Tag Archives: faith

Choices, Ripples, Grace, Joy

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“Each choice we make causes a ripple effect in our lives. When things happen to us, it is the reaction we choose that can create the difference between the sorrows of our past and the joy in our future.”
– Chelle Thompson, Editor of Inspiration Line.

This is my quote for the day/week/millennium.

We can make choices to blame ourselves when our kids run away, and fall into self-blame about choices we made 2 weeks or 2 years or 10 years ago. Or we can do our best to love our child and ourselves through the turmoil so that we are open to new ideas, new approaches. My friend Susan is working through her daughter running away this morning; obviously our hearts go out to her and her whole family. I haven’t experienced a run-away, but I just hope she is able to love herself enough to let the grace happen on the other side, whether that other side of the horror is today, next week, or in 10 years.

We can choose to blame ourselves when our home is robbed- “Why didn’t I double check the doors and windows?! I am such a knucklehead! Why do I sleep at night?!”. Or, we can model to our family what it is like to be calm in the face of invasion. My friend Mark lived through this last week- at 2 am scary-looking losers entered his home while everyone was asleep. No one was hurt (or even knew about it until they went to look for their wallets and phones). His reaction not to blame himself for being a “Bad Protector” helped his family minimize the trauma. We don’t know what grace waits for them on the other side.

This is not on the level of runaways or home robbery, but I happen to be one to spend money when I am feeling low self-esteem. I inflict my own trauma. Towels helped me through infertility issues. I had lots and lots of plush colorful towels by the time I got pregnant. Cars helped me separate from my parents’ manipulations. And now it is fall, and I obsess about boots making me feel worthwhile in my office (the black Liz Claiborne suede zip-ups would help me have more clients, right?). I need to stop and love myself enough to let the grace in rather than spend the money that is already ear-marked for the mortgage.

You know the grace on the other side, they are creative miracles just in time: unexpected closeness in a relationship, tangible connection with our higher power, material blessings for someone truly in need, kindness from a stranger, reprieve granted on a stressor, the phone call we didn’t know we were waiting for…

Don’t be a victim, don’t let your past experiences be your bitch and make you make a mess of something that God intends for grace and mercy.

What will our ripple(s) be today? Will we role model calm to our kids when it hits the fan? Decorate our house with the Halloween goodies wehave rather than buy more? Make banana bread rather than feel grumpy and tired about the weather? Workout? Go to a yoga class? Congratulate someone on a job well done rather than point out the miss-steps? Decide to balance our checkbook rather than live in mystery?

Each and every choice has a ripple effect. Be courageous. Make some ripples today.

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Love – The Terror of It

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“True Love is one of the rarest jewels of life, treasure it with all your heart. When you find someone who loves you just as you are, is steadfast during moments of stress, willing to grow with you and allows you to feel however you choose to feel in any moment – there is nothing more you will ever find in a person. You’ve found True Love when you feel fear; fear of vulnerability, fear of abandonment and fear of letting go of your own stubborn egoic patterns that keep the real you separate and safe from the other. Trust in love and go towards your fear, taking this leap of faith in every moment is the journey Love requires for its sweet reward.”

– Jackson Kiddard, author & polymath.

pol·y·math   [pol-ee-math]
noun
a person of great learning in several fields of study; polyhistor.

Ok, so the quote above was written by a man of great learning in several fields of study- a very smart cookie. I love this quote! Love is terrifying! So I would add that it requires courage added upon our relationships on a daily basis.

Truly loving ourselves requires courage to stand up for the person and her ideals, even when we really aren’t so sure about how she will be received by the world.

Loving our teenagers means we have to step up to the plate and stand up for what we believe in (our rules, our boundaries, our behavioral expectations), and who we believe in (the cute pimply kid in front of me who just got busted for breaking the rules, again). It takes guts to show up every day as a single parent, ready to step in when needed, to discern when we can butt out, and to have faith that we are enough and what we have done is enough. With no back-up, no cheering section, and no partner.

