True love

Once upon a time I walked alone, with no true love to call my own.

I gave all, did all, was all to all, hoping maybe to receive all.

But I didn’t because I didn’t believe true love existed. It only lived in the romantic comedies I watched. In the stories of others. True love couldn’t be real. People don’t stay, marriages don’t work.

But I wanted it. They say God puts things in our heart, our dreams, our desires because we are worthy, because He has things for us. We all are capable of, worthy of and in need of love.

I say quite frequently that words become things, so be mindful of what you say, what you allow your brain to latch onto.

So externally, I gave off and existed in a way that sabotaged my romantic relationships but internally I had a yearning and unyielding urge for love. To be loved. To be seen and valued and important and admired and adored and taken care of.

So I did a thing. You may have heard of the book The Secret. Well I read it and I followed the instructions. I sat down with a bright blue piece of paper…no idea where I got this neon blue paper, but this was my Secret launching document to get the man of my dreams. I wrote down all the things he should be. Tall, dark, handsome, big smile, educated, loving, loves God, takes care of me, good lover, good father, etc, etc. So I put it away as instructed and proceeded with my life.

Maybe a year later, 2 weeks before I bought my first home I met the man who later became my husband. This lovely man helped his new girlfriend move into her new house and while unpacking guess what turned up? That bright blue piece of paper. Btw…his favorite color is blue… creepy.

I started reading the list and tears sprung from my eyes. I was awestruck. How was it possible that I asked the universe…God.. for this lovely man and he appeared just as I asked? It still gives me cold chills to think about it.

Once upon a time I walked alone with no true love to call my own. Then I asked for the man of my dreams and just like that I was seen. He found me, he was sent to love me to be my happily ever after.

Moral of the story…words become things. Words written become realities. Dare to ask dare to dream dare to receive everything life has to offer.

Dream

Once upon a time I had a dream. I wrote it down…I thought about it. I talked about it, I asked questions, I did research. I did the work…I did some work, maybe not enough work. I stalled, I second guessed, I paused, I researched some more, I believed more in the not than the can be. I was afraid. I was paralyzed. What if? What do I want? Will this honor God? Will this honor me? My family? Will the work, the time, the sacrifice be for not?

How do I reconcile the dream from reality. If there is a desire in my heart, I must see it through….God would not keep pushing and urging me if it’s not important. But what is important? How do I take a break from my most important job with my little people during a pandemic and feel ok about it? Is that an excuse? Can I begin to take time for me?

These are the thoughts of a mother. A mother who loves her children and thinks of them before herself. I’m sure there are those that can relate. I have to say it, I matter too. You matter too. Your needs and success matter too. It’s okay to take a break and self-care so that you can be a wonderful role model of balance. You got this!

Action is always better than inaction. Take that action to make your dreams come true!

What dreams are you working on? What tactics do you use to balance your needs with the needs of your loved ones?

Marriage

Being married is hard and fun and amazing. The feeling is security, peace, monotony (especially during this pandemic! Total groundhog day), synchronicity, struggle, compromise, journey, love, family, friendship, love, disappointment, sadness, relief, bliss, betterment, love, hope.

There are a range of emotions because being human is hard. We have good days and bad days. We have days where we suck and say or do all the wrong things and days when we really shine. Days where we shine because of me or shine because of we. The thing about marriage is it isn’t a place for selfishness or secrets. It’s not a place to hide. It’s a place to bare your soul, to open that closet with all the ugly things inside because when it’s with the right person even the ugly is accepted.

Fighting and hurting unfortunately occur, but it is the foundation that you pour that allows those blows to ripple off. It is the work you put in each day to mesmerize your love, to thank your love which reinforces that foundation so that when the tough days come they slide by like a passing storm, thunderous but unable to destroy your masterpiece.

I think of the work my husband and I did in the beginning and I am so relieved that we fought for each other and for this beautiful life but am reminded that more must be done each day to ensure this work of art stands the test of time.

To all those working each day to build your own house and construct a house of love with your partner, keep loving, keep working and stay thankful. If you’re looking for that love of a lifetime, focus on creating the best version of yourself and the right addition will arrive at the right time as long as you’re ready and able to receive them into your life.

Love to hear your love stories! Please share how you keep your love strong.

Black Lives Matter

As a white woman who grew up in the south, rural Florida, Confederate flags, rifles and proud rednecks were customary in the large trucks cruising down most streets.

My stepfather worked at a local pawn shop and carried his gun strapped to his side every day, prepared to fight back if anyone were to rob the little pawn shop where he worked. Back in the 90s, growing up in a small town, parties, attending car races, and muddin’ were normal weekend activities.

