Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Some kind of struggle...

Wow....I can't believe it's been over 2 years since I blogged last.

So much has happened! I moved, I moved again. I changed careers (slightly), laughed a lot, cried even more. Became a social butterfly and did a lot of time alone. There have been friend changes, body changes, dating disastrous, fun adventures, good memories with lots and lots of inbetweens. I felt happy, disappointed, excited, betrayed, welcomed, ignored, sought out, lost, motivated...well the list goes on and on. Isn't it amazing how much can happen in just one year....let alone 2 years???

Which brings me to today! The first of the year...another year! And with all the peace and excitement I feel about 2017 and I can't help but track a nagging concern about "What if it's not a year that's different from any other year?" Then I stopped. What does that mean Brooklyn? What does a typical year include for you?

Getting honest with myself I guess it means I have had the normal ups and downs. The normal setbacks and accomplishments. The mountain tops and a lot of time in the valley. Honestly...I guess just normal? lol What ever that means. So I took a bit of time and reflected on the times that were great/fun/memorable/peaceful and the times that were....well weren't. And in that reflection I had to face two things!!! When things were good, and I don't mean exciting and full of adventure, I mean peaceful, memorable, enjoyable...GOOD!...my relationship with God was intimate and my focus was on creating the life I want to live.

Don't worry...this is not a writing example that sites Oprah and Brene' Brown (although I love them both) this really is about HOW DO I WANT LIVE 2017?! And I think that comes with a challenge. A challenge about if I focus in on things I want...what has to become less of a priority, less of a comfort?  And that's the thing about commitment to change and new things...isn't it? With ever transition/change/transformation there's a letting go of the old and familiar in order to have the "space" (emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually) to embrace all the new. So while I'm focusing on new things, new life, new changes I have to equally focus on dying to the old stuff, the unnecessary but safety blankets. AHHHHH!!!!

Well I have always been on that believes ANYTHING WORTH HAVING INVOLVES SOME KIND OF STRUGGLE! The difference that kind of struggle usually brings all that we have ever hoped for and believed in. At least that's what I'm telling myself. lol

Here's to 2017!


Friday, October 24, 2014

I wish I could be a creeper?

Okay not really...but today I didn't have to go into the office till later in the day, so I found myself doing things around the house. Allie (my roommate's dog) started barking so I walked over to the kitchen window, that faces the backyard, to see what she was going on about...and there was my elderly neighbor.

He was clapping his hands, encouraging the puppies (Allie and Sapulpa) to chase the beautiful waterfall of leaves falling from the huge oak in my back yard. The puppies were running like crazy trying to chase and catch the gold and red leaves as they flittered to the ground. My elderly neighbor watched, smiling....seemingly sooo happy.

I then watched him turn and walked back into his house. Within a few seconds he returned outside with a basket of laundry....He began to engage in the activities I have seen many times for the last couple of months. He put his laundry out on the line....checked his little garden...walked around the yard (looking for I don't know what)...

And I found myself mesmerized....."I wonder what his life is about? I wonder what keeps him going? Does he have people in his life? I bet he has a really good story?"

He is far from the age where things physically come easy. When he bends or moves...it is with great effort and slow, always intentional. I see him doing the same things almost everyday.

I think I was mesmerized because I was baffled yet intrigued how he, even in his later life,  seems to live a life that gets him up everyday. Doing laundry, gardening, etc...can't be enough to wake up to every day...can it?

What gives him hope.... joy?....What emotion or truth gets him out of bed everyday?

So I walked outside...and said hello.

He is a sweet old man that told me he is a widow. He also told me I needed to rake the leaves in my yard...lol He told him he's been retired for 20+ years and his kids live close. He told me he is annoyed about the infestation of rabbits that eat his garden.

He was kind, funny...genuine. yet somehow I really believe deeply aware of the life he was living. And that got me thinking....are we...those of us trying to "create" a life....aware of the kind of life we are trying to live?  Do we want to make a mark? Do we not care? Are we striving for success? Or just trying to be noticed?

Are we living?.....or just waiting for someone to notice us? Why is it some of the the most famous, successful people are scrabbling and dying to be scene...and we give them days of headlines, tv and social media .... yet some of the most generous, inspiring, heart warming, lovely people in life.... just do laundry and live out their days...nothing great but tremendously impactful...but hardly noticed.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Yeah! He's a Christian!...outside of the Bedroom: Are Faith and Character @ odds???

