Monthly Archives: July 2010

Club Awesome List for Friday July 30, 2010

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I write this weekly gratitude list of original (to me) items. This discipline helps me to be aware of my intention to be grateful throughout my week and opens me up to notice the blessings all around me. Maybe they inspire you too.

1. Curbside recycling

2. Reconnections with GFs Liz, Sara and Lorna- they are the best meds anyone could ask for : )

3. Really cool skies to watch with funky clouds in the afternoon.

4. Shopping for longboard skateboard with son; precious camp postcards from daughter.

5. My dog Max’s butt is as fat as mine now, so he doesn’t mind running slowly with me while we build our mileage back up to our pre-Cheetoh levels..

6. Coffeemate coconut flavored creamer with Chai tea

7. Convertible BMWs

8. You, my blog readers! I am so very thankful that you read my blabbering and comment with your thoughts. You keep me thinking and considering the potential for all that Divine Energy and Love we have available to us. You keep me coming back to write more.

9. A humbling and inspiring verse Liz sent me:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you; when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Isa. 43:2-3

Obstacles Part 2

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Yes, I agree. The trusting God part of getting over obstacles does sound like the craziest idea ever. Why trust in something we cannot see or hear or touch or experience? Why put our finances, our parenting, our love lives, our careers, our beloved children in the trust of a divine energy that we don’t even know is really out there? Why talk to something that doesn’t talk back? Aren’t we just talking to ourselves?

I have no idea how “it” works. My friend Delia says that when we say things out loud it gathers energy. My friend Bhanu says “it just does”. Mary says that the Universe gathers our intentions and prayers and moves on them. My friend Brad says we have no choice but to trust, that is the mandate from the Bible. I say that there are some days when I have no choice; there is nothing else I can do, no other place I can go. My faith may be paper thin, and I may not totally believe that God hears anything I say or that there is a God. There are days when I wonder how to get out of bed, or how to get out the door, or what I could possibly offer to my kids or friends that is of value becasue I am so darned coiled up and lacking my own serenity. But I ask out loud on my knees for God to do for me what I cannot do for myself anyway, and clasp onto that papery belief that somewhere out there God hears me and cares about me.

Then a few hours later, my friend Leanne sends me an email or leaves a voice mail with precisely the information I need to get through the obstacle I have in my path with peace. Or Brad will send me a Bible verse that hits my heart like a pick-up truck and sends it back into the world of the living. Or Delia or Liz or Bhanu tell me a story that brings my heart out of hibernation. Katy tells me a hilarious joke about her life. IS this God reaching down to me, picking me up, or just kind friends offering me support and funny stories? I don’t know. How would I know?

Some people say that God talks and acts in our lives through our experiences with other people, with nature, with our readings, and with conversations with Godly people. I choose to believe that, and I ALSO choose to believe that I will never experience God’s blessings if I am not looking for them and open to receiving them. I must 1) believe the blessings are or will be there, and 2)think and act as if I deserve and intend to receive them. But that is just me. You make your own choices.

I have been closing my blogs lately with the wish that God’s grace rain down on you. I need to change it. Instead of wishing that God rains grace and blessings upon you, I need to offer the hope and wish that you see and receive God’s grace, mercy, courage, wisdom, and love. It IS there. We just need to open our eyes and hearts to it.

“The way of trust is a movement into obscurity into the undefined, into ambiguity, not some predetermined, clearly delineated future. The next step discloses itself only out of a discernment of God acting in the desert of the present moment”.
-Brennan Manning, Ragamuffins’s Guide to Ruthless Trust p. 12

Club Awesome July 17, 2010

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The purpose of this weekly blog entry is really a selfish one. I find that if I am not held accountable for gratitude on a daily basis, I let it slip and tend to think of the things I do not have rather than my blessings. So maybe these lists don’t do as much for you as they do for me. However, I hope they inspire you to think creatively about your life and what you are grateful for today. What follows are the awesome things I am thankful for this week. My friend Trish recommends I think of something original every day, so I am trying to be orginal each week too. It helps me keep actively thinking in terms of gratefullness.

