentions pure and the enemy’s voice from tainting my thoughts.”  Someday it will be automatic “not” to think negatively about my good deeds.

The place I spend the most time beside home is work.  This is a big time heart-sincerity check for me.  It’s so easy to get caught up in so many negative things at work.  Heart check questions; How am I treating my boss and co-workers?  What kind of attitude am I showing my clients?  A sincere heart is not one of complaining or gossiping.  Nor is a sincere heart one of impatience and rudeness.  I must remember, two years ago when I needed a job so desperately and the one I am at now just fell into my lap.  The timing couldn’t have been better.  I thanked God for the answered prayers.  But before long, I was mired down by complaining, gossiping, undermining my boss and being rude and short with clients.  The attitude I was displaying was one of ingratitude, entitlement and selfishness.  Sowing that kind of negativity will only reap anger and hostility from others.  My heart ached for a change.  Now when I feel the attitude of the enemy coming over me, I remind myself that my heart wants to be kind and show grace.  A Christ-like attitude is my goal.  If I stumble, I recover much quicker now and those around me suffer a lot less too.  Amen for that!

As my relationship with God grows, so does my thirst for knowledge and understanding.  The Word of God is my first reference point.  He speaks to me as I read and study.  He speaks to me when I’m listening to sermons on the radio and at church.  He speaks to me via fellow Christians.  My job is to be still and listen for His promptings.  He is sincere even though I may not hear a thundering voice when he sends me a message.  Through His word and through my good friend, He told me to do a sincerity heart-check and doing so has bless me and those around me.  Thank you, Lord!  I learned a lot.

 

Revealing my big secret… October 28, 2012

When I started this blog I wanted to be an outlet for me.  Writing has always been a stress reliever.  It is also my way of supporting those who suffer with depression, anxiety, panic disorder, addiction, etc.  Sometimes all a person needs is to know is they are not alone or crazy!  I’ve been there.  Realizing others experience similar feelings & symptoms gave me validation.  It was a little glimmer of light at the end of a dark, dark tunnel.

A big part of what brings on depression for me is pretending everything is “fine” when I really feel like crap.  Agreeing when I really don’t.  Saying “yes” when I really want to say “no.”  Over 40 years of that took its toll in October of 2006 when I suffered a breakdown, or medically speaking, a major depressive episode.  A combination of suppressed feelings, not setting personal boundaries, guilt and shame plus a family history of depression set the perfect stage for depression in my life.

Now comes the big secret.  I had an abortion when I was 21 yeas old.  I recently decided to tell my brothers and sisters.  It’s hard to believe I’ve kept this secret for nearly 30 years.  As I suspected, they all love me just the same as they did before I told them.  Many of my nieces and nephews know now.  My heart aches thinking they might be disappointed in me.  After all, I was the perfect child.  I have an image to keep up.

God forgave me the moment I asked His forgiveness.  All the years I tortured myself with guilt and shame, I was dishonoring Him.  Jesus Chris suffered and died on a cross for my salvation.  Would I change my decision if I had the opportunity.  You bet I would.  I would give up everything I have in my life right now if I would take back that one awful decision of ending my pregnancy.  More work is needed to complete my healing process.

I am writing this particular post to help anyone who has a secret they think will destroy them if it is revealed.  I’m not saying you have to reveal it.  I’m saying you have to move on from that secret!  It does not define you.  Just like your mental affliction or addiction does not define you.  It is a part of you, yes.  But it is not the ONLY part of you.  Find hope and meaning in other areas of your life.

Revealing my secret has given me a sense of peace.  I’m looking forward to learning more about what the bible teaches about forgiveness.  My hope and prayer is that this story helps just one person in some small way.  My blessings are many.  I want to pass them on to anyone who will listen.