WARNING: I have absolutely NO idea how this blog will turn out! LOL...here goes nothing.

Since the beginning of this year, while I have been full of hope and anticipation for 2014, I have also been as equally frustrated and sad about things going on around me, in my friends' and clients' lives. It has just seemed relationship after relationship has ended. Recently I have answered the phone numerous times to friends in the depths of pain while going through a divorce or friends devastated because they that found other their boyfriend or fiance' has been cheating.  What is going on???

My friend, Michelle, and I were discussing this while having the "Lighter fare," at Maggaino's (FYI...the lasagna and grilled eggplant are a no go). She, being married, and I, being divorce, just sat shaking our heads and asking a lot of questions about what makes a marriage/relationship work these days. Followed by a lot more questions like: "Do we just not value marriage anymore?" "Are we to selfish of a society, that when it no longer feels good to us, we quit?" "Where are the Christian men of character?" On and on we questioned and talked, questioned and hypothesized, questioned and sighed.

(We laugh too! lol...cuz you know me...and I have stories. Everything from men I have never met chewing me out because I haven't emailed or texted back by a certain time to the sweet, Oh I just really wish I could like you, guy. I have been sang to in another language, had my ear talked off about cars, asked if I could walk myself to my car {dark parking garage and all}, and told, "you are obviously a very submissive woman." LOL But I have also experienced, genuine, nice, charming men who were attentive, pulled out my chair for me, sent flowers, complimented me on things OTHER then my appearance...etc.) 

I think what was more perplexing was realizing that we use to (not to long ago) think that meeting a believer, especially someone raised "like us", somehow guaranteed, not necessarily always a blissful marriage, but at the very least two people who wanted to work at it. Now that idea sounds preposterous and flaky!!! ("Just because he's a Christian? Oh please!!! They are some of the worse." - friend of mine) And it  seems that's statically the truth with divorce being higher in the church then in the world. Plus not to mention recent dating experiences of mine and those of my friends.

I was also telling Michelle that it has been disheartening to have gone out with a few spirit filled, strong believers (on paper) and they proved to have had the most "loose" boundaries I have ever encountered on a first, second, even third date. In fact, it seemed, lately, that the men who might be questioning their faith, searching for the truth, or believe in God but haven't found a church showed more respect for me and my boundaries, then all of the "Church-going, spirit-filled, Bible-believing Christian" dudes combined (reminder: this is lately). What is that about???? In fact the aforementioned guys treated me like gold, while the latter made me feel like an "option."

To be honest...it's incredibly embarrassing to admit I have felt more honored, respected and pursued by unbelievers then "Christian men." It's frustrating and confusing to feel so admired for my faith and accomplishments by men with a less than stellar church attendance record. To feel that attraction...you know the one (girls)...where you feel sexy and beautiful but it's complimented with ease and respect by a man not on your bible study speed dial. Even more frustrating to hear my Christian (male) friends say they dont' find quailty women or there are no available women...and then to all the above mention frustrations for quality, beautiful, Godly women.

Granted I am perfectly willing to say that this is just my streak of luck...if I hadn't had similar conversations with friends before AND after my lunch with Michelle. And if I hadn't met GREAT men, just not quite...well ya know! So what is it? What is going on? Is it just here in CO? My hunch is that it's probably not! So...what?

I honestly think a lot of has to do with character. That when you boil it down...some of the guys had strong character while others did not...Christian, non-believers or somewhere in between...character or the lack of character showed up pretty darn fast. Character is always a hard one to determine right off the bat, in fact, most of the time you can't. It takes time to really see it.  And I know character is not gender specific. That you have to be one of character to attract someone of character....but then there is the question of why does faith and character NOT seem to be hand and hand lately?

I'm sure I will be writing more about this later. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

DATING and the Broken Road ahead!!!!

"You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again." - Psalms 71:20-21

I posted these verses once before....WAY back in the day...but in light of some recent conversations and knowing what a few of my friends are going through...I felt it important to post it once again!

NOW for the blog!!!!