1. Gorgeous lakes and trees and skies. I told my kids I think God hears extra gratitude prayers up here; it is so beautiful. I had 2 soaring bald eagles usher me in to the county yesterday as I drove.

2. My kids are awesome. I wish I could just talk about them all day. But I grew up in the midwest, and that is considered rude, so I just write about them instead. Is that still bragging?

3. My sister Molly, friends Delia, Leanne, Katy, Bhanu, Alison, and Liz, and more! Girlfriends are really super important in my life, and I am blessed to have them at my back!

4. For some reason, my boss is really ok with me working remotely! Wow! It rocks!!!

5. God is great. Whatever my stuff is today, God is with me and taking care of it better than I can.

I want, I want, I want

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I want, I want, I want. Can you hear me whining from there? There is just a ton of stuff I want and cannot have. I also do not always pay attention to my checkbook like I should. AND, I want to give away more money than I do. My friend Dan says “It is only energy”, but that is a hard idea for me to wrap my brain around. Money is a complicated concept- it is little green pieces of paper with too much power in my life. Definitely hard to balance…

“God- I want to experience a new way, a fantastically new way of money flowing into and out of my accounts. I would like to experience money as completely supportive energy, a blessing to me and others”.
Is this possible? I have no idea, but it is not IMpossible. I am putting this request out to the Universe, and then I will turn it over and stop worrying and believe. (Somewhere in Philippians there is a verse about that)

Paul’s letter to the Philippians says that when I pray and ask for it, guidance will show up, and I do not need to fret in the meantime. I want to attach abundance and joy to the money I make, spend, and give. I have some ideas for ways to be more mindful of money in our lives. I am going to try them… and, I am going to pray every day for guidance too.

1. Give money and things away generously. I grew up stingily (not a word, but you know what I mean). So this is hard for me. But I keep trying to flow out more stuff than I bring in, and to give regularly to my Church, give bonuses to service providers, and share with friends. These actions create more flow (www.crossroadscolorado.com podcast May 1, 2010).

2. Attach abundant and joyful feelings to money. I want love and abundance in my life- that is what I crave (along with serenity, chocolate, and hip sunglasses). So rather than moan and whine that I have no love and no money, I am giving myself and the world the love and abundance I want (Wayne Dyer, The Power of Intention). That draws them to me.

3. I study money a little bit. http://www.daveramsey.com is a great resource for learning how to handle money. I don’t have a partner looking over my shoulder, to see if I am saving enough, giving enough, or paying too much money for my shoes. So I need to learn to be my own smart financial partner.

4. Hang with friends who do not compete about spending money. I don’t hang with the concert crowd on weekends any more or the sailing group, or the motorcycle racers (as if i ever did!). My lifestyle doesn’t allow it and so I stay away so that I don’t tempt myself to whine and moan and cry “Oh me, why can’t I do that too?!” I hang with other people who use cash not credit cards. I choose one awesome sport that we do and I build our birthday presents and extra cash around it. It happens to be skiing, so his June birthday present is a ski pass, and her December birthday is her new ski boots.

5. Along with the crowd I hang with is the policing I do on my exposure to materialism. For me, this means I limit watching TV commercials–the perfect kitchens and cool couches actually get me down! I love Title 9 and Athleta catalogues, but if I sit and read them, I will whine internally that I am not living on a beach in Hawaii and dressing like a yoga teacher.

6. Balance my checkbook daily. This is VERY tough. I don’t do it, but it is my goal to know on a daily basis how much money is in my account and how much is going out in the next few days. So in addition to having a budget that I try to follow, I should/could watch my money very carefully. This includes using cash not credit cards. I’m so bad about borrowing money from the electric bill to buy dinner that I don’t even write checks anymore if I can help it. I either make the money go away instantly with a debit card of use cash. Suze Orman says we need to respect and pay attention to our money, or it won’t do what we want it to. http://www.suzeorman.com. I believe it!