 

Happy Where I AM April 15, 2010

Filed under: Appreciation,family,kindness,Mindfulless — Diane Turk Rogers @ 6:14 pm
Tags: , , , ,

It’s been a while since my last post. Things keep moving right along. The older I get, the more I realize what a great life I have. I’m always writing about being grateful and kind. Both are important. I also think it’s important to be observant. Check out what is right under your nose. We worry too much about what we don’t have. What does our friend have that we want. Where did they go that I haven’t been? Look much thinner is that person than I am? What about looking at what we DO have. If we spend too much time dwelling on where we “want” to be or what we “wish” we had, we’ll forget to appreciate what we have and where we are right now. Another thing we have to remember is that if we keep saying how unhappy we are it will make those around us feel like they are somehow to blame. I read an interesting thought on a card the other day. It said “Happiness is where you plant it.” I believe that is true. A few little things to be happy about… lady bugs, chocolate, naps, smiles, sunsets…

 

Be mindful all the time… Past hurts come back to haunt the inflictor and inflictee January 5, 2010

Life has a funny way of “reminding” us of things we have done in our past. Every minute of every day we should be mindful of what we do and say. Our actions, comments, gestures, etc. all become part of our past experiences and the experiences of those we encounter.

It seems like it should be so easy to avoid creating “past hurts.”  Just don’t create them, right?  I’m learning why it’s not that easy.  I have firsthand knowledge of how these hurts resurface late in a person’s live.  I am speaking specifically from recent experience.  At this very moment I am witnessing past hurts making themselves very current and real.  It’s a strange phenomenon to watch.  The particular past hurts I’m talking about are hurts that cut deep.  They are ugly.  They are mean.  They are scary.  They are cruel.  They are sad.  Past hurts are part of what mold us as people.  They are unfortunately a huge factor in making us who we are.  No matter how much we try to deny, hide from, bury or ignore them, past hurts are there.  Usually in a big way.

The process of creating “past hurts” is a complex and when they’re created it’s sometimes unintentional.  Sort of a learned behavior.  It is far too complicated to explain in my blog and I’m certainly not qualified.  But I want to give my opinion for what it’s worth.

We will do whatever it takes to experience these important emotions.  We will especially do whatever it takes to please the ones who are supposed to love us, keep us safe and accept us the most in our lives.  These people are our parents and families.

Simply put, people learn early in life just what they have to do to feel loved, safe and accepted.  Good or bad, these “tapes” are recorded in our brains at about six years old, from what I’ve heard.  Again, I’m not an expert but I trust the source of this information.  WOW!!  At six our core personalities are pretty much set.  No wonder at 47 I’m still figuring out how to erase and re-record!

I know it’s not possible to recreate our past or erase past experiences.  I also know it is possible to make peace with past hurts and fill yourself up with better stuff!!!  I truly do KNOW this.  Depending on how you look at it you can have fun doing it or you can make it seem more like work!  I’m doing it and I’m having fun.  Yes, I have some bad days.  I do still have little pity parties for the little girl in me who didn’t have a daddy who carried her on his shoulders or tucked her in at night and called her Princess.  (Sorry, I digress…)

Baking cookies with Liz

My point is, I have choices to make every day.  I can carry on the negative thoughts and feelings or I can have fun creating wonderful future “past” experiences for myself and those I encounter.  Baking cookies with my niece, telling stories to my grandson,

Stories...

Telling Cameron a Story

thanking a soldier, reminding my kids how much I love and appreciate them…  These are all things I “choose” to do.  And they make me and someone else happy.  Hey, a positive “past” experience had by all.  It’s actually pretty easy.

Here are a few things I’ve been thinking of as I write;

If you want your children to grow up to be nice people, be nice to them and be nice to others, your kids are watching.

If you want to be respected, treat others with respect.

If you want to be appreciated, show appreciation for the things you have and the people who do nice things for you.

If you want to smile, make someone else smile.

If you want to feel good, make others feel good.

If you want your children to be confident, never stop telling them how proud they make you.

If you want to be understood, try to understand how someone else feels before you think about your own feelings.

If you want to have close friends, offer your support to a friend in need.

If you want your children to be kind, show them how.

If rude people bother you, don’t be rude yourself.

Remember.  Be mindful of what you do and say every minute of every day.  After all.  You’re creating “past” experiences.

I am going to end with something I read recently in an article about setting priorities.  A man was talking about a slap in the face he got when he heard his 5-year-old son talking to a little friend.  His little boy said, “I don’t think my Daddy likes being around me.  Every time I ask him to play with me when he comes home from work he says he’s too tired.”  This man broke down and cried!  Now he plays with his son in the morning before work and in the evening after dinner,  every single day!!  And a lot more on weekends.  Bad “past hurts” transformed into “great memories” and far more for a lucky little boy and his Dad!