Living Happily Ever After


Blog Articles

A Table, A Chair, A Bowl of Fruit and a Violin

“The woman gets the ring–unless it’s an heirloom.” (Vanessa Lloyd Platt)

Or in my case, in the aftermath of a Ponzi scheme. You don’t get to keep your wedding ring if it’s an upgrade–and paid for with tainted (ie. stolen) money. Oh well. I only wished I could have had it to sell for cash to provide for my children anyway. But like I said, I did get to keep my violin.

Paid for in 1982 by Dr. Andrew H. and Sandra Christensen, a Colorado orthodontist and his wife, my parents, with money legally acquired straightening crooked teeth and turning them into beautiful smiles. They purchased my violin from a very well-known master violin maker named Peter Paul Prier, originally from Germany but living and operating a store and violin making school in Utah.

I had begun taking piano lessons when I was 7 years old and in 6th grade, at 11 years old, I began playing the violin. I tried it because all of the neighbor girls older than me were in orchestra and it seemed to be the thing to do, at a certain age, in Grand Jct., CO. Plus, it didn’t look that hard. I took to the violin pretty well. In my last year of junior high, I was asked to walk to the high school from my school and participate in their orchestra class and play with them. By high school, when every serious violinist seemed to be upgrading their violin for a better one, that seemed like the thing for me to do too. I mentioned it to my parents. And true to form, just like everything else in my life, they came through for me.

They checked around, learned Peter Paul Prier was THE place to get the best violins, and without telling me flew to Utah, made a purchase, returned home one evening and surprised me with my new violin! They told me it was a very good violin, that I needed to take care of it–and that if for some reason I ever needed to sell it someday I should return to Peter Paul Prier and sell it back to him. That’s what Mr. Prier had told them.

What my parents didn’t tell me, was that they’d paid $2000 for my violin.

I enjoyed playing my new violin. Things went without a hitch until the weekend the band room at my high school caught fire or was robbed (I can’t remember which) and I happened to admit, “Oh no! My violin was in there!” My parents almost had a heart attack. I got a lecture about taking care of valuable things, which I completely deserved, and I was on pins and needles all weekend and into Monday morning until I could get in to the school and discover that my violin was ok.

I grew up, went to college, got married, had children and eventually played my violin only on very rare occasions. But I held onto it for sentimental reasons and in case any of my children chose to develop that talent. And when my former husband’s Ponzi scheme was revealed, my violin was one of a few “valuable” items I was allowed to walk away with–thanks to my generous parents and their support of the development of my talents.

“A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?” (Albert Einstein)

After entering my unexpected life, my mom’s words from 1982 haunted me: “Mr. Prier told me to tell you that someday, if you ever need to sell your violin, take it back to him and he’ll buy it from you. It’s a good violin.”

I just NEVER imagined a day like that would come.

Keep Going

“I wish I would have a real tragic love affair and get so bummed out that I’d just quit my job and become a bum for a few years, because I was thinking about doing that anyway.” (Jack Handy)

Funny, but when my love affair (called my 20-year marriage) ended, I didn’t have the luxury of quitting my job and becoming a bum. In the midst of life loss, divorce and everything else, I had to GET A JOB as well. Believe me, I wanted to lay down and die on more than one occasion, but I couldn’t. I had four children to provide for.

Not only did I have four children to feed, I had to set an example for them. I had to show them what to do when adversity strikes. Because hard times come to everyone, and it isn’t so much what happens to you, but what you do with it that counts. Quitting isn’t an option. (Even my five-year-old knows that. He runs around the house, cape flying behind him, chanting, “Never give up! Never surrender!” from, I’m told, the movie, “Galaxy Quest.” Pretty motivating if you think about it.)

I, personally, couldn’t give up because I had been raised to carry on no matter what. And then in approximately 1997, I had read a story about a pioneer woman and her husband traveling across the plains to Utah with a handcart that inspired me. Their trek was intense: long days, no comforts, no food, no shoes, just hardship; a complete and physical nightmare. The husband reached his breaking point. He lay down on the ground, told his wife he couldn’t go any further and he quit–prepared to die. But the wife didn’t quit. She didn’t even leave her husband. She put him in the handcart and she pulled him to Utah.

I hoped I would be like that woman. Although I lived in a different day and age and my hardships were different, I determined then and there to be a woman like that. I just never imagined I’d get my chance to prove it.

