learned yesterday, that my ex-husband has been purchasing land. I don't know why, but this left me with mixed feelings..a little anger..because I am barely making ends meet so jealousy? Don't like this feeling..to be this way.. But more..I am glad. He is moving on..and doing the things he enjoys doing. Investing, taking business risks, etc. I truly wish the best for him. And I took it as a final sign that I, too, can move on. I have put my legal studies on hold and the back burner entirely too long. I have spent the past few weeks really tunneling in on what I dream for. I believe I am working where I need to be at this time in my life..and the teen center where I work is like Jonah and the Whale for me. I have tried a few times to leave..and yet, I always return. I want to practice immigration and music law out of my home..eventually. Where that home will be I do not know yet. I often invision myself (5 years down the line) working from a lake-house. A specific lake-house about 3 miles from where I live. Yet I don't know where that comes from...yet the vision often reoccurs. The truth is, I would often like to bolt and move to Houston..where I have a stronger support system...and not on the receiving in of "oh so many divorce rumors" Divorce in a small town is not easy..especially when I am seen as the cause of a break-up from a man many truly love and adore. A few years ago, I had the privilidge of working with about 15 teenage girls from a few group homes at the teen center. These girls have been through so much..and carry with them so much shame..yet I watched them journal, press on, be strong...and I am reminded that God is with me always. That he doesn't say.."oh..I already renewed your spirit..you ran out of times..but that everytime I need renewing..he continues to pour in his love and grace." This ongoing spirit of grace is what I saw in these young girls...it is the same spirit I saw in refugees from South Sudan. It is that spirit, and joy for life in the midst of unimaginable strife that I move towards. My story is easy...my troubles mild compared to so many in this world. In a few days, I will go to Kemah for Christmas. My friend is meeting me there..we are "Crabbing in Kemah for Christmas." I have never been crabbing before and I am excited. It is a brand new Christmas tradition for me...and feels like a new start. I am ready for a fresh, new start. Upon my return I have no choice but to hit a 3 month crunch mode regarding my legal studies. I had grand plans of making good grades..and eventually studying International Human Rights at Oxford. Now? I just hope to pass my first year. Since I first started my legal ventures, my mother commited suicide, my marriage feel apart, and my children have chosen not to speak to me. I am living in a renovated barn ( I don't know why this cracks me up..it just does)...I have been humbled in more ways than I can explain..and continue to be so. Yet I truly feel this is something I am called to do..and so I ask for God's help in the impossible. I am worried about my bills...I tried to pawn my violin a few days ago...the guy at the pawn shop said the violins aren't moving these days so he declined. I have never tried to pawn anything before..but it is Christmas and I don't want to give nothing to the handful of people who are still speaking to me...and I still wanted to send a card and a gift-card to my grown-children so they know I have not given up on them. A bookstore card. I read an article that said to write at least 10 things you know you did well in raising your children (on an estranged children website)..on the need to continue loving not just our children unconditionally (tho from a distance) but ourselves as well. And how it is hard to forgive and love yourself when you are being told everything you have done wrong as a parent. I haven't written a list yet..but the first thing that came to my mind is that I spent hours/days/weeks/years reading together with my children. So I am sending them each a book-store gift card..because speaking to me or not..they are all readers. Wow..I really did go off on a rabbit trail. Anyway..I am broke..really, really broke...so I am hoping to try another pawn shop this evening and see if I can pawn my violin and/or guitar. Fingers crossed. Okay. Enough rambling for today. I am off to hit the books for awhile..then to the Teen Center. No teens today..but we are having a new floor put in upstairs, my office is totaled from our pre-holiday party chaos, and there are a lot of part-time staff that need hours. A trip to the post office to mail cards. Then ? Hopefully a successful trip to a pawn shop and then back home to my rescue dogs and more studying.