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.


Wow, what a ride…

wow what a ride

There is a saying in my circles that drives me absolutely crazy some times.

“This Too Shall Pass.”

Honestly, when I’m in the middle of THIS, whatever it is, I’m not all that keen on seeing the temporary of my situation. All I can see is the now and the now stinketh much sometimes.

Take my right now for instance. I am 30 weeks into what started as a simple ankle replacement. I am still in part one of that. My tibia is still broken and we haven’t even gotten to the ankle part. People have commented about my positive attitude and I want to tell you, there are days where my prayers sound like King David’s “How long Oh Lord?”

Now I do know that my leg is going to heal and that life will pick up again and that like the saying goes this will pass. I know this because 10 years ago, it was my heart that was broken instead of my leg.

10-years ago, I didn’t believe this would pass. I felt stuck in a never-ending cycle of hurt and disappointment.

While I was still depressed over my circumstances, I chose to trust God with a single step. Nothing major, just make my bed. Then it was get dressed. Then take a walk. Quit my job. And then the scariest of all – make a new friend. And another. And another.

Over time things changed. I started doing things that scared me to death for a moment and produced wonderful results. (I failed at a lot of things as well, but you know… I kept going anyway)

tbt2

So beloved – where ever you are, whatever season you are in, know that things do pass, life does change, and if you take one small step of faith and courage great things will happen.

Be Brave
Be Bold
Dare to Live

I Call Shenanigans

I DON’T DO CATFIGHTS

Women who believe this:

best

Don’t understand this:

Women-EmpowerA person might believe that the first statement is true empowerment, but it isn’t. In reality, it’s nothing more than fear biting.

Telling me that I get to choose whether you are my best friend or my worst enemy  gives all of your personal power away.

I am the one in control when that happens. You are giving me the power to choose who you are in my life instead of choosing for yourself.

I value my female friends and I know not all women do. Some women build walls because they believe we are the competition and we should be feared

They’ve been lied to.

This isn’t about feminism, it’s about recognizing the value in friendships and in each other. We are not the competition. Girlfriends are of vital importance in our lives. Don’t allow insecurity, jealousy, or fear keep you from the richness that is so vital to our psyche.

I have no interest in being friends with anyone, male or female, who feels the need to use fear and manipulation in order to control me. 

I have no interest in being friends with little girls today. 

Or little boys for that matter. 

And so I call shenanigans on any and all lies, manipulation, power trips, gossip, threats, with-holdings and fear based everything. 

Give me the power to choose and I will.

I choose neither and leave you alone to yourself and your fear.

I chose wisely, but have you?

 

 

 

 

Recalculating

I used to think I had 1,001 reasons to hate men, turns out I have 1,001 reasons to hate one man and the rest of the poor saps just caught the shrapnel. — Fisher’s of Men.

Fisher’s of Men is not a new story that woke me up one night wanting to be written. It’s a story that really began in a home for unwed mothers in Utica NY in 1965 and is working it’s way to resolution with every new step, every new discovery and every word I write. It’s a story that has to be written and desires to be told. It’s a story that is almost universal in nature and bigger than me. It’s story that I have been asked to share on stage since I was 14. It’s also a story that I thought I could write during National Novel Writers Month. 50,000 words. Piece of cake I thought.  I’ve discovered it’s also a story that can’t be wrapped up that neatly yet.

The first few days, the first week even the words flew off my finger tips onto my keyboard and into my hard drive. I know everything there is to know about her, after all I created her. I’ve eaten, slept, and breathed her into existence for over 47 years. I know her inside out and backwards. She’s a mix of things, sinner and saint, lover and fighter. Porcupine and Pollyanna. She’s full of self-knowledge and yet it avails me nothing. My protagonist doesn’t resolve. Every story has a beginning, a catalyst and resolution.  She needs to resolve in order for the story to be complete.