For me, loving my lover means I need to show up, let my ego take a break, and throw that oh-so-ugly-fear of abandonment out the window.

Some days, the courage needed to truly love me, my teens, and my lover is elusive, I really want to back down, accept, and burrow in to the fear, let it take me over. I think that I am not worthy, that I just can’t do it…I don’t have the energy needed. Ha!

Guess what? I can do it! And you can too. So keep on stepping up to the plate, keep showing up, keep on setting aside your fears, and give the ego a shove-off. You are vulnerable, you may be abandoned, and the real you might not be compatible with your lover after all. But today, in this moment, you know what you know. So do this one step you know right now. Be present. Be vulnerable. Be Truthful. God and the Universe are on your side. Ask for their help!

What would it be like to live this day believing that we are truly blessed, protected, and guided? I have that written on my mirror with stars and underlines, because I tend to forget that, even though it really is kinda important…

Let’s get out there and love, truly love, you, your children, your lover, and your life. You are truly blessed, protected, and guided.

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Trusting our Guts (aka Higher Selves)

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It is not that easy.  We can get a little gun-shy and self-recriminatory when we make mistakes.  I am the first one to shout “I told you so!” when I screw up.  But I have been told that the more we trust those innards, the better we will be at coming up with The Truth.

  1.  So, I trusted my gut with the Cute Guy at work.  When he said he went away for the weekend with another woman, I decided that meant I needed to move on down the road.  I did my hair differently, gave him back the book he loaned me, ignored his conversation attempts, walked the other way when I saw him, and went out on a couple of dates.  I acted AS IF I was moving on anyway; I wasn’t, but I was trying to fake it until I made it..  Ten days later, he texted that he missed me and was so sorry.  I waited to respond (ok, so it was only 4 hours).  And now, 3 weeks after that, we are dating.  Exclusively.  He is calling me pet names, he is calling me every day, and most importantly, he is referring to and paying attention to my speech to him that I only date one man at a time and only date men who date one woman at a time.  At this point, he is opening up to me more than I am to him!  He is sharing fears and dreams and listening to mine.  I have no promises of where it is going, but today the gut-check was a good thing.  I knew I could not tolerate the behavior of seeing others, and I took care of myself by speaking my Truth.
  2. At work last week, I was very uncomfortable with the way my boss handled a meeting that lasted four 10-hour days long.  He didn’t protect our client from the third party and her lawyer.  I was really stressed and in a lot of turmoil because this put my job as well as my reputation on the line.  But he wanted me to follow his lead, and ”just let it all happen, be patient”.  Because the third party held the checkbook. Finally, on the 4th morning, after painfully shutting my mouth several times, being jittery and taking more breaks than usual from the meeting for 3 days, I spoke out once in our client’s interest.  My boss ruffled beside me, and the third party blinked their eyes a few times.  We all went on, not a lot changed.  And 7 hours later I got to board a plane outta there.  I have no idea what the recourse from my boss will be when I return to the office, but somehow, I need to keep on trusting my gut and be true to what I believe is right.  I have been asking for a promotion and a raise, I really hope now that I am just not canned!
  3. Dating with teenagers in the house- the ultimate test of our reasoning.  My kids are watching me date this man now.  They have met him, they have spent time skiing with him, and have had dinner with him several times.  They know he has been a part of my life for about 8 months even though they didn’t meet him until 4 months into it.  I told them about it when I broke up with him.  I am trying to model how adults move through sadness and pain, so that when it happens to them, they will know the earth has not crashed into the sun, even though they feel awful about the breakup, death, job loss, etc.  I am also trying to teach my kids about honesty…  they don’t get to have sleepovers with their boy/girlfriends, and, well, I do.  If I am teaching my son not to be sneaking around behind my back, shouldn’t I stop sneaking around behind their backs to spend the night with my boyfriend?  This is difficult terrain here, because if I decide to stop sneaking around, then that means I have to decide how much Cute Guy means to me.  Do I want him to have a relationship with my kids?  Do I want them to like him?  Get attached to him?  Things are still very fresh and new, although going really well so far (what has it been, 2 weeks on this new relationship plane?  NOT LONG!).  So luckily, I am on vacation with my kids.  Phew.  We have some ski days planned all together.  No overnights are planned, yet.  But you know how that goes.
  4. The bottom line is, we all need to take the time to “act, and not react”, as the Al-anon saying goes.  In order to trust our guts, we need time alone, with friends, and/or with journals to process, and a ton of communication with everyone involved.  I need to have the long talks with my kids that only come when I am not worried about work and not rushing to find dinner, and can look them in the eyeballs for more than 10 seconds at a time.  And, yes, I need to ask God to “help me help me help me”.