That background could apply to any typical southern family. Racism was also in our family, that piece may or may not be typical. In my optimism and perhaps blind faith, I pray it’s not. I don’t know what happened in other homes but in mine the echoes of the N word, explicit rules forbidding me from dating outside my race, and other implicit rules that aren’t worth mentioning were a constant reminder that race was an issue.

I think the day I lost respect for my parents was in middle school. I had a BFF who was black but I never hung out with her outside of school. I never even asked. It’s a shame to hear the people who are supposed to be teaching you right from wrong say awful things about people of color and you KNOW it’s wrong and hateful, racist and ignorant. I couldn’t put the things they said in the same mind space as my friend. I completely rejected it and by doing so rejected them. I lost respect for my parents and didn’t trust the life lessons they had for me after that. I regret not being strong enough to tell them then how I felt.

So at about age 11, I knew the world was not what I had been told and made up my mind to meet people where they are. Am I perfect? No! There are those old parts that still hear the ugly echos of my childhood, but I have spent my life seeking out people for who they are. I love people and believe in their beautiful spirits and humanity. Hate cannot exist where there is love, and so I seek to bring love and joy into the lives of others.

So what does my story have to do with the Black Lives Matter Movement – besides the obvious, as a white lady, I need to do better? Well, I met a wonderful amazing man and had 2 beautiful babies. He is a black man who experiences the awfulness of systemic racism daily. I spend my days thinking, how can I create an environment for my husband, so that when he comes home he can leave the filth of the world outside and be treated the way he should be, with decency and respect and love.

I think about my children whose skin may be lighter like mine but who are black. They cant just be people who are judged by the content of their character, but always in this world, they will be judged by how they look. Will life be a tad easier because they may pass as white? Would they get pulled over less? Would they face less discrimination in school or the workplace? Or will they struggle to understand who they are? Never black enough… never white enough? As parents we have started early to help our son understand and embrace both parts of his heritage. We have a lot to learn and teach, but it’s the most evil s#$% of this world to tell a 5 year old…oh…btw you are beautiful and perfect and made in God’s image but not everyone sees you that way so be careful, don’t trust people, be wary of this ugly world.

Why is America so divisive? Why is it okay to be so judgy? Why did it become okay for white people get to decide who has value in this world? Last I checked the Big Man upstairs is in charge of that.

We lived in Pensacola, FL for a bit and decided to come back to DC. Pensacola was just not for a family like ours. When searching for places to live I chose PG County which is predominantly black, on purpose. It was hard for my hubby in Pensacola. I wanted him and the kids to live in a more diverse area. I wanted them to be in a community that looked more like them. I try to check in on things like that. As much as I can control it, I want them to be comfortable. And if they are good, I am good! And I love everybody…mostly, minus mean people.

I know I will never truly get it, it being the experience, the pain, the frustration and stress, but my heart aches for my husband, my kids’ future, my friends, my coworkers. I know all these beautiful black people who experience such garbage treatment and it makes me sick. We white people HAVE to do better. Tell the people who are being racist they are racist. Stop awful people from harming people of color. Refuse to accept people in your life that are racist.

One of the hardest things I had to do is stop talking to a family member because of their views on my marriage. It hurt, it still hurts but I cannot allow ANYONE to disregard, and disrespect the love of my life simply because of the color of their skin.

This is a time for hard conversations and reflection and learning. This is a time to lift our black sisters and brothers up. Because we have failed them for 400 years. We cannot espouse to be the greatest nation in the world …to encourage the pursuit of happiness for all Americans and continue to kneel on the necks of black and brown people for our own selfish growth. You are not truly successful if it comes at the harm, hurt and expense of others.

I invite dialogue and would love to hear others’ experiences.

Losing a loved one

How do you walk ahead when you lose someone you love? How do you pull the weight of grief around day by day when it feels as though sandbags are hanging around your neck? How do you make peace with all the unsaid words? The moments you wished you could have back, the things you wished you could change, the relationships you wished you had worked on? The short answer… you can’t.

So make each moment count. The cliche “you never know when it will be your last day” has been said repeatedly for a reason, because …its so true.

We don’t always get that understanding day by day. We get so spun up in our own little world and responsibilities, we sometimes forget or put off doing the hard work of maintaining relationships. And then…the unthinkable happens.

Death can be a gift… that sounds so wrong to say, but it can mean your loved one is no longer suffering, enduring hardship, or struggling. It can bring about perspective, introspection, resolve to change things for the good.

The pain we feel can be overwhelming, but your loved one is ok. If you believe in a higher being they are better than ok. Or perhaps their death means their spirit was so pure, they had few lessons to learn about living so God called them home. For those called so early this is my understanding.

You will miss them every day, you will think about them all the time, but you cannot stop living because they are gone. Your job is to honor them every day so they will know how much you loved them.