When I couldn’t make her resolve, I ran to my cove in order to be alone and find my ending. I firmly believe that every writer should have a body of water to live near or at least visit. There is truth in water and it’s boundaries. And if you are lucky and listen closely the wind will catch it’s truth and carry it to you.  I spent the weekend wandering the boundaries of my cove hoping to find clarity when the truth hit me square in my gut with such force it almost took my breath away. My protagonist doesn’t resolve because I don’t. Fisher’s of Men isn’t a piece of fiction, it’s my life story. It’s me. Until I resolve, my story will remain in a state of crux.

One of my writing buddies spoke this weekend about how her word for 2013 flew in the window and jumped up and bit her. Much like the wands in Harry Potter that choose the wizard, certain words choose the author, not the other way around. That’s what happened to me. I’m not ready for it, I have no idea what to do with it, but here it is. My word for 2013 is RESOLVE.

This will be a word of rich depth, broad meaning, and many layers. I looked it up. Like me, it’s meanings are wide and varied. One of my favorite definitions so far the the transitive verb, to solve an equation again with new values. That has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? Maybe the whole reason Kat(that was her name) and I don’t resolve is because we’ve been using the incorrect values in the equation.

2013 – is going to be a year of recalculating.

From Wikidictionary.com
Verb
resolve (third-person singular simple present resolvespresent participle resolvingsimple past and past participle resolved)
  1. (transitive) To find a solution to (a problem).
  2. (transitive) To solve again.
    I’ll have to resolve the equation with the new values.
  3. (intransitive) To make a firm decision to do something.
    resolve to finish this work before I go home.
  4. To come to an agreement or make peace; patch up relationship, settle differences, bury the hatchet.
    After two weeks of bickering, they finally resolved their differences.
  5. (transitiveintransitivereflexive) To break down into constituent parts; to decompose; to disintegrate; to return to a simpler constitution or a primeval state.
  6. (music) to cause a chord to go from dissonance to consonance

The Shaky Life of the Nearly Courageous

“You are afraid to admit that you need me if I don’t feel the same way.” – The Proposal, Alternate Ending. (Can be seen on Youtube)

I am one of those people who jumps ahead to the last chapter of a book in order to decide if it is worth reading. I like to make sure the story has a happy ending before I invest my time. Ruins it for me in all honesty and I’m learning I can’t do that with life, even though I try.

I love the movie The Proposal.  I wanted to be that woman when I grew up. Not the needy one, but the one who had it all together and ran the world or at least a major corporation. Yep, never happened. Didn’t stop me from wanting it though. I can still remember being 22 and riding the train in Chicago wearing a navy blue pinstripe suit and reading the Wall Street Journal looking down on the people my age sitting around me in jeans and sneakers wondering when they were going to start being adults. I wasn’t an adult, I was a terrified kid living on my own in a big city for the first time, playing dress up and hoping no one noticed. Truth is, if it hadn’t been for the two people I let befriend me, I’m not sure how I would have survived. Even though I didn’t fully realize it myself, I needed them I just didn’t trust them enough to tell them that.

Everyone has trust issues of some kind, it’s just that some of us are better at hiding them than others. Mine happen to be glaringly obvious. If I’m not trying to read your mind and tell you what I think you want to hear, I’m being cute, trying to make you laugh, shaking like a leaf, or running for the hills. I used to think I had the whole world fooled until a friend pointed them out a few years ago. I am not amused, I mean it’s bad enough that I have trust issues, do they have to be so obvious?

Going from a mommy/garden blogger to a woman who writes about over coming fear, while still shaking in my boots, is an interesting journey. I’d rather learn in a closet, and then show the world how brilliant I am than learn in front of an audience. The only thing worse than my glaringly obvious trust issues is my pride.

Will you really like me and the things I’m doing if you know I am terrified every step of the way? That is a legitimate question for a recovering approval junkie like myself. That’s where my pride really takes a kick in the proverbial teeth. In the final assessment, I just want to be liked, by everyone, all the time even if it kills us both. Talk about an unrealistic expectation. I don’t even like myself all the time.

My journey as a Christian writer has had more starts, stops, skinned knees and bruised pride than I ever expected when I started back in 2002. My original post-children plans back then included being a deaconess or a women’s ministry leader, and when that didn’t turn out the way I expected I found myself doing a lot of soul-searching and sifting through a junk yard of need. I erroneously believed that if I could prove I belong than I can stop apologizing for breathing air. If I prove I belong, I can stop being afraid. That’s a lie by the way. The only way I can stop being afraid is to do the things that scare me the most.

