Monthly Archives: June 2012

Judging By Its Cover

The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind.

First of all, I’m pretty sure that I have found the ending to my book.  I am excited to write about it. And, of course I can’t give it away here.  You’ll have to buy the book (wink, wink)!

I have had a lot to process recently.  Whereas before, I might have been stricken with grief or pain for weeks upon end, questioning God; fairness; my purpose or path — simply questioning the meaning of it all – I found myself digesting the circumstances, and thanking God that He allows me to live such an amazingly blessed life.

I thank God for my freedom.  I am beyond blessed.

I feel like I’m on standing confidently upon neutral, solid ground.  I’m open.  I’m expectant.  I’m hopeful.  I’m happy.  Holy shit, I got to sing Jason Robert Brown‘s new musical with Jason, himself, and Tony Danza two nights ago (!!!)  So many blessings are being handed to me —  so lovingly — by the Creator of the Universe, and I am grateful to receive them.  And, in writing this, I feel like I’m turning into that Precious Moments-loving, Sunday School-teaching, scrapbooking, squeaky-clean Jesus lover that can’t stop the Christianese talk.  Even the “shit” is holy!

Crank up the Christian radio station, pop open the Martinelli’s and let’s PARTY!

The truth is, God is so good.  He is good, all the time.  And what I’ve learned from the past three years of sheer hell is that He has never forsaken me.  My husband may have left me a long time ago, but God never has, and He never will.  He has been so gentle and loving; slow to anger; quick to forgive, and extends me way more grace than I ever do, myself.

My prayer is that I am growing, transforming and learning to become more like Him.


Amidst the roller coaster of the past few days, I received an email from a friend of mine.

She opened with saying that she was proud of me for not allowing my divorce to define me, and for not having turned my back on God, despite my circumstances.

I knew it was coming – the “but”.  I continued reading.

My friend told me that she was not, at this time, able to “like” my blog’s Facebook page.  She had thought and prayed about it, and even sought counsel from people whom she trusts.  And, whereas she understands my deep love for Jesus, even despite my “rough” language, she was afraid that others may not.

She apologized, and reminded me that she is the wife of a pastor to — in my opinion — majorly conservative and ignorant people, which means she is being watched; open for criticism.  In addition, she and her husband really feel like they are called to be missionaries to those people.  She was sure that if they read even just the title of my blog – bookThe Christian Girl’s Guide to Divorce, they would immediately judge us both.

She hoped I would understand, and assured me that she would support me as much as anyone, if she could.

My heart was pumping furiously in my chest when I read my sweet friend’s message, but I immediately responded in kind. Of course I understand.  In fact, I am a recovering “rules and regulations” Christian, myself.  I grew up thinking that if I abstained from premarital sex, my marriage would be stronger and more blessed than those who had put out, or shacked up, beforehand.

Seriously.  Ugh.

I went to a college that placed strict rules against drinking, smoking, dancing and sex (of any kind).  I believed that if I used “rough” language, I’d be a horrifically bad example of Jesus’ love to others, or that what I had to say would immediately be negated because of my foul mouth.  People simply wouldn’t know that I was a Christian if — or when —  I drank, said “crap” (or something much worse), gyrated my pelvis to music, or went “in dark places with boys” (thanks, Mom, for that one).

I have watched couples, whom I have sat down and chastised for engaging in premarital sex, go on to have amazing, strong and loving marriages, and produce healthy, beautiful children. Once, X and I grumbled about and almost refused to go to a couple’s wedding. X was even the Best Man! Together, we believed their marriage wasn’t going to last.  What horrible thinking, and how deliciously ironic!  I have since apologized, and the couple quickly forgave me. Obviously, the old me was extremely ignorant and hurtful, all under the banner of Christ.

Well, look at me now!  I’m divorced.  I’ve been in jail.  I even performed in a “strip show” on Broadway.  I’ve made out with men: in private, in public, and even on an airplane.  I say “fuck” sometimes.  Loudly.  (FUCKITY FUCK, FUCK, FUCK!!)

And I love and believe in Jesus more than I ever have in my entire life.