I didn't realize it has been 5 months since my last blog. I guess one could look at that as progress? Or no progress? Or somewhere inbetween? Honestly, I have no idea.

BUT that has given me 5 months to report on the dating scene. OH THE DATING SCENE. Lets see...I have been out with men that I am confused how we ended up on a date; pursued by men that dont get a hint; flash pan encounters that seemed so encouraging but ended up ending as qucikly at they started; and then the good guys that I just WISH there was a spark but nothing.

How do I stay encouraged???? How do I believe that God has someone for me in light of an ocean of ridculous encounters, endless text messages, blind dates, first dates, great dates with no hope, emotionally unavailable men, and men that just want a buddy (I dont camp!!!!). How do I? Because I have found a spark of hope...and believe me that spark was not present for years!

I found that hope in the belief of my friends...in my family. I found the hope in changing my prespective...and I found the spark when I realized that God is MY father. Just like my earthly father, my HEAVENLY father wants to fulfill the desires of my heart. I know for a fact my dad prays for me daily. I know he has a vision and hope for my life. I know one of his desires is to see me happy and prosperous...and having little grandbaby girls (dont tell anyone ;)) The Bible asks, "how much more does our HEAVENLY father want to see us happy then our earthly father" (my lame mans paraphrase...obviously).

Getting to this place is not easy....and it is NOT attached to another relationship, a new adventure or a moment of reprieve. The spark of hope is from a really deep, true understanding that you deserve God's best...and HE WANTS THAT FOR YOU!!!! I did some of that by FLOODING myself with uplifting messages (love Kris Valloton), HS worship (Kim Walker-Smith), or even worldly avenues like "The Secret" (positive thinking, Law of Attraction).

TO be honest...that isn't easy or natural for me...but once I felt that spark (all Holy Spirit oriented) at the beginning of this year I have fought to keep it. I have listened to sermons of hope and fulfilling dreams, to positive oriented situations, seeking out my friends and families that are believing for me, reading books about it, etc. A lot of this is because I FINALLY believe it! I believe I can have it...and of course saying that...putting me out there...I fight the cringe of "what if"...but that is only a result of what I have been through.

I know I deserve God's best...and when my family and friends...tell me I am the whole package..I want to believe, SO I finally CHOSE to believe it..... then that means I accept that...and If I choose to embrace that I feel a tremendous amount of humility and responsibilitiy. I want to be that woman...and that means anyone that comes along my path...GREAT or not....I treat as though they are what? A step along the way? A direction sign that tells me to stop, go forward, you can get there from here but it will take you longer? I THINK its a lot like the Rascal Flatts song, "Every long long dream lead me to where you are. Others who have broke my heart they were like Northern stars pointing me on my way into your loving arms. This much I know is true...that God blessed the broken road that lead me straight to YOU!'

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dating Again

So I am dating AGAIN!

It's strange and weird and creates such a complicated mixture of feelings . True, I dated a couple of men before this "season," but that was mostly about trying to figure out myself, what I wanted....and to be honest numb the pain of healing (even a healed scar can be tender and achy at times). This time, this season is about me owning and acknowledging that I want to be married again...I would like to start a family. There is such fear with voicing this desire..but then there is freedom ....and then .....there is dating!!!...Once again allowing my heart to remain open in a sea of awkward conversations, dinners and blind dates.

This time around, though, dating has been very different. I am less afraid to express what I want in a relationship. I am more confident about who i am and less insecure about my appearance (take it or leave it folks)? I am a bit harsher in my judgements of red flags and boundary issues? I am more self-reflective and aware of why I may or may not be attracted to someone. And weirdly enough I am at place where I finally understand saying no to "good enough" means I am really saying YES to wanting God's best.

I remember a concept I learned back in my high school psych class...it was called the Chemical Map. Basically the idea was that every relationship (casual, dating, committed or just a meaningful encounter) causes a chemical reaction telling you want you do or do not like in someone, and this can, if you allow it to, direct you to the connection you desire for your life. It can be as simple as meeting someone with incredible blues eyes and you are immediately attracted to them or to someone you dated that was completely sold out to God and you find yourself respecting them. And all of this information/experiences can lead you to recognize the person for your life when he comes. And while I recognize much of this concept is humanistic in nature.....I find so much truth in it now entering the dating world again. 