I threw out everything, including my original blog during my soul-searching snit fit and started over from scratch.  No great loss I assure you. My original writings are nothing more than a mask. They are things I thought people would want to hear; 12 steps to this seven steps to that. You know the drill: How to be a better Christian, how to be a better wife, how to keep pretending.  Then I started reading books by people like Donald Miller and Anne Lamott and I discovered a whole new world. I discovered Christians who were willing to be transparent without apologizing. Their courage fueled mine. Granted, my original transparency contained more of what is wrong with my tradition and this world as I see it today than anything else, but it was a start.

I no longer cared if you liked me or not, I just wanted to be heard. Know anybody like that? People like that are really difficult to be around for too long.  One of my comedy friends remembers my porcupine self back then. I had a bite as she says.  I was sarcastic and nasty and ready to pick a fight with anyone and I picked a lot of fights. And if I wasn’t picking fights, I was stirring pots.  Once I started meeting people who loved me back instead of fighting with me, I really freaked out. Anger is a voice that I used for too long. Anger is also a mask for fear, did you know that?

“The hardest thing about loving someone is having the courage to let them love you back.” – The Wedding Date

Masks can be admired, but never fully loved.  Rather than covering up my fears with anger or over achieving, I decided to start owning them and writing about them. I had to unlearn everything I thought I knew about life and start over. Learning something new is awkward and challenging to say the least. I had to learn how to admit I need someone without being sure they felt the same way. I also had to find the courage to start letting people love me back. I’m not fully there yet, but I’m working on it.

Instead of passing on conferences that intimidated me, I started attending them. Instead of distancing myself from the people there, or faking my way through it to prove I belong, I owned my fears out loud and jumped in and risked letting myself be known. “I’m here and I’m terrified, but I’m here.” I did an open mic at a comedy conference and told a room full of professional comics, I’m scared to death but let’s do this. At which point I started hyperventilating and had to start over. I will admit that weirded people out a bit at first but then someone whispered in my ear later that night, “I’m scared too, nice to meet you.” and I made a new friend.

I used to believe people would think less of me if they knew how afraid I really was, then I realized that I’m not the only one who is afraid. Whether we admit it or not, there is something out there that scares all of us a little and that’s okay. Maybe that’s why my readership picked up so much once I started admitting, “I’m scared too, nice to meet you.”

Life lived under the covers of your bed isn’t life and it isn’t living. Don’t just write in a way that scares you a little, live in a way that scares you a little even if your fears and trust issues are so glaringly obvious that you have to shake. Even if your pride makes you want to run for the hills, hold fast. Shake until you stop shaking, close your eyes and breathe.

“You are safe. Let go of the past and remember what a wonderful woman you are.” Also from The Wedding Date (Hands down my favorite scene of the whole movie). 

Have you ever played small? Cut it out.

Making myself nothing to suit others is not humility; it’s ego and lack of trust. When I make myself small to “help” someone else feel like they are important what I’m really communicating is I think I’m too big for you to handle and you are too weak to see my greatness. Real relationships require real honesty. If I cannot allow myself to be fully me when we’re together, am I really allowing the other person to be all they can be? Of course not.

Making myself nothing is just another mask for fear. Fear is nothing more than False Evidence Appearing Real. What are we really afraid of when we do that? Rejection? Failure? Pride?

We get caught up in the lie that we are being too prideful if we boast (talk) about our accomplishments. Really? Isn’t playing small prideful as well? Yes, we can be very prideful in our ability to make ourselves small — I see it all the time in church. We get hung up on thinking that playing small pleases God. No it does not.

God did not create us to be small nor did He create us to fit in. We are created in HIS likeness in order to make a difference in this world. We cannot make a difference if we are playing down to nothing.

Making myself nothing so that other people can feel like everything is about manipulation and control. It’s about people pleasing and being liked.

Let go of the control.

Be who you were created to be and make a difference.

You can do it.

I believe in you.