Living Happily Ever After


Blog Articles

Too Late

“At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom.” (George Carlin)

Or the person who got dumped. Just in case she needs to throw up.

While everyone dished food onto their plates and sat down to eat dinner, I discreetly went up to my bathroom and threw up! I did not want to go down to dinner, but I also didn’t want anyone to know anything was amiss. So I returned to the table, put a small amount of food on my plate, took one bite, tried to swallow and was quickly back upstairs for a second time.

As I lay on my bathroom floor, willing myself to feel better so I could rejoin the group and pretend everything was normal, I only had one thought: How am I going to live without him?

I couldn’t remember ever thinking that about a man before.

When I got engaged for the first time (in 1989) my aunt called to congratulate me and asked, “Tell me, can you live without him?” and my arrogant, youthful pride led me to respond, “Absolutely. I survived my dad dying. I can live without anyone.” And I thought I could. I married, and was happily married, for 20 years until Shawn Merriman revealed his Ponzi scheme, crimes and other betrayals which resulted in our divorce. But honestly, looking back at the time my life was collapsing in 2009, I remember being appalled at what my former husband had done, being terrified of government agents and prison for him and wondering how my children and I would live, but I don’t remember wondering how I would live without HIM. (Maybe His misdeeds, betrayals, and the selfishness, pride and greed that led to such overwhelming destruction took care of any feelings like that? Or maybe it’s because I feel differently about #5 than any other man I’ve ever known?)

Regardless, I lay on my bathroom floor crying, wondering how I was going to live without #5, knowing I’d come to the realization of how I truly felt about him WAY TOO LATE. He had dumped me. And I couldn’t even bear to think about what it was going to do to my kids, especially my youngest, who had just lost another “daddy” before he even started kindergarten.

“In kindergarten that used to be my job, to tell them fairytales. I liked Hans Christian Andersen, and the Grimm fairy tales, all the classic fairy tales.” (Francis Ford Coppola)

Daddy Transition

“In the early years, I found a voice that was my voice and also partly my father’s voice. But isn’t that what you always do? Why do kids at 5 years old go into the closet and put their daddy’s shoes on? Hey, my kids do it.” (Bruce Springsteen)

Another engagement “highlight” was the transition my youngest made with his daddies.

Shortly after I got engaged, my youngest quit participating in the collect calls that came from prison. I’d hand him the phone after accepting the charges and he didn’t want to talk. Or he’d ask, “Is it my old daddy or my new daddy?” and run away to play if it was the old daddy (Shawn Merriman) calling.

I wasn’t sure if my youngest’s actions meant something, if he’d forgotten his old daddy (after all, he was just three years old when Shawn Merriman revealed his crimes, we divorced, his dad was taken into custody and my youngest hasn’t seen him since) or if he was simply being four years old. I just knew I wasn’t going to force the issue, he’d already been through a lot in his young life.

However, #5 has been a very good father the 9 1/2 months of our engagement without cutting out the previous one. He asks my children questions about their dad, things they loved doing with him and encourages them to talk about him and remember the good things. He has even expressed his willingness to take my children to visit their father in prison.

Now my youngest says he has two daddies: Daddy Shawn and Daddy Mike. And although the collect calls from prison have stopped because Shawn Merriman has a job in prison, makes something like $.11/hour and can pay for his own phone calls to our children, I hear my youngest is even talking on the phone to a voice from prison, sometimes, again.

Now my youngest seems to have only one question for his daddy, Daddy Mike, now:  ”Daddy, when are you going to marry my mommy?”

THAT’s a good question! Wish we had an answer for that…


“Valentine’s Day is not a holiday. Rosh Hashanah, that’s a holiday. Memorial Day, yes a holiday…You know who invented Valentine’s Day? Hershey’s and Hallmark.” (Peter Gallagher, The O.C.)

My oldest walked in to the kitchen, saw I was writing a blog post and asked what I was writing about. I replied, “I think, Valentine’s Day.” To which he responded, “YUCK. I can’t think of a more pointless ‘holiday’ than that!” and he left the room. I had to wonder, how did such a romantic mother raise such a realistic teenage son? LOL. Although I don’t know if #5 would think the mother is so romantic. Case in point: a conversation we had just last week.