My past experiences/relationships have taught me a lot, and I see how they have even shaped some of my expectations. My past Chemical Map has been challenged, altered and amended by the experiences I can filter out from the past. For one, I realize that my first Chemical Map lead me down a strictly more romantic, highly emotional path. I wanted a certain type...someone who made me FEEL a certain way...now I look back at that map and say, "I want that,  but life behind close doors needs so much more." For me, strong character, an attentive ear, a willingness to be unconditional, an adventurous spirit, a love for doing God's work and a passion for worship and seeking His presence.....may seem so....DUH....but honestly, major points of interest on my new map.

The side of all this that I feel is most difficult.....is that once you have experienced a horrible ripping/devastation such as divorce it is hard( almost impossible)to believe, imagine or know you can have more or want something better. I don't walk around with a scarlet letter, an elevated sense of self righteousness or even a broken heart (anymore) ...I have been blessed to be surrounded with people who have believed in and supported me....but that never stopped the questioning and the concern of choosing the right person in the future....or my worse fear........there might not be someone! Yet this new season feels like a huge learning curve! A place that is both scary and exciting. 

Yeah..so with all that great knowledge and wisdom(sarcastic)...where am I now? I am dating...and grateful the map is VERY different...and I am grateful because it seems I am attracting such great men. BUT to be completely truthful....dating is exhausting and once you have established a life for yourself it is even more exhausting trying to find the time....lol! I am not interested in kissing a lot of frogs to find a prince (and wont). Yet I have learn if you truly want something God always requires prayer and action (easier to turn the titanic if the titanic is MOVING). So I remain open, hopeful, focused and for the first time, in a long time...fighting for my future, my heart....and the plans HE has for me! 

Monday, August 19, 2013

I Will LIVE For Them!

After reflecting on so much LIFE....I asked myself....how do others see me? Whats interesting but also solidifies so much of what I believe (our focus...what we seek...we will find) is that I would be a very different person if I really knew or understood the way others see me.

I remember that once in college a friend told me....an unspoken compliment is a wasted thought....so I feel as though I have cheated and been cheated out of so many thoughts. Dont know...but I do  know that in hard, dark times, and in great, memorable moments it is incredibly easy to get self absorbed. To only feel, want, like, need what is good for ourselves....and in those moments we can forget! We can forget what we mean to others....who we are to others. We can lose sight that our lives are but vapors and God has chosen us for such a time as THIS (I know I sound all TBN...but it is true).

For me...it is painful to admit that I have forgotten that I have friends, clients, family all over America (and the world for that matter) that depend and want my advice. I have nephews and friends that have not seen my face in months (for so many reasons...some I havent been able to control) but still talk about me and wonder whats going on. I also have the on the skirts, out of the fringes people (not quite friend...not quite client...not quite acquaintance but still important)  that like my blog, or facebook status...or even contact me via text once in a blue moon.

This is not a self-absorbed...look at me blog...although I just reread my blog  and rolled my eyes...lol....I have remembered that we live so much life and impact (good or bad) so many people...and that (at least for me) when we get into a rut....a hard place or even just a SUPER busy time we can not get to place that people aren't apart of the equation.

We ARE relationship...and I write this for the broken hearted, the really busy, the ones that can get so lost into their own worlds that they forget that their world impacts others .or needs them.  Dont get me wrong....I started this blog because I was getting a divorce and through the past two years I have been happy, frustrated, feeling loved, feeling hopeful, sad, present, on time, devastated, not good enough, lonely, angry, and gone...but none of those feelings and reality change that when I get a text or message that says I am so glad you are there (here) and I dont know what i would have done without you it has to change from a ME to I will LIVE for THEM!!!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Cambodia...and the lessons a parasite taught me.

I know it has been forever since I have posted anything, but a creative bug (my parasite buddy) has made me rather self-reflective lately....for many reasons.

One reason is that I have not been able to do much other then work and sleep (and think). Another reason is that all that downtime (and cabin fever) has caused me to really adjust my perspective and what I value in life. And lastly, I feel like I owe God! For all the anger and frustration I spewed at Him after returning from Cambodia and being sick....He actually had more of a plan then my narrow understanding allowed for.

