Motivate, Inspire and Don’t Listen to Naysayers

We have all read many times that as you go through life, there will be people who motivate and inspire you, and there will be people who try to tear you down, demoralize, dehumanize and demotivate you.  People who are jealous, threatened or who just may be miserable themselves, who will do their best to stop you from succeeding.  And then there are those who will lift you up, inspire, motivate and encourage.  Those are the true leaders in the world, regardless of job title or position.

It was may years ago that I sat I her office one afternoon.  As vice president of the company we worked for, I was shocked to hear the words that same out of her mouth.  She told me that I was too stupid to work at that company.  And as I listened to her, I made a promise to myself that as a leader, I would never do to her what she was trying to do to me.

First, let me say that I thank her now, so many years later. Because that negative experience motivated me in a way that I then could not have imaged. She was not a leader she was just a boss.  A leader would never have said anyone was “too stupid”, even if it were true.

Had I been younger, less confident and more impressionable, she as the vice president, would have greatly damaged my confidence and self image.  There is a saying that with power comes great responsibility, and that is true.  What was not true was what she was saying. The only thing it did was show how little class she had, and motivate me to be a much better leader than the example sitting in front of me.

I want to always inspire others. Because to be able to inspire others, to make them think or feel, to help them believe in themselves, to help them feel love for themselves and others, to me, that is the most amazing thing to do.  And if I can do that, just a little, then that is can incredible blessing.

So when someone shows you that they are a boss and not a leader, when you have someone who says something so cruel and unprofessional, you can use that and turn it into a positive.  An example of what not to do and how to be better than those who are beneath you, even if they are above your pay grade.

Why do some want to tear you down?  Who knows.  It could be that they are threatened, or jealous of you and your success, or they are just miserable themselves. And honestly it doesn’t really matter why they do what they do, just that you do not listen to them.  Or that you use what they do or say as a platform on which to build.  You should be so busy working to make your life fabulous, that you don’t have time to take what they say to heart.  Build on their words and negativity. You have the power to turn it into something positive, something beautiful.

From that job, have been blessed to be a successful writer, working for some of the most amazing companies. I have had the pleasure of working with and learning from some incredible leaders, and they have never demoralized anyone like that one boss.  Every great leader I have had, has inspired others to believe in themselves and their abilities.  They have taken opportunities to teach and give constructive criticism that made that person want to be better.  That is leader.

So please, please, don’t let let those who would try to tear you down, break your spirit or just be mean, affect your self worth.  Whether it is on a professional or personal level, only those who are there to inspire you have your best interest at heart.  A leader will never insult you, never tell you are you stupid, or ugly, or dumb, or defective in away.  if someone says these things, it says more about them than it does about you.

That is not to say that those who love you will never criticize, but learn the difference between those who may be concerned and are truly trying to help, and those who simply want to entertain themselves watching your pain.  And then, reach deep inside you, deep where light does not even go, and turn that pain power.

A Moment

It is the rush of the holidays, with all the shopping, parties, dinners, decorating and family get-togethers. It is a time that we seem to rush around, hardly time to do anything besides get to the next thing we have to do. And this holiday season seems to be busier than those past.

But last night I took a walk in my quiet little neighborhood. I listened to the silence of the evening, looked at the lights and Christmas decorations that were around. There were children playing in the distance, laughing and running. I thought about my life, and the past year. All of the ups and downs, all of the events that made it 2013.

And through all of it all, there have been so many blessings woven in, even the bad times. I just needed some time and space to see them. And isn’t that how it always is? Things always seem to work out for the best, and end up just as they should. We just may not ever be able to predict the road that gets us there.

This year I have seen love, loss, heartache, joy, anger, Peace, struggles, having money, being poor, letting go, hanging on, breathing in, cleaning out and rising up .I have supported my family and had others support and help me. When I think back at just what has happened in the past year, it’s almost overwhelming to think of it all.

But I am so very thankful for being here, right now, in this place. It’s been a long road, but Bliss is all around. And it had taken a lot of work. Many think that happiness just lands in a persons lap. It doesn’t. It’s a decision you make and re-make every day. Work you do to keep it every day. But it’s worth it, to do what you need to do to be happy and healthy.

So this holiday season, take .a moment. Pause and reflect. Eve for those for whom the holidays are difficult, take pause and look around. When you do, I promise you will see wonderful things around you . No matter where you are, it could be worse, but it’s not. And the good thing is if you feel like you are at the bottom, there is now where to go but up.

Take a moment, see the lights and the decorations. Enjoy the cold crisp air. Notice the energy of others around you. Enjoy your favorite TV shows, some hot tea, or a warm bowl of soup. Because it’s the small things that add up to making a good life. But we must take time to appreciate them.

So take a moment.

No Regrets

I have no regrets, looking back on the landscape if this year, in this life. I have no regrets on what I have done and what has been left undone.

There are no words that haunt me, spoken or kept still. No actions that trouble my soul, no undone thrill.

There are no tears that have been dried or kept at bay, or escaping down my cheek from rims of wide weary eyes, that partake in regret.

No longing set free, no feelings left unturned. There is nothing to look back upon, and wish another way for me.

And as I look back, standing at the edge of this year, this long, hard, undone, overdone year, there is nothing that makes me want a other walk down the path or choose another road than the one I have traveled.

There has been compassion and contention, love, discord, pain and happiness. More joy than one can hold, more sorrow than one should endure. There have been sacrifices and giving of self, hiding, finding, sipping and devouring…it all.

I am all of it, every bit. The complete all of it, the unfinished of it, the breadth and depth of it. I am glad for it all, the good bad and the big and small.

I have no regrets waking up with you, all of you and your deals, wet from us and warm with skin on mine. No regrets of swimming, riding with my bare feet on the dash or taking a shower in the rain. No regrets sitting, listening to drops on the tin roof, in your little place. No regrets of you at all.

No regrets for fighting for family and what is right. None for being brave, saying what is felt and what should have been said long ago. No regrets for the love and loss of the year as it has passed.No regrets for the mistakes and lessons learned.

There has been hard work, harder play and many things let go this year. I carried the map of my life with every. Single. Heartbeat. And you were there too. Yes you.

Books have been read, put down and some left unfinished. Thoughts written down and lost or erased from time. And still, no regrets. Nooks and crannies have been explored, many prayers said and blessing given. Dreams have come to fruition, nightmares have been banished beneath the cloak of in in which they came.

I have carried this heart, heavy with sorrow and joy, across this country, in cars, in airplanes, in boats, up on a horse in hiking trails, in the woods, in the city, to work, to run, in water, in the anonymity of the night, and the harsh light of day.

This year, this 12 months, I have been the judge and jury, been judged and done the judging, been right, wrong, black, white and gray. I have laid it all out and picked up the deck.

And at the end of this year, this moment in my life, there is Peace. There is happiness. Mostly because, all because, you have been in my heart.

Aaaand, Im Back!

Ada Lamar has been dark for over 6 months as I took a break from this blog. The time away has been wonderful and filled with much magic. Life is filled with long walks, long talks, lots of family, hope, dreams, love, hand holding and wine. There has been much writing, a career I love, meeting great people, making stronger bonds with old friends, midnight gardening by the moonlight, travel, sunburns, house cleaning and warm sheets. Along the way there has been good news, bad news, tears and laughter. Lots of desserts, plans, saying goodbye and many hello’s. Prayers, fights, triumphs, motorcycle rides, roller derbies, boxing, running, playing and working. Sweat equity, painting, organizing, consolidating, planning, building staining hammering, learning and eating.

And every step pf the way, every heartbeat along the road, for everything I have carried and all that I have let go, I am happy and life is good.

And I look forward to writing about many more adventures to come!

Of Prayers Family and Grace

Prayers for Dad

We all have those moments that just get right down to the core of you. My family and I have been so very blessed, but still there is worry.

Two months ago he came up for a very large dose of chemo. Today there is the MRI to find if the chemo worked or if the tumors are still in his liver.

All signs are good that the tumors are gone. But still there is worry. When you love someone, no matter how faithful you are, there is still worry and a bit of fear. You want those you love to be healthy. And when there is a chance that they are not, then it sits in your stomach like a ball of lead. It stays in your mind and on your heart.

So if you are a person of faith, please say a prayer that the chemo worked. That he is healthy and will not need any more treatments. Thank you.

