The amount of work I am putting into this grad school application. Or, maybe that's the worrying I'm putting into this grad school application.

* Letters of Reference: Requested.
* Transcripts: Received.
* Upper Division GPA: Pain in my tush, put calculated. (That was two bachelors degrees worth of term credit hours to add, multiply, divide ....)
* Double check my Upper Division GPA Calucation: Not quite yet.
* School of Social Work Application: Rough draft started.
* Regular School Application: Rough draft started.
* Personal Essay: Drafted and sent to a writer friend, who's taking a look at it.

* Anything I've forgotten: Can't think about it quite yet!

And we won't know until April?


Oh-so-ri-di-cu-lous. {I will be. While waiting for the results ...}
Just a little bit of *very* personal business here ...

I got to write a VERY large check to Former Husband today {using the fruits of my table waiting labor}. This is a long story, but by The End, I was just at the point where I would have done anything to expedite the long legal process. In fact, I remember saying {in complete desperation, knowing that I could not go any further} at the time, "I will give you anything you want. But please, please let me out of this marriage." {Dear hearts, please remember that this was after every desperate measure I could possible think of ... and the heinous behavior still continued.}

So I've been giving. For 14 months. But as I wrote out this Sizeable Sum, knowing that next month's sum will be tiny, do-able and, most importantly, final, I wept.

How many times have I wept in the past two years? It could be its own version of "How Do I Love Thee?" I've wept in pain, in desperation, in confusion, in betrayal, in depression, in anger, in exhaustion ....

... but also in relief, in prayer, in worship, in hope, in love, and, of course ...

... in Thankfulness. Sheer gratitude is why I wept tonight. Because as of next month {ironically, the "anniversary" month of the finalization of the big, bad, D word} I have absolutely no legal ties to a past that I've let go of. Does that sound heartless? It's not my intent. I've just healed, and been healing, healthily.

I have this incredible expanse of ... I don't know what ... stretching out in front of me. And for that, I am very, VERY thankful.

In other news, I read an article on cnn.com that stated research has now proven that sharks can produce asexually. Flipping fantastic. More shark phobia!

{I'm not entirely sure why I keep adding photos of shark to this blog when they seriously scare me to death. That's probably not normal ....}
... I'll be going here.

And I cannot even begin to tell you how ready I am for this trip.

This is Oahu's North Shore. And it is not the only place I will be going. My dear sister Cheryl is wrapping up the last year of her naval enlistment and lives on this island. She's been asking me to visit for a few years now. A month or so ago, I found an amazing deal online and bought the ticket.

Surprised me, too! {But, remember ... I have a free place to stay and Cheryl and I are budget eaters.}

I have not taken a vacation quite like this in a long, long time. In fact, my last "away from the mainland trips" have been missions focused. When I told Cheryl that I was coming, she didn't think twice. She said she would put in immediately for leave and we would do anything I wanted.


Amongst our list of tentative plans .... a tea ceremony at a monastery, watching the surfers practice on the North Shore, a Mai Tai cruise, kayaking & snorkeling, a trip to the volcanoes, fabulous eating, even more fabulous shopping ... and visiting a coffee shop that Mrs. Ronna PROMISES will be worth our time. ;p

And beach time. So much beach time.

Coincidentally, snorkeling does not excite me. In fact, it scares me. Weird, huh? I wonder if there's a snorkeling specific phobia. I've told Cheryl exactly 54 3/4 times that I do NOT want to see sharks and that if God put it under the sea and we cannot see it with our naked eye, then there is a REASON for that. But I love my sister and she promises, promises, promises that we will be in such shallow water that if I REALLY wanted to, I could probably just sit down and wait for the fish to come. Just when I had come to the conclusion, at her experienced cajoling ~she is the YOUNGER sister ~ that it wouldn't be so bad, she asked if I wanted to see sea turtles. Well, that actually sounded fabulous and I told her as much. Then, in a way only younger sisters can do, she quickly told me that,

there'saslightchancewemightseesomesharks. . . . "

Scaaary. I do NOT want to be eaten by one of these things! But I DO want to get out of this little town for a little while, so I guess I'll take the chance.