 

Left Foot, Right Foot, Left Foot, Breathe

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The title of this blog is from advice I found in Anne Lamotte’s book “Plan B and Further Thoughts on Faith”. She got the advice from a friend named Tom when she was sad and frustrated and over the top with gunk raining down on her. It is really all we can do: put footsteps and time between us and anything that is terribly disappointing.

I don’t know why we sometimes think we can no longer “handle it”, that this is “the last straw”. Because it isn’t. We do end up getting out of bed, limping into the bathroom, doing the teeth-hair-clothes bit and getting out the door. Eventually.

This morning I had to have a good wail. I was pissed. And sad. I ended up, at the very bottom of it, mad at God. You see, I had asked very specifically for God to take care of me, protect me, and told God I knew he had my back, that he takes care of my kids when I am not looking, took care that my house purchase went through ok, takes care of my finances, and so I told God over the last months/years/decade (that REALLY pissed me off at God, that I have been asking for a decade now?!) that I know he has the perfect divinely right partner in mind for me and is preparing me for him. And preparing the dude for me. Today, it doesn’t seem that way… I am feeling like I am actually out in the cold on this companion bit, and God could care less if I find or have this companion in my life. Wow. That feels harsh. It feels possible.

But God- what else am I supposed to think? How else could/should I interpret this mess?

I heard in Alanon (the 12-step group for families and friends of alcoholics, which means they have a bunch of slogans too) that “Figuring it out is not a slogan”. So I don’t get to know God’s plan, I have to step out again in blind faith; walk by faith and not by sight. Damn it.

Left foot, right foot, left foot yet again, breathe. I thought my plan was pretty good, but I guess he has a different one.

Raindrops, Copper Kettles, and Mittens Won’t Work

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I really liked the Sound of Music movie. I watched it 29 times as a 6th grader, memorized the songs, idolized Greta, and wanted to marry someone just like Mr. Von Trapp.

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens…
You know the song-
…These are a few of my favorite things. When I’m feeling sad, I only remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad!

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Ha! I was running the other day, grumpy, tired, on the verge of catching a cold, thinking that I should make a list of some of My Favorite Things, because I need a little more fire power than a pair of mittens Julie!

So here goes:
1. A pedicure with Sandy, my friend who is a single mom of 4 and a great laugher

2. A trip to the library where I can get a stack of free books, immediately, and nobody asks for my credit card

3. A bag of potato chips at work to eat loudly in my cubicle at 9 am

4. An appointment to get my hair done- just the appointment helps me feel better because soon my hair will look better

5. Plan a road trip with my kids somewhere that I have been meaning to take them (just plan it, don’t have to take it yet)

6. Eat chocolate chip cookies and milk in front of the TV for hours watching something mindless, alone or with my kids

7. Have a long phone conversation with Liz, my sometimes single mom (her husband works overseas a lot) who has known my kids since conception and has the same set of issues with her daughters. She will pray for me, and let’s me know I am not as crazy as I feel. She also puts into words what I cannot (i.e. the “Jackhammer Approach” our kids take to get something from us- “Can I mom? You said I could. Why can’t I? Can I please? Why not?” etc times 12. I also go for walks with Delia, and she never fails to say “Oh yes, that must be so hard…” and my bristles and prickles and thorns all subside and I can breath again.