Grace in Motion

I have written much about my search for Grace. I have prayed for it, sought it out, taken deep breaths to attain it. And I have, many times in the last few months, been very proud of the Grace I have displayed when others have hurt me. But even I have my limits.

It seems I have Grace for the most part…except when I need it most. This past week has been an example. This past week, a few things happened that cut me to the core. Deep cuts born from lies others have told, lied about those lies and left me wondering why I did not see them before now.

And it is during these times that I need Grace the most. But then I am only human, and even though I strive for Grace at all times, I have slipped a time or two. Between those events happening, anxiety over my father’s health and a bad case of PMS with a shortage of chocolate, I have been a girl in a mad mood on a mission.

And that is part of being human, you make mistakes, react in bad ways sometimes, try and fail, fall short of what you want to be, try again harder, and hopefully you learn a but along the way.

Our lives are always in motion, moving forward, moving on, moving past everything before it. And as I take a deep breath, I have to let go of the fear, of my father’s health, of being betrayed again, of more lies, of frustration, of being hurt. Because as our lives are in motion, so is our Grace, and compassion and empathy for others.

Grace is defined as: Mercy; clemency. To give kindness and consideration beyond what is deserved. I have not followed this definition as I should have. This is something that can be difficult for a fiery red-head to learn. One would thing that if you have found Peace as I have, Grace would not be far behind. But the art of Grace is just that, an art. And maybe one has a  lot of training in order to get it right.

I am a work in motion, as is the Grace that I strive to practice on a daily basis. Every day starts a new, with promises of mistakes not to be made.

Between the Lines

I have not been writing as much recently, or in the last few days or so. This is a bit odd to be because I am used to writing and posting almost every day. But something is happening. I am busy enjoying life.

And it occurred to me that sometimes you have to stop writing about life, and start living it in order to have something valuable to write and say later. Sometimes you have to take a break, take a few steps back, gain perspective and just enjoy.

It is different than writers block, because frankly I do have a lot about which to write. But they are things that might seem boring, like how I love to sit and look at the Christmas tree when the lights are off. Or how much I am looking forward to my sister’s visit for her birthday. Or even how thrilled I am that the Christmas presents that I have ordered for loved ones are arriving. Or how much I look forward to going to the formal holiday parties and dressing up, how much I enjoy re-connecting with friends right now, how I am enjoying long slow kisses, my new work space, even getting lost in the new parking deck for 30 minutes (have I mentioned my lack of sense of direction?). How O need to vacuum my house because the dust bunnies are waging war against the tufts of cat hair. How I am enjoying my house plants actually blooming inside, or how much I am looking forward to New Years.

How I am enjoying long looks, happy dinners and much laughter. How it is shopping with friends, finding the perfect dress with the perfect fit, a glass of wine and good conversation, a hot cup of tea, a fire, a long run, crisp mornings, purring kitties, snuggling up to him that is making life just delicious. THat taking a break is not always a bad thing, that it can mean that life is blooming right before your eyes.

I am actually too busy enjoying all of these things to actually take the time to write about them as much as I want. And that may not be a bad thing. It is often what others may find boring that comprises our lives. But that does not mean out lives are boring, far from it actually. Because life is mostly made up of those tiny little moments that may not mean much to others, but mean so much to each one of us individually. Life is all that which we do not write, that makes it so wonderful, mysterious, interesting and beautiful. Life is what happens between the lines.

So here I am, enjoying my spot between the lines. Enjoying the “boring” parts, where everything in my life right now is special, magic and wonderful, and just for me.

How to Be More Resilient

According to Dr. Russ Newman, “research has shown that resilience is not an extraordinary thing but is rather ordinary and can be learned by most anyone”.

Relience. The dictionary define resilience as The ability to recover quickly from illness, change, or misfortune; buoyancy. Resilience is what allows you to maintain a sense of well-being when you deal with the challenge.We have all been through those rough times. The truth is you really don’t know what someone is made of until you see them in the rough times. Anyone can be a great person when things are good and life is easy. And anyone can fake emotionaly stability when the waters are smooth. See someone is rough waters, see them at their worst if you really want to know them.

In the past I have been very resilient, able to get through rough times in a single bound. However, the last six months have been a challenge.  When rough times happen, here are some things that help keep your head above water and keep you reslient. Being the research loving person I am, I set out to find the best advice the internet had to offer. and now, I bring it to you. You are welcome.

Take care of yourself:

This one is a hard one for me. Unfortunately sitting at home eating abundant amounts of chocolate and watching B movies does not count as taking care of yourself. who knew?

When we are stressed and going through a rough time, it’s easy to loose sleep, stop exercising and start eating badly. According to research by the Mayo Clinic, those who are physically well are more emotionally equipped to handle stress. So we cannot forget to take care of ourselves. Slow down, spend some time alone, listen to music, take a walk. Exercise releases endorphins into the your body and helps to lift the spirits.

Getting a hobby (or three) is also recommended. Whatever makes you feel happy, fulfilled or gives you a sense of purpose and utilizes your talents. I am getting into crocheting and photography.  These are hobbies that I enjoy and for which I have a talent (well, we’ll see about crocheting…). Taking a class or joining a social group will also help you meet new people and get your mind off of your troubles.

Maintain a sense of control:

This one is oh so important, at least to me. Generally, resilient people tend to have what psychologists call an internal locus of control. Know that you have within yourself all that you need to make decisions that are important to your life. Look deep inside yourself and listen to that little voice inside of you, your gut instict. All that you need to get through, is right there.

When you find yourself becoming overwhelmed by a situation, take a step back to simply assess what’s in front of you. Think about possible solutions, break them down into steps and take baby steps. Martin Seligman, Positive psychology maven, says that a component of resilience is pervasiveness—not allowing a setback in one area to affect another. So keeping it together is a way to maintain control. This means, especially for women, to keep it together at work. Or al least close the door if you are going to get emotional. Never let them see you sweat, or cry.  At least go to the bathroom if you don’t have an office.

problem-solving skills and critical thinking are also shown the help keep a person centered and resilient. Research suggests that people who are able come up with solutions to a problem are better able to cope.   These skills are also key to  self-esteem, which also plays an important role in coping with stress and recovering from difficult events. 
Strong social connections:
Friends can help you through the rough spots. According tot he Mayo clinic,  being able to reach out to others for support is a key component of being resilient.  Those who have an broad support system recover faster from challenges in life. This has been a bit of a challenge for me, as I cut about 90% of my social group in the last year. But the people I have left in my life are solid, loyal and have integrity – and that is worth it’s weight in gold.
Sharing your problems with friends can help lighten the emotional load as we bounce solutions off our friends, get positive feedback or get out of the house and get our minds off of the problem.
See yourself as a Survivor:
You can’t really feel that locus of control unless you feel power to take action. You need to almost immediately feel that you have used your strength to survive something bad.  Then tap into that strength to get through the emotional aftermath. Never see yourself as a victim because you loose your sense of control and purpose. You are a survivor, you have strength and courage. Look for ways to solve the problem, or deal with it in the best way possible. Always take the high road and always maintian a level of class. Hold your head up high and know you can and will get through it. While the situation may be unavoidable, you can still stay focused on a positive outcome.
Embrace Change:
This is a tough one for a lot of people, including me.  I like things steady and predictable, but flexibility is an essential part of resilience.  Why not see these events and challenges as opportunities to branch out in new direscitons?  Learn something more about yourself, your charactor and your depth as a human being.  Yes, I am workin gon this too.
How exactly do you adapt to change if you are like me and would rather have a root canal?  Psychologists say that people who see change as a challenge and not a threat handle streeses better. In their book The Peace of Mind Prescription, Charney and Nemeroff say, “The hormones released by an appraisal of challenge include growth factors, insulin, and other compounds that promote cell repair, trigger relaxation responses, and stimulate efficient energy use.” 
Set Goals:
Goals that focus on your strenghts, things that bring you a sense of happiness, calm, satisfaction and fulfilment will help the most. The goals I have set for myself are to 1. Finish and publish my book by the end of the year. 2. Cook new super yummy meals 3. Finish the Fifty Shades of Grey series (which I am struggling with because I am actually getting board with the story). I am also working on writing better blog enteries, as I don’t feel like the latest entries have been very good.
Setting and meeting goals helps with our sense of control and accomplishment during a rough time. It will also boost self esteem.
Yes, you read right. Exercise has been correlated with stronger levels of resilience. So while becoming a couch potato and watching TV all night might be tempting, it isn’t very productive. Exercise relases endorphines into the body which has a positive impacts on one’s mood or the physical health benefits to those who exercise, or both.  
Have Faith:
If you are a person of faith, it helps to to pray, alot. And just hang in there. Know that the bad times are only temporary. It won’t last and in no time (and a series of babysteps) you will be past it and on to better times.
None of us are immune to rough times, and there are times in life that are jusst going to suck. And we just have to reach deep down and get through them. But these little steps will help shorten the time we are in the dark. and when the dust settles, we will be better, finer and stronger than we were before. Basically, finding Peace is what helps me, so do whatever youhave to do to get it. So dig in and get on with it.

