Sometimes I find myself in a state of resistance. There are days that do not turn out the way I planned. Most times I am able to pick up and move on but occasionally I am hit with something that kicks me in my core and I am left fighting against what I will never be able to control. Tonight I lay it down. Tonight I surrender to what is and I choose to believe that although this day did not go as planned, God has a plan better than the one I imagined and has already worked this out. Sometimes I need to lean on my faith and trust that my way is certainly not the only way and I need to allow for different paths that lead to the same destination. Tonight is a reminder to stand strong when the odds seem agains you. If the wind is in your face, turn around and allow it to blow on your back. Everything does work out and there is no need to create a battle in your mind that doesn’t even really exist. Tell yourself there will be a way and lay it down agreeing not to continue to force your way. Resisting does not change your circumstances but it can sure do a number on your ability to hope and find any joy. Lay it down and go to sleep. Tomorrow is a new day.
There’s always that car ride after Christmas when I am traveling from here to there. I call it the in between. It’s that place of reflection when I look back on the previous year and I head into a new one. Some people never quite make it out of one and into another. They remain stuck there sometimes for years of their life while time continues to slip on by. When your thoughts and feelings drag you backwards there isn’t a chance of ever moving forward. Every year that passes is one less Christmas I will celebrate with family. When we get too consumed with ourselves or we remain stuck in the past, we lose sight of the fact that the sand in the hourglass eventually runs out. There are no do overs for days or years and one can only hope that each year we make the decision to live better. Our time is precious but it is also fleeting. So here I am in between last year and next hoping that I will leave this year with some positive growth. I don’t want to be the person I was yesterday and I am excited to evolve into the person the good Lord made me to be. So what are your thoughts today as you pause in this in between? Will you move back, walk forward or remain stuck in that place that holds you back from becoming the best version of yourself? The good news is you are the one who gets to decide. I always choose a word…a theme to enter a new year with. This year I have two, joy and change. 2019, here I come.
Today is going to be amazing. May the wind be at your back and a smile creep across your face in record numbers. You’ve got this!
I am sitting here in my living room watching Christmas lights dance on my ceiling. Yes I know it’s early but there is something very calming about lights and a tree and a warm fire emitting from my fireplace. I needed a break from the world going on outside. It’s safe here. No one is judging or fighting or screaming opinions at one another. We are just spending time together and we are happy. Every one of us. My kids are actually in the same room with me and my silly daughter hooked us up with her Christmas music playlist. She is dancing around like a crazy child. These are the moments you know? When my family is together and singing and happy and I am feeling so grateful for this beautiful moment. I will let this sink in. This is what it’s all about. I hope I am extending this peace out to all of you. Have a great night.
I am super excited this year! I mentioned recently that this weekend is my 17th wedding anniversary. There have been terrible years, wonderful years and everything in between. My husband is kind of odd when it comes to his way of thinking. There is no box to put him, he is definitely standing outside of it. He is not even in the same room with a box. Year after year, I have stood there speechless trying to find the right words to express my confusion, I mean gratitude for the gift he has so carelessly, um carefully picked out. I know the time and effort he puts into making just the right choice and this year I really want to return the favor. The funny thing is, he thinks he’s a genius and I’m there thinking what the he#l is this? I think the two years that caught me most off guard were #1 and #15. I don’t ever look up what represents what year of marriage so imagine my dismay when he was overly excited to hand me an origami kit for our first anniversary. All I could think was, is this a sign of what is yet to come but don’t worry because a few years later I would know for sure. Fast forward to year #15. I could never have imagined that tucked into that beautifully wrapped box was a crystal ball. I don’t think there are many ladies that can say they got one of those for their anniversary. The best part though is now I really can predict his future so I guess you could say that one backfired a bit. He would never possibly give me a crystal ball that didn’t work and believe me I use that to my advantage. Can you picture it? I see you vacuuming the house and cleaning toilets. I see you running to the store right now to buy me cookies and cream ice cream. I bet he’s really starting to regret that one.