We were driving down the road when he asked, “So, are the kids set for Monday night?”

I panicked, trying to recall what was scheduled for Monday night. My mind raced as I tried to remember what I had planned, and how I could have neglected to take care of a tiny but extremely important detail called childcare. I must have given #5 the biggest, blank, deer-caught-in-headlights stare prior to verbalizing a very intelligent, “Huh?”

All he could do was shake his head and offer two words, “Valentine’s Day!” Followed by, “I can’t believe you forgot! How unromantic you are! What would Edward and Bella say?”

He was right. How very unromantic of the woman bent on a happy ending to her fairy tale, who endured the revelation of crime, a Ponzi scheme, divorce, publicity, loss, financial devastation, an unexpected return to the workforce, a return to the single life, dating in her 40s, THE BACHELORS  and everything else, who eventually found her very own Mr. Awesome, and then forgot… Valentine’s Day!

I don’t know what Edward and Bella would think, but here’s what I thought: I thought back to last Valentine’s Day. 2010. My first as a divorcee/single mother. I was pretty overwhelmed by my unexpected life back then, so I don’t remember focusing on it much. I think I was just hoping to get through it, sort of forget it, and look forward to brighter days. But instead, that was the day I arrived home from work to find a beautiful flower arrangement waiting for me on my porch–from #5. He took me to dinner and a play that night. That was also the date I was battling bronchitis and a sinus infection (I know, romantic!), the night #5 warned me that when my antibiotics kicked in, he was taking things to a new level.

How much has transpired since last Valentine’s Day, including this realization: I think I forgot to focus on February 14, Valentine’s Day, 2011, because every day with #5 feels a lot like Valentine’s Day to me. That is something I never expected when I walked through the doors at The Old Spaghetti Factory and saw #5 for the first time; when I sat across the table from him on our first date in 2009.

“How can you tell if two adults eating dinner at a restaurant are in love?

  • Just see if the man picks up the check. That’s how you can tell if he’s in love. (John, age 9)
  • Lovers will just be staring at each other and their food will get cold. Other people care more about the food. (Brad, age 8)
  • It’s love if they order one of those desserts that are on fire. They like to order those because it’s just like how their hearts are on fire.” (Christine, age 9)

I Didn’t Even Plan It

The auction of many of the possessions from my former life took place one week ago.

Thank goodness ”We are not the sum of our possessions” (George H.W. Bush) or I’d be a pretty empty equation. Because the sum of my possessions is quite limited these days–thanks to the crimes and Ponzi scheme perpetrated by my former spouse.

After he revealed his crimes, federal authorities seized everything of value that could be sold, the proceeds going to pay back victims who invested their money under the guise of his investment company, Market Street Advisors. I hope it was successful and that every investor/victim receives compensation and restitution.

As for me, I have my jewels (my children.) My treasures (their artwork and handmade gifts they’ve given me over the years; family photos; and the like.) And a few things handed down to me from my ancestors–dresses from my mother, grandmothers and a great-grandmother; costume jewelry from my mother and grandmothers; a book about Paris from my grandpa; a table and chairs from a grandmother; a white trunk that traveled from England and carted the entirety of my great-great grandmother, Mary Ann Quinn’s, worldly possessions to Utah in the 1800s; and various family stories, all of which I appreciate because “Family stories make the most valuable heirlooms.” (Unknown)

In case anyone is wondering how I ended up with ANYTHING, you’re not alone. The day my former husband revealed his crimes to me, March 18, 2009, and told me federal authorities had frozen our bank accounts and our assets, that we were losing everything, I envisioned that, literally, to be the case. In my mind I saw giant government semi trucks, with dark tinted windows, pulling up to my home and removing everything from it, including my clothes, my shoes, furniture, jewelry, my treasures (like a painting my deceased mother painted), etc… In fact, terrible as this may be, one of the things I did that day before I went to bed to not sleep was go to my closet and remove the tags from a pair of jeans I hadn’t worn yet–hoping that if my jeans couldn’t be returned to the store, maybe the government would let me keep them! (I just knew I’d never have money to make a single purchase again in my entire life.)