The All Of It

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up.

And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness.

Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”

― Louise ErdrichThe Painted Drum LP

I read this quote in a blog that I read today and it resonated deep within me.   To taste all that you can, every bit of life that comes near you, to always be curious and learning, is how I have always tried o live my life. But yet I am still hungry. I am not yet satisfied. i have not found that taste for that which I yearn. So I keep tasting and searching.

One thing about living life this way that no one tells you, is that yes, you do get amazing view of the world and everything in it, you also get all the bad tastes too.  you get hurt much more, and you cry, you ache, you bleed from the very center of your whole heart.  So living this way is not for the faint of heart, for it will wear you out, living with your whole self, your whole heart.
And sometimes, in the darkest parts of the hurt, I do question my decision to live a life this way, tasting, devouring every part of life I can. I wonder if it is worth it. The tears, the confusion, the all of it. The complete and utter all of it. Because you feel all of it when you live life this way, every little bump in the road. And the mistakes you make are deeply felt as well. As are the hurtful words of others. And that is where you must have Grace, something which I am working on very hard. And I wonder if it is worth it, the all of it.

And then I see a sunset, or feel joy when someone that I love has a triumph, or feel a kiss on my lips that makes my heart skip a beat, or  feels the arms of a man I adore, ofall in love. And then I think yes, it is worth it. At least this time. At least next time. At least one. More. Time.

And so it is.

Question: Mercy, Compassion, Grace and Forgiveness

Rex, one of my best friends asked me a question:

“Have you ever had a man love you enough to  hold you while you beat up on him because you were more important to him than his ego?”

My Answer: Yes.

The question was so raw in it’s honestly it stopped me in my tracks. And I started to cry. It was almost 20 years ago, but that question brought everything back like I was right there in it.

His name was David. I was 19.

I asked Rex later why he asked that question, he said: “It’s one of the 3 or 4 lowest points and/or most charged-up situations in any relationship run into. Without those turning points no relationship turns real, it just stays cursory.”

There is a time in my life I call “The Dark Ages,” and it lasted from age 19-21.  Terrible things happened during that time. No one knows everything that happened. I have never told. And I never will. Somethings just hurt too much to ever tell another.

David was my angel. He held me as I sobbed for hours, weeks, as I sobbed for months, even over a year. I sobbed for everything I had lost, all of myself that I could never get back. I wept for my heart, how it was so broken, I was broken, from the inside out. I had to look up to see rock bottom.  That was during the time I would drive 1,000 miles a day, just to be moving. I couldn’t be still because everything horrible would catch up with me.

I put that man through every kind of Hell imaginable. I yelled, lied, was so mean, wishy-washy, temperamental, distrusting. I never cheated, but I did treat him horrible. I put him through the ringer emotionally.

And he was there for me the whole time. He held me through it all, telling me it was going to be OK. He knew, whatever it was that hurt me so, I had to get it out.  He took my anger, pain, loss, confusion, loss of faith, disillusionment, emptiness, distrust, meanness….turned it into love, and gave it back to me.

That is Grace. And that is what I have prayed to have. It is not easy. Because you do have to care less for your ego than anything else. And sometimes, you do get beat up, quite a bit.

I thank David, to this day. I can never pay him back for what he did for me. His kindness, his wisdom, his Mercy, his Grace, saved my life. I cannot repay the debt, but I can pay forward.

Mercy Street, by Peter Gabriel is what he gave me:

A New Day

Sometimes all we need is a new pespective to see the beauty and excitment of a new situation. Even when we are afraid of the unknown, if we choose, we kind find the beauty. I believe that we find whatever it is we look for.

Celine Dion said this sing is about how excited she was when she found out she was pregnant. But I think it can be applied to many different situations in life.

Whatever our situation, how ever scared or tired, if we have faith and love, we can make it through. We just have to believe, and know that it will work out the best way possible. That in the end, it will all be as it should, however that works out to be.

And we have the strength and courage to start a new day. We look up at the sun, let it shine on our souls and realize, that regardless of if anyone else sees it or not, we are, by oursleves, a work of art. It is still going to be hard, and the road is going to be long, but that is OK, because each morning in a new morning and a fresh start to life, love and the world.

And it is time I celebrate the life that is around me and in me.

Calm After the Storm

We all have those times where the waters are so rough, you would think you are about to face a tsunami. Last week was that week for me. It was a rough week punctuated with ripple effects, lots of tears, high emotions and personal struggles not to be written about in a public forum. It was a week of learning, feeling, losing and gaining. Heartache multiplied and returned to me in Joy a thousand times over.

And then, this week, this day, there is calm. There is calm as I take a breath and take rest and refuge in the love of those who have sent encouragement, love, support, kindness, compassion, thoughts and prayers. As I let myself rest, closing my eyes and feeling the soft lull of the calm waves of life beneath me, I am so very thankful.

Thankful for the many blessings I have been given this week and last. Celebrating my father’s 76th birthday, when just a short while ago we thought we would lose him forever. My mother’s health returning, the legal struggle against my crazy ex finally coming to a close, seeing wonderful dear friends, feeling their arms around me in a true embrace that says I love and miss you, another promotion, another project, sincere hugs, soft hopefull kisses and a heartfelt reconciliation, are just a few things on the list of which to celebrate and be thankful.

And tonight, as I lay down to rest, and sleep takes me, I will dream soft sweet dreams of the future, of smiles, of laughter, of love, of friendship, of life. And I will enjoy basking in the sun of the calm after the storm.

And in this calm, a life will be built that is strong enough to endure the next storm when it comes ashore.

Fathers Day

I wrote this aboiut my Dad seeral years ago. It describes how I see him and the man he is. Every Fsather’s Day I post it on several sights. It is a day late this year, things were busy and I did not make it to the computer to post.

He is doing much better now, My father. He is feeling good, more energy than he has had a quite a while, and is in very good spitrits. He was s out working quite a bit this weekend, enjoying being with his grandsons. So here is my Father’s Day tribute to my Dad.

My Dad is like one of those men from the old movies.  The hero.  A man of few words rides into town, stands up for what he believes in, and touches everyone around him.

He leads by example.  Loyalty, honesty and spirituality.  Always keep your word.  Hold family close and God Closer.

My Dad has worked very hard to make a business and a reputation many would envy.  He’s worked hard to give his family the kind of life and opportunities where they would want for nothing.  He has integrity and honor, and those are not easy qualities to find these days.

He has been a wonderful example of a man, a father and a human being.  From quietly asking mom about our dates to sharing boiled peanuts and beer.

For these and so many reasons, too many to list, I am proud to call Jim Burch my Dad.  If I could have looked out and chosen who my father would be, I would have chosen you.

Love you Dad.  Happy Father’s Day.

Facts and Feelings

Someone asked me how my father being so sock and my mother going through cancer and treatment were different. There isn’t one that is better or worse, both are very difficult. But it is the law of nature that children bury their parents, so it is something that everyone must go through at some point in there lives. I just hoping to go through this when I was much older – like 80.

The facts are that we do not officially know how much time is left or not. It could be 6 months, it could be 6 years, it could be 20 more years (if he gets the liver transplant). But we do know that liver disease is not curable. It is manageable though. And with diet and medication it could be around for a long time. We will not know until we talk to the doctor in the follow up.

The not knowing is very stressful. And I wonder how many Fathers Days do we have left? It is hard because he is my Dad, he is the one who fixes things, he is not supposed to be broken. He is not supposed to be sick. But he is. And it hurts. It is an aching that just goes down to your core, deeper than anything else. He is my Dad and I adore him.

