Make Your Own Sunshine

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“Rather than trying to steal someone else’s sunshine, we should go and find our own.” 

I’ve seen this cartoon make it’s rounds on Facebook more than once. I love it.

I don’t believe in looking for happiness in someone else’s family. It isn’t there. If they’ll cheat with you, they will cheat on you 9 times out of 10. I’m sure someone out there can tell me they are the exception – that’s great. Me? I could never trust anyone who cheated.

I have a lot of male friends whom I trust and adore. And yes, I’m the kind of woman who will fly off the porch to hug a man I care about and think nothing of it. The men that have that level of spontaneity with me have earned that trust, are tried and true, and are friends with both my husband and myself.

What I am not, is the kind of woman who will allow a married man to tell me that I am “the only one he can talk to, the only one he can trust. He needs me.” That happened to me years ago — he was my boss’s boss and it took me a long time to get over the absolute betrayal I felt.

It took me even longer than that to get over the need that people believe it really happened. He’s kind of a high profile, everyone loves him, he’s just misunderstood, kind of guy. I think he’s a jerk. Today, I’m comfortable with the fact that I did almost everything right (I still think I should have dropped him where he stood, but you know.) I told on him and I walked away permanently and that is all that matters.

His actions, choices and lies cost me a career I thought I really wanted. It made me weird and very distrusting of men for a long time. I put new men in my life after that through all kinds of hoops and tricks. I wish I could take all of that back, but healing is a process I needed to go through.

Today I have a wonderful career that I am thrilled with, and I once again allow men to get close without having to dodge daggers along the way.

If you are a man who happened to meet me during my dagger years, I am so sorry. If you are still speaking to me – or reading my blog, thank you for your patience and grace.

Having said that I am also not above ending friendships with the opposite sex if I feel the friendship has become a threat to either of our marriages. It’s just how I roll. It’s how I was raised.

I will also end friendships with women whom I feel are becoming a threat to my marriage as well. Not that my husband would look – but the fact that they try so hard anyway gets them a one way ticket out of my life.

Permanently.

That has more to do with my self-worth than it does any kind of insecurity. I place deep value in my female friendships. Mutual respect, love and trust are vital.

Mutual respect, love and trust are vital in marriage as well. 

I love and trust my husband.

He loves and trusts me.

I am blessed.

There is no room in our lives for anyone who would look to steal our sunshine.

I’ve seen too many friends look for happiness elsewhere. Married or single. The damage done to their families and friendships is astronomical and it’s painful watching them walk out the consequences of their choices.


If you let go of nothing else, let this be the one.

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I performed in a comedy contest two years ago. One judge told me to never perform comedy again after my first night. I had two more sets to do after that. Honestly all he did was piss me off — I may or may not have semi-intentionally torched that bridge while I was still standing on it. I may receive the grace at some point to make that right and I may not. I don’t know yet.

A second judge watched all three sets and then called bullshit on 90% of my jokes.

“If who you are communicating on stage is who you really think you are, then someone lied to you. Go find out who you really are, she’s the woman I want to see in your comedy next year.”

I then went home and promptly broke my ankle, had two major surgeries on my leg and was left without my go to for approval places, giving me 14 months to think about what both comics told me.

Neither judge was wrong.

I let fear rule my choices in jokes.

I wanted everyone to like me.

That was my first “big” comedy deal and I played it safe and I played it weak. I played “cute” to win people over.

It’s no wonder they didn’t like me, I didn’t even like the woman I pretended to be on stage.

I spent 14 months taking more than my comedy set back to the studs, I took myself there and I ended 2014 with a lot of letting go.

My trash pile includes:

Friends on Facebook who were only there because I thought I had something to prove — They were there as a see, you should have believed in me – look at me now kind of thing. Some were people I used to know but am no longer friends with and others weren’t even people I actually like in real life.

Names I’ve been called, things I’ve been told. Words like “lazy”, “Slut”, “Bitch”, “unwanted”, “stupid”, “bossy”, “Controlling”, “Bastard”.

Filling that wound with applause and achievements.

My need to control people by being cute or overly submissive.

Mind reading. I suck at it anyway.

Places and friends that are not safe.

Tilting at windmills — wasting energy and trying to change what cannot be changed. Controlling others.