So, back to why I’m so excited! This year I found the perfect gift and I can hardly wait for it to arrive. I’d love to tell you what it is but he occasionally reads my blog so you, like him, will have to wait until the weekend.
If I had to describe this last year of marriage in one word, it would be FUN. We have really started to genuinely enjoy one another and take our relationship less seriously. We have learned to approach life with a sense of humor. It makes a tremendous difference.
What is the craziest anniversary gift you have ever received? What was the best and most memorable one? What is the one word you would use to describe your last year of marriage? I’d love to hear about it!
Here is the link if you’re dying to hear the story of the crystal ball!
I think it was right around the time I turned 40 that I heard my voice for the first time. For years, I was making decision after decision based on what others thought would be best for me. I was motivated by pleasing the people who loved me which also meant I was motivated by fear. What if I let someone down? What if something I choose to make me happy undoubtedly disappoints and hurts the people around me? For years, I thought I was listening to my own voice but to be honest, back then I wouldn’t even have recognized it. Freedom comes when you are free from the opinion of others. Freedom comes from following your own path and choosing the life you ultimately want to live. Happiness comes from knowing that you own the decisions you make and never feel the need to apologize. The truth is, there is only one person you are responsible to make happy and that is yourself. Once you learn to do that, anything is possible.
Next week, we will be celebrating 17 years of marriage. With so many marriages falling apart around me, I can’t help but wonder why mine is still going strong. The fact is, every couple has challenges. There will be good times, difficult times and those times that will certainly make or break you as a couple. There will be a flicker, moments when the spark you initially felt is very much alive and moments you can’t stand being in the same room. But why do some couples make it and other couples don’t?
If I had to pick just one determining factor that ultimately leads to the success of marriage, it would be commitment. Not the kind of commitment that keeps one faithful but rather a stronger commitment to the relationship and less commitment to self. It’s obvious that people have become very selfish. They want it all. The trick is wanting the relationship to work more than having a hot body or a successful career. It’s purposely choosing the relationship over a hobby or friends or anything else that can drive a wedge in between. Does that mean you shouldn’t go to the gym or take pride in your job? Does it mean you should give up your friends for the sake of your spouse? Of course it doesn’t. It just means that your main priority has got to be your relationship in a time of record divorce and infidelity. The key is putting the majority of time into your spouse and relationship and less time into the passions that drive you apart. When your time and focus is greater on any one thing more than it is your relationship, you can be sure the death of your relationship will soon be near.
I know many couples who get caught up in anniversary gifts. They want the fancy box and the pretty bow. They hold the value of their relationship dependent on whats in the box. For so many years, people will ask, what did he give you for your anniversary. I just smile to myself. The gifts we give each year can’t be put in a box. Every year we give the gift of respect, friendship, support, encouragement and the most important gift of all unconditional love. There is no greater, more satisfying feeling in the world than knowing someone loves you just the way you are, without conditions. There is no greater gift than knowing someone supports your dreams and works along side you to make them come true. There is nothing more special than knowing the person you married is the one who loves and accepts you more than anyone else in the great big world. Love says it’s okay when you make a mistake instead of listing the ways you create your own problems. Love listens and understands when everyone else tries to give advice. Love is there in the hard times and smiling along side you in the good times. Love is a gift that keeps on giving even when the relationship seems hopeless and lost. Love does not criticize, it emphathizes. Love does not blame, it searches for solution. Love does not resent, it always forgives regardless how big the offense.
What do you think leads to a lasting relationship? What is most important to you?
Today I really recognized the difference in a positive and negative attitude. My husband is usually positive by nature but this morning the negativity coming out of his mouth was unusual and amusing. So, we have bag worms. Maybe there will be three less trees in our yard to hug but there are plenty others. He went on and on while I was silently celebrating that Starbucks brought the mocha coconut back! And can you believe this is the first time I’ve been able to sit outside and feel comfortable with this tremendous heat wave we’ve been having. I’m elated.