7. Richest Man in Babylon is a great book. It is short, and it describes how a person can get out of debt and live within their means on a realistic budget, and be incredibly happy. I think I need to read it again…

8. Be content with money in the account, and believe I deserve the money. For some reason, this is hard for me! I have no idea who to blame for it: my parents’ upbringing during the depression, my lack of training in finances, my bank’s overdraft fees and policies, or my ex-husband. Ha! It doesn’t matter. I need to get over it, decide I will live responsibly, save responsibly, and that I do deserve to have money saved for retirement.

9. I tend to want to pay off all my debts as soon as I get a check in the mail. That is crazy. I need to pay attention to the spending plan I made for the month and get over my anxiety about owing the orthodontist extra money. I have a plan to pay off debts, and I need to stick to it and not blow my grocery money on debts to appease my ego… But don’t borrow any more money. Use the emergency fund instead. It is there for emergencies (not the new leather boots I am craving, or the bike he wants, or the cute bedroom furniture I wish she had).

10. Enjoy the money. When I spend it, be wise, not grudging with it. Be abundant with myself and others. That is easier said than done! I decided it is ok to go to Dairy Queen with my kids once a week (not Cold Stone every other day!); I buy us a treat at the grocery store whenever I can; I tip generously if/when I eat in a restaurant….

11. Regularly choose a day to SPEND NO MONEY AT ALL. Ideally, I would do this once a week. I would not get gas, a coffee, a sandwich, groceries, or even a cheap pizza. This awareness of having a perfectly wonderful day with my kids and myself without spending a dime all day is good practice. Come on, in other countries they go weeks without spending money. I can go one day once a week and have the discipline to choose not to spend money.

So those are my ideas for creating awareness, abundance and more joy around money in my life. They might work for you too… For single parents, money can be a tough tough thing. Too many debts, too little income, and too many expenses. I know how bad it can be. I was unemployed, in foreclosure and bankruptcy all at once. It sucked!! But now we ski and camp and travel. Whatever your financial situation, you can get out of it and build financial security for you and your kids. Remember to ask for help from God and humans, and don’t forget to accept the help that comes your way either!

May God rain blessings down upon you today as you venture out to live in the Light. Remember that God is with you, and available to guide you and bring you along to the life he has planned for you!

Obstacles

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“Prepare to have obstacles. Persevere anyway.”
Who said this quote? I knew at one time, but cannot remember his name, only that it is a large black man who is well respected. Was it Alex Haley? Samuel Jackson? Mike Singletary? Anyway, the author conjures up images of strength, wisdom, courage, and is basically a big strong dude who can bat away obstacles with a raised eyebrow.

I, however, am a 120-pound woman with a fear of rodents (all types, even furry hamsters). I am not always sure if I can persevere in the face of obstacles. Sometimes, I lose courage to stand up for what I believe in; I lose strength to say the truth, and I lose stamina to keep on going. However, as a parent, a worker, a friend, a daughter, a sister, or a partner, I need to keep persevering against the obstacles. I need to hold fast and not notice the rats in my way as I live the life God intended for me.

“Courage is fear that has said its prayers” (by yet another awesome author I don’t recall). To me, that means God is on our side; he wants us to succeed; he is pulling for us, he does not just cheer us on, he is right there in the battle with us! (But we gotta talk to him, and then forget about our fears and get on with it)

Sometimes life IS a battle, whether you are the gladiator-type or not. I am not just talking about getting the little darlings to shut down and go to sleep at bedtime. Job searches are all-out war with our ego, our fears, our hesitance to keep on calling, talking, researching, and networking. Teaching and modeling to our kids how to handle their stress and frustrations in productive ways rather than either exploding or brushing them under the carpet is a huge challenge when we are barely hanging on ourselves and want to bury in the bedcovers all day after a terrible eHarmony date, stacks of overdue bills, car breakdowns, or broken vows. Our extended families can really get a groove on with the guilt trips and cause me a boundary issue or two.