But I was wrong. Just one more thing I’ve learned from my unexpected life.

In an asset seizure (resulting from a Ponzi scheme, anyway, I don’t know if all asset seizure are the same or different), they let you keep your clothes and your shoes. They allow you to keep your family heirlooms. They even allowed me to keep a lot of my furniture so I could establish my little family in a home in a new place. They were good to my kids. They let them keep their clothes and shoes, bicycles and even allowed me to keep their outdoor playset–but they took their pedal cars, dirt bikes and ATVs, my 16-year-old’s Mini Cooper and other things that were fun but luxury items, non-essential to basic living needs. So contrary to what I envisioned in those first moments of March 18, 2009, it wasn’t quite as dire as losing every single thing I had ever owned, touched or possessed with nothing but a cardboard box to use for clothing AND shelter. (I was shocked and imagined the worst, that day, what can I say?)

It’s very nice that they do that, that they allowed us to keep the basics we would need to live, but I also learned in 2009 that they actually HAVE to do that. They told me they had to, “there are laws in place to protect the innocent,” although sometimes I felt like somehow those laws weren’t enacted on my behalf because there were MANY things that did not work out for me, truth be told. Color me able to relate to the investment scheme victims in that regard, as well, I guess!

I learned they can’t seize something that wasn’t paid for with “ill gotten gains”–as they referred to everything I owned that had been purchased by Ponzi scheme proceeds. So I got to keep anything not paid for with those funds. Like things purchased prior to the date the Ponzi scheme began.

Edgar Watson Howe said, ”Everyone has something ancestral, even if it is nothing more than a disease.” That’s true even in my case, former family member of a criminal, with most of her possessions tainted by crime. If I had something my parents had given me, that I’d inherited, I got to keep that stuff too.

They let you keep gifts, as long as those gifts weren’t given to you by the criminal (in my case, that meant not only did I lose everything of material value I thought I had but also most of the gifts my husband had given to me over the almost two decades we were married!)

However, when you’ve been married 20 years, and to a man who was perpetrating a Ponzi scheme unbeknownst to you, that doesn’t leave much. Most everything, including money, ends up mingled together–which means you lose it when the Feds swoop in and seize all of the valuable assets. But I did end up with a a few things. In particular, my piano (used, from the 1950s, but a good one) and a violin. (MY violin. I’d had it since 1982 and I had it–through the 2009 drama, media coverage, scrutiny of neighbors and others, the asset seizure, my divorce, my move to Utah, my Utah flood and my new life.)

I had my violin until last week, that is.

It was a nice bit of irony, actually. One of my few material possessions of value, my violin, left my possession the same week everything of value from my former life got auctioned off to the highest bidder. And I didn’t even plan it that way.

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” (E.B. White)

The coincidences in an unexpected life.

I’m Not Superman

“Of course I’m scared. I’m not Superman.” (Jackie Chan)

We’re into superheroes at our house. I can’t escape them–just this morning I folded and put away a padded, muscular Batman shirt, and tripped over a Superman cape on my way to complete the task!

As the mother of three sons, I’ve learned my fair share about superheroes. And I confess, I like them for more than their muscular build. I admire superheroes for the way they rise to the challenge. They do the right thing, even when it’s hard. They’re willing to stand alone. They aren’t afraid of anything. And they come out on top.

I’ve been taught to rise to the challenge; I try to do the right thing; I’m definitely willing to stand alone. But I’ve been afraid of a lot; I’m no superhero. And nothing showed me that more than my unexpected life.

I wasn’t just scared, I was terrified. Each day I operated like John Johnson who said, ”Every day I run scared. That’s the only way I can stay ahead.” (John Johnson) Only I couldn’t seem to stay ahead of each scary new challenge that became mine on a daily basis, courtesy of each new revelation by my former spouse. Frankly, I’m surprised all of the shock and uncertainty didn’t induce a heart attack! (Oh yes, that’s right. That would have been impossible as my heart was already broken, crushed and numb.)

