Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Be The Chooser

At Lake Tahoe with Steve to celebrate our anniversary, review and renew our goals, have some much needed time together enjoying Autumn in this beautiful place, and spend time reading and preparing for my upcoming Break Through Into Love coaching group for single women over 30. And Wallace came too.

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In the book I’m reading, Conscious Dating by David Steele, he has this quote that grabbed me.

“Choosers know what they want and how to get it. Choosers take responsibility for what happens and know that they are in charge of their lives. Being a Chooser takes a certain amount of confidence and effort, but anyone can be one! Finding the love of your life is not about hoping to be picked. You need to know yourself so that you can be The Chooser, rather than waiting to be chosen. Being The Chooser means taking initiative and responsibility for your outcomes: you are in charge of creating what you want in life. You do not restrict yourself to what or who chooses you.”

What do you think about that? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

It makes me think about how I was raised. I picked up the messages that first as a child and then as a woman I am to wait to be chosen. I grew up with some old fashioned ideas – many of which I celebrate – but some of which I now question. This is one of them. So much of my life has been spent waiting to be chosen, waiting to be noticed and recognized, not only in relationships with men but also in other areas of life.

When we’re not The Chooser, we’re the Victim. We get to settle for the life that we have; and we get to blame our mother, our boss, our ex-husband, our ex-best friend, our neighbor, the other driver, anyone else; and we get to be right about it.

Think of an area in your life that you’re not completely satisfied with. How have you let circumstances or other people dictate who you will be in this area? Now consider what might be possible if you became The Chooser in this area. What choices are available to you? Is it really the circumstances or other people who are keeping you stuck here? Or is it instead your own choice? Perhaps changing the situation might require some bold risky action that you have been unwilling to take. Recognizing that you have CHOSEN this part of your life and you are responsible, might change your perspective about it. How might your relationship to this situation change if you owned it like that? How might that affect how you relate to others?

I’m really looking forward to exploring this more deeply with my Break Through Into Love Coaching group for Single Women over 30, and I’d love to hear your thoughts as well. I have three seats left in the group which starts Wednesday, October 19. If you, or someone you love, are considering this group, now is the time to contact me.

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Well, dear friends. It’s been more than a month since my last post. I so want to post more often – but my wee little break on Fridays! Glorious Fridays! – has been filled this summer with the project I mentioned in my July 10 post on The Great Birthday Massacre.

I’ve been cooking up a new coaching program for single women over 30 who would like to be married.

To see it, check out my new Break Through Into Love page.

I’m a big fan of strong, healthy relationships and marriages. I think they’re foundational to EVERYTHING else! Call me old fashioned – but I think that many of our nation’s current woes are directly or indirectly connected to a breakdown in relationships – starting with family.

I’m also a big fan of strong, healthy singleness. Strong, healthy singles are not half people waiting for their “better half”. They are whole and complete in themselves – capable of changing the world in ways married folks only dream about. Their singleness can be their greatest asset and gift. There are more opportunities than ever before for single people to do great things and have powerful fulfilling lives.

But if it’s time to transition from successful single to successful married, especially in today’s confusing and fragmented culture, the challenge can be overwhelming. Preparing yourself, finding your life partner, and setting your relationship up for success is not for the faint of heart. It takes courage, honesty, humility, and a really good sense of humor, not to mention patience and perseverance. If you’re over 30, you’ve probably already experienced some set backs in this arena which can be challenging to overcome. I know, I didn’t get married until I was 40.

That’s why I’ve been reading up, interviewing singles, doing some coaching, and tapping into my own experience and training to develop this program.

I’m very excited to launch my pilot Break Through Into Love coaching group on October 19.

This first group will be local – right here in Sonoma County – in my own living room.

After that – well – we’ll just see where it goes. I’d like to make this available to women outside this area as well.

If you’re single, and over 30, and a woman, and you think you’re ready to make the transition…. and you live in the vicinity of Santa Rosa, California …. (or if you know someone who fits these criteria) then check out my offering. It could change your life.

Contact me for more information and please tell your friends.

The Real Deal

A friend of mine recently got married. There are many things special about this marriage, but one of them is that she’s 50, and this is her first marriage.

How did it happen? What shifted? Well… from my seat in the bleachers, her perspective changed. She made a choice to break her pattern…. At least one part of it. She does have a tendency to fall fast and deep, which always makes me a bit queasy. But she did let go of a long-held belief.

You see, she’s in business, and always thought she should marry a business man – and they could be in business together. Yet every time she got into a relationship like that, it ended in disaster. I always said she should marry a plumber. What I meant by that was someone who has his own source of income, his own career, and is marrying her for love – period. Not a business partnership.