Purposefully giving people a reason not to like me if I think they already don’t. Burning bridges while standing on them.

The desire to be known being over run by the fear of being found out. — that’s a big one and I’ll write more about that as the year unfolds.

Now you’d think after 30 years in a recovery program, I’d have all of this down cold. Notsomuch. One of the worst tag lines that’s going to take work for me is being told,

“I can’t wait for the day when I can prove to the world what a bitch you really are.”

That sentence alone has been the root of so many choices. That’s the sentence that I’ve allowed to define my actions and word choices for so many years. It also defined my sets and choice of jokes.

That’s the fear both comics saw manifest itself in that small theater in Indiana.

I learned a lot at The Cove. I learned that I’m not a bitch and that seasons pass just fine without my interference. I’m not any of those other labels either.

I’ve learned that I can know that for myself without having to inappropriately lean on those who already knew that for me.

So, I call a do over not only in my approach to comedy, but my approach to relationships as well and 2015 is just the year to do that.

Happy New Years you guys.

Much love,

Deana

I Chose This

resolve june 5 2013 ” I miss my friends. I miss our house. I miss our store. I hate you for bringing me here.” she said. And he reminds her, “But we chose this, remember? The house, yard, and store were too much to take care of now, and we were too far away from town and the doctor’s offices. And we’re closer to our daughter now. You can walk to her house. You couldn’t do that before. So what if we have to drive farther to see our friends, we knew that when we chose to move.”

* “I hate living in Chicago. It’s scary and it’s hard. And those men I have to work with? They are crude! They keep trying to scare me off. It’s so hard some days Gramps.”

“But you chose this, remember? You wanted to live in Chicago. You wanted to have a career. You knew you would be the only woman in that group when you accepted the job. You chose this life. The only question that remains now is what choices are you willing to make today? Are you going to step up to the plate and face the challenge you accepted or are you going to run away?”

YOU CHOSE THIS, REMEMBER?

If I remember nothing else from my Grandfather, I hope I never forget those words. You chose this. Own your choices or they will own you.

My Grand Father had an 8th grade education at best, and I swear up and down he was the smartest man I’ve ever known in my life. I miss him beyond measure most days.

The great thing about choices is we get to change our minds and make a different choice, or we get to buckle down and do what needs to be done.

I got a little whiney this week. I didn’t think I was being whiney. I thought I was just stating facts, I’ve been performing all month at various venues and some have been harder than others. I haven’t slept well in I don’t know how long. I’ve been up half the night most nights writing new jokes, practicing my banjo and my guitar, writing stories, talking with friends, working through home work that is due June 15. I have gardens to work, and deadlines looming. I got to feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all and I think part of me was looking for a little bit of sympathy only I didn’t get it.

I’m glad really. Women (and men) don’t need sympathy — especially in light of the fact that we are all living the lives we choose to live. (For the record, sympathy and empathy are not the same thing.)

We may not view our lives as choice. Sometimes we view ourselves as victims of either fate or circumstance or others but nothing can be further from the truth.

I’m choosing to add music lessons, a ministry class, and playing stand up in bars and clubs to my already full schedule of running a home, caring for aging parents, and going green in my gardening (No GMO’s for us thank you) not to mention becoming a full-fledged cyclist. All of these are good choices. Yes, it does mean I get a bit less sleep. I’m not a victim. I’m living my dream. I’m performing comedy. I’m working hard at being the best comic I can become. Every choice I make pushes me a little bit closer to my goals.

I can either accept, appreciate, and value the hard work that goes into that – or I can stay a stuck little girl and whine which leads people and myself to wonder – if it’s really that awful why do you keep doing it?

We choose where we work, where we live, whom we trust, how we eat, how we spend our time and what we think.

When we replace the have to’s with chooses to’s, we step out of the little girl victim mode and become women who own our own lives.

It isn’t always easy. Life is still life. Relationships are hard. Work is hard. And even in the face of hardship we still choose how we respond.

We aren’t beach balls tossed around by a crowd. We are women. We control our steps, our hearts, and our destiny. Only when we live it, breathe it, and own it are we free.

