By Golly, I Think I’ve Got It!

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I’ve been searching and waiting for the perfect word to define the next few months ahead. The last word I chose was adventure and that is exactly what the universe handed me. Now I am a bit tired and much more focused and today, while drying my hair, the word popped into my head out of blue. Have you been sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for it? Of course not! You, like me, are probably thinking enough talk about “the word”, choose one already! And drumroll please………My new word is transformation. I think it is just perfect for this time in my life and I am excited to see what it will bring.

Those of you that are faithful followers know I have been aching for change. Change in my social life, my physical appearance, and my quality of life. So now is the time and I am ready. I can already feel the process in motion. If I can see it, and feel it then I can become it! What do you get when you mix body, mind, and spirit with transformation? Just wait and see! Don’t forget to let me in on the word you choose! I can’t wait to hear it.

Who’s In Your Boat?

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The second I saw this I knew I had to blog about it. Recently, I have stepped back and looked at the people that I have allowed to be part of my life. Looking from afar, I see a pattern that is more of a roadblock than a stepping stone.

There are all kinds of people. There are giving ones,selfish ones, selfless ones, users, fixers, and takers. I find myself choosing to accept everyone into my life. I have an open heart and good intentions. That is admirable. What is foolish though, is believing everyone’s heart is the same as mine.

I never really saw any of this as a problem before, just a small character flaw. Yesterday, my son got in the car and shared a story about chess club. He told me if you beat someone important you are the bounty and win a soda. He came up with a plan to take turns winning and losing with his friend so that could each get a soda. Wow did I see myself ingrained in him. What is the problem with that you might ask? It seems kind if you look at it on the surface. ” Why on earth would you let him win for a soda I asked? Do you not realize for every loss you move down?” He was very proud to be in 4th place. He thought, in his silly little head, that if they both took turns losing and winning, their place would stay the same. I had to explain to him that every loss affects him negatively regardless of the number of wins.

Both my kids are very different, but one thing they have in common is they are kind to their friends. However, one of them is constantly getting used and ending up hurt. Here is the problem. I have taught them to always treat people with kindness and respect. What I didn’t teach them, and where I failed as a person who makes this same mistake myself, is that yes, you always treat people with kindness and respect, but not at the expense of yourself. I missed that somewhere. Sometimes, I really believe that we are meant to grasp certain lessons. If we don’t get it at first we will be given circumstance after circumstance that gives us another chance to learn until life gets so frustrated that is slaps us so hard in the face that we can’t possibly miss it again. Well slap! Slap, slap, slap! I get it now.

There’s another quote that is one of my favorites. It goes something like this, “Not everyone deserves a seat at your table”. These are powerful words that remind us that we do have a choice who we let into our lives. It is in our control who we invite into our most sacred part. We have to pick and choose and we have to be selective. At the end of the day, when you are sitting in your boat weary and tired, who would pick up the oars and let you rest? Who would remind you everyday they did oar? Who would secretly wish you’d sink? Who do you trust to row your boat safely in the right direction? These are hard questions to ask and even harder to answer. Be careful you aren’t weighed down with too many people that just want to hop in and go along for the ride. Eventually, they will drag you down.

I can only pray I will surround myself with the type of friends like the one I try to be. One that is caring and supportive and there when I am really down and out, when I have nothing to offer but my sad self. Someone who will not point out the flaws in my life, but will see past them and help me count my blessings. Someone who will cheer for me to succeed and not secretly let their jealousy wish me harm. I need to be a better role model for my children and my example is their most influential teacher. They are both at such crucial ages and from this day forward, I will teach them better. The perfect balance of being kind, forgiving, and loving, but not at the expense of taking those things away from themselves. The best friend you could ever have is yourself! Be kind to that person and make wise choices. It will make all the difference in the end.

Do Nut I Mean NOT Eat Too Many Donuts!

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IT happened today! It occurred to me that with each delicious bite of probably millions of donuts, karma was forging its fight against me. I can remember eating so many, tearing one small piece off at a time until the whole box had disappeared. Sometimes they were so fresh and warm that the whole darn thing would disintegrate in my mouth the moment I put it in. I swear I didn’t even take a bite! Round Rock Donuts, Dunkin Donuts, Krispy Kreme! You name it, I ate it!

