Tag Archives: God

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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My Favorite Way to Feel Better

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I wrote last week aobut my favorite things to feel better. I forgot this very important one…

I had an awesome blessing this morning. It really got me out of a potential funk about this weekend’s lack of romantic social plans: I was asked to do someone a favor- it was something that was really needed, and they couldn’t do it themselves. They were very brave to call and ask for it. A man I hardly know, who is recently divorced (he doesn’t know anything about me, and we usually only communicate by emails) called me to ask if his daughter could have a ride to school He lives near us, and I have given her carpools for cross country meets becaue he lost his car (and who knows what else) in his recent divorce. His sweet daughter is in 6th grade, and it was about 20 degrees and dark this morning at 7:15 when she needed a ride. I almost didn’t answer the phone when I saw it was him- I was rushing to work, having already dropped my kids off early, and had a bad morning harping on them about their chores and rooms. I was feeling badly about myself, as a mom and as a woman due to the lack of CG asking me out on a date. I had prayed about the lack of a date with CG, asked for some wisdom, and to do God’s will. I also point blank asked God to arrange a date… day before yesterday. Nothing happened.

Until this morning. I got to help someone get his daughter to school in the cold, to help him make life for his daugher as normal and stress free as possible (although I am not doing a great job of that with my own kids, I am glad I could help him). I got to remember what it was like to worry about how to get the kids to school. Six years ago, I was divorced, broke, unemployed, in a terrible relationship, and bankruptcy and foreclosures were in the works. I was in a mess and had a really hard time getting my kids to school myself. Today, I have had the same job for 5 years, my kids are making good choices and get to school every day, I bought a car in February, and I am in the process of buying a home for us in November.

I realized with that ride to school for her that I am blessed and don’t need more than I have right now. Yes, I want a companion, but God might have different plans for me this weekend.

(Also- maybe I am supposed to do something to help myself feel better, rather than look for a man’s interest in me to validate me. Just maybe!)

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.

From the Victim Wagon to the Strawberry Stand

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“Reject your sense of injury, and the injury itself disappears.”
— Marcus Aurelius

It is time for me to get back out of the victim-wagon and walk on my own 2 feet, tall and proud of where I am, what I have survived, what I have turned from mess into blessing.

What would it be like to just stop feeling guilty, making others feel guilty, and count the positives? My friend Pam counts positives all day long. A pencil and paper is a lot cheaper than therapy appointments. Thereby making more money available for beautiful shoes, water park visits, and fresh strawberries.

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Noting positives all day long is a nice spin on the same old gratitude list. I have heard multiple times now that the energy of gratitude is higher vibration and more healing than the energy of love even. Of course, gratitude energy IS love energy, as we are loving our lives, and loving our God for giving us our lives and blessings.

Life is not for the weak. Awful shit happens to undeserving people every damn day. Luckily, we aren’t weak, and every day is a fresh new day to get off our butts, be courageous, and make the changes we want to see in our lives.

It All Ends A Lot Better Than It Starts

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It ended miraculously compared to how it all started and the garbage I let in.

I felt really really awful when I realized my divorce proceedings had been attorney-office gossip, then dinner time conversation, and eventually evolved to bar talk… My stomach did a 3-day lurch down to the bottom floor of the Empire State Building as I realized that it was possibly an interesting story (to an outsider, not going through the tremendous emotional and financial devastation that highly public criminal court cases come along with). Why wouldn’t they unearth it, roll it around, and look for something of interest to chat about? Never have I wanted to be as Normal as possible as when gathering with my old friends from Normal 2 weeks ago. But my life diverged from Normal (and my Normal expectations for it) in 1997 when my then-husband was arrested. I guess I have not healed as much as I had hoped; it continued to unravel me. But read to the bottom…

I was standing tall in my gorgeous shoes, in the afternoon sunshine, over beers on the sundeck of a beautiful bar, laughing with old friends over a crazy 8th grade social studies teacher we had 30 years ago. He casually said “Oh, my wife works with your attorney. She was talking with him… he told her… she told me…” There I was, having a very private memory lane of my own at the reunion- my divorce case from 13 years ago dredged up, all the old wounds freshly incised. I could only stammer “Ah, interesting”.

Later, boulders ran downhill quickly as I came to and realized how inappropriate that was. But it was too late, I was at dinner, struggling to keep up with conversations while drinking as many margaritas as they would place in front of me. After midnight, the salt on the wounds came on, as the old boyfriend’s wife bizarrely pulled out a stack of high school photos of us from those old days when I dreamt about happily ever after with a loving man, picket fence, 2.3 children, etc. I have no idea what her intentions were, but suddenly there I was, in our prom, homecoming, senior photos, smiling with joyous expectation of life ever after. Surreal does not begin to describe it! So I drank more. Then got a ride to the hotel, which I discovered is 2 blocks down the street from the Church I was married in.

The failed expectations were swarming me. It all combined to form a tangled coil of nerves in my brain that would take a couple of weeks to unravel. I couldn’t stop the time travel and I got very dizzy.

I forgot who I was for 3 days. I forgot that I am a fabulous mom, that I have a career in a field I enjoy, that I have dear friends who enjoy talking to me and value me and my opinions. Basically, I forgot all that I have accomplished, all that I am proud of in the last decade. The incredible sadness of my divorces and my single life was dredged up to stare me and my childhood friends in the face. I didn’t sleep for the next week, and conversations felt strained and useless for days as I struggled to get back to the present.

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Most importantly though, I forgot that God holds me closely in his hands. I forgot that this IS the plan, for me to raise my 2 beautiful children alone, and to be doing an incredibly great job of it. I forgot that the other crap may have occurred, taking me away from MY plan, and yes, away from my Normal upbringing, and my Normal expectations for my life. But I am never going to do things that will take me away from God’s love.

It may happen to you too. You will think you are buzzing along finally, doing your life, wearing beautiful shoes, paying the rent on time, eating healthy dinners with your kids, and going to work at a job you are proud of. Your guard will be down. Your Grandmother might corner you at a Christmas dinner with dreadful questions about “him”; your Dad might make a financial decision that clearly unseats your place in the family; your coworker at a summer BBQ may reel you back with an intensely personal question in front of your boss; or an old friend, your neighborhood, or your newspaper might gossip about something that happened to you 10 years ago. Precisely when your guard is down, it will shake you to your roots. You may think you are small, stupid, worthless, and pathetic because of things that happened long ago. Don’t believe those thoughts.

The bottom line, my friends, is that God is holding us, not letting us go. I didn’t screw up my life marrying idiot losers. You didn’t screw up your life either with your choices. You are on track, right where you are supposed to be today, raising your lovely children, and doing a beautiful job of it. Don’t forget that you are doing God’s perfect will, just today when you poured the milk for her and listened to his music with him. No matter what hell breaks loose, threatening to unravel your sanity and clarity, you are beautiful and doing a beautiful job. Nothing else matters.

Psalm 145:13 says, “The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made.”