There were so many thing to fear back then, it seemed it didn’t take much to scare me. I was even wary of opening the front door! “I am scared easily, here is a list of my adrenaline-production: 1) small children, 2) policeman, 3) high places, 4) that my next movie will not be as good as the last one.” (Alfred Hitchcock) Only my adrenaline-producers were little things like crime, a Ponzi scheme, asset seizure, U.S. Marshals, inspectors, attorneys, media coverage, neighbors scrutinizing my every move and reporting each little tidbit they gleaned to government authorities, frozen bank accounts, financial ruin, potential bankruptcy, knowing there were victims who had been hurt by the action of the man I’d been married to, and the uncertainty of what actually would happen and when, to my former husband as well as to my family, to name a few.

I felt like such a failure to be so absolutely scared on all counts, on every front. I longed to be less fearful and more brave.

But the passage of time has helped me see something now what I didn’t realize then. It’s ok to be scared. And actually, I don’t think it matters one bit if you’re scared or brave. You can’t always help what you feel. (In fact, you need to let yourself feel what you feel so that you can work through it, get past it and heal.) What matters is that you carry on and face what needs to be faced. That’s true courage. That’s real bravery.

“Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death.” (Omar Bradley)

That’s also…the unexpected life.

So whatever you’re facing, whatever your challenge or fear, choose bravery.  Perform properly. Do the right thing despite all of your fears, and someday you’ll be able to look back and see how courageous you actually were.

Congratulations…or Condolences?

“I still feel pangs of remorse over an insidious habit I’ve had since I was a teenager. About three times a week, I attend estate auctions and make insulting, low-ball bids for prized heirlooms until I’m asked to leave.” (Dennis Miller) 

Last night, the major Denver news channels ran stories about an auction scheduled this weekend. A special one. To liquidate “The Merriman Estate.”

There was plenty of video detailing the numerous and varied items that are for sale. It was strange to see things I had once (sort of) possessed featured in the media and slated for the auction block.

Someone asked me how it felt.

I’m not sure it feels anything but right; it certainly doesn’t make me sad. Maybe because I never considered most of it “mine,” and I definitely never thought of it that way after the truth behind the purchases was revealed! And although I never knew a Ponzi scheme was taking place behind my back, and despite the fact I had no involvement in my former spouse’s crimes, I am happy that there are things that can be sold and that there will be some proceeds that can be used to pay restitution to the victims of Shawn Merriman’s Ponzi scheme. I’m just sorry there won’t be more money to give them.

In fact, to anyone out there who has missed hearing me say it, I’m sorry any investment scam ever took place. Especially one any family member of mine, former or otherwise, perpetrated!

Truth be told, and anyone who knows me can verify this, it stressed me out. All of that “stuff” added stress to my world.

Here are just a few reasons why:

1. I was embarrassed to have so much “stuff.”

2. I didn’t really know everything we had–but it seemed like there was too much “stuff.”

3. I worried about the effect all of that stuff might have on my children. I was trying to raise down to earth, hard working, good children with good values who focused on the right things and material stuff, to some degree, contradicted my parenting objectives. For that reason, my children didn’t get allowance (but had to do chores around the house without pay); they didn’t get to have birthday parties very often; and they had to ride the school bus, and walk the half-mile to the bus stop. (I gave them as much “hardship” as I possibly could in the hopes they would develop character.)

4. I hardly bought any of the stuff. ( I purchased clothes for myself and my children, groceries, gas for my car, and household items…but I didn’t really buy much beyond that–the motorhome just showed up one day, as did the Astin Martin, art, ATVs, and many, many other items. I don’t think I had a clue that most of Shawn Merriman’s purchases even took place, I was focused on my family and the home I lived in, NOT stuff. )

5. It has been my experience that the more you possess, or own, the more responsibility you have to take care of it; the more space you need; the more of your time you have to spend maintaining what you have. (And in my opinion, what a waste of precious hours and minutes of each day when  you have to focus on a bunch of stuff!)

Just a few of the reasons I’m not sad to see any of it go. Best wishes to those who purchase things at the auction. I hope it makes you happy and that you enjoy it. But for me, it’s more like this:

“People always say congratulations. When you’re a successful bidder it means you’re willing to spend more money than anyone else. I’m not sure if that’s congratulations or condolences.” (Eli Broad)


Or, my condolences…

No Such Word

“Coincidence is like a rubber band. Stretch it too far and it snaps.” (Roger Zelazny)

This may be a stretch, but consider this odd development from the history of my past.