Okay so quick back story for those of you who do not know what happened. About five days or so into my Cambodian trip I got really, REALLY sick. My old Teen Mania buddies would refer to it as the Big D...but it ended up being a lot more then that. I literally did not leave, could not leave the hotel for three days....and the frustration set in. Why in the world would God bring me clear across the world to only end up living in my hotel room. I missed the prayer walk...I missed the village day...I missed a lot!!! Course at the time I didn't have much energy to formulate to much thinking...but once I began to feel a bit better all I could do is see was intense frustration and then have an all out cry fest. (I know...woe is me! lol) I later found out I had a parasite. 

On the fourth day...I began to feel better and things began to change (but it was only later I found out that the change was for the good). Since I could leave my room for more then 10 minutes without running back to the bathroom in desperation I decided I wanted to join the team. Well i did it..but I had to take a LOT of breaks...and at one point I laid down...and ended up passing out.  During one of the breaks, I began to cry...so frustrated that I was sick...and a few women from my team came to pray over me. One of the words I received was that God had put me on my back on purpose. He wanted to talk to me....He knows I can DO things but He wanted to BE with me...and wanted me to go deeper, be an intercessor for Him..for the team.  Some might thing...WELL see there God did have something for you....but for my personality prayer feels like doing a lot of nothing when there is painting, cleaning and actual work to be done. Oh how wrong can one little lady be?!?!?!

After I returned home I was feeling better but quickly relapsed...and from that point I got really angry with God. I couldn't work, I couldn't leave my house....I basically disappeared from life. Confused, fighting depression, unhealthy I would lay in my bed and just cry...I have traveled all of the world and have NEVER gotten sick. And I knew (know) that God told me to go to Cambodia...I didn't have to raise a finger to raise the money....it was effortless. So why? What was the point if I was only going to end up sick and miss some of the trip...and now missing work, and not seeing my family or friends. What the madness? It doesn't make sense? Ever felt that way?

Slowly (what actually felt...v....e.....r....y.....S....L....O....W) I have gotten better....and since that slow climb back out of the dark hole I have noticed my perspective on a few things have changed. For one...I value my health like never before. You don't know how bad you feel till you start to feel good again. To me in those moments of desperation, loneliness and frustration I begged...I pleaded with God to heal me. You know the whole.....God I promise to do this if you do this...lol...silly I know but in those moments I would h ave done anything. Since, I have been aware of my PHYSICAL HEALTH (you will start to see a theme).

Another perspective shift is the importance of my friends and family. Its not that I feel as though I was taking advantage of either, but I am not sure I was as grateful for them as I am now. In Cambodia my United Womens team was one of the most special things to me about the trip. We were so unified and focused on supporting each other...that when I came back and could not go to church or to any of the outings that were planned...I felt robbed. Why God did You allow me to fall in love with these women only to have me get sick and lose touch (geez how narcissistic can one person sound?..whine, whine, whine) But that wasn't entirely true...during that time...I had friends and family (my amazing mother) that would come over at all hours of the day AND night to bring me Gas-X, Campbells soup, Gatorade, lecture me about not going to the doctor, etc. So coming out of my stupor I realized how blessed I am to have people that care...even care enough to tell me to suck it up and stop being a whiny baby.    lol No joke. Realizing the shift in EMOTIONAL HEALTH

Lastly, through all of this I have seen how God broke some things in my life and reignited a passion for Him.  He broke some unhealthy dependencies, altered a few negative thinking patterns, and really changed my focus from myself (I can do things on my own) to focusing on Him. Honestly for months I have struggled with how to get my passion/love/zeal for God back. The start of the trip really kicked things into gear...being around such Godly, amazing women...but honestly the digging and going deeper happened when I was by myself, praying....listening to worship....reflecting on the last two years. Realizing I need a desperate shift in my SPIRITUAL HEALTH. God convicted my selfish focus and unrealistic expectations for myself....and thus a crazy, perpetual cycle that had my focus fixated on what I didn't have verses what God has blessed me with.

So as you can see...HEALTH...physical, emotional and spiritual health...three HUGE areas that I truly feel have been effected by 6 weeks with my gut buddy parasite. It might be obvious...and/or it might not be what we want to see in the moment...but God can and will use some of the most trying of times to change the deepest parts of ourselves.