The fact of the matter is that I am looking for someone like my father…strong, honorable, solid, huge amount of integrity and honesty. Truth be told, be is who I measure all other men against, not because I have “Daddy Issues”, but because he simply is the best man that I know. I have seen how he treats my mother, how he loves and respects her, and she him. And I want that for myself. I want a man like that…I just don’t know if they still exist.

I look at my Father and he continually gives me hope that wonderful men are out there, they do exist. There are men who can love with all their hearts and be faithful to the woman they love. After the year of dating that I have had; from the man who attacked me, to the Ex-wife man, to the bad roommate I found out was actually still married (since 1988), to the last man I tried to date and seemingly have lost as a friend, I can look at my Dad and know that the good guys do exist. In a world of Tiger Woods, Jesse James, John Robert Mutt Lange and men like this in the public eye who cheat and use…knowing that my father is light years away from that mindset of dishonesty and deception keeps me grounded and hopeful. My father is an honorable man. This I know, deep down in my bones.

The fact of the matter is that millions have dealt with this and have gotten through it and I will too. The fact of the matter is that what I go through now is not significant in any way – it is only so because it is happening to me, in my life. So I should not complain, as we have had such a blessed life and will continue. But I still do. Not in a feel sorry for me way, but in a wow, this really hurts and is hard kind of way. In a let me write about this and it will help me feel better kind of way.

The fact is that worry does not affect the time he has or quality of life. It will not make things better or worse. This is all part of the human experience. But is is still stressful. My usually radiant skin is riddled with blemishes now from stress. Thank goodness for make up. it has made me short tempered and less tolerant – which may not completely be a bad thing. Sometimes I just feel like hiding from the world. other times I want to be someplace quiet. I do want to people who are dear to me very close. I cannot go through all of this without my friends. I will need shoulders on which to cry.

And so it is, the facts and the feelings, of the matter. My dear, wonderful, amazing, gentle father, is sick. He may not have a lot of time. And this makes me feel many things, but mainly heartbroken.

And yet, we cannot loose sight of our own lives. we cannot give up our own joy and happiness. We must still live and be alive, even when a tear in our hearts.

Dating, Dancing and Weekending

It is the weekend, and once again, I am excited. Once again I am going home to speand time with my family. But this trip is not like the others, as this trip will be to just enjoy and be together. Dad is going to be fine and both he and Mom get stronger every day. So there is much to look forward to this weekend.

And this is just one example of how life is much better on this the first day of the sixth month of the year. Family is so important and life just feels out of whack when something is wrong with those who are so very dear.  Now that the emergencies are over, life is much lighter and more enjoyable.

Yesterday I talked with my father for the first time since his return from the hospital. He answered my mother’s phone and hearing his voice unecpectedly nearly took my breath away. What a welcome surprise. And I found myself talking and asking him questions just to hear his voice when he answered.  Life is very fragile and we must appreciate those in our lives who mean the most.


It has long been said that dating is a dance. And indeed it is. But does it also have to be a game? No, I don’t think so. It is a dance in the fact that you get to know each other, and determine what to reveal when. I have been told that I am a very hard person to get to know. I disagree with that statement. But I can be hard to handle, even to those who know me best.

So what happens when a klutz tries the dance of dating? Much comedy ensues I am sure.  A few mis-steps, maybe even some smushed toes. But that is the thing about dancing, you just keep going. And if you have a misstep, hopefully you have a partner who is strong and patient enough to keep going too.  And if he is a good dancer, that is even better, and more exciting.

And so it goes, both partners dancing with each other. And as long as they are having a good time and enjoy one another, does it really matter if they are dancing to their own beat? I don’t think so.  If they are really in tune, they don’t need any music at all. And that is what makes it fun, that is what makes it special and that is what makes it beautiful.

And there is something to be said about about the slow burn, and a relationship growing from friendship. Watching that transformation happen is a marvelous thing. Again, things may be a bit clumsy, but there can be great grace even in that. It also doesn’t hurt if he is tall, sexy and a good kisser. So the trick I think, is to just sit back, relax and enjoy the dance.


My sister is coming up to visit next weekend. It has been a long time since it has just been the tow of us in the city. Most of the time her visits have revolved around her son, my nephew, or other family members, being there as well. This will be the first time in a couple years that it will be just as girls.

She stays till Tuesday, as she is here for work as well. But the weekend shall Be ours to play. And in planning and thinking about what all we can do, I also remember her growing up.

My big sister, the one who I always wanted to follow and be just like when I was little. And then she would sit on me and tickle me until I pied in my pants (did I really just write that out loud??). She is the one who tortured me growing up, and who helped me understand Math in school. She is the one who I would play play Tag with out in the yard, and Monopoly with on Christmas morning as we were waiting until we could wake our up our parents. She is the one who gently, lovingly and tenderly held me as I cried, battered and bruised after the attack last year. She is the one who hurt as I hurt on that day. And she is the one who has been my support and best friend through so many of life’s struggles and trials. She is the one who buried me up to my neck in the driveway when I was a toddler, she taught me how to make the perfect cup of tea, and cup of coffee. She is my big sister.

And we are going to have such a great time on her visit, just the two of us. There will be cooking and laughing, reading, drinking of wine, eating, meeting friends, a little salon time, sipping tea on the back porch, lots of talking, maybe a little bit of shopping and just being sisters. I can’t wait!

Push Back

Now that life has seemed to go back to normal, and things have calmed down some what, I am ready to hit the ground running. Work is picking up and it is summer so I am ready to once again have a jammed packed schedule. But it is more than wanting to be busy and enjoying the summer. It is also wanting to examine things on a deeper level, for my interests to be on a deeper level.

There is a drive deep within me that no matter what I accomplish, I want to accomplish more and better. I am never satisfied with myself and always want to be growing, learning and doing. And I am ready to resume. Yes, there is a growing list of things that I wish to do, and existing things that I want to do better.

For starters, this blog. I want it to be less of a daily dairy of my activities and light thoughts and more of a deeper look at life and all things in it. A look at humanity, Faith, relationships, and thoughts. My life really is not interesting enough that someone would want to read the daily musings of my life…so I need to step this blog up a but and have it read more intelligently.

There are pictures that I want to take. I am finally ready to come out of my hermit stage and start socializing with friends again. I want laughter and wine and memories of good times this summer. I want slow, passionate kisses that make you glad you are a woman. I want hand holding and long hot nights. I want adventure, falling asleep to the sound of the rain and finally finishing up some writing projects that have been hanging out there for a while.

The treadmill is fixed and needs to be used…a lot. I always feel better when I am exercising and it is just time to get off the couch. And it is time to prepare for buying a house in early 2014. It will still be a buyers market and it is time I own some real property. A place to raise a family.

So things are about to get busy. And I may not be writing as much as I rethink the depth and breadth of topics. I’ll take quality over quantity any day. And that is the theme of this summer. I have spent the last 9 months shedding what is not needed, wanted, useful or healthy. Now, streamline and efficient, my life is ready to get back on track My groove is ready, and the summer is just the push I need.

Response: Your Awakening

A While ago, I posted a blog entitled Your Awakening. It was an amazing piece. My very good friend Rex also read it, many years ago and sent this response to me. And I thought I should share. Thank you again so much, dear friend.

