Tag Archives: Healing

16th UNiversary

Moments before I walked down the aisle, sixteen years ago.

Sixteen years ago today, I got married.

My dad walked his 22-year-old daughter down the aisle to a majestic organ in a beautiful sanctuary on a hot afternoon. I carefully recited my vows and promised my fresh-faced groom I would love and honor him until death did us part.

I meant it.

The reception was small: held in a petite garden area next to the church parking lot. We served sparkling apple cider and charcuterie from Costco. A jazz band comprised of fellow college students played quietly and a budding filmmaker captured moments on Hi8 tape. Due to the unseasonable warmth of the day, the homemade wedding cake melted before my new husband and I could ceremoniously cut it. He proceeded to smash a piece all over my face, anyway.

There was some confusion over the remaining few hundred dollars of the wedding bill, which caused the last of my makeup to be cried off. We left for our honeymoon in my 1997 Toyota pickup truck; the remnants of the fallen cake streaked all over the vehicle. The back window jokingly read, “Mr. and Mrs. Spencer”.

It wasn’t the wedding I wanted, but it was the best I could do.

We were so young.

Today, the sanctuary has been torn down and made new. The garden has been replaced with church offices, where I spent almost five solid months in marriage counseling after discovering my husband’s infidelity.

The organist recently received a heart transplant, the musicians all have steady, successful careers and the videographer became a widely recognized director and won a million dollar Superbowl commercial contest.

And I am happily divorced.


“It’s not the wedding, but the marriage that counts,” they say. If my wedding was any indication of the sort of marriage that followed, I should have bolted the opposite direction down the aisle at the very first note of the processional.

But I believe in marriage. I think it’s amazing, difficult and utterly courageous to make that kind of commitment to another person. Certainly, I was young. Perhaps too young. But I wasn’t afraid. And when my marriage went to complete shit, I held on and fought for the concept – and the person – as long as I could.

I admire that girl. I’m proud of her.

The person and the girl are now gone. But I do not regret the commitment, if only for the role it played in giving birth to the woman I have become.

So today, on my 16th Universary, I do not mourn the loss of a marriage, but cheer for forgiveness and the freedom that accompanies it. I honor growth, wisdom, vulnerability and true, selfless, mature love.

I celebrate the gift of a second chance.

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On the Road Again, Part Three

Two songs in, beads of sweat have already formed on my brow.  I’ve not done much singing yet, just movement.  Soon, my bouncy, curly hair will become wet and stringy, my feet will go numb in their 4” designer heels and the perspiration will overtake my face, neck and chest, but I don’t care.  The energy onstage is pulsating; the excitement from the crowd, intoxicating.

There isn’t much time to mop up the sweat, or gulp sips of water. Brian has his Vixens on stage for all but three songs in the entire show.  He features us vocally in two separate solos, and invites us to join the trio set to spread a little “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Blue Christmas” cheer.  (Never mind that last paradox.)

When it’s time to “Rock This Town”,  the entire venue is on their feet, screaming, clapping, dancing and cheering.  It takes hours to come down from such a high.  My ears ring a bit and my face hurts from grinning, but every night on stage is worth it.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.


A few days ago, we had a show in Peoria, Illinois.  We drove overnight from Nashville, and arrived in Peoria around 8 in the morning.  I stirred from my cozy bunk on the bus and dragged my luggage to my hotel room.  Outside, the weather slowly warmed from a brisk 19 to a tolerable 34 degrees.  The sun was shining happily and the sky illuminated a deep, clear blue.

I decided to take a walk.  The last time I had been in such a small town in Illinois was in 2009.


I distinctly remember the toy trains in our hotel lobby, slowly chugging their way through overgrown, overly lit Christmas wreaths and past an astounding assortment of Nutcracker and ballerina figurines.

A single, fake daisy was glued into the bottom of a red, bulbous vase and placed atop every three-legged continental breakfast table.  The lone cereal dispenser was surprisingly low on Cheerios and high on Frosted Flakes.

I ventured outside to see what else Aurora had to offer.  The sky was dismally grey and there was cold, hard snow on the ground. My boots, although warmly lined, had a small heel on them, so I slipped across the ice on my way towards the Fox River.


The Fox River, Aurora, Illinois.

When I reached the bridge, I stopped for a moment, and noticed something moving in the icy water.


I stared at the birds in horror.  First of all, I know nothing about ducks or their migratory patterns, but something didn’t seem right.

What the quack are these ducks doing, swimming through the ice? Why didn’t they fly south? How will they find food?  It’s too cold for them to be out here. How will they survive?

I was so concerned for the ducks, I felt I should find the nearest convenience store, buy a loaf of bread, and feed them. But all that was in the vicinity of the poor mallards was a shoe repair shop, and a flashy casino filled with smoking gamblers, dragging their oxygen tanks from slot machine to slot machine.

So I stood, frozen, on that bridge.  Helpless.  Helpless to help the ducks.

Gentle snowflakes began to fall, and I started to cry.