Today, the donuts got even. As I sat in my car trying to work up the motivation to walk in the gym I couldn’t help but let out a little giggle. All those donuts, from all those years had joined together in a tight knit fashion to form its own mega donut right around the place I used to call my waist! Am I angry at those damn donuts? You bet I am but I admire their sheer commitment after all this time to get even. On a good note, I do tend to make the best out of every situation, so looking down at my permanently fixed donut was exactly the motivation I needed to get me out of my car! Somewhere, buried deep beneath my donut and 42 years of eating them, is a 30 year old body fighting to find a way back out. It ought to be a good fight. To be continued……

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What Do You Choose?

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There are times that are significant in our lives. Times that reach down and grab our heartstrings and leave us forever changed. It can be a story, a circumstance, a lesson, or perhaps a personal experience. For me it was a simple movie. I’d like to share my experience with you.

Last night I watched The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. I remember learning about the Holocaust when I was in school. I couldn’t tell you exactly how old I was and quite honestly, I don’t really remember too much about it. I knew that Germans hated Jews and there were Concentration Camps. Looking back, I am grateful we didn’t go into depth. The thought of that period of time actually makes me feel sick inside.

For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, the story is based around the friendship between two eight year old boys. One is the son of a soldier and the other is a boy trapped inside an extermination camp. To see the world through the innocent eyes of young boys was enlightening. As children, we know no hate. We see others as human beings much like ourselves. We don’t understand how differences in culture, or religion, race, or opinion can make us any different than just being human. If only our hearts and our minds could could be frozen while they are so open and loving.

I look around and I see a world that thrives on hate. People whose hearts have become hard and groups of people that feel the world owes them a favor. Perhaps they feel a sense of entitlement for past discrimination or unjust treatment. It’s easy to keep the flame of anger or revenge going. Once it is lit, it burns easily and spreads quickly. We forget that we are the world, every single one of us. It’s not our superficial actions that decide what we contribute to the world, but yet the truth we hold inside our minds and hearts. What do your thoughts carry? Look around at people you surround yourself with. Do they group together with similar motives for the world? Do they encourage peace and humanity for all or are they caught up in entitlement and anger.

It’s hard to look into the darkness of what lies beneath our skin. We like to present ourselves as being loving, and forgiving, and humane…but are we really? I have done a lot of research since last night when I watched the movie. I couldn’t sleep. I was wishing the truth behind the story was some made up horror flick that could never actually hold any truth. It was a horror story and the gruesome reality behind it has left a tear on my heart. Maybe we don’t learn the details and the depth because it is so gut wrenching to hear. Maybe though, it’s during this time of our innocence we should learn about the atrocities of hate. Perhaps then, we would be less enthusiastic to become it. Maybe we should hear a story that is so painful and unfathomable that we would never want to repeat it on any level.

I have known a fair share of Jewish friends. I have never heard them talk about that horrible time. They don’t rehash it or carry it into their daily lives. They have seemed to move on and be grateful that those times are in the past. What an amazing group of people. How do they do it, go around and not live like the world owes them a favor or reparation? They are role models to all of us. Maybe at the end of the day they see everyone as human, as individuals that share common circumstances, shame, pain, and lessons that unfortunately we have to experience or witness to help our society grow.

We all experience hate, discrimination, and pain. It’s part of our human nature. It’s how you perceive these three things and what you do with them that matters in the end. Remember, you make up the world. What is it you want to contribute? Will it be hate, anger, revenge, entitlement, peace, or
love. Isn’t it amazing we have a choice?

If Only We Had A Crystal Ball!

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Today is my anniversary. Before I could even open my eyes, my husband was handing me a very heavy gift in a small box. I have learned over the course of our marriage to not get overly excited over his gifts. For anyone that knows him, it is no surprise that he would choose the standard traditional 15 year gift, crystal! It’s not that he doesn’t carefully think out his gifts. It’s just that when it comes to thinking we are not only on a different page, but often in a different country. We will get back to that later. But now, you are all probably wondering what was in the box.

What if I told you I could give you a crystal ball the day you would walk down the aisle as a beautiful bride? What if you could see every day of your future and at that moment decide if you would take that walk?

I remember that day well. There I was in the midst of every planned thing going wrong because the unplanned things were taking over. I remember hearing the music and standing in the back of the church thinking, do I even know this man I am about to marry? The truth is I didn’t. I didn’t know him at all, but what I did know was the kind of person he was. I realized in my 28 short years that love is not a guarantee for a happy life or a successful marriage. So, I did some soul searching and knew there were certain qualities I needed someone to have that would balance me out or compliment mine. That is when I met Scott. I recognized all those things that were so important to me inside of him. I would have plenty of years to get to know him later! So I put a nervous smile on my face and walked down that aisle and the rest is what it is.

