Inspiration

Father’s Day

I wanted to blog about Father’s Day, but I’m missing one fundamental element for real comprehension of what Father’s Day means to the general dad. And that is that I never really had a dad who spend any time with me, or sent me cards, or called me on my birthday, or pretty much participated in an any part whatsoever of my life. So what I decided to blog about for Father’s Day is from the perspective of a wife and a daughter.

First I must tell you that my mother was strong enough to be both a mother and the father for me, so I never really felt like I missed out on having a father on until I got married and began to raise a daughter of my own. For my daughter when she was young I was the parent who meant everything to her. But as she grew older into her teen years I began to understand what a valuable role of father plays in the choices his teenage daughter makes. He can neither be too aggressive in his need to control her innocence, nor can he be too bold in his approach with her freedom. It’s a fine respectful line that a father has to walk on, but if he’s mature enough to handle it he can have the relationship of his dreams with his new young adult daughter.

It has been my experience that when a woman reaches her teenage years and into young adulthood; this is when the dad doesn’t feel like he’s needed anymore. You couldn’t be further from the truth! This is the age where a woman formulates the type of man she’s going to date, whether or not she’s going to try to replace her father with an older gentleman that she dates, and whether or not she’s going to allow a man or boyfriend to treat her badly. Because a mature father can teach her the appropriate kind of love that only allows her to except a man who will treat her right!

The more I look at the men my daughter has in her life, the more I understand this rule to be the truth. I watch in awe because this is a very natural change for a father and daughter to go through it.

I also have a son. The dynamics of raising a son for a mother can be excruciatingly painful. A boy needs a mother. But a man needs a father. And about the age of 12 boys decide that moms are embarrassing, and awkward. Our little boys are growing and we realize the natural progression is to navigate towards the male social dynamics of becoming an adult. Again, if a mature father is firm and able to be patient enough to put in the quantity; the quality will come!

It may seem like I’m standing on a soapbox preaching about the benefits of maturity with regard to how a father appears to his children, but I’m not. I’m merely pointing out what I have seen that has happened in my experience over the years of my life. In moments when I sit and reflect on the awesome parenting that I see from the fathers I know as an adult; that’s when I really realize how much I miss out on by not having a father of my own.

So for all you dads out there who don’t feel as though you make an impact, or don’t feel appreciated, this dedication is for you! Because you’re the silent teacher, you’re the security, you’re the love and the adoration that both your female and your male kids need! You may not know it now, but their choices and their mistakes are all relevant to this very important day that’s all about you… Happy Father’s Day to you sincerely from the heart of a wife, a mother, and a child! You are loved! Thank you!

Inspiration

Perception VS Reality

I’ve been told recently by a very credible therapist that perception is one’s truth. That for everyone on this planet truth is merely their perception. I’ve spent a great deal of my adult life trying to understand why my truth or my perception is different than others. Take into consideration that I grew up much different than the considerably “normal” household and that might explain how rough around the edges and quick I am to sound a tad negative to those around me who have not lived my experiences nor will ever be able to comprehend the difficulty in overcoming the trying circumstances. Although, from time to time people brand me “negative” or “absolute” and when they move on down the road after throwing that insult at me, they smile all the while feeling as though they’ve given me a revelation. They’ve imparted great wisdom because obviously I need to be told that I am offending their senses in such a way that they must speak their mind about it.

Often after much reflection and question I find that these people who are hell bent on giving someone a reality check according to their perception are also hell bent on reflecting any and all negative comments about their own actions or words. Their lack of appreciation for my point of view doesn’t bother me, because I would never presume to think that the way in which I speak or behave is the way that everyone else should. I don’t own the luxury of being that finite in my thinking.

I find the whole cultivating relationships ironic and of course, something to blog about so here goes from my eyes. This is my perception…

Recently, my birthday rolled around. Now, on my week or days preceding or following my birthday some of the most influential people in my life died. And of course, on my birthday I received their cards. What this did for many years was ensure that I reflected on their lives because to celebrate my own, I have to remember theirs. To not give warrant to the people who meant everything to me at one time would be cruel and heartless; in my opinion.

This made for a difficult time near the arrival of my birthday. So much so, that in some years, I just reflected on the loss and not a happy or joyous occasion of celebrating my existence. You see, for many years I didn’t really like myself. I’ve spent a majority of my adulthood trying desperately to forgive myself for mistakes I could not erase nor could I evict them from playing over and over in my mind. I had to get to forgiveness but that road was harsh and filled with regrets.