So it was kind of funny to find out that, in fact, he’s a plumbing foreman! And he pursued her through all her objections about how it couldn’t work…. He loves her for who she is.

The wedding was beautiful and so uniquely her. I cried of course. I’ve seen how when she loves, she loves completely. I’ve followed her through several agonizing heartbreaks.

And I’m happy to see she has been found. By someone who seems to really get her. Who is solid in who he is and is willing to support her being fully herself. I’m wishing her well and praying for the best.

It’s been a long and arduous journey, and a new one is just beginning.

So, my single friends who are longing for the real deal…. Don’t give up. There’s hope. I wonder if you would consider for a moment that love might be just around the corner and to find it, you just have to turn the corner. Shift your perspective a bit. Adjust your thinking.

Questioning our long-held beliefs can be scary. We’ve believed them for a reason. We can back them up with evidence. They may be tied to our religion or deepest convictions or to our experiences in childhood or beyond. Yet, we spin out of those things a conclusion that we’ve made up in our minds that may or may not be true and may not serve us. Questioning those conclusions is one of the healthiest and riskiest things we can do. But even more risky is to NOT question them. What do you stand to gain if you challenge your own beliefs? What do you stand to lose if you don’t?

If you’re brave, try this little exercise from Byron Katie of The Work.
Take a few minutes and center yourself. Then write down in one sentence what do you tell yourself is the reason you are still not married. It may not be the answer you give your mother or your well-meaning acquaintances. I mean the reason you tell yourself when no one else is around.

Now go to this link and follow the instructions.

The Work

Give yourself some time with this. You may want to give yourself a day or a week to consider the honest answer to these questions. Journal about your answers and talk to a friend.

I would love to hear your thoughts.
If you would like some support in going through this exercise, send me an email and we can set up a phone call.
And please feel free to share this with your friends.

Planning a Decade?

In Tahoe with Steve celebrating ten years of marriage – and enjoying the beauty of the mountains.

Reading together A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. Can’t stop thinking about Afghanistan. Keeps me up.

Planning out our next ten years together.

How do you plan the next ten years? I can’t even plan dinner.

This first ten went by so incredibly fast, my head is spinning just thinking about it. There is no way we could have planned all that has happened. What we did plan, at least in a general sense was swept aside by circumstance and choices in the moment – where priorities realign themselves.

So… we’re “planning” to do more backpacking and exploring in the high country.

We’re “planning” to make some career changes.

But who cares what we plan? Life shows up unexpectedly and sweeps away our plans. What is coming our way that we are NOT planning?

When we got married one decade ago, we had no idea what was coming our way. That’s why those marriage vows are so all inclusive! We’ve had our share of for better and for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, and we still love and cherish each other, and, hopefully that until death do us part part is still a long way off. I had no idea that in the first decade of my marriage I would become a grandmother to four, going on five, grandchildren!

Not to say that some of our plans didn’t work out. They did. Like our plan on being hospitable, balancing our personalities, establishing our marriage, strengthening our family relationships… these things have been a constant guiding light that we are still following.

So… what do we plan on now? Ever heard the old evangelical pick up line? “Hi. Did you know that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life?” Actually, I think it should be more like “Hi. Did you know that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your plan?” I imagine He must be amused as we sketch out what we want the next ten years to look like. The only thing I’m pretty sure of now, is that whatever we sketch, it will NOT be that.

We do our best, day to day to be prepared for emergencies and for the unexpected, but we can’t plan for them. We can set good intentions about hobbies and activities we want to participate in. We can set financial and career goals. All these are good. But they’re just like throwing darts blindfolded in a fog.

So what can we plan for? We can plan for who we will be. i.e. I will be grateful – and content. I will live in the present – let go of old regrets – let go of those evil shoulds –  “I should be doing this or that by now” –  and the pressure to measure up to my “potential”.

I plan to just BE – fully, abundantly, gratefully, presently, lovingly, – ME. No one else, nowhere else. Just BE HERE NOW. Period. So much energy is wasted on trying to DO THERE THEN or HAVE WHERE WHEN!  (I’m playing with these words, but hopefully, you get my drift.) Whatever! I want to be with whomever I am with, right here, right now. And nowhere else, with no one else. When I am with YOU, I am with YOU. Fully present. Fully aware. Fully alive. Whatever “potential” lies in me either shows up here and now with you or it doesn’t exist. Period.

