If You Take Contrary Actions, Maybe Life Will Look Differently

This year I wanted to cut down a tree but money is a bit tight. And so is my strength! It's a lot of work to traipse around a tree farm with hundreds upon hundreds of trees to choose from. (It depends upon on the year actually; last year there was a shortage of trees due to a drought.) Acting like I know how to wield a saw and maneuver around timber with enough confidence to impress a young boy is not easy. Those saws are sharp. The ground is muddy and wet. I wear expensive jackets and boots. My hair falls into my eyes. I have fashion gloves on. Last year I sawed one down, but this year I was dreaming of how much money I could save and how easy it would be to point a finger to a 16-year old shop clerk and say, “That one please.”

Alas, guilt wrapped its ugly claws around my heart. My son begged me to saw one down.

This year we found a lovely tree farm. I have never seen such a sight. It was incredible.

This farm did not have gravel roads between the fields so we hoofed it. Unfortunately most trees were pretty short and were of a spruce variety. I swore after being poked and pricked when decorating last year's tree that I would NOT be getting a spruce this year. There was even a species of spruce that was less spiky, but those jabs last year were pervading my memories.


The only Fraser Fir (softer needles) on the farm was about 6 inches too short. I really wanted a tree taller than me.


We settled instead on a mini tree for Oliver's room, something we've done for the last couple years. It was super cute, just his height, teeny tiny and 1/2 the price of the mini trees I've been getting him each year. It was a good compromise. He was able to get a fresh tree, and I was able to run to the local garden center the next day.


Turns out, the little tree is actually quite big! It will take up half of his room, so I've been thinking of an alternative spot for it.

 *  *  *  *  *

In other parts of the world, Oliver tends to settle in front of the fire, after his bath, with his naked self finishing up his reading for the day.

We played with our food.

And I am able to fit into my one-arm dress again. 

I had a GNO with my good friend Angie. We went to a fancy-shmancy restaurant. How very NYC of us. I had a glass of Caymus wine... oo-la-la (the bottle alone retails for $100). I've never had a full glass with that expensive of a wine before. I had my beautiful Cole Haan boots on too. They have 4-inch heels but the foot beds are made with Nike Air and they are super easy to walk in, not to mention comfortable. They cost nearly $600 but set me back only $75. I felt like a million bucks. We only had wine and apps, but it was a ton of fun.

Angie and me

Tuesday my garage started on fire. Yep. Fire. Burning wood fire call 911 oh my God holy smokes unbelievable incredible wow fire hurry hurry hurry!

We are OK. No one was hurt. Except for my truck.

I will write a separate post on that. But here's a glimpse:

Oh my dear RP readers, do not fret. After what I went thru in July, August and September (and parts of October and November) THIS IS NOTHING! THIS IS A CAKE WALK!

On a scale of 1 - 10, this is a one with the aforementioned months being 9 and 10.

The photo above is approximately 1 to 2 minutes after I discovered the fire. When I first discovered it, there were sweet, cute flames on the bottom of that window. No smoke. Nothing. In a short minute or two, the garage fire was out of control. It took the good men of the Shorewood Fire Department only 20 minutes to put it out. In that time, this garage was toast as was my truck.

Ok, this is not the point of my post today, altho I know y'all will be commenting on the fire. Hold off. Tomorrow there will be a post complete with video. Surreal, I know.

Here's the thing I wanted to share today. Ready?

I had a week. Not a week from hell by any means. An easy week. An amazing week. I started feeling better again. I hadn't felt this good since I had that ONE week a while back where I was feeling so over my ex-boyfriend.

I was nearly ready to dump everything he ever gave me out. Change my email, my phone number, and let go of all the gifts, sweet emails, texts and pictures.

Friday I did some journal and sharing.

And then I tanked.




I thought I was moving on but I guess there were some things tucked away.

And that's OK.

It's part of the process.

Friday night, Saturday all day, and so far all of today has been filled with hurt that I felt in the beginning. I don't know if it's a back slide or just figuring some things out. Maybe a little of both.

But... as always, as always....

Contrary actions.

Read. Write. Go to a friend's party (a safe place where there is love, kindness and honest fun). Sleep over. Pick up a tree for our home as promised to Oliver (and being OK with not cutting one down this year). And I found a BEAUTIFUL tree! It's gorgeous! And affordable! Stop at TJ Maxx and pick up a few new decorations. Lovely. Bring the tree up.

Before I knew it, I was smiling.

I can't let shit get me down. I can't let my mistakes and poor choices bring me down. Forgiveness is key, forgiving myself. I forgave Bill long before I ever even got angry with him. The contrast to that is I need to get real. I forgave because I still loved him and thought well of him, didn't accept what he had done or what he was. And getting honest with who he is and what he did is contrary. Seeing how I am / have been reacting is a reality check. I have been affected greatly by lies, manipulation and subtle abuse. It may be that you don't believe me for I have not shared it here nor with ANYONE while I was dating him. He never called me stupid or fat. But he found ways to get me to feel extremely stupid and found ways to get me to believe that I was less than. Maybe I will share some day. Maybe not.

Contrary actions have always been the way I dealt with depression, anger, jealousy. I get out of bed when I'd rather hide. I love on my son when I'd rather go into a corner. I go to a meeting, call a friend, ask for prayers (did that again today), clean up my home, take a shower, brush my teeth... those are things I do not want to do when I am sad.