I was visiting with an old friend recently and she asked me about a former mutual friend–she babysat him while he was growing up; I dated him in the 1980s. She said, “Hey, what is he up to? Do you keep in touch?”

I haven’t kept in touch with him. I mean, when someone tells you he loves you and you respond by telling him he doesn’t–because he is too young to feel that way (we were 19 years old), it makes things slightly less conducive to keeping in touch for awhile! But I figured enough time had passed for him to forget a little thing like that, so I promised to check on him and report back.

How do you find someone you haven’t spoken to for…22 years? In my world, Facebook. I’ve had some pretty good luck with it. (To date, finding my biological mother. I wish someone would sponsor a contest: “How Facebook Has Changed My Life.” I’d enter to win.) He had been a social guy, had played professional baseball, so I figured he’d be easy to find.

Wrong. No sign of him.

“That’s odd,” I thought. So I googled him. And I couldn’t believe what I saw.

What are the odds that you marry a man who perpetrates a Ponzi scheme, and at the same time he’s being prosecuted for his crime…a former boyfriend is ALSO being prosecuted for an investment scam?

“Who knows one person who commits a Ponzi scheme?” I wondered. “Much less, TWO people who perpetrate investment fraud?” Apparently, I do. What a strange and unexpected life mine is sometimes.

I was talking with my cousin shortly after that, laughing about the strangeness of the most recent development. She said, “Wait. I remember him. He was the really, really good looking baseball player, wasn’t he?”

“Yep, that’s the one, although he isn’t so good looking any more,” I replied.

“What?” she asked. “How do you know that?”

“I saw his mug shot,” I replied.

Note to anyone thinking of heading down that path: it’s not an attractive course to pursue in any way, shape or form. What crime is, the harm you inflict, going to prison, the toll it takes on your appearance, and everything else connected to breaking the law leaves nothing to be desired! (Not to mention the fact that dishonesty, and crime, is just plain wrong!)

“Martha Stewart showed up at Manhattan FBI Headquarters to have her finger prints taken and pose for a mug shot. Then Martha explained how to get ink off your fingers using seltzer water and lemon juice.” (Conan O’Brien)

M-U-G S-H-O-T.

Mug shots and men. Ponzi schemes and the past. Coincidence or just plain bad luck? I only know it is VERY unexpected! And that, “If there were no such thing as coincidence, there would be no such word.” (Heron Carvic)

The Hardest Thing

I went to my first kick boxing class recently. I left feeling pretty inept at boxing. Sort of the way I felt the last time I came even close to boxing. In the 1980s. In high school. It was SO “not me.”

I blame it on basketball–one game in particular, and it didn’t even count, it was P.E.! A friend and I played a game of 2 on 5, against a group of five, short Hispanic girls…and it wasn’t pretty…because my friend and I actually played basketball outside of P.E. and we were beating them soundly. The other girls were frustrated, but it didn’t dawn on me (like it would now) to let them win or at least score a few points. It was my experience that “you win some, you lose some,” that’s part of playing the game, and I preferred to win as much as I could.

The next thing I knew, I was on my back, just outside the key. My friend was leaning over me, worried, questioning, “Are you ok?” The other team was standing around with satisfied smirks on their faces as my friend filled me in: while I’d been airborne for a rebound, one of the short girls had gone for my pony tail, grabbed it, forcefully yanked me down from behind, flat on my back onto the court, which knocked me out when I landed!

Told you they were frustrated.

I got back up and continued to play. But every time one of the other team got near me they talked trash and threatened to beat me up outside of class. I ignored them; I thought they had to be kidding. I mean, fight? In my world, that behavior never dawned on me. No one I knew fought or even thought about beating anyone up. I thought they were kidding–until they followed me around everywhere and warned me I’d better pray they never caught me alone or better yet, alone in a bathroom.

I didn’t respond to their threats, I ignored their taunts, I pretended I didn’t see them trailing me (but I confess I was always relieved when I walked into a bathroom and saw other girls in there, just in case) and after what seems like a few weeks (but was probably more like a few days) P.E. ended and I don’t remember ever seeing those angry girls again.