Christian or not — we are all covered in God’s amazing, loving, tender grace.  Obviously that isn’t an invitation to live carelessly, but we don’t have to be afraid of strict judgment from the only One who truly has the right to judge us.

And so, the more I thought about my friend’s email, the more frustrated I became. I want her to not care what people might think.  Of course I would never want to do or say anything to jeopardize our friendship, and I certainly don’t think that defending my flippant, hilarious, yet real use of foul language is worth the battle.  Sadly, I do understand my friend’s position, even though I would have never known if she “liked” my blog page or not.  I’m not keeping tabs, but maybe I should start. (Kidding.)

I realize that The Christian Girl’s Guide to Divorce is not for everybody.  Perhaps the title is offensive, or misleading.  Perhaps it alienates readers who are not Christians, or simply those who aren’t interested in reading about divorce.  Most certainly the subject matter is provocative, but it is definitely not limited to Christians.

My book just might get judged for its cover, alone.


Divorce is a taboo topic, especially in the Christian community.  Nobody really talks about it, except for the standard, “God hates it.”   Additionally, any books out there on divorce are either ways to avoid or recover from it; extensive psychological analysis of why/how it happened; or success stories of how people patched their marriages back together because they were both willing to do the hard work.

Although I am sure those books are helpful, some of them make me want to vomit.  What about the relationships that don’t survive?  Can those people end up happy?  How do they get through it, in a real way?   Furthermore, I guarantee that anyone who has been through a marital crisis, a breakup, or a loss of any sort, has dropped an F-bomb here or there.  And what about grace?  Where are those stories?  Where is the reality; the true expression of humanity?  Those of us who are separated, divorced or going through a divorce — regardless of fault or blame —  need to know we are not lepers; outcasts; alone.  Especially in Christian culture.

I am quite sure that we didn’t ask, or plan, to be in the position we are in.  Some are victims of cruelty, abuse, abandonment, addictions or infidelity.  Some just got married too young.  Some, like X, don’t know who they are or what they want, but don’t want to be alone.  Some bear the weight of the scarlet letter, and don’t want to be reminded of their mistakes.  Others are miserable in dead-end marriages, and just want out.

God’s grace covers us all.  Nothing is irreparable.  Nothing can separate us from Him.  God offers reconciliation and redemption, for each individual person. How do I know this?  I’ve experienced it.

I understand my friend’s feelings about her and her husband’s ministry.  I am not a pastor or a theologian, but, guess what?!  I have a ministry, too.

It’s called The Christian Girl’s Guide to Divorce.

My prayer for this blog-turned-book is that people will see Jesus, even through my self-proclaimed bad behavior and language; even through my own judgment of myself and, at times, — gasp!! — other people.  (Did you read the paragraph about scrapbooking and Martinelli’s? That one is sending me straight to hell.)

I realize that I will face criticism or judgment no matter what I say or do, but I’m OK with that.  I’m real. I’m human. I make mistakes.  My “good behavior” or glossy Christian appearance isn’t going to save me from anything.  It certainly didn’t save my marriage.  Clinging to God, who so fiercely loves me, is the only answer.  Keeping my eyes focused on Him, and my heart aligned with His, keeps me moving forward and growing into the woman who He created me to be. That is my belief, and I will proclaim it loudly, using the voice that He has uniquely given me.

God is the only reason I have survived divorce, and divorce is but a tiny hiccup in this amazing adventure called life.

Broadway, Broadway, Broadway…

Re-entering “regular life” was difficult after such an adventure, but I was grateful to return to a job.

I had been hired to play the role of “Cindy Lou” in The Marvelous Wonderettes, the show that I had performed off-Broadway.  This time, it would not be anywhere near New York.  The very large, professional theatre was located in La Mirada: a small, suburban town at the edge of the Los Angeles-Orange County line.

La Mirada is also where I had attended college.  I had wanted, and been trying, to work at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts ever since my youthful, naïve, carefree and X-filled days at Biola University.

In addition, since I had only ever covered The Marvelous Wonderettes in Los Angeles and New York (performed three of the four parts, 61 times in my six-month contract, but who’s counting?!), it felt amazing to finally make one of the roles my own.  I also was able to put to bed my association of the show with the ending of my marriage.

Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream!

The show must go on.

Rehearsals began almost immediately after I returned from Paris.  I had a problem, however: I wasn’t able to drive.  Part of the reason I took off to Minnesota and France was that my license was suspended for the month of May, due to my “Wet Reckless”.  I had to wait almost two weeks before I could apply for a restricted license, and I didn’t want anyone to know about my stupid mistake.  I was embarrassed and ashamed.

God provided.  He always does. Andrea and Lisa, a mutual friend of ours, drove me to and from rehearsals.  I was able to carpool with the amazing girls in the cast.  My stage manager even hauled me around, and no one seemed to mind.  In fact, everyone was willing to help, without even knowing the real (shameful) reason why.

Missy, Cindy Lou, Suzy, Betty Jean and a hanger

Losing my license for a month might have been one of the greatest things to happen to me, for it forced me to slow down, ask for help, and not be so damn self-sufficient.  Also, I got an amazing vacation out of the whole ordeal.

God is so good.

After “Wonderettes” opened and we settled into performing eight shows a week, I decided to tackle that old “Bigamy and Contempt” problem I had shelved for the past couple of months.

I wrote a letter to X, explaining that I was attempting to resolve our issues one last time.  I firmly requested his compliance with our Marital Settlement Agreement, and gave him two weeks to send the money (which I knew he had).   I sent the letter to him at Sister Wife’s house via certified mail.   I also emailed a copy to him.  I was fully prepared to take him to court.  After all, I would win, hands down.  There was no way he’d be able to charm his way out of jail.  I mean, I couldn’t even do it, for my wimpy little misdemeanor.

Bigamy is a felony.

Yet, I still struggled with just letting the whole thing go.  None of it was fair, but I wanted it all behind me.  Furthermore, I didn’t actually care that X was married, legal or not.  He made choices, and he had to live with them.  They didn’t affect me anymore.

Our ties to one another had been brutally severed, but we were destined for separate lives.

June 7, 2011


I release to You my anxiety over the remaining money X owes me.  I accidentally came across old texts last night from/to him and they were so unbelievably painful.  He was so unresponsive in a time of darkness, and I was asking so many questions.  How on earth were we going to heal?  And then I’d apologize for asking, but he just didn’t step up.  WHO KNOWS what all was actually happening then.  It was painful to read and I am so glad I got out.  Thank You, Lord.

So, I pray about my worries over the final step of this divorce.  I need Your help in letting go, and I need your help in forgiving X and Sister Wife.  I am still angry, Lord, and I think that is OK.  Yet, I don’t want to carry over this anger into a new relationship.

I just want it to be done.

June 11, 2011


I need help to get through today. Two shows.  I am tired, especially vocally.  I have thoughts of fear – of which I need to let go.  God, I pray about dealing with X and the final part of my divorce. I do not want to spend my money on lawyers and court battles.  I know he will not do anything, though – of course.  I have to keep hounding and nagging to get anything out of him.  NOT SURPRISED. 

Lord, I just pray he sends the check.  I do not want my life to get bogged down by him, or thoughts of him.  I am still very angry, God. Maybe it’s because I’m back in La Mirada?  I don’t know.  I need help.  I need help forgiving him; I need to move forward, continually.

And my mind wanders to dating.  I don’t know what will ever become of it.  I am not without potential suitors, but I am not interested in ANY! 

I want to fall in love, I truly do.  Part of me thinks that is so silly – or maybe I don’t deserve it because I already got my shot at love, marriage and a family.  AND I recognize that as a LIE from the enemy and I REJECT it!

Holy Spirit, control my mind!

I lift up my dreams, my desires and my fears to You.  I will wait for You, Lord.  I wait.  I need help with patience!

I long for NYC.  What am I doing in California?!  It’s ridiculous.  I just don’t know how I’d do it (move to New York), but maybe I just have to.  I love my little place here, but my dreams are in another city. 

I feel like a loser, but I know that You have plans for me. My body aches and my soul cries for You.  God, I give You my desires and pray that You will lead me to where You want me, instead of me forcing Your will – rather, me forcing MY will as Yours.  I feel anxious for no good reason.