I’d like to tell you the last 15 years have been a fairy tale. That would certainly be a lie. We have faced challenges, illness, death of loved ones, surviving moves and adjusting to new towns. It has been really hard. There were even those years we shared the same house and barely spoke, moments we weren’t sure if our marriage would last another day. Those are the circumstances that make you stronger, that bond you in a way that nothing other than death could ever separate. It is the choice to remain in the marriage at those times and actively work to make the relationship better that makes the difference.

Today, I opened that crystal ball with a note that ended with the words “This is a reminder our future together is bright.” Yes, it is a little corny, but I knew in those few words exactly what he meant. We had survived a lot of odds and at this point in our journey, we now really do know we love each other. I’m not sure either one of us really knew this day 15 years ago. I am glad I didn’t have a crystal ball. Marriage, and life, and circumstances have changed the two of us. Who knows what we would have chosen that day if we could only see our life without going through the experience. Today, I am confident we would choose each other without ever giving it a second thought.

It has been an interesting ride and there is no one I would rather be with on this journey of life. I have found the right partner and friend that allows and encourages me to be the best me I could ever be. So on this day, I say thank you to the man that has always been by my side through thick and thin, good times and bad, and has never quit on trying to make our a marriage a successful one. He is my best friend, honest critic, confidant, cheerleader and the perfect balance to the person I am. Our lives and souls have meshed together the way they were meant to the day we said our vows. We have beat the odds and ended up in an honest and happy time in our lives together. Today we celebrate all of it, every minute, every experience, every memory and look forward to what our future holds.

What will the next 15 years bring? Whatever I tell him I see in that crystal ball. Stupid man!

We Are All Flawed

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If there’s one situation we all have in common, it is death. None of us like to talk about it. In fact, I’m sure most of us don’t even want to think about it. As I get older, as much as I fight it, the thoughts creep in, mostly late at night when my mind is racing and wont let me get to sleep. I picture how I will feel when I am standing next to the casket of my mother or father or sister or brothers. Will I die first or will I be forced to live on long after my husband passes away?

Nothing can prepare us for death. There is nothing more painful than someone being ripped from our life before we are ready to let go. I know this because recently people from my past that I miss dearly have been haunting my dreams. I am so grateful to see them and then I wake up and the pain is fresh and raw.

There are some people I cannot bear to lose. Do I tell them? Do I make an extra effort to let them know how I feel? Expressing myself has always been difficult for me. I know it comes easily through my writing but my actions and words often tell a different story. I know I am hard on people. My thoughts and feelings are filled with kindness and good intention but sometimes the words and actions come out all wrong. The older my kids get, the more I realize this. They remind me that sometimes they need a hug and compassion a whole lot more than my worldly knowledge or constant lessons. This is something I am going to actively work on this year. We should all have goals to help us achieve our best self. They are constantly changing as the person we are becoming goes through different lessons and necessary changes.

I hope someday I will find the words and a way to reach out, so that the people I love and think about know exactly how I feel about them. Time is running out and I am racing the clock. Sometimes, just acknowledging a problem exists leads to its solution. This is one of mine and I am ready to take it on. My heart is big but sometimes my mouth is bigger, and not always in the best way. So this is my challenge and I invite you to look deep into yourself and to choose one too.

When’s The Last Time You Said Wow?

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Life is good. Three little words packed with so much meaning. I know this, because even as I get older and my senses sometimes become dulled and my experiences don’t always meet up with my expectations, there are still moments that leave me standing in the moment I am in with my internal voice saying wow! There are times when I am so overwhelmed by joy or gratitude that there is no place I would rather be than stuck right there in a moment while that moment becomes ingrained in my heart.

This is my first time traveling to Alabama. Wow! Yes! My internal voice has been screaming that word since the minute I arrived. It is warm, and inviting and people are genuinely kind. Its the kind of place that makes you feel at home the minute you arrive. For those of you that know me, I have done a lot of traveling, but Gulf Shores Alabama has left an imprint on my heart. It is a place where people hang out and dance in the sand listening to some of the best live music I have ever heard. It is a town of unique places that has escaped the normal cookie cutter monotony. It is a calm beach by day and an inviting twinkle light, outdoor haven by night. It is easy to fall in love with the place. It’s charming character and friendly atmosphere draw in even the most reserved at heart.

I am so grateful we discovered this charming place and there is no doubt in my mind that someday soon, we will be back. If you’re looking for someplace a little different, Gulf Shores is definitely your place.