November 3rd through November 11th. That's when I'm going.

I've already started my packing list ....
... now.

That would be a big, long breath I've been holding all day long. Dependency court was a tense, odd thing today. Crazy twists and turns. Upset judges. I'm so glad it's over. {This is one of the things I miss most about being married ~ having someone to come home to and debrief with, even if we don't talk specifics.}

But I'm home, now, with a long, luxurious evening stretched out before me. Even my toes are starting to relax! No waiting tables, no long hours at job #1, no plans to hang out with any dear friends. Nothing, nada, zip. I get to cook a decent meal, catch up on some reading and may even get to some writing tonight too. What will I DO with all my time?

What I maybe / perhaps / there's a chance / sounds like a good idea to me / is do some work on my graduate school application essay. That's right. I think I've finally made a decision. For the past several months, there have been many valid, perfectly good options colliding in my head, each one trying to knock the others out. Many of you will remember that a year and a half ago I had passed all my Oregon Teaching Licensure tests because I had planned to go back and get a Masters in Teaching. That was a GREAT plan. I was married to an educator, I LOVE reading and writing and helping students read and write, and we had BIG plans to move overseas and teach English. A good plan, indeed.

Only ... it didn't work out. And ... after the divorce, the public school system left a sour taste in my mouth. {Good reasons for this.} Only, the darling graduate school wouldn't pull my admission. They've continued to extend my enrollment, and I've continued to let them. Wouldn't want to throw the option away until I was sure of what I wanted to do ...

... and it's been a difficult decision! That first year after the divorce, I had NO idea what I wanted to do. I thought again about teaching, I thought about massage therapy school, I thought about changing jobs, I thought about going to school at Bethel in Redding, California. I had a LOT of ideas with NO direction. But it was so exciting when God released me to start DREAMING about these things again ... I really had to get it in my heart and soul that He does, in fact, have a most perfect plan for me and that it is VERY good and in it I am VERY happy.

This, my friends, as you well know, is easy to get in your head, and very hard to believe for yourself.

But after much praying and thinking and talking to the dear lady from my church who's been helping me {ok, ok. I'm seeing a professional counselor and have been since July 07 ...), I've narrowed it down.

This winter I'll be applying to a Master in Social Work program with an emphasis in Mental Health. In the next state down. At the ONLY school in the state that has an accredited program. Leave it to me to make things hard on myself ... they get 500 applications every year and accept 150.


Hopefully with 8 {8! Am I really that old?!} years of experience and FANTASTIC letters of reference, I'll have a window of opportunity.

I'll tell you what, though. I'm so ready to work with kiddos on a therapeautic level rather than a systems advocacy level. I have this need, you see, to really get into their minds and hearts. If they let me, of course.

You know what else?

I'm planning to do this school and this move (acceptance pending, of course) ... with no plan for a job or an immediate place to live. This is SO taking a chance for me. It's an entirely new way of thinking, in fact. School first and then piece work together as it comes. For me, that's faith.
I'm a budgets and numbers person.

But I'm just not worried.

But I do want to take FULL advantage of this lovely night that's beckoning me, so I'll leave it at that. ;)
... set squarely in the middle of a crown-to-be. The one day crown that I'm working towards now.

Again, I found myself at the birthday party of a one year old. Sigh. I have yet to go to one that something random and disturbing did not happen at. No fault to the birthday boys or girls.

My dining companion across the table turned out to be the close colleague of Former Husband.

We figured this out quickly.

And oh, the beautiful things I said, gentle gracious tender, lovingly about Former Husband, knowing full well that Colleague had no idea why the marriage ended. Knowing full well that Colleague had the "your fault" look in his eyes.

Gentle gracious tender. Surprisingly, also, genuine.

I woke up this morning feeling grateful for this moment this day this life. I'll take these feelings of thankfulness over the alternative (!) any day.