After all, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” (Winston Churchill) So that’s what I’ve done since my unexpected life began.

And at some point, you’ll look around and realize the scenery has changed. Your unexpected life may not be heaven (yet); it may not have metamorphosed into your paradise. But things will have improved just the same. All because you kept going. In your unexpected life.

Junk Vs. Joan

“Buy, buy, says the sign in the shop window; Why, why, says the junk in the yard.” (Paul McCartney)

My life, my focus, has never been about “things.” In fact, if I’ve ever been consumed by a quest to acquire anything, it’s memories. Making good memories with my loved ones. Because I’ve never believed you can take “it” with you. I believe the only thing I’ll leave this life with is my spirit–some would call it my soul, my memories, my intelligence, the things I have learned and the knowledge I’ve acquired.

However, I was married to a man who looked at “things” differently than I did. He talked all the right talk, of course. He would nod his head and look sorrowful (I thought, in agreement with me) when we’d talk about how sad it was that some people chose to sell their soul for things. He was generous with his means (although now I know he was generous with what was never actually his.) And he acquired a lot of “stuff” in the process, though I never actually knew exactly what, or how much, because he stored it all in the building behind our home, where his “office” was, and I rarely went back there. It was his “manspace;” really cluttered and filled with all manner of junk and disorganized chaos, not the way I lived or operated, so I stayed out of it!

When my unexpected life began, there were things that needed serious purging. Namely, contents of a household that was downsizing. As featured on news reports about the Ponzi scheme my former husband perpetrated, I had ties to some material things. (I don’t know if those broadcasts are still around, but feel free to check them out if you’re curious: watch the motor home driving away towing the boat; see the “mansion” nestled in the trees; hear about the cabin in Idaho and the fine art; learn about the trailer loads of “things” that were hauled away over several days when the asset seizure began.)

In criminal/fraud situations, the government seizes everything of value from the criminal (my former husband) so victims can receive some compensation for their losses, which is all as it should be. The hard part, however, is what to do with everything that has no value. Everything the government doesn’t want.

Like the 9 crockpots–four from my home and four  my cabin (we frequently hosted large group gatherings) and one from the motorhome.

A yard sale wasn’t an option. I had seen my home and property featured on the news enough; my neighbors were stalking us with cameras as my children and I came and went, when we were outside, if we left the garage door open, and through the un-curtained windows of our home. Our neighbors gathered in front of our home to talk and trade notes of what was going on, what they had seen or heard, and they sometimes made it difficult to get to my home if they weren’t in the mood to allow anyone to pass their human barricade.

Case in point. One day a pastor attempted to go to our home to retrieve a set of scriptures from inside. Our neighbors were standing in the cul-de-sac we lived on, our driveway and all around the property and refused to let the pastor through. He explained who he was and the one simple thing he wanted from the house but they wouldn’t let him pass. Their crowd mentality, their hostily and venom, made him apprehensive so he called another neighbor, a mutual friend of his and the neighborhood crowd, and asked that friend to vouch for him so the neighbors would let him pass. The friend refused.

Those were crazy times, but a reason why a yard sale wasn’t an option–I didn’t think neighbors would allow anyone to participate in a yard sale at my home, IF anyone even tried to show up or buy anything!

So the crockpots met me in Utah and now sit on a shelf in my garage awaiting the someday I host a large group gathering again (if that day ever comes) or, alas, finally part with them in a yard sale!

Junk, leftover from my previous life, taking up space in my unexpected new one.

I’m hoping it’s true that, “Junk is the ideal product… the ultimate merchandise. No sales talk necessary. The client will crawl through a sewer and beg to buy.” (William S. Burroughs) Someday.

Or maybe I’ll become an inventor. “To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” (Thomas A. Edison) If that’s the case, I may qualify for a patent yet.

Regardless, I try not to worry about it too much. (A key to living an unexpected life: don’t worry, be happy.) Because, “You sometimes see a woman who would have made a Joan of Arc in another century and climate, threshing herself to pieces over all the mean worry of housekeeping.” (Rudyard Kipling)

Junk vs. Joan.

I’m going with Joan.