That’s my near-boxing experience.

“I’ll bet the hardest thing about prize fightin’ is pickin’ up yer teeth with a boxin’ glove on.” (Kin Hubbard)

Add pickin’ up yer teeth with boxin’ gloves on to the list of hard things in, and about, life.


Things like sickness, death, disease, poverty, crime, betrayal, divorce, unemployment, emotional trauma, abuse, too much, too little, and every other unexpected challenge that comes your way. Life is full of hard stuff. In fact, life, itself, is hard. As Katherine Hepburn said, “Life is hard. After all, it kills you.”

But before it does, at least TRY to pick up yer teeth. Don’t quit until you succeed in clearing the floor of your molars and cuspids, or whatever your adversity may be. I’ve found, sometimes, that what I’m going through isn’t quite as hard as picking up teeth with boxing gloves on would be (while other times, one year in particular, I admit to wondering if dying wouldn’t have been easier than the challenges I was facing. Thank goodness I never, personally, discovered the answer to that myself.)

Because when you’ve collected your teeth and pulled yourself together, when the bell has rung and you’re back in the match giving it all you’ve got, there’s nothing quite as exhilarating as a knock out. The knock out that comes at the end when you win because you endured. Victory.

The more I think about it, boxing is a lot like the unexpected life. Here’s why:

“As much as I love boxing, I hate it. And as much as I hate it, I love it.” (Budd Schulberg) At some point, we probably all have a love-hate relationship with our new and unexpected life. As much as we love it, we wouldn’t have chosen it. And as much as we may dislike certain aspects of it or the way certain things are, we wouldn’t trade it for the alternative. Life is glorious, regardless of your circumstances.

“Boxing gave me the opportunities to grow into the person that I am today.” (Alexis Arguello) Where would we be, who would we have become, what would we have learned, how would we have grown…without our unexpected life?

“Boxing is the ultimate challenge. There’s nothing that can compare to testing yourself the way you do every time you step in the ring.” (Sugar Ray Leonard) Life, especially the unexpected one, is a test every single day. So it’s vital we get through it. With a passing grade, or better yet, an A+. Our score lies in how we choose to solve the problems and answer the questions put before us.

“Boxing was not something I truly enjoyed. Like a lot of things in life, when you put the gloves on, it’s better to give than to receive.” (Sugar Ray Leonard) Don’t underestimate the importance of giving, giving back, and making the way easier for others as you travel through life. I can’t imagine where my children and I would be today if we hadn’t had a little help from our friends, if others hadn’t reached out to us and helped make our way easier. Truly, it IS better to give than to receive.

So don’t quit. Hang in there until the bell rings and you get a breather. Don’t expect to understand everything all at once, or even in this lifetime. Just trust, as I do, that someday we will be able to see the grand design of a beautiful plan put in place just for us and our necessary growth. Someday, every mystery will be solved.

“When archaeologists discover the missing arms of Venus de Milo, they will find she was wearing boxing gloves.” (John Barrymore)

The unexpected life.


It’s Grand

“A man begins cutting his wisdom teeth the first time he bites off more than he can chew.” (Herb Caen)

Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew through choices we make and sometimes we’re thrust into overwhelming situations through no choice of our own that can leave our jaws flapping! That’s the unexpected life, regardless of how it comes. But I can’t emphasize this aspect enough: if we handle it right, we gain valuable life experience, we learn important lessons and we increase in wisdom. And we can do great things with what we’ve learned.

Like Walt Disney, who rose above his own setbacks to create a magical legacy and impact millions even after he was gone: “All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” (Walt Disney)

Speaking of wisdom and teeth, my daughter had her’s removed a few days ago. Prior to her surgery, the oral surgeon walked into the room, looked at me and asked, “You’ve been here before, haven’t you?”

I replied, “No.”

He looked puzzled, stared at me and said, “Really? You look so familiar. I am trying to figure out where I’ve seen you. I’m just sure I have met you before.”

I joked that I have blonde hair, blue eyes and we live in the state of Utah where it seems like the majority of the state’s residents look like I do, so no surprise that I look familiar. He laughed and walked out of the room to get what he needed to begin the procedure on my daughter. When the door closed, I realized how far we’ve come…and yet how some things haven’t changed much.