I cried for the ducks and their unknown fate.  I cried for their struggle with life in the frozen wintertime.  I cried at not being able to help them.  Additionally, I was slightly angry with them for not having gotten away when they had the chance.  They were stuck in the ice and snow, until spring awakened warmth and new life.

The snow started to flurry harder and I shivered in my thin, wool coat.  Dejected, I turned and walked back to the hotel, wiping away tears.  I said a prayer for the birds and hoped they’d make it.

I wanted out of Illinois as soon as possible.


Peoria, 2012:  As I approached the riverfront, the whipping wind took me by surprise.  At the same time, the sun warmed my face and the crisp air felt refreshing.


Peoria, Illinois. December 10, 2012.

I gazed out at the river. No ducks. Instead, a lone seagull flew overhead.

I chuckled a bit at the memory of the ducks in Aurora.  In my desperate and compassionate concern for them, I couldn’t see they were surviving the season in their lives that day.  They might have been cold, but they were swimming. They were surviving. There was nothing else they could do, but keep on.

Winter doesn’t last forever. Seasonal days aren’t always harsh and grey.  Sometimes they can be warm and gentle. I think even the ducks know this.

And the most beautiful thing of all: spring is coming.



Last night I had a gig at a Halloween party.

Costumes were required, so I assembled the sluttiest outfit possible with pieces from my closet.  I affixed tarantula-like eyelashes to my lids, and slipped into a plunging, black, satin V-neck jumper that shockingly revealed more leg than chest.  I pulled on a pair of fishnet stockings, and strapped my ankles into my favorite pair of C.F.M. shoes.  (If you’re confused, look it up.  I’m not helping you on this one.)  I dubbed my costume, “The Chick Singer”.

Halloween is such a great excuse for a woman to dress like a slut.

The party was a snoozer, but the band was good (Hello!).  I made friends with two 10-year olds who were dressed up as “Before and After”.  One wore a crisp, white gown adorned with pearls and ribbons; the other wore the torn and bloody version, along with ghastly, ghostly makeup.  The girls were best friends and great dancers.  “After” even had a choreographed routine that involved astoundingly good break-dancing.

I sang my face off for three hours, danced with the ten-year olds (and other females dressed as sluts), collected my wages, and happily bid farewell to Simi Valley.

As I drove back home on the dark, empty 118 freeway, my ears were still ringing from the drummer’s last, lengthy solo.  I shut my radio off and glanced down at my phone.  The time read 1:07 a.m., on Sunday, October 30th.

I gasped.

It’s my wedding anniversary.  No, wait.  It’s my UNiversary.

I waited for a flood of emotion to hit me.  I almost felt guilty for not realizing what day it was.  Sure, I have been aware that the day was drawing near, but once it actually dawned, it didn’t make much of an impact.

I casually steered my vehicle and furrowed my brows.  I tried to force myself to tears.  Surely there’d be something in me that felt sad, or a sense of loss – or even nostalgia.


And – dare I say – it feels so good.  Because it’s so right.  I am not supposed to be married to that person.  I am healed, and I continue to heal, and it’s all an amazing testament of God’s grace.

2 Corinthians 4:7-9 …this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

As I sit in my cozy Pasadena apartment on this gorgeous and joyful morning, I do recall a funny memory from that day, twelve years ago:

My husband and I had not registered for wedding gifts, so our guests gave us money.  As we drove away from the church, bound for our bridal suite at the Hilton, we realized we needed to deposit the cash and checks into my bank account so we’d have an extra cushion for our two-week honeymoon in Cancun and Belize.  It was early in the evening on that Saturday, and no banks were open.  We managed to find a grocery store near our hotel with an ATM that would accept deposits.

There we were: a fresh, young married couple, just an hour away from consummating our marriage. We giddily traipsed through Ralphs in our wedding attire.  It must have been quite the sight.  I took charge of depositing the checks as my husband stood in line to buy a Coke and a Butterfinger.   As I waited at the machine for the deposit envelope to be accepted, a woman stopped right next to me. Her shopping cart’s dirty wheels came dangerously close to marking over the satin trim on my bridal gown.

I felt her studying me for a moment.

“Oh, I get it!” she chirped, loudly.  “You’re a bride for Halloween!  That’s sooooo cuuuute!  And funny!”

I stared at her, and adjusted my veil.
“No, actually, I got married today.”

She laughed.

“So what kind of Halloween party are you going to?  Your costume is really sweet.”

I stared harder.
“No, I actually got married today.”

A look of realization, then confusion, spread across her face.

“Oh!?  Congratulations!!  Where…where’s your husband?”  She asked, craning her neck over the bustling crowd of shoppers.

I glanced up at the line where my other half had previously stood.  He was not there.  My eyes darted around the store, but he was nowhere to be found.

I shrugged.  “Oh, he’s around…somewhere.”

She smiled, politely.  “Well, congratulations, and…Happy Halloween!”    — and slowly pushed her cartful of groceries out the sliding door.

From now on, I think I’ll stick with the slut costume for Halloween.