When I turned 38 all that changed with the help of an intense therapy program based on Dr. Phil McGraw’s pathways seminar. I was a new person. The only problem that remained is how to use my words to appropriately express how I feel or what I think as time goes on. You see, some of that old baggage seeps in from time to time and I find that several times I have to get my perceptions back into check. I have to wrap my mind around the blessings in life rather than concentrate on the things that I find unjust. Because those unjust things when brought to other’s attention do little to give them pause for action and more to incite riot behavior from them. That’s been my experience. People don’t really like it when you make them dig a little deeper and feel things that hold them accountable for being a true friend, or taking action against a wrong or whatever. People in my opinion based on reactions that I get are fraught with the generalness of life. Pursuant to the status quo and rocking that will only bring feverish emotions of positive or negative but I promise you it will never be boring. To extract this kind of reaction takes great insight and great courage.

Many women or men like me that are capable of extracting this kind of emotion are often labeled dramatic or weird. But the truth in all the commonness of it, is that these people share one common denominator that the rest of the world sees but just cannot seem to own. These people have the ability to feel openly, to display it, to announce it and to enjoy it. I continuously say that I have the ability to be negative; sure. But I also have the ability to be positive, and to see joy, and to be happy and to love, and to laugh, and to cry. You see, I am human and although in a moment I feel one way I am not doomed for eternity to feel only one emotion. I am human and I feel all emotions just not all at the same time.

My perception about the people who meant everything to me and have passed is far different than just a remembrance. When I say now that my birthday is fraught with recollections of people I lost you might see that as me concentrating on negative things. To you, death is sad and your conclusion might be that I am sad. That couldn’t be further from the truth or my perception. My perception is that remembrance of these people is an honor.

When I say that I like to be alone and reflect on my past it’s not a negative thing. I have an incredibly creative mind. So much that I am able to replay memories in my mind of times past much like a made for TV movie. I can watch as the youthful me has conversation after discussion about nothing that matters with people from long ago. I replay over and over the silly times we laughed and the general comfortableness that those memories give me. The warmth of my memories makes me appreciate them as monumental blessings in my life and I miss them terribly. I don’t concentrate on the loss as much as I celebrate their existence. The only way any of us know that these people we loved so incredibly much existed is if we take a moment to remember the great times that we shared with them. So I ask you how can that be negative?!

Perception is how you look at life. If my words are associated in the right order that makes you as a reader appreciate the joy I have then shame on me. That’s my responsibility and as I progress in my craft it will only get better. But the next time that you want to tell someone that they’re negative, pause for a moment because maybe in their world, what you see as negative might just be their right to hold on to whatever it is that they need to process through.

Life is not easy and there are no quick fixes. Pain is real and it can last a lifetime. Each of us has our own learned coping skills. Each of us is equipped to make conclusions on our own experiences, but none of us are always positive or always negative. Every one of us has a process to peace and for some of us that road may be longer or may have to be revisited often.

When you see a post that you find alarming or you hear a catch phrase that makes you pause remember that the emotion you feel is yours. You own it. No one made you feel it without your permission. If it triggered something inside you that’s your baggage not someone else’s. If you have a problem with whatever was said and feel your entitled to give that person a reality check you might want to rethink who’s reality you’re trying to change? Their perception or yours? I’m just saying….

Inspiration

Letter To My Graduating Daughter

Dearest Elizabeth;

Think of yourself as timeless, precious and priceless. Every day when you walk out of your home, remember that you’re treasured beyond anything you could possibly imagine. We’ve seen you blossom into an exquisite woman. There isn’t anything that you could ever do that would sacrifice the love we have for you. Since before you were born, you were wanted, you were blessed, and you were loved. Our love for you has only grown and strengthened through the years. We write this letter to you to go with your 2012 graduation yearbook as a reminder of the immense love that we have for you. On your graduation, your father and I wanted to offer some words of wisdom so that you might one day embrace it, and by learning from our mistakes, may you live your new independent life happily ever after…

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school. It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it, and being careful where your mind leads will always keep you on the path you want for yourself. Education isn’t going to get you the job it’s going to prepare you to do the job. The rest will come from your tenacious ability to put yourself out there, to test your limits and to have enough courage to take action for your own future.

Faith is something you lose and something you have to fight to keep. God is real. He grants wishes and dreams in his time, not yours. He will refine you for his use not yours. He is merciful and gracious and even in loss and pain will carry you to finding new hope. Believe.