I see it this way: from a guy who has pissed away more great chances in a week than most men will see in a year: I’ve been allowed to see incomprehensible scenery connected to a brain that “gets it”.
Without those missed chances I would have: never been able to speak of the pain of an aborted father in the throes of post-regret, nor spoken to others who are bleeding the same way. Never known the kind of fervor and spit and fire it takes to speak my mind into a howling wind and actually made it slice through.
Never known the dubious pleasure of bringing down a pseudo-Napoleon living as king of his particular hill in a school system I pay for.
Never heard the voice of a now-relieved-son thanking me for helping his invalid grandmother out of a winter storm
Never had the ocean-powered wave of gratitude wash over me when I, alone, stood with one, wrongly accused, against a courtroom full of antagonists. (Not-guilty, by the way)
Never known the sheer power of being the one in the fray who is COMMITTED.
Never been able to speak of true, unrequited, ripped-apart love to an adolescent who’s going through the same thing.
Never known the joy of vocally and VERY audibly cheering a teenager when they finally excelled at something and got their due for it.
Never seen the pain in a true friend’s eyes when they buried their youngest. Never been able to hold them and let them cry the way they would only in a true friend’s arms.
Never been blessed to help bear the pain of someone you love on any level.
Never felt so dirty and ashamed as to chase even my closest friends off.
Never felt the heat of a South Georgia summer.
Or the cold of a Kentucky ice storm.
Or the power of an Alabama thunderstorm.
Or the thundering beauty of a Mississippi sunset.
Or the caress of a Tennessee mountain morning.
Or the complete release of a hearty and block-shattering “KISS MY ASS” to authority.
Or of watching the pain
the pleasure
the ecstacy
the victory
of discovery.
Would never had heard the crowd’s approval swell like a big gentle wave in the warm Gulf.
Or my new bride, taking such care to dress in some kind of frilly underpinnings complete with garters and white stockings say, “…do you mind if we don’t”, on my wedding night.
Not a bit. I just drove three hours through nowhere, Mississippi to say to the hotel clerk, “I’ve waited 31 years to say this: I just got married, and I need a room.” I was tired. Be real.
I would have missed words like, “I do”, “You may take your planet home”, “Would you hand me the piano?”, “I want to try everything, tonight.”, and “Honey, wake up. Hannah Newton was killed last night in a car wreck. John was right behind her.”
Not all of these are pleasant or desirable but they are rich. A mosaic of life. If we didn’t like imperfection and character, photographs would far outsell paintings. It’s what we’re here for.
I would have missed the roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd, and the cussing of the GM.
And I would have missed you and your smile.
Most of all.
Stop searching. It’s already there.

A Good Match

A Good Match

Always continue the climb. It is possible for you to do whatever you choose, if you first get to know who you are and are willing to work with a power that is greater than ourselves to do it. Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The first few days of a new job is similar to the first few dates with a new person. You ask a lot of questions, you listen, and you take a lot of mental notes.  You may have a few laughs, you learn a lot of new things and you think about what the possibilities of the future. You decide if you may be a good match.  And from all indications, yes we are (the new job, still not dating). I have hit the ground running and it is very exciting. No waiting around or trying to figure out what and where to start. It’s jump right in and get it rolling.

I work well under pressure and thrive in the environment. The group is creative and very generous with information.

It is a good match.

There is no chance, no destiny, no fate, that can circumvent or hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul. – Ella Wheeler Wilcox



All love that has not friendship for its base, is like a mansion built upon the sand. Ella Wheeler Wilcox

It is hard to see and watch your parents age, to become weaker than they were before and have accidents and falls associate with the loss of coordination that comes with being elderly. It is hard to watch them struggle to do tasks they had little or no problem with even a few years ago. My parents are very active people, but they are having accidents and falls, they are catching illnesses that the elderly are susceptible to and having more trouble getting over them. It is hard. And I know it is something many people my age or older go through.
I look at the lines on my Mothers face…laughing lines, loving lines, learning lines, living lines, have made a map that documents so many places in her life and experience. I see my ear sweet father’s hands as they shake when they hold things. I hear the age in their voices, in their walk. But I also see their strength in handling everything in life. I see the joy in their smiles and feel it when they hug me. And each moment with them seems so much more precious. And I want to press each second into my mind, a safe place where they will not ever be forgotten, not even one second.
These dear people who have taught me so much, made me who and what I am, are truly my heart. And I love them.

And the smile that is worth the praises of earth is the smile that shines through tears. Ella Wheeler Wilcox



You may choose your words like a connoisseur, And polish it up with art, But the word that sways, and stirs, and stays, Is the word that comes from the heart. Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Many have said that I have a gift for writing, many have said they love to read my words because my words move them. This is such a tremendous compliment. Many have asked how I write, what is the process, how the words are chosen. I can only say that I write from the heart, and that is why, I believe, others are moved.  I write what I feel, at that moment in time. And it comes truly from the bottom of my heart, the deepest and sometimes darkest parts of me (though many times the darkest parts do not get published for public reading).

I write when I am hurt, happy, depressed, discouraged. I leave pieces of my heart on this screen with each post I make.  There is hope, fear, anger, joy and mostly, love.  Mostly because, all because, that it what is in my life.

I am glad my writings move others. To make someone feel something, to transfer that emotion from my heart to someone else’s, is an amazing thing. So thank you for all those who read and share in these pages and little pieces of my heart.

Dreams Fall Like Rain

“Succeed brilliantly so dreams fall like rain.” – Ada Burch

This sentence was put together at a good friends house. She had those little magnets on her refrigerator where they give you words and you create sentences.  And after we had some wine, I as in her kitchen looking at the random words that were not in use and somehow it come together. I even took a picture of it.

That was years ago and that little sentence has stuck with me all this time. I felt the vibrations of the meaning resonate deep within me. What it means to me, is that if we work hard, work smart, have Faith and believe, then we can accomplish not only our goals, but our dreams as well. And our dreams will fall like rain. They will fall on us in such amounts that our lives will be drenched with them. We have the power to make our dreams reality, but first we must believe in ourselves and the world enough to believe that we can.

And we must surround ourselves with equally powerful and extraordinary people. I don’t mean only being friends with those who can help you. I mean surrounding yourself with positive people who believe in themselves too. That positive energy is just as contagious as the negative, so if you are going to catch something, make it what can help lift you up. And when you surround yourself with those who reflect the beliefs and level of integrity that you have yourself, the magic happens. You inspire each other, you pull each other, you cheer for each other and celebrate the success with each other.

You also celebrate the failures too. Yes, I said celebrate the failures. That is because sometimes you have to learn what doesn’t work in order to know what will. Sometimes the best lessons are learned by failures. And when we have people around us who help us see what we learned, and who refuse to let us feel sorry for ourselves (or at least don’t let us throw a pity party for long) then we get up and dust ourselves off a lot faster. Nor do we feel as timid about trying again when we have a cheering section behind us. And the success is that much sweeter when we can share it with those who have traveled with us in our trails. Friendships like that foster an environment of trust and encouragement. We help each other be strong when we are weak and brave when we are scared.

Work hard, have Faith, Pray and believe. No man is an island, so surround yourself with good fertile land of supportive , love friends. And may your dreams fall like rain.


The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy. – Meryl Streep

If last week was about emotions, then this week is about relief. And empathy. It is only Tuesday but  I feel  tired, yet very hopeful. My father is doing better and grows stronger by the day. He is not out of danger, but doing much better none the less.

And with all that happened last week, still much was accomplished. A new job and 3 freelance projects completed. I saw a favorite musician live (LOVE live music), almost fixed the treadmill, caught up with some great girlfriends, took care of my nephew and went down to see the family. Maybe there is a reason I am so exhausted. My emotions have been raw and fragile after the past week.

So this week, I am resting. And I need it.  I do not have to drive anywhere this weekend, so that will be nice as well. I am taking care to make things at home comfortable, taking long hot bubble baths, painting my nails, listening to soft music while candle light dances on the walls, drinking sleepy time tea and maybe a glass of wine. I love wine, but tea has such a healing quality to it.

Sometimes it is like being held in a strange paradox – being ready for all the good stuff to come, but needing to rest and heal before it gets here. But I have learned that you must listen deeply to what is inside of you and honor it. And so I need to take this time and heal from all the emotions that have come in the last month. Take time and process all that has happened, both good and bad. With my parents, with my friends, with my personal life, with my career, with my writing, with my home, with my life.

And we need to take time to process sometimes. To cocoon away and be safe and protected.  To pray and have Faith, to let God’s warmth and Promise renew our energy. To make sure we are heading in the right direction, to re evaluate, to make sure our feet are still on solid ground, even if we have felt some shifts. And the shifts are not all bad as they can realign what was out of whack. But we must process first. And let the relief wash over and comfort us like rain washing away the old dirt off our souls. And when the sun shines again, we too are clean of past residue.

And after a time of relief, it will be a time for celebrating. It is summer, and the air is heavy with anticipation. Life awaits….

Faith in Love

What makes us, I wonder, have faith in love? On the surface, this may seem like a silly question, but it has a much deeper significance. What I mean is, after we see it fail so many times, what makes us want to keep trying? What makes us still have faith in that happily ever after? What makes us still have that glimmer of hope that one day…Where is the origin of Faith in Love? From where does it come?