8. I would say drink tequila, but actually, that throws me backwards, as I really don’t like to feel hungover. I am a wimp.

9. Have a conversation with my daughter about her service plan of stopping the world’s slave trade by writing a play about it and performing it at her school’s Talent Show (she is completely out of my league, and I have no idea where she gets her inspiration, but she inspires me to get off of my pity pot)

10. Write a blog entry about anything or nothing at all

11. Read my faith-based books on my bedside and actually get on my knees and asking God for some help. Ideally I would do this one first, THEN eat chocolate chip cookies for hours, get a pedicure with Sandy or talk to Liz, and FINALLY write a blog to you about it all so that you get the happily ever after ending.

I am lucky. Over the last year, I have realized that I have many more friends than I imagined possible. I can’t even name off all of you! Friends are the best medicine. Thanks so much for being there : )

I Am Only 5′ 3″, But I Am Not Small

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And I am not living small, and I don’t want you to live small.My friend D pointed something very courageous out to me the other day: When we spend time with people who minimize us, or treat us poorly, or kill our dreams of living big, we will work subconsciously to live down to their expectations of us if we love/respect them, or even spend time with them (or have been married ot them, ahem…).

Isn’t that crazy?

Think about it- we will actually let them determine what we can accomplish. If parents tell us we don’t need a house, shouldn’t buy one, and really cannot afford the risk, we will believe them. If the friend pokes our belly and asks about the weight we gained this summer, we will feel shamed. If the brother blows us off for Thanksgiving, we will wonder if we deserve to be around family for the holidays, or to celebrate the holidays with all the gusto available. When people are gossiping about you, behind your back or in front of you, as if you don’t count- how does that make you feel? Think about it. Where is someone treating you small?

We really need to block that relationship and what we let it send to us if it makes us feel small, otherwise we will never live up to our potential.

Live large.
That is what God wants, and that is what the world needs from us. Believe in you, your capabilities, and what you can accomplish, no matter what the circumstances are today. You are the only one of you, you are your only. This is it. Be the light.
“You’ve only got one tiny moment in time for life, to shine- shine. Burn away the darkness. I will be light”

Post-Party Rush

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The party was really fun yesterday. “Cute Guy” was not there, but other cute and fun people were, and I really enjoyed laughing with friends. I was probably the oldest one there, and had jello shots and “shotskis” (shots in a line with others because the shot glasses were epoxied onto a downhill ski- for togetherness, I guess). Not many people were couples, so it was really easy to just enjoy everyone’s company. (I did NOT get smashed, SG. I just had a very good time. All good!)

There was one couple there, and it was inspiring… the guy was such an obvious immature jerk to her and the world in general that it kicked in my gratitude at not having that element in my home any more.

Every now and then, I get this contented feeling that all is well, I am on God’s path for me, and will meet just the right man at just the right time to really love and enjoy each other. It is a very trusting feeling that results in me feeling no impulse whatsoever to go on match.com, or pof.com, or whatever the latest dating site is. It just is not necessary if I am living my life happily and being exactly who I want to be. The man will show up.

I get so trusting in this feeling that I go a step further and realize with a slap upside the head “Oh my, I have a lot of things to enjoy doing in this time alone. I need to keep on 1) being completely spontaneous with my social plans, vacations with kids, and my finances, reporting in to no one, 2) eating peanut butter toast for dinner with watermelon because I hate cooking, 3) leaving stuff all over my bathroom floor for days, 4) spontaneously talk with my teenager until wee hours of the night about their life, their worries, their stuff…” You know all those things we get to do as people outside of relationships. Because someday those spontaneous moments won’t be so spontaneous or so common in my life.

That makes turning my heart and my yearning for companionship over to God and enjoying the moments today much much easier.