Their Phone Never Stopped Ringing

“I refused David Letterman’s proposal of marriage for obvious reasons, but thanks for asking.” (Teri Garr)

Nana’s youngest son, my dad, utilized the telephone as an integral part of his first marriage proposal to my mom, Sandra Jorgensen. (Although my parents had dated, fallen in love and decided to get married “someday” when they were only 15 years old, they both fell in and out of love with several other people before finally marrying each other at 25 years old.) One night, as my mom was entertaining a date at her home my dad called.

He had been drafted into the Army during the Berlin call-up and was undergoing his basic training in what he always referred to as “the armpit of America,” Fort Ord. Apparently, my dad was calling to propose marriage to my mom! And she had a date waiting for her in the living room.

When she asked if they could talk about it later, my dad asked, “What’s the matter? You don’t have a date do you?” My mom admitted that she had a date waiting for her and that she probably shouldn’t keep him waiting any longer. My parents weren’t dating exclusively, but my dad said, “Well, forget I asked!” and hung up on her!

“But I felt all the more bound to make this proposal, because it at once turns to a reproach.” (Ferdinand Lassalle)

I’m not sure how he eventually proposed marriage and my mom agreed to marry him, but he did. And they were very happy (and busy) their entire marriage. They raised 5 children…and I can vouch for the fact that their phone never stopped ringing!

“My phone has been ringing off the hook. I have like 17 cell phones and pagers.” (Steven Cojocaru)

My parents’ oldest daughter is an entirely different matter. Me. My phone. My experiences. ”A woman is a person who reaches for a chair when she answers the telephone.”  (Milton Wright) I do that. I guess I’m all woman.

I’m A Bag

My divorce became final 18 months ago today.

You know what it has taught me?

That, as I feared all along, I’m a bag. A tea bag, to be exact.

“A woman is like a tea bag–you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.” (Nancy Reagan)

There’s nothing like the challenge of an unexpected life and subsequent divorce to show you how strong you are. And in my humble opinion, as a single woman and a divorcee, I’d say the trick is to not lose your flavor as you steep in your unexpected situation.

It can be done.

I know it can, because I’m doing it. I’ve been up to my neck in hot water more times than I can count since 2009, yet here I am. Holding it together (for the most part) despite the temperature and depth of my surroundings…and I’m still singing (trying to, most days, anyway.)

“Remember the tea kettle – it is always up to its neck in hot water, yet it still sings!”

If I can do it, anyone can.

And now I think it’s time to get real about a few things, my experience with them, and what I’ve learned.

Hang on! It has been the usual, unexpected ride.

Looking to Make a Statement?

Once a woman has forgiven her man, she must not reheat his sins for breakfast.  ~Marlene Dietrich
I got an email from my former husband last week. In it, he listed the many things he has said and done, all of the changes he is trying to make in his life (from prison), so that someday I’ll forgive him.

I was absolutely blown away by that.

I forgave him a long time ago. I’m not sure exactly when, all I know is that from the moment my unexpected life began, I sought to forgive Him. My children know I have forgiven their father. My friends and family know I have forgiven my former husband. I think the world knows it, too, but somehow He never got it.

I told him  I have already forgiven him; in fact, that I forgave him as quickly as I could.

He sent me another email, told me I have no idea how long he has waited to hear me say that, thanked me for forgiving him and again pointed out everything he had said and done to make my forgiveness possible.

I was blown away by that too.

I have always known to forgive. My parents taught me to say I was sorry when I did something wrong and to forgive others when they did something wrong and said they were sorry. As I grew older, they taught me to forgive others whether or not they said they were sorry, or even WERE sorry, for what they had done. I am so grateful for my parents and what they taught me. Because as an adult, I saw too many people who allowed the actions of others, or their life experiences, to literally ruin them. I saw too many people focused on the wrongs that had been committed against them, too many people with souls cankered by hatred for things others had done and not enough people focused on everything “right” in their lives.

I realized, not for the first time, that life may not be a lot of things–easy, breezy, calm or fair–but life is always a choice. To live or not to live. To be happy. To laugh. To have faith. To hope. To forgive.

Yes, forgiveness is a choice. Forgiveness is a choice we must make, regardless of the choices made by anyone else.

I was stunned that I lived with someone for 20 years and he didn’t understand that. I was amazed that He had watched me teach and train our children, including to forgive others, and he never got it. So I had to clarify a few things with him. I told him that although I was glad he sought to do what was right, my forgiveness has absolutely nothing to do with him or anything he has said or done to demonstrate his sorrow. My forgiveness is all mine; and it doesn’t hinge on what he or anyone else does. I forgive because I believe the world is in great need of its sweet fragrance.

“Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” (Mark Twain)

Forgiveness was a choice I made. And although I did it because it was the right thing to do, I also did it for me–so I wouldn’t destroy the rest of my life or poison my soul, harbor a grudge, or carry the burden of hatred and venom like an unproductive boulder-filled backpack weighing me down because of an unwillingness to forgive.

I don’t believe you earn forgiveness.

You earn money. You earn trust. If you’re wise with your money (and can keep it out of the hands of Ponzi schemers) you may even earn interest. But you can’t “earn” the forgiveness of another.

“I wasn’t satisfied just to earn a good living. I was looking to make a statement.” (Donald Trump)

One of the most important statements we can make in life, unexpected or otherwise, is this: I forgive.

A Perspective on Things I Never Thought I’d Learn

“There is not an issue that a woman cannot bring a perspective to.” (Eddie Bernice Johnson)

Speaking of perspective, here’s more of mine: Life teaches you lessons you don’t anticipate; you learn things you never, in your wildest dreams, imagine you will learn.

I’ve been exposed to things in my unexpected life I never expected–like crime, divorce, and prison. I’ve learned things I NEVER imagined knowing anything about! Like aspects of the justice system, jail and prison.

After my then-husband revealed his criminal activity to me on March 18, 2009, and told me he anticipated being incarcerated for 5-7 years, I could not wrap my head around any part of it. I’d never stolen so much as a grape from a grocery store without paying for it, and my husband had stolen millions of dollars and was heading to prison? I was shocked and in shock. I didn’t know everything it entailed or what was coming to any of us. I’d never known anyone in prison, anyone with a relative in prison and had never been involved in breaking the law beyond an occasional speeding ticket while driving. My only education about any of it came courtesy of Hollywood, and based on everything I’d ever seen about prisons in t.v. shows and movies, they seemed like the ultimate horror. And then the man I was married to told me he was heading to one.

What do you do when you find out your husband of 20 years is heading to prison? If you’re me, you worry and wonder. Then you google “jail” and “prison”, read and research and try to learn anything you can. That’s what I did anyway.

I tried to find out anything I could about prison and what to expect his living conditions, life, and incarceration experience would be. I didn’t have a lot of luck, as a law abiding citizen I didn’t even know where to look, but I did learn some new things. The little bit I found was just a tiny taste of what was to come. Despite everything he had done, and all his selfish choices had thrust upon his victims, me and my children, I was scared. For him. And that’s really all I knew of the prison experience until that day in late August 2009, when my former spouse went before a magistrate and was charged with a crime, pled “not guilty” to the charge and was taken into custody.

Besides his sentencing day last month, March 18, 2009, and July 13, 2009, that day was one of the worst for me.

I was at work all day in Utah, trying to get a lot done and keep busy with projects so I wouldn’t worry or wonder about what was happening in Denver, CO. I didn’t know what to expect, or how I would know what happened in court that day, since no one considered me a victim and I was no longer married to the criminal. I knew of no one who was going to get me word of what transpired, so I checked online media sources every hour or two throughout the day, anticipating something would be mentioned at some point. Yet as much as I had waited for it all morning, and expected it, I was still shocked when I entered the words “Shawn Merriman Ponzi” and up popped stories about the events of that day.

I sat there, at the computer monitor, frozen. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was real. (I still couldn’t believe it.) I really wasn’t going to wake up any time soon and discover I’d simply been experiencing the most real-feeling nightmare of my life. It truly was more than a bad dream. It was the worst of the unexpected life. The day I had anticipated for months had finally arrived and the wheels of justice were turning. I couldn’t believe a man I’d loved and lived with, and had chosen to be the father of my children, was actually going to prison. But somehow I kept it together; finished my work day; drove home to my children, and no one was the wiser about what had happened in my life that day.

Everything about that event made me sick to my stomach–the “last phone call” Shawn made to talk to someone, me, that morning before he headed to the courthouse and embarked on the rest of his journey and the additional consequences resulting from his crimes; reading an email he sent that a friend was driving him to the courthouse as he was “a bit distracted and didn’t want to drive himself;” seeing video of him walking through the glass revolving doors of the courthouse heading to his hearing; reading of a courtroom packed with victims and how “more than 20 of his alleged victims stood up and applauded…Most were smiling.” (Miles Moffat,, 8/20/2009)

I don’t know how I’d feel if someone took MY most important possession, any one of my children from me, so I don’t judge the actions of those in attendance that day as right or wrong. I simply offer my perspective that it made me sick to see others exult in the demise of another, regardless of what that person had done. I hoped within my heart that regardless of what the future held for me, I would always choose to be strong enough to refrain from exulting in the downfall of another.