What makes us keep looking and what makes us settle for less than what we really want? Do we just get lonely? It is born from the need to share? I recently had someone tell me that they were not with the person they really wanted, but that they just didn’t want to be alone, they had a lot of great gifts to give and just wanted to make someone happy. This person is just human. I think many people have felt that way at some point in their lives. I have felt that way. The only thing that has stopped me from having a ‘place holder’ so to speak is the knowledge that I would probably hurt the other person. No one wants to be just a ‘place holder’ – that person who is used because no one better is available.

The Book I am currently reading has me thinking of many things. In addition to the wonderful erotic part of this story, there is further examination of the bonds of love and how it truly feels in the human soul. When the two main characters meet, she describes the feeling of when they first shake hands. That current of electricity, how it nearly knocks her off her feet, how she feels it every time they meet subsequently after, how it affects her, how she knows she has to stay away from it at first and exactly how things develop from there. I have felt that electricity upon meeting twice in my lifetime.  Once in my early 20’s, once in my late 30’s and fell in love with them as well. I wonder if that electricity is real, or just an attraction? Is that the platform on which love begins, or it is just an illusion? Is there really such a thing as love at first sight? And what makes us have faith that it actually does exist?

I know from experience, that when we feel that electricity, especially if it is mutual, (and if it is that strong then it usually is), it is irresistible to us and we must follow. I tried both times to stay far away from both men I felt it with, and failed miserably. I simply could not stay away, as circumstances seemed to interfere again and again, making sure we were at the same place at the same time. Scary, thrilling, fun, breathtaking, amazing, terrifying are just some of the words that come to mind. And we must follow.

Maybe it is Hope that makes us have faith in Love, and that love at first sight does exist. I say that because I hope what I felt was real. I hope that the next time it truly lasts. I hope that what was felt was mutual. And I hope one day I feel it again. One thing is for sure, when you have felt it, that strong, pure and irresistible, it makes it hard to settle for anything else. A ‘place holder’ just is so…small and pale in comparison. And as powerful as loneliness can be, I don’t think it is powerful enough to replace the hope of that feeling again. Maybe the third time will be the charm.


Learning From My Biggest Mistake

Recent events have brought up many memories and thoughts of THE original ex. He was the first man I kissed, he took me on my first date, he taught me how to shoot pool, play poker, taught me about music, driving, dirty jokes and so much more. All together he was in my life for a little over 20 years. He was such a part of my life and the family that my Mother, sister and I would often dream about him when we were apart. The impact this man had on my life is immeasurable.

We got back together 13 years after we first broke up, it seemed like a dream come true. How romantic was this story? To be reunited with your first and only true love? Surely it was a sign that we should be together for the rest of our days. The first man I ever kissed, would, after all those years, also be the last. But it was such a sick relationship, there are really no words to describe it and I did not see it at the time. In hindsight, we were not in love with each other, both of us were in desperate situations, and we both fell in love with the idea of this romantic story coming true. In essence, we were in love with love, not each other.

I was in a bit of a desperate situation when he came back into my life, and I saw that as a sign. He was my knight in shining armor, coming to rescue me. That was not so much the case. What I have learned in my old age is that when you make decisions based on desperation, or to get out of a desperate situation…you are trading one disaster for another, and it may be a tossup as to which one is worse. Getting back together with him seemed to solve all of my problems and would make life easier. But I traded up for larger problems. It can be very easy to mistake extreme relief for love, when all your problems are solved by being with someone.

What I have learned is that love gives you Peace, not relief. There is a difference between the two. The Peace comes from knowing that regardless of whether or not that Love is ever returned, it is freely and joyfully given. And that allows you to walk away from an unhealthy relationship even when you love them. There was no Peace in that relationship, no calm, no quiet, no relief even. It was a constant source of unrest, upheaval, unpeace, confusion, pain and anger. Love does not feel that way.

I left my home and moved up north to be with him, to start our life. And right away there was trouble. I was a committed partner and I would fight for our love. Be very careful to what and to whom you are committed. Tether yourself to a falling star and it’s a very rough ride down. So many issues: Personality disorders, infidelity, addictions, money…all things he brought.

When addictions are an issue in the relationship, be very careful. Depending on the person and the addiction, it can be a disaster. If we only had one issue to deal with we may have made it, but having to deal with all of them was just a recipe for a sickness. There are limits to what two people can work through, and any one of those issues would be difficult. Add them all together and all the issues that were compounded…and it was not good.

But I wanted to make it work, because I loved him, because I thought it was a reflection on me if it failed, because I thought somehow his addictions and unfaithfulness were my fault because I was lacking as a partner, because I seemed lost without him, because I wanted the life with him we always dreamed. He had been my Prince Charming for 20 years. And 20 years can be a powerful factor when you are thinking of leaving. or staying gone. I had no idea who I was without this person in my life.

And in trying to make it work, I ended up in a very codependent relationship. It is easy to get sucked into, hard to get out of and unhealthy for all. I didn’t even realize it until after the relationship failed. I just wanted it to work so badly. You would think as much counseling we had together, someone would have mentioned it. Nope.

Yes, we did counseling, church, praying, fasting, reading, couples exercises…and sometimes they would work, for a little while. And then things would go back to where they were before.  I think he tried as much as he had the capacity. But you cannot expect an empty box to fill itsself.

Looking back, would I do it over again if I had the chance? …No, probably not. The cost was just too high, the damage too deep, and it took years to get over. And even now, there are some aspects of my physical health that will never fully recover.  I vacillate between thinking he was a good but tragic man, and thinking there is a special place in Hell, just for him.

But that is the thing about hindsight. You always know the mistakes after you make them, even when warned before hand. Although plenty of people warned me that it would not work, they never said why. That left me thinking that they did not understand, but it was I who did not. While I do not believe in regrets, I wish that I had never tried to reconcile. Who knows what my life would have been like without the damage it caused –  to me, to him and to my family. It was the biggest mistake I have ever made in my life. It was 7 years ago this summer that I left him.

Loving someone is never a mistake, but trying to make it work, regardless of the cost is. At least that is what I took away from my expereince. I learned to know my limitations, to respect myself enough to know what issues can be worked through, and which ones can’t. I should have believed him the first time he cheated when I was 17, I should have believed the first time he lied to me when I was 29, and I should have been smarter about the decisions I made in relationship. If I had, I would have walked away much sooner, with the same paece of mind and much less emotional, mental and physical damage. I forgave him a long time ago, but that never meant I had to go back, or that I have to go back now. So, love well and completely, but be smart, make smart decisions. Because sometimes you have to look past your own emotions and your own desires to know if something is worth risk and the cost.

Easter Reajustments

Easter has always been a very spiritual time and this year was no exception. We were all tired from a very hard emotional week and all of us rested, talked, cried, cooked, laughed, ate and celebrated together. Pictures were taken, little chicken peeps were held, eggs were gathered, neighbors were welcomed. Normally the family gets up early for the Sunrise Easter Service, but this year we worshiped by being thankful for everyone being present and alive. This Easter was Sacred. Hugs were held just a little longer, and no chance to say I love you was passed up.

And as I watched the love and affection that flows so easily from my parents, I looked down on their wedding band on my finger. I am blessed to have such an example of love and family. And I want to pass that on to my children. I also took stock in my life and the recent events that played out. I am not going to date for a while…my poor heart needs a break. And I should not bring issues into the next relationships from the last. Also, I want a man who wants a family, because I want a family. He could already have children, we could have children or a combination of both, but this is what I want. And it is not a biological clock thing, it is a finally, I am ready to share my life and build something more thing. But first my heart needs rest.

So for the next while I will focus on love of a different kind – love of Friends, love of Family, love of God and love of Faith.

Yes, sometimes life gives you curve balls, and you must re adjust. You may cry, vent, talk, write, whatever to get it out of your system, but in the end, you calm down and readjust. You Pray, you focus, you enjoy the moments before you…and you take baby steps. And before you know it, those baby steps have taken you across miles of road, and you look up and see how far you have come. I look forward to that day.

The Treadmill

The Treadmill

The treadmill and I have had a rocky relationship, I won’t lie. I frequently joke and call it the Dreadmill, because it sits in my garage taunting me. Most of the time. But recently The treadmill and I have gotten along quite well and, dare I say, even become friends. We have worked hard together over the last 6 weeks or so and now I can fit into my skinny pants.  Yes, the treadmill has been there for me, through the winters when it was too cold to run, through the rain and most often, when it is dark and just not advisable for a girl to run at night. Yes, the Treadmill has always been there for me.