When the door clicked shut, the first words out of my daughter’s mouth were, “Mom! You’ve GOT to be kidding me! Don’t tell me you dated HIM too?” (That’s the part that hasn’t changed!)

Yet I realized how far we’ve come when it dawned on me after the doctor had left the room (and after I had defended myself against my daughter’s accusation—and for the record, NO, I did not date that doctor!) that when he commented that I looked familiar, I didn’t cringe; I didn’t inwardly cower in fear that he might have seen me in the media, connected to a crime I had no part of (other than that I happened to be married to the man who perpetrated the crime.) Honestly, and surprisingly, for maybe the first time in my unexpected life, that hadn’t even crossed my mind—it was almost as if I’d forgotten about it and hadn’t even realized I’d forgotten, that’s how natural the process of forgetting, aka. healing, has become.  I was sure I seemed familiar to him because I live in a state where a large percentage of the population descends from Scandinavian immigrants!

Apparently, I’ve developed something. Unexpected amnesia, occasionally, regarding the trauma that led to my unexpected life. I anticipate as we move further and further from 2009, I’ll forget what led to my new opportunities more and more. As Robert Louis Stevenson said, “I’ve a grand memory for forgetting.”

And isn’t THAT grand?

What Miracle Is Wrought

“Don’t rush me sonny. You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.” (“The Princess Bride”)

Not long ago, I was reviewing my unexpected life; pondering all that has happened and the many miracles I have received since March 18, 2009. There have been many.

Although, it’s funny what you become accustomed to. For awhile, my situation was so desperate I was blessed with huge miracle after miracle. They almost became “the norm!” Then I realized it had been awhile since I’d experienced a jaw dropping miracle so I thought, “That must be a sign that I’m healing and things are getting back to normal. I guess I must not need many big miracles any more.” (And I admit there was a tiny part of me that was sad miracles, for me, had ceased. I felt like I still needed a little help!)

I should have known better.  ”Miracles happen everyday, change your perception of what a miracle is and you’ll see them all around you.” (Jon Bon Jovi)

The other day, one of my cute, single college student co-workers shared a miracle she received with me: someone purchased a plane ticket for her to fly to visit her family at Christmas. She was so touched, and so grateful, she felt like crying! I was happy for her, and full of gratitude and admiration for whoever made that possible for my friend.

It made me think about miracles I’ve received. For example, that my children and I have remained healthy and safe the past 21 months is a miracle. That we have wonderful old and new friends that bless our lives is a miracle. That I got a job in a tough economy after not working for 19 years is a miracle. That I survived two corporate down sizings, and kept my job, is a miracle. And last but not least, not only did Bachelor #5 arrive in our lives, but that he continues to hang in there with me during an engagement much longer than either of us anticipated as we prepare to marry some time in 2011 and blend two families and eight children is also a miracle!

I could go on and on.

I receive miracles every day; but I’m overwhelmed by tender mercies lately. The following have all come to me THIS month:

As mentioned earlier, my neighbor fixed my car. It was a blessing to have it repaired. And of course, it goes without saying that each time we drive it, we continue to be grateful for functioning windows and a warm driving experience!

I got a little bonus at my work Christmas party last week, which will allow me to purchase Christmas gifts for each of my children.

Two issues that have plagued me since my spouse revealed his Ponzi scheme and crimes, were finally resolved. THAT is a miracle.

We got to see a current movie in a theater (AND buy treats!), courtesy of a Denver man who saw the NBC-affiliate news story that ran on our family and he contacted us with words of encouragement–and a gift card to a movie theater so we could enjoy a movie as a family! It was the first time we’ve been able to do that since our unexpected life began and it was a thrill! In fact, I don’t think my youngest remembers ever seeing a movie in a theater. Current movies in real theaters are one of those “luxuries” that aren’t in our family budget any more. The man said that although throwing rocks is fun, so are movies, and he is right! What a great start to our holiday season.

I guess the season for miracles in my life is not over.

And I realize that it never is.

For any one.

Regardless of which end of the miracle you’re on.

“When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.” (Helen Keller)