* I went on to earn numerous performance rewards, including but not limited to recognition from the National Associate of Female Executives for being the first women to work in Internal Communications for a National Telecommunications company. When hired, the manager told me “HR says I have to hire a broad, I give you 90 days.” — Today that department has almost as many women working in it as men. I’m proud I chose to rise to the challenge and stick with it.

Redemption’s Heart is Under Construction and is getting a new name.

under constructionA new attitude is rising up around here — I’m thinking a brand new look is in order as well. We’ve slapped on some paint, shifted some  furniture, knocked out a cyber wall or two and this page is really starting to come together nicely. In light of all the changes, both in my life and on this blog, Redemption’s Heart needs a name change. — For starters it just doesn’t fit anymore. and I’m not a Mommy / Garden Blogger Anymore. I’m still married, but my kids are grown and my gardens are dead.

And so, we’ve changed the name from Redemption’s Heart to Deana Louise.  We’ve played with all kinds of names, some of them really cool (My husband suggested “my hot wife”  and while I thought that was sweet, I decided to pass) Since I own Deana Louise Productions, it just made more sense to go with that. I’m a comic, artist, speaker, freelance writer , banjo student, and poet. Instead of PTA meetings and bake sales, I am now exploring life after kids, facing down fears and testing my own grit. This is where I share my new adventures – and sometimes misadventures. Welcome.

Happy 2013 Some Random Thoughts from little ole me.

When writing the story of your life,

don’t let anyone else hold the pen. – Harley Davidson

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It doesn’t matter how 2012 ended.

It does not matter if you kept last year’s resolutions or not.

You have the power to decide where to go next. You always have.

I usually end the year with an inventory of some kind. I list what went well, what did not go well, what I learned, what I still need to learn and then once finished, I declare the year complete. 2012 was a year of challenges and great growth for me. Instead of making resolutions, I followed the advice of several writer friends. I chose to live a great story (Donald Miller) and picked a word for the year to focus on. 2012 turned out to be one of the best years I’ve had in a while. I even chose to follow Ken Davis’s advice and live a year that is Fully Alive and what a difference that makes. Living a great story Fully Alive is not an easy road — you get skinned knees and bruised hearts along the way. It requires honesty with yourself and others. It’s hard work. Sometimes you say as many goodbyes as you do hellos and that is okay.

Some highlights from 2012

  • My youngest graduated high school and started college as well as a part-time job. — He has epilepsy and a great deal of my life and his childhood has revolved around taking care of him and being his advocate. Now I get to watch him spread his wings and I could not be more proud. (My oldest is in his 4th year of college with one more to go — my life is changing fast)
  • I’m in two movies as a paid extra, Cowgirls N Angels and So This is Christmas — I am at a loss of words trying to explain the emotional impact of seeing myself on the big screen had on me. The best I can come up with is “it rocked!” I want to do more of that.
  • I rode the Tulsa Tour De Cure for the first time and will definitely raise the challenge bar and do it again.
  • I started playing the banjo.
  • I emceed a local youth rock concert.
  • Attended the Christian Comedy Association Conference in Nashville and had a blast.
  • The political climate caused some attrition in my friendships. Sorry to see that happen, learning to let go.
  • Made new friends.
  • I said goodbye to the church I’ve attended for ten years and hello to a new one that has women’s ministries and bible studies, two things that are important to me. This was a hard choice, but one that needed to be made.
  • In 2013, I plan to ride more, participate in the Route 66 Marathon, return to Nashville for the CCA Conference. My word for the year is Resolve and I plan to continue writing and living a story that keeps me alive.

Random Thoughts:

  • It’s easier to tell the truth the first time than to have to remember a lie.
  • Hidden things have a way of coming back to bite you — deal with your closet before it deals with you. (Just trust me on this one.)
  • You can’t have everything you want.
  • Don’t take what isn’t yours.
  • Don’t do something permanently stupid just because you are temporarily upset. – Temper your temper.
  • Always strive to leave people and things better than you found them.
  • Own who you are.
  • Don’t blame others for your choices.
  • Try new things.
  • Fail as often as you need to before you succeed.
  • Gratitude is a choice.
  • Write your own story.
  • Find your catalyst and be the person worthy of love, trust, and respect that looks back at you in the mirror every day.
  • LIVE a life that is UNDAUNTED.