Wherever you go, go with all your heart. Do not follow where other’s paths may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path, and leave a trail of your own. Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. Be who you are, and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind. Friends are lost easily so while creating your paths don’t alienate someone who might matter to you later in life. Always be graceful in your approach, never judge anyone unfairly and always stick up for people who cannot fight for themselves.

There are no shortcuts in life to any place worth going. You’re going to have to work hard and working is hard. There will be times when you’re lonely. Times you want to quit, but don’t because it is those moments which will become the memories of your past. Sometimes life happens when the worst comes our way but those are absolutely the moments that we remember most. Don’t block out the bad because you will end up blocking out all the good because you may not realize it but good is always around.

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another without loss of enthusiasm. Your first priority should be to learn what your options are. To not rush into plans that could change until you’ve learned who you are and what you want to do. Don’t be in a rush to do it all and put so much pressure on yourself to be perfect. Live, forgive yourself for your mistakes and work on stuff about yourself that you want to improve. The difference you’ll find between high school and college is that adults take responsibility for themselves. Making a living is only a small part of it. Far more important is to take intellectual responsibility for yourself in a way that matters and will bring you happiness.

Lastly, if you find love hold on to it because love is not given freely by everyone. It’s a gift. It matters. Surround yourself with people who lift you up emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. Develop that balance and keep it simple sis. Sometimes too much knowledge can show you what you don’t have instead of being happy with what you do, so learn to be content with your choices.

I hope these words inspire you as that is my wish for writing them. There isn’t anyone who loves you more than your parents do. We wish for you all the joy that life has to offer. We will always be a phone call away…as long as we live, there for you whenever you need us. Go into your independent life with hope and courage and make it spectacular! Love ~ Mom and Dad

Inspiration

Righteous Anger vs. Immature Emotions

Often people will say things that sting the other person when they were only trying to release these pent-up feelings or anger. They say things that are really a reflection of their own internal unresolved issues rather than anger directed at the other person. Generally, most men are afraid of women’s anger and will do whatever necessary to protect themselves from it. We as women know this, however, when we’re in the thick of whatever it is that has pushed our injustice button; we are hesitant to remain mature or calm about how we feel. This is unfortunate because angry women are not always angry at the man – but at some internal frustration. The same holds true for men.

Men are more likely to vent, and to let it out. Women are more likely to stuff, and keep it in, but both of these approaches to solving the anger issue are bad. If you always vent, you’re venting and exploding, lots of times, when what you should be doing is chilling out, because there’s nothing you can do about the traffic jam. If you’re always stuffing it, you’re stuffing it a fair amount of the time when there’s something you should be doing to get that jerk to quit calling you stupid for wanting to go see the latest Julia Roberts movie this weekend. Sometimes you need to speak and sometimes you need to be quiet, but learning which and when; now that is key.

Before you do anything, just say “Stop!” Ask yourself if this is one of those times when you need to do something about this or chill out? If you don’t do anything but that, you’ll stop before you explode or stuff it and you’ll be better off.

To understand righteous anger vs. anger that is immature let’s dive into the reasons for the emotion.  There are only two basic emotions – fear and love. All other emotions are degrees of these two. From what I know Anger is an emotion that has its root in fear.

Anger is an emotion that people express when they are: upset, frustrated, uncertain, anxious, hurt by another person or life in general, or confused. Many men and women when expressing anger are really covering the deeper emotion of fear. Unexpressed anger can be the result of a variety of personal emotional traits: the need for approval, the need for love, insecurity, a fear of rejection, guilt, resentment – to mention just a few. There is a flip side to this issue, however, and that is the impact of angry words spoken while in this fear state.

I’ve learned through some pretty horrible knock-down-drag-out come to Jesus meetings is that anyone who is angry needs to speak the truth in a loving manner. Anger can be communicated without name calling, yelling, screaming or threatening. Feelings of anger do not have to replace feelings of love. It is important to realize that being angry with someone does not mean you no longer love them, despite what men think about women getting angry.

No should or shouldn’t are allowed in your talk to each other, because your spouse using them is being a parent instead of a spouse. You don’t tell a spouse what they should or shouldn’t do. You tell a spouse what you would like them to do and then give them the opportunity to choose whether or not it is something they want to do.

I use “I feel” messages. Remember along with emotions come facts. Both should be argued and in a way that does not put the other spouse on the defensive.  An “I feel” message allows you to express how you felt about something they did or said. It gives you the opportunity to express your feelings but doesn’t necessarily mean you will get your way.

Consider this though, “I feel” messages will be met with more openness than saying, “You always do,” or “You hurt me.” You want to talk about how you feel, not point fingers at what your spouse did or didn’t do.