And marriages and partnerships… “When it comes to living and loving, what’s required is a willingness to jump in with both feet and be creative as you go” (Wild at Heart, by John Eldredge, p. 211). Successful relationships require that we be willing to fight for them- not fight each other- fight FOR each other. Fight for the union. Jump off the cliff together to figure out what is needed to persevere. Trap the rat and kill it together.

This is a battle. I know! When my boss/friend/sister requests that I fly across the country for their planned event the very weekend my partner and I have set aside for each other, I have to summon up my inner Mike Singletary/Richard Dent/Lawrence Taylor, block the guilt trip and persevere with MY priorities.

But how, how, how, when we are not 23 years old and full of youthful dreams and (unrealistic?) hopes as we start our adventures/relationships/lives? One answer- God. Divine love is the ultimate re-energizer, rejuvenator, healer, re-creator, teacher (I will need to learn how to lovingly refuse people who present obstacles), and so much more. When we put our trust in God, obstacles still exist (the rent still needs to get paid after all), but our battles become anthills because we know what to do. We are following God’s will, not our will and we are out of God’s way.

God gives us exactly what we need, we just need to ASK. OUT LOUD. ON OUR KNEES. EVERY DANG MORNING BEFORE WE BRUSH OUR TEETH.

God- help me to be the person you want me to be today so that I can live the incredible life you have planned for me with the love, delight, trust, enlightening, playfulness, beauty, bravery, companionship, service to others, loving support, and so much more beyond my wildest dreams. Thank you for teaching me and guiding me every day to live in your light on your path for me. I know you are taking me to fabulous new places to accomplish amazing things with you. Thank you!

May God have mercy upon you today and love on you dearly as you learn about and love others. Just remember: With God’s help, nothing is impossible and we CAN move from darkness to light. You have much to offer the world, keep giving your light and see what light reaches you!

Savor the Path

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Enjoying the path we are on today seems to be SO important, and yet I need help with it. I cannot quite “flip the switch” and be in contentment and trust sometimes. I can get too muddled up in my analysis mode, which then morphs into the guilt mode if I let it run rampant. Before I know it, I am a slobbering mess.

I find I need something more tangible to hold on to than a command to “live in the present”. Wayne Dyer (The Power of Intention) recommends we visualize a trolley strap above our heads when we feel anxious or worried about where life is taking us. The trolley strap is God’s hand, and it is always there, always available if we just look up and grab it. We can even close our eyes and just focus on the trolley strap if life is feeling like a roller coaster. I like that!

I have had a little bit of a roller coaster the last few weeks- road trip with kids across country for a family reunion with siblings, parents, nieces, nephews and dogs. Going home is always a mixed bag. We know that going in… I think that we can still become disappointed, even though we knew it was not a trip to Hawaii. I was in gorgeous northern Wisconsin with beautiful lakes, blue sky, tall TALL pines, loons calling, bald eagles soaring, no stoplights, gentle breezes, winding roads to run on, and fish that jump into the boat when you dangle the bait. Phenomenal! But I had a hard time sleeping, ate differently, my relatives got on my nerves, and I was able to reconnect with some friends, but not all, and was generally able to feel content less often than I preferred. So- contentment on my path, my way in life, was elusive. But last night I found a very effective meditation that I want to share with you.

I am walking on this gorgeous walking path just wide enough for one person. Sometimes it has colored transparent stones on the surface that reflect the sunlight. Other times, the path is made of gold stones, like the Yellow Brick Road for Dorothy and Elton John. More often, I notice it has nice little cobbles that are easy to walk on and are a comforting tan and brown mottled color. My friend Alison said she wanted her path to be of black fine sand that was softer than silk under her bare feet. There is a little ledge at the edge of the path so I know I am safe. I won’t fall out of it. There are trees growing so tall nearby that I cannot see the tops. And the beautiful sky is brilliant blue, and sometimes has big puffy clouds. I notice and take in each and every detail with as much focus and specificity as possible.