It also bothered me to read about myself in the stories about Shawn Merriman. Despite the fact I repeatedly asked everyone involved not to mention me or my children, they always did. That day, the magistrate referenced my children and I in a confidential, pre-hearing document, so it became part of the record, and was reported. And of course the reports were never accurate. That day it was, “his wife and children have moved to Utah…” There was no “wife.” We were divorced! (You might have to be the innocent ex-wife of a criminal to understand my perspective–absolute distaste for anything attempting to link me to the man, the crimes he committed or the media coverage about any of it.)

It was a welcome relief to actually laugh at one thing I read: the part about how Shawn Merriman was considered a flight risk so he had been taken into custody at the courthouse. That wasn’t quite accurate either, but it did make for more drama in the reporting! The reality is that Shawn Merriman did not have a passport–that, and his guns, were taken from him immediately upon turning himself in to the authorities. He had no money. He had no vehicle. No family. Only a handful of friends. And nowhere to go. He wasn’t going anywhere but prison, and he certainly wasn’t a flight risk! In fact, as I understood it, it had been Shawn who requested he be taken into custody as he wanted to get the clock ticking on the time he had to serve.

Well, he got what he wanted. He was taken into custody. That day, the clock began ticking. And for the first time since 1989, I had no idea where Shawn Merriman was, or if he was even safe. He seemed to just drop off the face of the planet into the deep, dark recesses of the criminal justice system and a jail somewhere. I didn’t know where he had gone; I didn’t know where he had been taken. There was no way to contact him. I was afraid for him, not for the first time, since beginning my unexpected life.

His incarceration had begun.

“That hunger of the flesh, that longing for ease, that terror of incarceration, that insistence on tribal honour being obeyed: all of that exists, and it exists everywhere.” (Ben Kingsley)

The Night I Underdressed

“Opportunity knocks for every man, but you have to give a woman a ring.” (Mae West)

I remember, once, serving grilled salmon to a dinner guest. She was from a wealthy but down-to-earth family in Kansas City. I considered the dinner a casual affair, but I’ll never forget her comment. “Wow, I feel underdressed–if I’d known what you were serving, I wouldn’t have worn jeans.”

That’s sort of the way I felt the night Bachelor #5 invited me to go for a drive. I thought it was just a late night excuse to see each other for a few minutes, but as this blog has demonstrated, I’ve been wrong about a certain man’s intentions before (pretty much all of the time.)

It was dark, late, I’d already put my pajamas on, so I didn’t change and didn’t bring up how underdressed I was–I thought we were just going for a drive. (And due to the darkness of the night, I don’t think he had a clue. If he did, he didn’t mention it.) We drove, we stopped and talked, and then very unexpectedly he said something like, “Well, I guess you’d better have this.”

He handed me a tiny velvet box tied with a ribbon.

Another hint for the unexpected life? Don’t spend time with a performer. You forget they can apply those acting skills to their personal life, too. He’d had that little box the whole time and hadn’t mentioned it! He had acted completely normal, in fact, until the moment he surprised me with it.

I gasped. “Is this what I think it is?”

He said, “Open it and see.” But then he couldn’t help himself. As I removed the ribbon and opened the box he added, “You’ll have to tell me what you think, but I think it is absolutely gorgeous! I hope you like it. I think you’re going to love it. I do!”

I opened the box. Even in the dark I could see the sparkle. I held it up to the moonlight and was dazzled by the way the band looked, nestled in the satin cushion of the box.

“Wait for me by moonlight, watch for me by moonlight, I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way.” (Alfred Noyes) I’d waited, I’d watched, and it had finally come! (In the moonlight even!)

The good news?

“All things come round to him who will but wait.” (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)


Bachelor #5 put the band on the ring finger of my left hand. It was perfect. And now I had the whole package: the man, the engagement to the man, and the ring.

“An engagement ring is sort of a tourniquet worn on one’s finger to stop circulation.”

