• Emotional,  Healing,  Mental,  My Journey,  Wellness

    Compartmentalizing – Sometimes the Only Way to Deal with Hard Times that Don’t End

    Monday started out great. In Charleston for a few days with my husband for his client meetings. I’ve been joining him on these trips for the last four years, I love it here. The weather, architecture, water, lifestyle, people, food…the South feels like home. Can’t recall the last time I was so excited to get away. Yes, part is Covid and being home since March, but mostly it’s needing the distraction. Eight days pass from Thursday morning, when I drop my kids off after our Wednesday overnight, to the following Friday when I pick them up again. Eight days to miss them, ache for them, worry about them. Eight days…

  • My Journey

    Done! 30 Days of Writing!

    I did it! A month of writing every day, tackling all my thoughts and feelings. If you scroll through my posts you’ll see that the idea for this website, for gather connect and power, actually came to me years ago, back in 2017, newly sober and full of hope. What took me three years to come back to It? It was life, losing my children, the battle to get them home, the abuse, and just generally getting worn down by everything coming my way. But as always my kids are the light that shows me the path forward. I try so hard to be a parent that leads by example.…

  • My Journey

    When the Right Thing Doesn’t Happen

    For so long I was convinced the children would come home because it was right. Because they would be safe. Could heal. But now we are in our new normal and I can barely stand it. And can’t stop thinking about all the time we lost. Or looking ahead and realizing this way of life is our future. Staying in the present, I am struggling to stay in the present. I have been fighting for so many years to bring my children home. Now they’re finally here, and while I’m ecstatic to have them home, I’m struggling. I can’t believe I laid it all out there – all the abuse,…

  • My Journey

    Thursday Morning Blues

    Twice a month my Thursday mornings began with my alarm going off, and me quietly creeping from our bedroom, scooping up Clancy along the way. I savor the pleasure of waking each of my children and going back again to make sure they are up. The simple act of getting your kids up for their school day – I know for many it’s an annoying and repetitive chore, for me it’s longed for and cherished. Some people have the Sunday or Monday blues. For me they happen on Thursday mornings. Only every other Thursday, and they start right after I drop my kids back at their father’s house. And settle…

  • My Journey

    September is National Suicide Prevention Month

    My father killed himself in May 1990 at the age of 40. I was 16 at the time and a junior in high school. Writing about it now, all these years later, my memories are still blurry and feel like the belong to someone else. I struggle to let the shock and the pain in, somehow always managing to keep the emotions at arm’s length. It’s interesting trying to share a story that is 30 years old. I experience it through the lens of being a teenager, while the adult me senses so much she wants to understand. My father, “Poppy” as we called him, had been depressed through that…

  • My Journey

    Thinking About Hope – and How You Hold Onto It

    Feeling down today. My head hurts, my heart hurts and I just want to curl up into a ball. I’m sad, worried about my children, and trying hard to reconnect to hope. I came across a post I wrote this past Easter. I think it sums up how hard it is to hold onto hope when things never seem to get better. Living like this is exhausting – the grief, the worry – these feelings are my constant companions. I’m trying every day to have the strength to keep moving forward with my writing, my goal of creating a life out of helping people, of taking my experiences and serving…

  • My Journey

    Happy Birthday My Love

    Today is Jeff’s 55th birthday – the perfect time for a happy post! Five years together, wow we have been through so much. Yet for the hard times, those struggles that I write about, there has also been so much happiness, so much joy. When we first started dating, in May 2015, we used to joke that everything was “rainbows and unicorns”. We had the best time together and our relationship was so effortless, we just clicked. Yet at that time, and for the first two years of our relationship, I was still drinking. So, in addition to moments of such happiness, peace, and joy there were unpredictable drunken episodes,…

  • My Journey

    The Destruction of Domestic Abuse

    My first marriage began happy, healthy and full of hope. I crawled out ten years later riddled with shame, alcoholic, and a victim of long-term domestic abuse. When thinking of domestic abuse, we picture the woman with the black eye, the bruises. Physical abuse is horrific, and once it begins even the threat that it will happen again is traumatizing. But there is a more insidious type of domestic abuse that affects countless women and their families every single day. Abuse that can be almost impossible to prove. Emotional, mental and verbal abuse. Publicly declaring myself a recovering alcoholic was taking my first step towards standing in my truth. For…

  • My Journey

    Still Shut Out of School

    Today marks the start of my children’s new school year. Ridgely is starting middle school, Trafford is in eight grade and Dashiell is a senior! Here in Maryland, our county is 100% virtual through the end of January. Sadly, I continue to be excluded from my children’s education. And at this point it’s because I have such limited visitation. Two weekends a month and two Wednesday overnights. This summer in our court negotiations I campaigned hard to have the virtual learning days attached to my visits. I so desperately missed being a part of their education and having the chance to actually see their work, not just a grade on…

  • My Journey

    Flashback to June 2019

    I recently came across an essay I had written last summer in the midst of my battle to bring my children home. I’m sharing it as is because it is a testament to that time in our lives. I teared up reading it, feeling the pain and frustration all over again. “There’s a plan for your life.”  So many of us have heard that phrase, but what happens when days, weeks, months and years go by, and the thing you want most desperately remains out of reach? My heart’s desire is to have my children home with me. In December 2017, sitting in a courtroom clutching my six month sobriety…