The sky is not falling. Keep the small things where they belong, small. Don’t get caught up in the little things that can add up to be bigger than they actually are. One problem at a time is less overwhelming that the sum of the whole. Don’t dump your problems on whoever is around because you’re problems are not their problems. They have enough of their own. Nobody wants to be around someone who constantly complains, believe me, it’s true. Everything is not a tragedy. The world is not conspiring against you. Spread a compliment or something positive and keep the complaining to yourself. You can be a ray of sunshine or a dark cloud. Which will you choose?
There are people who will make you soar and people who will break your wings. It’s important to remember that no one person will make or break you but we must acknowledge that people affect us. Some for the better and others not so much. It is impossible to become completely detached from others. That is not how life works. The truth is, who we have in our lives, and the type of relationship we have with them will directly influence how we feel. After all, we are only human. It is hard to be happy in our own little world if the people we love are living a life of misery. It’s hard to live high on the hog when people around us are struggling to make ends meet. Like it or not, we are all connected and how we handle that connection makes all the difference. I tell my kids every single day that comparison really does rob us of our happiness. We cannot continue to compare the bowl of pasta we eat today with the bowl of pasta we ate last week. The same goes for how we measure ourselves with other people. We just have to take life as it comes, the good, the bad and everything in between. We have to love others with enough restraint, so that what goes on in their lives, does not determine our level of happiness or lack of. We have to care for others but at the same time be brave enough to live the life we have dreamed of without the need for apology or feelings of guilt. We all make choices and like it or not those choices reflect our reality. People don’t have great lives because they are lucky or blessed, they have good lives because they have good attitudes and make choices that will move them closer to the life they wish to live. They have good lives because they choose love over hate, forgiveness over resentment, courage instead of fear. Some will continue to pass the buck and never be accountable for the life they created. Others will make baby steps until they create a life that is fulfilling. They will enjoy the journey and let go of this gripping for the end result. I will be happy when, I will be happy if. Be happy now. Make the choices that will change your life for the better and not continue to hold you back. As tough as it is to hear, only you are responsible for your own happiness. Stop blaming everyone and everything else.
When you wake up in the morning, remind yourself this day will not last. You will never get it back.
When you choose anger and lash out at the people you love, remember you can never take it back.
When you choose to be selfish and walk all over the people who love you, they will remember every time they look back.
When you choose hatred and waste a precious day not loving, you will never get it back.
When you spend years of your life complaining instead of practicing gratitude, those are lost opportunities you will never get back.
When you choose to hurt the people you love just to prove a point, you take away a happy day they will never get back.
Your life is a gift. You are meant to serve, love and celebrate every single day. What you do with your time, every hour, second, minute is up to you. You have a choice to ruin your own life and the lives around you or you have the choice to make the most out of time that is continuously ticking away. We are only given a set number of hours. Will we spend them loving, hating, complaining? We must choose wisely because every moment that passes is one less we have left to live. We must choose love and kindness. We must choose to look for the good in every situation even when it’s hard to see. We must learn to appreciate the people in our lives and love them enough to not use our words and actions to push them away. We must notice the little things like a sunset or a beautiful rainbow after a horrible storm. We must notice the rose blooming in our backyard more than we notice somebody’s flaws. We must see the beauty in everyone instead of placing conditions on who we expect them to be. We must embrace the moments as they come and not waste waste them because we are too proud to let go of our own anger. We must choose to laugh and love and most importantly to be happy. One day, we will open our eyes and stare into the mirror at someone very old. Our eyes will be filled with joy or pain as they reflect back on the time we will never get back. Our hearts will explode with joy or crumble inside our chest because of the way we chose to live. If you were looking in that mirror right now, what would you see? There is still time to live a different way, are you too proud? Will you look the other way? Will you live without regret? The mirror does not lie and as much as we try to avoid it, someday we will have to be accountable for who we are.