So my plan for the next ten years of my marriage to Steve? BE HERE NOW. Give myself fully, abundantly, without reservation to our marriage – Show up, speak up, get up. Engage our life together with curiosity, wonder, and full participation. I have NO CLUE what the next ten years will hold. It’s like this wonderful book we are reading. I don’t know what’s in the next chapter, but I can’t wait to turn the page and find out.

So… to do that… I need energy. I need to take care of my fifty-year-old body. Exercise, diet, maybe take some supplements to increase my stamina. I find that my energy increases when I’m engaged fully in life… but a few vitamins can’t hurt. Time to shed the resentments and regrets along with the old papers and books; eliminate the distractions and engage the uncomfortable present. Time to clean house. Get rid of old clutter both physical and emotional that ties me down. Find the treasures hidden under the dull, beige, dusty clutter. Dig for the gold. Time to decorate – make it MY home – I’ve been here ten years after all. It’s time to paint!

Who do you plan to be over the next ten years?

Out of Excuses

Since my last post four weeks ago was about the Drive Thru Daiquiris in New Orleans, I think a few people wondered if Steve and I just stayed there driving and drinking…. Or if we drove off the road and that was it. Nope. After saying thanks and good-bye to cutie-pie Eric, we returned the rental car and got on the plane to fly home.

Now I’ve been home for the same amount of time as my entire turning-fifty-with-my-girlfriends journey. That went by fast! As soon as I got back, I wanted to wrap up my journey with a cool posting about all I had learned…. But that didn’t happen.

First week back from my journey I indulged in the desire to sleep and to reconnect with my home.

Second week I went to be with my parents after my dad’s surgery.

Third week I had my granddaughter and my niece and nephew for the  weekend. So here we are. First sane, undisturbed Friday and I’m out of excuses.

Being with my girlfriends helped me accept the fact that I work BEST under pressure. I don’t like it. I’ve beaten myself up about it for years. But it’s true. When I was on my trip I would write almost every day. Kim got me started. She didn’t have internet access at her house, so we had to get up and get going to Guglhupf so I could write. Kim would sit there patiently all morning reading her book while I wrote and uploaded photos. She had lots of cool things planned for when I was done, but we couldn’t do any of them until I posted my daily update on my blog. Harrah and Sandy would make little comments like “Are you STILL writing that thing? Aren’t you done yet? I can’t believe how much time that thing takes! We’re leaving in five minutes, you can finish it later.” And other encouraging words. Just enough pressure to keep me focused.

Now I’m back at home, back into my routines, and life is, well… life. Monday through Thursday I am deeply focused on my somewhat stressful job which has a tendency to purge all the creative energy out of my brain cells. By the time Friday, Glorious Friday rolls around, I go through a recovery phase. Sleep in a little, get up and spend an hour reading, then start to think about all the things I want to do to build my coaching practice, do calls when they are scheduled, and… oh yeah… update my blog. The day stretches before me like a luxurious sandy beach…. And before I know it, Friday is over and the update is not written.

I promised Kim I would go this morning and sit in a wi-fi coffee shop. So here I am in Café Azul in downtown Santa Rosa, with a two-hour parking pass, a rented table, and a fantasy that I’m on vacation in Santa Rosa and Kim is sitting across the table patiently reading her book. I miss you, Kimmie!

For the rest of this year, I’ll be unpacking the gifts I gathered on this journey. Right up there wrinkled on the top of the suitcase are two related concepts.
1. how vitally important true friends are and
2. what a difference community can make in our quality of life.

Francis Bacon, in his essay “Of Friendship”, wrote something that seemed harsh. “I have given the rule, where a man cannot fitly play his own part; if he have not a friend, he may quit the stage.” This was after describing all the amazing benefits a true friend brings to one’s life. I wouldn’t tell you to “quit the stage”. But I would say, if you don’t have a friend, go out and get one. My mom used to tell me whenever I was lonely, “If you want to have a friend, you must first BE a friend.” A little truth that has come in handy many times.

So my first new years’ resolution for being fifty is to BE a friend – a true friend…. To stay in touch with my far-away girlfriends…. And to put more effort into cultivating my close-to-home friendships; which brings me to the second gift in my suitcase…

What a difference community can make in our quality of life.

I saw how Kim has invested herself in building community where she lives. She had some close friends there who moved away…. So she joined a “meet-up” group and is rapidly developing a cool little gang of gals that share the common characteristic of getting booted out of the original group for being too independent. Perfect for my one-of-a-kind girlfriend who loves and accepts everyone just as they are while never wavering from being absolutely true to herself.

Harrah is a fish who has found her pond. She’s an artist who is surrounded by other artists. They inspire and support each other, and send each other business. It’s all good.