The entire pathway is not clear; I cannot see where it goes except a few steps beyond where my feet are right now. But I know that the path is going upward and to beautiful places amongst the trees that I don’t even know exist yet. I feel special and loved on this path, so IT IS ALL GOOD. I can trust this path will continue, so I enjoy the beautiful views around me where I am walking today. Today’s path is really perfect for me, the stones are just the right size to walk on, and the ledge is just the right height.
Everything I need today is on the path for me, right here.

I get nervous about my relationship with my friends, wonder if I am being a good enough mom to my kids, feel cranky that grocery purchases will be minimized this week, and I wonder if my parents will live a long long time like I want them to. When this happens, I can choose to look down at the beautiful rocks on my path that I am walking on to see that right now is just perfect and extraordinarily beautiful. The relationships we are experiencing, the work we are doing, the love and abundance we are giving to the world is all extraordinarily and amazingly attractive. We can relax because we only need to stay right here, right now, on these beautiful cobbles, where history is being made.

Road Trip Day 1: Driving

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You have not done a proper road trip until you have walked several random exits off of I-80 east of North Platte, Nebraska in the heat of the mid-day sun, looking for a set of $600 retainers… AFTER backtracking eighty (80) miles, AFTER hearing a quiet little voice in the back seat of the Subaru wagon (AFTER the movie ended), say “I am not sure where my retainers are. I think they fell out of my shirt when we stopped to adjust the bike rack”. “Eighty (80) miles ago in North Platte?!” (Breathe, breathe, breathe, Anne, I commanded myself).

“I guess so”, he said. (Breathe, breathe, breathe Anne!).

“Well, I need to turn around…” I replied. “Don’t worry, Sweetie. Its’ ok, I don’t mind driving 160 miles out of the way on our 974 mile road trip today. I am calm and patient. I love you so much.” Actually, this is NOT what I said. I didn’t say anything at all, for about 30 miles. I was too busy praying “God please help me. Help me. Help me”.

We did not know exactly which exit that I had taken one hour back while freaking out about the lame bike rack bouncing on my back bumper for 974 miles (another blog explains that stupid bike rack). So we searched for the most familiar-looking exit, on I-80 in Nebraska… Let’s see, we knew it had a dirt road, some trees, lots of grass… This was impossible. They ALL look the same!

So, we suffered walking along potentially familiar exits for 200 yards or so a piece (both ways, uphill). Did I mention it was 2 pm on a very HOT late June afternoon? Remember those little black no-see-ums that bite? Yes, they were with us too.

The first exit, I told him he would pay $10 to the first person who finds it because that was the right thing to do, and it would be cheaper than the $600 that would be coming out of his car savings account to replace them. The second exit, I upped it to $20 to the finder, and figured it would be doubling each exit we walked. He whimpered a little bit. I had no mercy; I let him know he needs 1) a $600 emergency account in case this happens again, 2) a plan for his retainers while he eats, and 3) to never ever ever wrap them in his shirt again. I probably added a few more emphatic “ever”s.

So we walked the obnoxious Sahara, er, Nebaraska roadside, searching. Only my daughter had a shred of serenity about life. I thank my lucky stars for her, she usually does have peace and tranquility in her heart precisely when I am raging inside. I was willing those retainers into my eyesight. He was frantically counting money from lawn mowing, chores, birthdays, etc. as he walked slower and slower. Then, after only 2 exits and 1.5 hours, a miraculous sight- 2 dirt encrusted but intact retainers half on and half off the road!

We had a huge long hug, catching back our mutual tears. It felt so good. He said something teenagerly typical, like “Oh Mom, I knew we would find them”, and I just thanked God over and over and over that I did not lose my cool-THAT was the biggest miracle of the day. God showed up big time for me, NOT in giving us the retainers back, but in helping me to unconditionally love my child no matter what he did, or what pain he caused. I was guided to be fair and honest as a parent about consequences while also not berating him, thus making him feel like a worm for making a mistake. Thank you God that I could be led to love on him like that.


After the hugging, we popped back in the car for another 9 hours of driving.

To be continued…