And now, my poor Treadmill is sick. It’s belt is slipping and not sitting right and it started making a strange  scrapy sound when I was running on it tonight. So I adjusted the belt as I have done from time to time and the sound only got worse. And then the slipping started. And then the noise got worse.  So I stopped adjusting it for fear of adjusting it to pieces.

And the workout stopped. Yes sometimes you just don’t know the value of something until it is gone. Now, for the sake of my skinny pants, I must either fix it, find someone who can fix it or find someone with a treadmill. I prefer the latter two choices, as it seems my original adjustments only made it worse.


The Happy Hum

As I sit in my office and type, the windows open, letting in all the fresh night spring air, listening to the sound of the washing machine, I have a feeling of contentment that comes over me. It is the contentment that can only come from a happy home.

And yet there is something missing. It is not a loneliness I feel, but rather something from a deeper place.  It is the desire to share with another. I am in a good space, I have a great life but there is the desire to share it with someone and give of myself to something larger and more important than just me.  I have prayed for it and now I wait. And sometimes waiting is the hardest part of praying, because it requires patience. While I am a patient woman, it is hard for me sometimes to not just charge in and make it happen. But somethings cannot be rushed, and some things are sweeter when you have to wait for them. For it is in the waiting that we truly recognize our desire.

I want a happy home filled with a happy man and the laughter of children and friends.  Truly a home is a reflection of the warmth and love that is felt within the walls, and I want my home to be bursting with it. But I need more than just myself. And that is a lesson that has been hard for me to learn in life – I need more than just myself.

The honesty and simplicity of that statement is profound. I need others around me, to serve them, love them, to share with them, to give. I need to take care of others, and have the need for someone to take care of me as well, but only one man.  And I am ready. I am ready to be vulnerable, ready to go first, ready to put it all on the line.

And from this readiness comes a joy and Peace that I  have not felt before.  And in this sacred season of Lent, as I am still and listen, it is that answer which I hear.


Get the Neg Out

It happened about 5 months ago, maybe 6. I started looking at the kinds of people I had in my life, and I was really not happy with what I saw.  Many of the people in my life were what I call ‘Paper people’. Paper people look good on paper, they have good steady jobs, they know all the right people, go to all the right places…but they are thin as paper too and have no depth. Suddenly I realized I was in the shallow end of pool as far as friends go, and that was not where I wanted to be. I really did some thinking, contemplated on what my values meant to me and how those values translated into friendships.

These shallow people, I discovered, valued gossip and being the first to have the inside scoop on a good story more than they did things like loyalty and integrity. So I slashed, slashed, slashed. I cut about 75% of my friends off. If they were negative, they got cut. If they were gossipy, they got cut, if they did not have the same values and views on life as I did, they got cut. I became rather judgmental and very picky.

And I have never been happier. What did I learn? That there is nothing wrong with being extremely picky with who you let into your life. When you let people with inferior standards in your inner circle, you pretty much let in the trash and leave yourself open for unnecessary drama and pain. When you get these people out of your life it makes space for wonderful, positive things.

And that is where I am now.  The people in my life are rock solid. And when you have people with solid values in your life, you have a much better chance of being happy, at least I think. So don’t be afraid to be picky, very picky. Because with any luck, your friends and your significant other are the people who will be in your life for a very long time.

You Had Me at Hello

“Heart beats fast
Colors and promises
How to be brave
How can I love when I’m afraid to fall
But watching you stand alone
All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow?” Christina Perri, A Thousand years (song)

Love at first sight.  That moment when we meet someone and our world is never the same. We have heard about love at first sight, we have seen in in movies, read about it in books, maybe even known a friend of a friend of a friend who knew someone who it happened to, maybe. But it doesn’t happen in real life, right? There is an order to love, a scientific formula as to how it happens, right? It makes no sense that you would fall in love like that.

When has love ever made sense? When has anyone been able to predict or measure how love moves? I believe love at first sight, but I think it is very rare. And when it does happen, it is very scary, actually it can be downright terrifying.  And suddenly, that which we prayed to find, that which we seek, is that which we try to outrun. Our fears of being hurt, hurting another, trusting, being vulnerable come to the surface. We try to rationalize it – it makes no sense to feel this way so soon, so fast. I wasn’t looking for this, I don’t need it, this can’t be good. Oh, but what if?  What if it really is…love?

It is an irresistible force, love. Love is a gift. And what happens when we try to outrun it is that it ends up surrounding us anyway. Yes Love is a cheeky little bastard. So what do we do about it? There really is nothing that can be done. And just because it’s love doesn’t mean it is going to be easy. Love is very often, inconvenient; it comes when we least expect it and when we are not looking. There are other facets of life that must be considered. But with a little bit of work, some trust and a lot of Faith, those things will fall into place. You work around life, other commitments and schedules. You take each other however you can, whether a quick phone call, a cup of coffee, a late night glass of wine or emails and texts. And you figure it out, slowly.  Even with love at first sight, you don’t have to have all the answers right away, there is plenty of time. A lifetime of time.

You move carefully. You will make mistakes and so will the other person, but that is OK. You don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to get everything right. You treat it gently, recognize it as being sacred. You respect it, nurture it, be devoted and kind to it. And you pray and you trust. And you communicate and you give the benefit of the doubt. You navigate through the waters together. And along the way you laugh, you cry, you have the adventure of a lifetime. And you do the scariest thing of all – you fall.

I have died everyday waiting for you
Darling don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

And you fall…

What I Want

When I look out in the world and say prayers for what I want the list is very simple. I want it all.

I want a life that is meaningful, happy and fulfilling.

I want to help people.

I want something larger than myself to build.

I want to be called beautiful instead of hot, long kisses and late night conversations.

I want a slow burn.

I want to write.

I want to travel.

I want a lot of laughter with family, friends and loved ones.

I want a warm, safe home, filled with laughter, love and children, where all who visit feel welcome and wanted.

I want hand holding and passionate nights, looking in each others eyes.

I want warm days and cold nights by a fire.

I want family that is close knit and supportive.

I want to serve.

I want who I miss to miss me too.

I want answered prayers and great church sermons that touch your soul.

I want thoughtfulness and kindness and understanding and patience.

I want more than a 9-5 kind of love. I want to know he is thinking about me, sometimes.

I want to give even more and better than I get.

I want sunshine and rain, and storms and calm evenings.

I want it all.

And as I think of my life and look over this list, as incomplete as it may be, and I am blessed. For I already have so much. But I still do not have it all, and that is what I pray for, what I work hard for, what I try to be worthy of and that for which I hope.

Ah-Hah Moment: My Need to Give

We all have things that we need in life, we all have what we pray for, what we hope, what makes us happy and fulfilled. During this Sacred time of Lent, I have been thinking about these things on a very personal level, and I had a bit of an ‘Ah-hah’ moment.

In all of the dissection of what I need to be happy, what I need is to give to others. Three years ago I said a very heartfelt prayer. At the time I was 36, and had lived my life always for myself. I wanted and prayed for something larger, work for something bigger than just me and what I wanted – something more, more meaningful, deeper.

A week after I said that prayer, my nephew was accepted to Southern Polytechnic University to study Mechatronics. All of the sudden, my world turned upside down. I went from a luxury one bedroom apartment to a three bedroom house, with a basement and huge yard. And this was when I struck out on my own freelance writing. I was working 18-20 hours a day, completely supporting my nephew financially while he was in college, and taking care of a house and yard for the first time in my life. I would stay up and worry how I would do it and if I could. I worked like a dog, I cried myself to sleep, when I slept, many nights out of worry and frustration…but I was happy. It was so difficult, but so beyond worth it.

During that time I put him through college, supported myself, started a business and a very successful writing career that is thriving to this day. And the foundation for all of it was built because it meant more than just me. And I want that again.  It is not the relationships, though that would be nice, but it is the need to give. I am a caregiver, it is my calling. It is what gives me the most joy and the most fulfilment.