Don’t jump to conclusions about what your spouse is thinking or feeling. If you want to know, ask him! I really hate absolute comments or inference in an argument.  Just because you share your feelings doesn’t mean your spouse “heard” what you were saying.

When communicating we need to express and listen to be understood. A lot of us are guilty of hearing something other than what is actually being said. Make sure that you express your needs and that your spouse understands those needs. Asking him to repeat back to you what you’ve said will help. You can’t resolve a misunderstanding if you are being misunderstood!

I’ve been taught that in a healthy marriage both spouses should feel free to express their emotions, needs and desires. It is inevitable that expressing emotions can, at times mean expressing healthy anger nd engaging in conflict. Anger is a healthy part of a relationship if the anger is properly expressed. If done correctly arguing, conflict and friction in a marriage will sharpen and strengthen the marriage. This maturity is only something that through love and care can mature a marriage or relationship to the level of ultimate understanding and fewer conflicts.

You get to know and understand each other better. You feel safer within the relationship if you know it is safe to express your feelings of anger. You learn that marriage is not a competition, a game where one spouse has more control than the other. Nothing promotes love and intimacy more than working together without fear of reprisal with a commitment to doing what is best for everyone.

Inspiration

Treasured Moments

There is nothing in the world quite like a moment when you realize that you’re happy. Happiness is not a constant feeling, and for most this illusive emotion evades from daily life. I think that in the movie, “Yours, Mine and Ours” after Lucille Ball desperately tries to explain to her daughter the fundamentals of joy but fails miserably; Henry Fonda picks up the dialog by explaining that great moments arrive from putting the effort of all the drudgery and the boring is what leads to the big events! In other words, quantity no matter how mundane brings quality! You cannot have one without the other.

So imagine my surprise when I am sitting with incredible women and I realize I’m smiling! And I think “wow it’s been a long time since that’s happened!” a genuine real happy joyful smile!

What’s even better is that they were smiling and we were sharing openly and honestly and real and laughing until we couldn’t stand it anymore. Each of us had issues and extreme stories to share and opinions and comments… It was human compassion in motion! A connection stronger than time and distance full of passion and empathy and we were all there wishing that happy moments could just last a whole lot longer!

We worked together in one of the worst jobs that I have ever had! Not because of the work but because of the dictator suppression of a power motivated woman who I believe if possible would actually blow fire up someone’s butt to get them to do her bidding! We came out close friends and none of us work there anymore. The strife gave us the blessing of forming a unity against the unjust but it’s not anything we dwell on anymore. It was the basic foundation of friendship that’s been tested over time and matured into life long confidential bonding that all women wish they had! I honestly regard myself blessed!

Today you’re going to have to finish the audit paperwork and financial matters and clean the house, make the dinner, and tend to the animals, but stop right now and schedule that spa or dinner with the gals! 1. Because you sure as hell deserve it and 2. Because believe it or not it’s been too long between your ultimate moments of “happy!”

I highly recommend time to fill up your cup be because when you do…it runneth over!

Inspiration

Affirmation vs Condemnation

Often, I am reminded that I am flawed. The people who love me the most tease me incessantly about tiny matters such as forgetfulness or even so far as to pick on me because they prefer comedies as opposed to drama.

For the most part, I’m an easy going individual who by the way, doesn’t ever poke fun at someone else’s shortcomings. To me, it’s just not funny, but then again, neither is sitting on a toilet but Hollywood keeps putting that crap in movies; so I can admit that it might just be me who doesn’t appreciate the continuous banter back and forth about things that in the great scheme of things really shouldn’t bother anyone. I shrug off the jokes until it feels like verbal bashing and that’s when I put a stop to it.

In today’s world we have so many TV shows insisting that we hold ourselves accountable for our behavior! So much do that kids are firming absolute resolution about the actions the see adults make and the outcome of all this is that humans are no longer allowed error.

The sin of Adam. Let’s go back to the origin to understand that we are ALL imperfect! None of us better or worse than the other. While we may question someone’s motives or have deep regrets for their behavior the truth is that in the eyes of our Lord we are all sinners and no one sin is greater than another!

So why do we pridefully challenge each other? I have theories that it’s in an effort to elevate our own self with, but honestly I think it’s because people feel entitled to tell someone how their actions affected them. When in reality the refuse to be held accountable if the situation were reversed! People just don’t like getting their hand slapped, and many a friendship has been lost because one or the other cannot handle the 4th and final stage of friendship: drawing boundaries.