Despite the fact I was seriously underdressed for the occasion, it was official. If I’d known what Bachelor #5 was serving that night, maybe I would have AT LEAST worn jeans! Regardless, we were off the market. Officially. We were engaged AND there was a ring involved.

“When a poor man goes to the market, often he comes home with only tears” (African Proverb)

Thank goodness my “market” experience, the singles scene “meat market,” had a different outcome. I left my tears somewhere along the way and eventually came home, instead, with Bachelor #5! And I have to say, I don’t think any other man could handle (or want) my slightly more complicated and unusual situation. After all, it can’t be easy being the fiance of the Queen of The Unexpected Life, but he does it while remaining cheerful, happy, kind, patient and calm. He truly is…Mr. Awesome.

Good job, well done, #5.

“If I said to most of the people who auditioned, ‘Good job, awesome, well done,’ it would have made me actually look and feel ridiculous. It’s quite obvious most of the people who turned up for this audition were hopeless.” (Simon Cowell)

Except for Bachelor #5.

Taken By Surprise

“A sudden bold and unexpected question doth many times surprise a man and lay him open.” (Francis Bacon)

Have you ever been taken by surprise?

I have a few times in my life. Most recently, the night Bachelor #5 asked if he even had a chance with me; the first few times he told me he’d marry me tomorrow if I were willing; the night he mentioned “September;” and… one other time.

I had a date with Bachelor #5. That night, as I was getting ready, I was surprised to find I had unexpected help. My daughter (and her friend) were very interested in what I was going to wear and how I was going to look for my date that night.

The girls were digging through every piece of clothing that comprised my limited wardrobe, trying to find just the right thing for me to wear. Their concern was palpable; as if I’d made a habit of dressing like a circus performer and they wanted to save me from my habitual fashion disasters for a night.

“Laugh, clown, laugh. This is what I tell myself whenever I dress up like Bozo.” (Jack Handy)

Although I never would have chosen divorce and my single status but for the circumstances that led to it, I have to admit, a fun memory from my unexpected life was getting ready for my first date with the assistance of my sister and my daughter; and getting ready for many other dates with the assistance of my daughter, who was always on hand and always prepared with outfit suggestions and wardrobe ideas to help her mother look her best. It was like being a teenager again. Those nights before parties, dances, or evenings out, when friends would come over to help me get ready for a special occasion, or we’d get ready together. It felt a little like that, having my sister and my daughter help me.

But that night was the first time in awhile my daughter had been so concerned about what I was going to wear and look like on a date; however, she had a friend over and I figured it was a teenage girl thing–a novelty for the friend because her parents are married, she hasn’t had to watch her mother date men she didn’t know; and I figured they were bored, and thus more than willing to impart of their fashion expertise in an attempt to liven up a quiet Saturday night.

“If you are single there is always one thing you should take out with you on a Saturday night… your friends.” (Sarah Jessica Parker)

And fashion advice from a beautiful and stylish teenage daughter!

Things Are Much Easier

“I don’t think I’ll get married again. I’ll just find a woman I don’t like and give her a house.” (Lewis Grizzard)

Speaking of getting married again, Bachelor #5 and I made a return visit to the therapist. Some things I remember from that session:

The counselor told us of all the couples he had met and worked with regarding remarriage, he thought Bachelor #5 and I had the greatest chance of “making it.” He told us his money was on us to marry, hang in there, and make it work.

But he also opened my eyes to all kinds of potential issues related to remarriage and stepparent situations. I wasn’t a fan of what I heard. My shock must have shown on my face because he stopped and asked me how I felt. I said, “I don’t like it.”

The counselor asked, “What don’t you like?”

“Everything!” I replied. “I don’t like divorce. I was never supposed to be divorced and dealing with stuff like this. Why can’t we all just look for the good, be happy, and enjoy our opportunity–the more the merrier?”

He laughed at my optimism. Or was it my naivety?

He asked Bachelor #5 what he thought. Bachelor #5 said he didn’t anticipate all of the usual challenges when he remarried because his children were older and his ex-wife had already remarried and divorced a second time. The counselor smiled and said it didn’t matter; Bachelor #5 could and should expect some difficulties.

It has been four months since that counseling appointment. And every single thing the counselor warned us about has come to pass. Thank goodness I participated in premarital counseling and had my eyes opened. Sometimes things are much easier to deal with when you know what’s coming.

“If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.” (Abraham Lincoln)