 Oh, God, if only I could continue my theatre career in New York! 

Broadway, Broadway, Broadway…

I have to go!  God, will you lead?

Little did I know then, God would graciously lead me back to New York.

“Please, Please, Please, Please, PLEASE Kiss Me!”

Happy divorcée in Paris!

A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of life.
~Thomas Jefferson

Whoever does not visit Paris regularly will never really be elegant.
~Honoré de Balzac

The best of America drifts to Paris. The American in Paris is the best American. It is more fun for an intelligent person to live in an intelligent country. France has the only two things toward which we drift as we grow older—intelligence and good manners.
~F. Scott Fitzgerald

Our days in Paris were busy with activity.  Andrea figured out how to rent the bicycles that we had seen the locals riding all over town, and we were off to explore the entire city. I am convinced that the only — and best! — way to see Paris is on a bicycle (with a baguette in the front basket, of course!).

Best bikes in the world.

I like to ride my bicycle!

Our first mission on that gorgeous May day was to ride up to the Sacré-Coeur.  We hunted for fabric in the neighboring garment district, and then lunched on goat cheese-stuffed tomatoes atop butter lettuce with a drizzling of vinegar, and a freshly baked, still-warm-from-the-oven baguette.  Afterwards, we biked to the Eiffel Tower, stood in line to enter the Musee de’ Orsay (but got tired of waiting) and sweated through 90 minutes of Bikram Yoga.

It was my first experience with Bikram.  The cramped room was cranked to 105 degrees (Fahrenheit), and almost as soon as I started breathing, sweat poured from every inch of my body, including my kneecaps.  Somehow the offensive and pungent French body odor/sweat didn’t bother me, for I was distracted by the attractive, muscular instructor who sported a Speedo.  He screamed at us the entire time from his platform at the front of the room.

“Tirez! Tirez! Tirez!  Verrouiller le genou, bloquer le genou, bloquer le genou!!!”

It was…hot.

The next morning we did more yoga (who knew that a trip to Paris would turn into a yoga retreat!!?) and (illegally) rode our bicycles through the Arc de Triomphe.  Cars, busses and motor scooters honked and whirled around us as we furiously pedaled (and screamed!) our way through the roundabout.  It was exhilarating!  We made our way up to the Bois de Boulonge, where we rested our legs a while before continuing on our newfound mission: to find the racetrack.  As we rode through the park and into the thicker woods, I noticed random, scantily-clad women standing along the street.  Some were creepily concealed in the trees.  Others were simply men dressed as women.

“Oh, I forgot to tell you,” Andrea casually called over her shoulder, as she pedaled ahead of me. “There are prostitutes in these woods.”


You just need to know these things.

That evening, bodies screaming in happy exhaustion from our day’s adventure, we set out with a bottle of champagne to drink along the Seine River.  As we traipsed down the worn, cobblestone steps of the Île de la Cité and towards the water’s edge, I was once again approached by a Frenchman.

This one was considerably younger than the first two.

He started speaking, quickly, in his beautiful language.  He immediately wrapped his arm around me and gestured with his free hand as he spoke.  Occasionally, he would gently touch my chin as he whispered sweet nothings into my ear.  I allowed him to carry on for a while before I spoke up.

“I…I don’t speak French,” I apologized.

The Frenchman – who was definitely in his early 20’s – looked surprised.

“Oh!  But you look…so…so…oh…S’il vous plaît embrassez-moi!  Please kiss me!”

I stopped in my tracks for a moment and gazed at him, almost incredulously.  This would be Frenchman #3.  I was definitely getting what I had asked for, and then some!

He clasped his hands together, and his piercing blue eyes met mine.  One of his iPod ear buds hung, lazily, from his right ear.  He smelled young and fresh.  He was definitely attractive.

He shook his hands at me.

“Please, please, please, please PLEASE kiss me,” he begged.

Andrea and I burst out laughing, and she covertly reached for her phone, readying it to capture the moment.

I looked up at my suitor.  The River Seine shimmered behind me in the glowing city light.  The historic cobblestone beneath my feet seemed to propel me forward, into this young man’s arms.  There was a buzz of conversation between crowds of friends and lovers gathered along the riverbank, and the gentle breeze flirted with my freshly washed hair.