I was brought up to be a caregiver, as my mother is one.  My parents took foster children, the worst and most abused in the system came to us, because my mother was so good with them. And she taught me, by example how to serve and understand children. Growing up I was a youth leader in church and a counselor. I helped lead the youth activities not only in my church, but in the Dioceses and beyond in Georgia. I was part of a group of youth that helped establish youth programs for other churches as well. I was a camp counselor and even in my adult life continued to work with troubled kids and people alike. I am the one my friends go to when they need help, support or a place to keep their secrets. Yes, I am the secret keeper for them all.

So that is for what I pray. Not someone to give to me, but something more than myself to which I can give. I pray for something larger than myself to build, to love and for which to have a purpose. I pray that God brings this to me, as it is my need to give and serve others.  I wish for God to use me as His vessel and find where this need can manifest in the best way to serve Him.

I have been blessed, I have a wonderful life, a great family, a wonderful career that I love, great friends, and an incredible, magic life. But I want more. I want and need to give and build larger than just myself. And in that there is a Peace.

Edit and Update: I have signed up for EFM classes which start in the fall. EFM is a program of studying not only the Bible, but it’s history, language, authors, and society in the times of which it was written. My parents went through the entire training, and they loved it. They said it enrished their spirituality as well as their hosorical knowledge of the Bible. It is not a place where I can serve, but a place where I can learn. And in that learning I will be better equipped to serve.

Depth and Breadth

We all have those times or events on our life where we take a step back and take stock in who we have in our lives. The kinds of people we have in our lives. Recent events have made me take a good honest look at precisely that, and have thus caused a subsequent “cleaning out” of sorts. Everyone that didn’t seem to measure up, anyone who was dead weight, anyone who did not contribute something, in some way, was put out.

Now that I have space, it is very important to me that those who come in my life are quality. They must be exraordinary, because I am extraordinary. The fact is that when we try to lower our own standards to let more in our lives, we many times end up letting in the trash. I have found that it is actually harder to have a good life when you are surrounded by those who are not up to standard. Those people can hurt you more and make your life much more difficult than it would be otherwise.

We are taught that is it not right to judge others, but I think it is necessary, especially when determining who you want in your life as a friend, lover, co-worker, business partner or whatever. It is more than just with whom you can share a good time or laugh. To me, it is also whose values mirror my own.  I want deep character in my life. But in a world where people are obsessed with Angelina’s Leg, whether or not Snookie is pregnant and the death of Whitney Houston…is there any such thing as depth of character anymore?

Yes, I think so, but it is increasingly rare. And I think you have to look for it, and not accept what seems to be face value. Anyone can seem nice and wonderful on the surface, but only time will tell you what substance, if any, a person is made. I do think most people are good, kind and do the best they can any given moment. But for me, for who is in the “inner circle” of my life, that is not enough.

What gives a person depth? First, I think they have to be someone of faith, because faith is where you learn a good solid value system. Society’s values change, but faith based on believing in something larger than yourself, stays constant. It’s been 2,000 years and the 10 Commandments are still the same.

I also think having good solid family relationships promote depth as well. That is because whether it is our children, siblings or parents, if we are surrounded by those who love us and are loyal, we learn by example. If someone is a parent, you can learn a lot about them by the values they teach their children, again not just by teaching, but by example. Deep loyalty and love is then instilled in us, it is in our bones.  And no matter what, we always return to what we know in our bones. The same with being taught compassion, kindness, charity and character. A solid family that reinforces what is taught by strong faith is so important.

There is much more, but that is what I look for to start. No one is perfect and we will all make mistakes (especially me). You don’t have to be perfect to be a person of depth and quality, but how someone handles mistakes is very telling as well.  With all this in mind, I am perfectly happy having a small group of people in my life, and I would much rather have depth then breadth when it comes to the people in my life.


Dependability is defined as capable of being depended on; worthy of trust; Reliable. This quality is very important to me in my life.  It is ranked right up there with honesty and integrity. This is because, for me at least, I am a very concrete person, and it bothers me deeply when things or people are not dependable.

In the question of how you want your life to feel, you have to define what will bring that kind of life to fruition. For me, having things or people in my life that are dependable is indicative of authenticity. Unreliable seems to yield chaos, and chaos is not something I enjoy. I want peace, tranquility, joy in my life. Chaos is not conducive to any of those qualities, Of this I am certain.

Personally I need dependability because it is in my nature. I am truly at my happiest when things in my life are dependable and secure. I open up and trust, let go and believe when I see that things are stable. It is what I need. I am a slow and steady, solid, patient woman, but I don’t want to wonder or have to have back up plans for my back up plans. That is what my 20’s were all about and while fun, I do not wish to return. Now that I am closer to 40, there are things that are more important.

Chaos promotes what is confusing, unnerving, and stressful, at least to me. We must surround ourselves with what is dependable and authentic of we are to have the best life has to offer. Because when we grow, we must put down roots. Roots need fertile ground, whether it is a career, a relationship, a friendship or whatever.

So find out what kind of life you want, define the building blocks of what will get you there, and go for it. Don’t be afraid to raise the bar, it is your life, so don’t sell yourself short. And don’t settle for anything less than…because when building a foundation, you must use quality ingredients or everything else you build will be put at risk for falling down. Surround yourself with what is good, honest, dependable and has integrity, and you will not go wrong. With a depandable, solid foundation for your life, you can go off and have all the adventure you want, and build a life that is well live, well loved, and well done.

Church and Spirituality

I went to church service today for the first time since the attack. It has been the longest time I have been away from service. And I thought it was going to be very dramatic, I thought I would sob, I thought I would just burst into tears as soon as I walked into the building. But I did not. Instead it was quiet, a very quiet homecoming. There was comfort and  joy, and a quiet knowing that God was simply welcoming me back…He had not left my side at all. And there was a calmness, as if I knew I was right where I was supposed to be at that moment. I and was. I was embraced and welcomes by God’s Grace, and it was like wonderful warm blanket covering me on a cold day. And I felt safe.

And as I listened to the sermon, the words washed over me, quietly, and I simply felt Peace. And then I went up to take Communion, and I felt acceptance and love. Sometimes the most important things in life are not loud and big, sometimes they are quiet and deep. And as I sat in the church, I felt the need to be able to share my faith and church life with another. I think I realized, for the first time in a very long time, how important faith is to me in a relationship.  And I think I have been putting Faith in the wrong order…it seems I have been placing it as one of the last things…as in well, if everything else lines up, and then the faith, then we will see if it will work. But the truth is, Faith should be first. I think when you let your Faith lead your heart, that is where you find It. It being whatever or whoever you are supposed to find.

Looking back in the past, that is where I failed. I remember the man I was going to marry wanting to get hitched in the courthouse, not a church. He had married his ex wife in a civil ceremony, so why not me too? Aside from the fact that I don’t remember any of the commandments being “Thou shall beat thy wife”, a true man of God would want to be married in a church, in front of the eyes of God, just as much as I. For a girl like me at least, doesn’t get married in a courthouse.

Maybe because I was raised to believe that every persons relationship with God is very personal and should not be judged, I had not thought too much if someone did not hold the same faith as me. But now I think it is very important. This is not because of the attack, but my own reasoning. I need someone who truly understands faith in God. It is my faith that drives me, at the core of it, to be better every day, to try harder every day, to do  my best, every day.

I want someone in my life who not only talks about faith, but who really gets it. Because faith is more than talk, it is believing it, living it, breathing it. It is not just something you talk about it is something you live, it is part of your daily thoughts and activities. It is on what everything else is based. To me, my faith in others comes from the same place as my faith in God. My love for others comes from the same place as my Love for God, because it is His love that flows through me. I explained this to my nephew today, that my faith in him is unshakable, and no matter what he does in life, I will always love him. And this faith in him and love for him comes from God and passes through me. And I want someone who understands how deep that runs. It is more than a belief, it is Faith, and that Faith is so deep that it is a knowing.

I want someone I can go to church with someone who understands the true meaning of forgiveness, someone who get’s not only the scripture, but the history and context on which those texts were written. I want someone who feels it as much and as deep as I. And if there is someone who does not, then it does not make them a bad man, it just makes them the wrong man. For me. Because it is such a part of me, of who and what I am, at the core, that only someone who truly understands that kind of faith, will truly understand me.

And so moving forward, I know that God has been with me this whole time, His Grace holding my hand and guiding me. And I also know, that if I follow my Faith, he will show me right where I  am supposed to be. Quietly. Peacefully. Joyfully.