Does that mean people have grown to be selfish? Yeah I think so to a certain extent but my hypotheses is that people have good intensional but they are immature in execution! People are intolerant and judgmental as a common body and so now people are guilty and must prove innocence. A foundation of freedoms this country was built in is lost in world void of loving understanding and acceptance because we’re all too busy giving people we love a “reality check” instead of making them feel secure in the knowledge that even if they make mistakes the love doesn’t fade.

It might be more like raising children but few have the maturity needed to be a genuine source of affirmation without an agenda or motive or conclusion! Love for the sake of choosing to lift a life up rather than condemn it. A man or a woman who feels loved will never have the need to find it elsewhere!

Inspiration

World Traveler Anyone?

Many times, my husband has asked me to have more of a “wanderlust” view of living our life together. I’ve moved so much that when I find friends who actually want to spend time with me, I love it!  To me, that spending quality time simply means, “roots!” It means everything, so when I feel change coming; it causes a certain discontent.

He’s very good at tapping into my need for constant growth.  Yes, I am addicted to learning new things. I read all the time, I pay attention to politics (not that I will discuss it here) and am fairly read well in several subjects including a few passions of mine.

I’m not a “traditional” girl. I know that! I don’t know why, but it takes getting on a plane or jumping in a car to reignite my sense of adventure which if I were even more honest with myself is the one genuine unique thing about me that makes the daily drudge of getting up to go to a meaningless job to make money for a house I could do without so that my kids can go to a school the love; all worth doing! Without my adventure all this life wouldn’t have imagination and thrills and joy and love! I highly recommend finding your bliss as I have found my renewed sense of adventure.

My proclamation doesn’t mean my friends mean less to me! Actually quite the opposite. They mean everything and I am blessed the want to be my intimate confidants! I pray that never changes and that after my journeys have ended that the happiness and joys I’ve found along my path will illuminate future generations everywhere along with the stories only my friends here. That is this is your only shot. If travel is your bliss, or change or growth, what the hell are you waiting for?!

Reflection

Introspection Tools

It’s good to self reflect, but it’s not good to carry guilt because you’re not perfect.  It’s not good to allow the whispers of our discontent to navigate their tiny clawed hooks into the things that could bring us joy.

Listen, I have learned that joy, and thereby a continuum of happiness is caused by changing your perspective.  If you’re really wrapped up in the emotions of the day one thing that helps me is to begin making a list of all the good things, because it’s really easy to focus on the bad.

As long as you use your mind for good thought including self image, your body and soul will follow. A great product that I have used in the past is “The Thinking Mind” available through Amazon.  Check it out. Maybe it can help.

Remember good thoughts are a decision away.

Inspiration

Let Go of Resentment

Today’s Prayer
Dear God, Calm my spirit today. Please forgive me of gossip or worry about the people and circumstances that surround me. Please replace anger with peace. Please help me to keep my focus on Jesus, author and finisher of my faith. Please help me to focus on what I need to accomplish today, and what You want me to do. Put away all wrong thoughts and keep me from wrong actions. I want to be a steady, stable, godly person who is a pleasure to be around and a loving witness of your mercy and glory. May I be an instrument that produces a sweet, soothing sound, uplifting spirits and pleasing the Master Conductor, My Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

“If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God” (Ps. 55:12-14).

I never thought that people would intentionally cause harm to other people. Believe it or not, I always believed that given the opportunity, people would surprise you and be kind.  At my age I have found that isn’t the case. Some people hurt and that pain gets lodged in the discontent of their heart.  In turn that feeds on the seven deadliest sins.

What happens is people turn inward. They became irrational in their self-pity, their unwillingness to compromise, and they feel as though the world has somehow done them a terrible injustice. If we were all honest we have been these people from time to time.  Life can never be free of the whispers that cloud our judgments.

However, when we take ownership of the sins we made, and the people those actions hurt, we begin to understand that like us, the ones who have offended us need forgiveness too.  If we are not without sin, how can we hold another human being born of sin to withstand their own?

Forgiveness is often given when resolution happens, but what happens when there is no closure?  That’s the hardest emotion to wrestle with. We’ve been betrayed. Usually by someone we trusted, and now they hold this sadness, and this undeniable disappointment that we carry.

The only way to free yourself from the bonds of all that is un-Holy from your being and begin to see the joy again is to forgive.  To let go and take the power of your emotions back under your control. Choose not to give one moment of time in thought to that which you cannot change.  Choose you today.  Choose your happiness. I pray that you can.