It was the perfect moment for even just a minute of romance.

I tucked a piece of disheveled hair behind my ear, and shrugged.

“Okay,” I smiled.

And so, he kissed me.  Eagerly.

Oh, those Frenchmen and their kisses.

Shameless, Part Deux

I finally pulled away, and Andrea and I continued to walk.  The young man followed us, attempting to coax me into his arms again.

“Please, please, please – more kissing!”  He pleaded.  I smiled, but kept walking away.

He continued to beg and plead and follow, until I finally turned to him:

“Je suis vieille — I am too old for you!”

He looked extremely disappointed, but finally got the hint, and darted back to his friends.

Andrea and I laughed and laughed.  I was having quite a successful run as the “kissing bandit” in Paris!

As we made our way to a less populated area along the riverbank, I reflected upon this newfound confidence that I had developed on my journey – literally and figuratively.  I couldn’t believe it, but it felt so damn good to be single, even if it were inappropriate to be kissing some random strangers on the street.  I didn’t care.  It felt amazing to be noticed, even by much younger men.  What is more, it felt good to be free.  I could just walk away, without my heart hurting; without it longing for, or being attached to, a man.

I could give away sweet, innocent (enough) kisses, but I could hold onto my heart.  It might sound crazy, but it was empowering.

And so, our time in Paris rapidly came to a close.  We ultimately decided to scrap the usual touristy things and headed (on bicycles, of course) to the horse races at Longchamp.  We put money down on a Yankee horse and won!  We picnicked again with Cecile in the Parc de Buttes Chaumont, and conducted a therapeutic ceremony in which I tossed an entire apple pie off the top of a monument.  We dined with British actor Rupert Friend (who tried to disguise himself  as “William”) at Jim Haynes’ 30-year old tradition of a Sunday dinner.   I was determined to make Mr. Friend Frenchman #4.  I chatted and flirted with him for about thirty minutes, but, decided that, alas, he couldn’t be my next French kiss, because he was English.

Okay, okay.  He wasn’t interested.

We invested in the most amazing tea at Mariage Freres, attended mass at St. Germain des Prés and listened in awe to the massive pipe organ seemingly shatter the impeccable stained glass windows.  We patroned the Opera Bastille and purchased tickets to see Andrea’s favorite: The Marriage of Figaro.  It was my second opera, ever — the first being Offenbach’s “La Périchole” at the Sydney Opera House when I was on tour with my church choir at the age of sixteen.

To my surprise during Figaro, I started to sob at the Countess’ solo in Act III, wherein she ponders the loss of her husband’s love.

Dove sono i bei momenti,  she sings.   “Where are they, the beautiful moments?”

Andrea and I both sobbed tears of joy and empathy; tears at the overwhelming beauty of the piece; of art.  Angst.  Love.  Marriage.  Loss.  And comedy.

In the afternoon of that last remaining day, we again drank champagne, just on a simple park bench in the Bois de Vincennes.  The bench overlooked a glistening lake that was populated with happy ducks and happy people in rowboats.  In the distance stood a ferris wheel, and the air was fragrant with a mixture of blossoms, freshly-cut grass and cotton candy.

This time, I definitely saw a single, red balloon floating in the breeze.

Andrea and I vowed to return to that same park bench when we are 80 years old.  We also vowed to return to Paris every year we are able.  (So far, we have kept our word, for, just two short weeks ago, we returned from a ten-day jaunt!)

We will ride bicycles, drink champagne, and frolic throughout the most romantic city in the world, for, as Michael Simkins puts it, Paris is a place in which we can forget ourselves, reinvent, (and) expunge the dead weight of our past. 


Sorry, readers.

The devil got into my computer and published that last post without me having a chance to edit it — like, AT ALL.  Not kidding.  I pushed some backspace button, and  — wham!  It published.  So, please ignore it — I’m editing and will post again.

I’m embarrassed.  Frankly, I am blaming the error on today’s traumatic laser hair removal experience (about which I am most definitely writing, next).

So, please:  forgive the error!   Delete — and carry on.