I'm scared sometimes. Will I ever get over him? What is wrong with me? Will I ever find love again? Will I ever be OK alone? Am I too ugly, inside and out? Will I be able to move on? I fear those things. It's important to face the fear, ask for help wherever and whomever that may be.

Contrary actions get me to live my life when I'd rather do the unthinkable. I refuse to let depression and loss of hope get me down. I'm fighting for my right to be happy, my right to live, my rightful place in this world full of beauty. My soul heals and is restored when I take contrary actions. Maybe not right away, but soon. Amazing Grace... a gift unearned but a gift well-deserved.

I want to get past this, and I will. People love me in spite of my flaws. I will learn to love myself in spite of my flaws, my mistakes, my human nature.

When my heart is frail, I walk thru the hurt and pain knowing that some day I wont feel like this.

I don't know about justice. I heard it exists. I hope, in a way, Bill gets what he deserves. I hope he experiences consequences for his actions. He seems so happy now. He and that gal are a couple. Just like he and I were. He's giving her all those wonderful things he gave me in the beginning. And that is hard for me to accept.

I know she will end up like me. I think she will. I hope it doesn't take her 3 years like it took me.

Part of me fears there will be no justice. Matt didn't seem to get it. He rode off into the sunset with a younger, beautiful sweet kind woman. He has a beautiful home. An incredible home actually. It's way better than anything he and I shared together. He has two beautiful cars, a successful business, and a happy relationship. I did not see him suffer. Not at all. He is happier now. He told me so over and over. And I believe him.

Bill seems to be doing better too. New car. Money coming in. Beautiful girlfriend.

Contrary actions. Let it go. Let God or the Universe serve justice. Focus on me. Do the next right thing. Despite my hurts, decorate this home. Get dressed. Brush my teeth. You know the drill girl.

 It's folly to think I have forgiven Bill. I need to get angry before I can truly forgive him. I said I have forgiven him, but I have felt little anger. I have just begun to acknowledge what happened. To be free, I have to acknowledge reality, face the pain, live my life, find optimism and love myself.

Who knows if I am making sense this afternoon.

I want to get real. I want to get out of the fog. As this fog lifts it will take strength. Only then I can forgive; I can forgive when it might just be easier to hate. Contrary actions. Fucker.

Taking contrary actions means being mindful of how I am feeling and choosing to do right by me, right by my son.

We have a tree. A little one and a big one (picture coming soon.) We have decorations to put up. I want to face the hurt and the pain. I want to deal with it and not cover it up. I want to smile. I want to cry when I need to. I want to live, shine and be the Andrea that God meant to be.

When I do those things life doesn't seem so bad. I can lift my eyes and see life in a different light, seeing what's in front of me. Maybe I might even see heaven's view.


  1. I love the tree! And reading by the fire. And playing with food. I am trying mightily not to comment on the fire, but G A S P! it takes a lot of strength in you to be able to tell us readers not to fret.

    "Let it go. Let God or the Universe serve justice." Sometimes that's the only way to proceed.

    1. You always make me smile with your comments. :) Thank you... I can't wait to share the videos with y'all. I'll try on Monday or Tuesday to post them.

    2. And HEY.... I added you to the gratitude list. Holy Moly, how could I forget? You wrote that amazing Psalm for me.... I have it hanging...

  2. You look beautiful in that dress, Andrea. And Oliver looks so happy with his tree. Wow, he is growing up! The rest of what you write about is still the process you are going through to get over this. About the "wonderful life" that you think Matt and Bill have I will say two things. With Matt you have really forgiven him and moved on forging a good relationship with him which is key for Oliver's well being and I think your's too. In fact, unless I'm mistaken I think you and he get along quite well now. I also don't think you would begrudge him his "better life" as I'm sure he wouldn't begrudge you and he probably wants you to be happy. As for Bill, who cares if he has a "wonderful life". I kind of doubt it based on who he really seems to be. I remember having doubts in the very beginning and was one of your naysayers regarding him. I was also frightened for you, and for Oliver. Behind closed doors you don't really know how his life is - I do feel sorry for the other woman as I believe he will do the same to her. Inspite of you're feeling down again I see you moving forward. Thanks for including me in your Gratitude List of bloggers. That was sweet. Glad you and Oliver are safe after the fire. You're handling that very well. Enjoy the season.

    xo Elle

    1. Elle, are you the reader that told me to RUN when I wrote about him in the past? http://www.raisingpeanut.com/2013/06/how-to-be-adult.html

      I wish I would have listened back then.... This breakup really put me thru hell. :) But every couple weeks I can see glimpses of recovery. He has no clue how badly he hurt me. Sad, very sad. If it were a break up with a healthy man, he'd at least know it would be hard for both of us. I wouldn't feel this kind of angst and pain.

      Lesson learned. Oh well.

  3. So glad to see an update from you, Andrea. The pictures of Oliver at the tree farm belong in a frame- stunning.

    I continue to hold you in my thoughts on your journey to peace. Your post today made me reminisce on an old and very painful heartbreak I had. And how I wanted him to somehow feel "consequences" and be unhappy, and it never happened. He is married with children and very happy. And now, today, when I am finally completely healed from it, I am very glad for him. It took me years and years to realize that he couldn't be a healthy partner in a relationship with me because I was not his final landing place. And perhaps she is. And I do feel good about his happiness. But goodness, that perspective took a long time to get to. Time is helpful and also brutal.

    Love your theory on contrary actions. So true. Sending you warm Christmas wishes. xo


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