Young Love

young_love_wf_04Photo Courtesy of cdn.greenweddingshoes.com

Remember when you were 5, and you had your first crush?  I think back to all the things I did to gain the attention of my first love interest and wondered – what if we used some of these tactics now?  I’m sure we could easily come up with the con list, or lessons learned, but what was the good stuff?  What were the things we did, said, and experienced that could help us now?

Be yourself 

Usually you paired up with someone because you had the same interests.  You started the conversation with comparing your Star Wars lunch box, big rimmed glasses, or artwork. Take notice of people in your circles of interest that you may have overlooked. What’s stopping you from talking to them and comparing your smart phones, Twitter pages or blogs?  Putting yourself out there can be a little unnerving at first, but the reward of being who you genuinely are and having others accept you supersedes the anxiety.  P.S. If they don’t accept you for your true self, then they probably would not add value to your life anyways.

Play

When we were kids we had fun!  We chased each other around, we created high-imagination games, we could play a card game for hours if he was playing.  We shared and laughed and built forts together! A friend of mine joined a softball team after moving to the area. This turned out to be a great way to connect with new friends and crushes. Even on days when he wasn’t 100% in the mood to play softball, the camaraderie and fun of being with others who shared his interests made the activity worthwhile and there was the added bonus of meeting new, interesting women.

Pay attention and make an effort

I remember when my first boyfriend got me a gift for my birthday.  It was a plastic bracelet, but it had a puppy charm on it, and I loved puppies!  I talked about them all the time.  That is the kind of thing that makes a girl feel special; whether you are 5 or 50.  When someone pays attention, and makes an effort to do something nice or thoughtful it goes a long way!

Feel your feelings

What about the feelings that we had?  Remember the hot cheeks, the butterflies, the awkwardness, and shy moments?  Over time we can get desensitized to these feelings because of previous unsuccessful relationships.  After years and years of dating and one break up or heart break after another, you may force yourself to overlook those feelings and cues.  It is important to reconnect your body and emotions so you can keep your mind open to a person who may be a potentially good fit for you.  Those feelings tell us we are into that person, that something about them makes us want to know more.

Hone your inner child and have a little fun with your partner, your crush and yourself!  Hopefully your partner is your crush or your crush becomes your partner.  When we were young we wished we could quickly grow up, but now that we have, we understand the fallible logic of that thinking.  Cherish the fun, spontaneous moments you have with your loved ones that bring back the feelings of childhood.

Would love to hear your love stories and ways you keep love young.  Please share!

Happiness…

Courtesy of weheartit.com

I found this picture and it makes me think of happy times.  I grew up in Florida and I was married on the beach, so it is one of those places that feels like home.  The sound of the waves crashing into the shore, the birds chirping, the sound of kids playing and laughing, and the ever flowing water.  Remembering these things instantly makes me happy.  So, how does it happen?  Where does happiness come from?  How can we all get a slice?  I did some research and it looks like happiness means something different to all of us, but a recent study shows 56% of happiness comes from mental attitude, 25% from love, and incredibly only 4% from money, the other 15% comes from accomplishments and creative activity.  So, if it’s true – that the majority of my happiness comes from me, how can we all
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Drawing the line, expectations and roles in the relationship

“Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get – only what you are expecting to give.” – Katherine Hepburn

Men and women enter into relationships for many different reasons, but maintaining them is the tricky part.  Recently, some friends asked to hear about expectations in the relationship, new rules in the modern household, and how bringing a child into the home influences expectations.  Today’s post will address the former, as bringing a baby into a relationship merits a post on its own.

In my last class as a budding counselor, I learned one of my most valuable lessons – Expectations.  It really is a loaded word.  We discussed expectations for ourselves and the client as well as how to be present with people so that both parties are less likely to be disappointed.  When you are present in the current moment, fully engaged, and remove expectations; a space is offered that nurtures mutual respect and encourages growth.

Think about when you are learning something new or engaging in a new environment.  Be it work, educational, or social; you try so hard to “get it right”, so you are all in your head, working overtime to use the proper procedure, ask the right questions, and deliver the correct results or behaviors.  This can happen in a new relationship as well.

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Is Physical Attraction Everything?

holding handspsychology of attraction review

Do you remember it?  That moment when you laid eyes on your person?  The first encounter – when you were intrigued, attracted, drawn in.  It may be hard to remember what first drew you to them – or perhaps you remember it like it was yesterday.  Was it their eyes, their laugh, their smile, that smokin’ hot body?  The way you felt in their presence?  You may be able to think back and remember the exact outfit you wore and place you met. Christy Cooper recently asked, “can you grow to love someone or is physical attraction everything?”

Men are physical beings, so of course physical attraction is a key factor to choosing a mate. Both genders are initially drawn to each other by physical appearance, but is it everything? From what I have seen – NO.  Love transcends the physical body, if not how could we explain Read More