Sandy thrives in church and has dedicated herself to serving in her new community. She hasn’t been in her new home as long as Harrah and Kim have been in theirs, but she is on the path to building her community.

I confess, I lost my pond. So I’m committed this year to finding it again. Finding the water I can swim in and thrive. I’ve changed and my old pond has changed too. It’s time for a new chapter. My girlfriends have taught me it can be done – at fifty or at any age. And I’m committed to deepening and strengthening my marriage in the process. I’m not running off to find myself and leave my poor husband behind. Interestingly, I read Eat, Pray, Love while on my journey. Loved it, except for the leaving the husband part… but that’s her story, not mine. We’re in this together… whatever that looks like. In whatever ways I grow in this new decade, I’m committed to using it to ENHANCE and serve our marriage and make both our lives better, and you can hold me to that.

Thursday in New Orleans – The Garden District

Thursday was our one full day in New Orleans. Of course we had to try out the Beignets at the famous Café Du Monde. These, by the way, are delicious. It’s probably a good thing we can’t get them here at home or I would be in trouble. This was followed by a stroll through town checking out galleries. Our favorite was Angela King Gallery . Check out the paintings by Andrew Baird. They’re huge and up close they resemble Jackson Pollock, but step back and the image appears. Very striking. Mostly, we appreciated the tour we received by Ellin Egan, Professional Fine Art Consultant, who patiently gave us an art appreciation class while we cooled off in the A/C. Have I mentioned how hot it was outside?

We also hunted down the CDs from the musicians we had heard on Wednesday night, Dwayne Burns, trumpet and vocals, and Chuck Chaplin, piano.

Next, it was find the street car (which looks like something out of a 1930s movie) and take it to the Garden District for a grueling self-guided walking tour of historic homes…. all of which were spared by Katrina. Built on High Ground they were. After being turned away by the prestigious Commanders Palace Restaurant because Steve was wearing shorts (It’s 110 degrees outside for cryin’ out loud!), we took our macabre mood to Cemetery #1. Ever wonder why all the New Orleans movies show above ground crypts for burial? The water table is so high, the bodies would float. Not good. However, some of these crypts are quite old, with numerous family members enclosed…. And they seem to be falling apart. Also not good. After that cheery visit, we headed back by street car to our hotel to escape the heat and take a nap.

By now, I’m afraid I was becoming quite cranky. I was beginning to feel the change from being with my girlfriends to being with my husband. He’s not a girlfriend. Doesn’t think like one. Doesn’t act like one. Doesn’t read my mind like one. Sigh… Did I mention how hot it was? And that all we

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had had to eat were those Beignets? And then our room had not been cleaned and the maid was still working her way to our room, which meant no nap or shower until she came and left…. Sigh…. I really don’t like myself when I get cranky. I don’t think anyone else likes me either. My dear husband, thank God, still loves me even when I’m cranky. I don’t know why he chooses to, but I’m grateful. I got to apologize, again, and he got to forgive me, again.

We went to dinner at Irene’s which was amazing. If you ever go to New Orleans, eat here. Really. Call ahead and if you’re lucky, you’ll get a reservation. It was a lovely final dinner of our vacation. I wish we could have lingered a bit longer, but we had a date with the blues. Our waiter made sure we got out on time.

Our Blues date was at a place called Snug Harbor. A gallery owner had told us this is the place to go if we really want to hear our music! It’s a bistro, a bar, and a music hall. All in three separate rooms. You pay to go into the music room to hear the music. Yes. They will bring you drinks but they’re not required.

This night it was Spencer Bohren who was playing Steel Lap Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, and Banjo. It was nice. It wasn’t rock your socks off jazz or Creole zydeco music. But it was nice slow blues from a local musician. We enjoyed the show.

We walked back to our hotel. This was our last night before flying home.

Tomorrow – it’s the Ninth Ward and Drive-Thru Daiquiris.

Wednesday in New Orleans – The French Quarter

It has been four days since my last post, and now I’m back home. Steve and I spent two days in New Orleans together. We were pretty busy seeing and doing the whole time, so there was no time to write. Then we had our travel day, and now one day at home recovering. So… here it is. The longer I wait, the more there is to write. WordPress only allows me to display one set of photos per post. So I’ll summarize and break it up into days.

On Wednesday afternoon we checked in to our hotel, took a carriage ride, walked around the French Quarter, and went to Bourbon Street to hear some Jazz. It was HOT and MUGGY. We took loads of photos.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Neither of us had been to New Orleans before, so it was fun to explore the city together. But definitely no time to write.

Next post – Thursday, our one full day in New Orleans.