Archive for the ‘single women’ 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.

Eleven Years Ago Yesterday, I Married my Best Friend.

So, what did we do for our anniversary? Sat across from each other in the living room with our dueling laptops to see who got their post written first! Then we celebrated with dinner and a movie.

I love writing, but it can take me the whole day to put one of these things together! Arrgghh! I need to speed up, or just retire and be a full-time writer. How does Kim do it?

But there was Steve across the room, tap-tap-tapping away. I had to get tapping too. Nothing like a little marital competition to get the juices flowing.

Steve is actually a really good writer. I did not know this about him before we were married. I’m an English teacher for goodness sake! He, on the other hand, actually writes. Sigh. He’s thoughtful about it, like he is about everything he does. He types with two fingers. I type with twelve.

I discovered his gift for words in the MIDDLE of our wedding. We each had written a portion of our vows, then read them to each other in the ceremony. I had been rushed with all the wedding preparations and had put off writing the vows (Procrastination is the name of one of my personal gremlins). Steve had given himself some time and space to hear his own heart in what he wanted to say. So when he read his vows to me during the ceremony, his words were so deep, intimate, personal, and straight out of his heart with tears in his eyes, I began to tremble. First because I was so moved by the huge pulsating heart that came with this man I was marrying. And second because I was next!

My vows felt flat and superficial compared to his. Not that we should be comparing or anything (but Comparison is the name of another personal gremlin). What I learned from my husband that day was, take the time to go deep, and marry a man with a giant heart!

So, here’s where I put in my shameless plug for my Break Through Into Love coaching group. This is an opportunity for single women over 30 to experience the benefits of working with a professional coach, while creating a small community who can support each other along the way.

In preparation, I’ve been reading the book Conscious Dating by David Steele. As I read, I’m beginning to get a clearer picture about why I made Steve wait five long years – and why it took me until I was 40 (FORTY) to get married.

We all get stuck at times in patterns that keep us from living the life we were created for. Sometimes, all it takes is a small shift in our perspective and new choices appear that we didn’t know we had.

Ah, if only…. We might be celebrating our fifteenth anniversary today!

I’m realizing that for most of my 20s and 30s I was unconsciously dating. Drifting into and out of whatever relationship presented itself. I longed oh so much to fall in love and to have someone sweep me off my feet. But I see now that I was for most of those two decades incapable of such a feat. Here’s why.

A. I had a false image of myself. I had constructed a fantasy out of who I thought the people I looked up to wanted me to be.
B. Because of A., I had no idea how to love another; I was too busy looking for someone who would help me fulfill my fantasy.
C. Because of B., I got into relationships with men I didn’t love. And of course, it never worked.
D. Because of C., I broke a lot of hearts: Genuine, honest men, who cared about me and were seriously looking for a life partner. Eventually, as they would get more serious, I would get more panicky until I would break it off.

Finally, after hitting the wall in a disastrous relationship, I stopped – swore off men, and began meeting informally with a coach, and my entire perspective on life began to shift. When I began to let go of the false image of myself, and lift my eyes outward, I began to see Steve, maybe for the first time. When I stopped focusing on who he isn’t, I began to see and appreciate who he is. The more I let go of my old perspective, the more deeply in love with him I fell. Within a year, we were engaged.

That’s why I’m such a believer in coaching and why I want to offer the opportunity to single women over 30 to gain clarity about this most important choice.

If you’re stuck in an unproductive pattern in your relationships, check in with your own heart. What view of yourself are you trying to hold on to? What might be possible if you were to release it? I’d love to hear your comments.

If you know a single woman over 30 who lives in Sonoma County and who is looking forward to life-long love, please let her know about the Break Through Into Love group coaching program beginning October 19. And let her know about my free Evening of Hope, happening this Wednesday, October 5, where she’ll get to experience new possibilities in her life and perspective.

Ha! My post got done first. 🙂

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.

Sandy

Sandy and I met probably about twenty years ago at church when I first moved to Santa Rosa. However, we didn’t really become friends until she moved in with Harrah around 1994.

Harrah had initiated a little group of seven friends for the purpose of supporting and loving each through all the changes in life that would be coming our way. We called ourselves the seven sisters. I know some people were a bit hurt by our exclusive little club, and we tried to not be so exclusive… but you can guess how well that worked. We did adopt some honorary members along the way.

We all had a relationship with Harrah though not necessarily with each other, though we all were in some way acquainted. Over the years, our little group has evolved. Everyone has moved out of town except for me, which has been a bit painful since I became pretty attached to this wonderful group of women. Hence my fiftieth birthday gift to myself. Most everyone stays in touch with one or a few of the others. Some have drifted away. Some have worked hard to stay close. Harrah is like the Mom who at least tries to stay connected. We all have little gifts we’ve given to each other. Like the Claddagh ring I wear. Everyone has one, but I think I’m the only one who still wears mine. I even wore it at my wedding to symbolize my commitment to hold my friendships close to my heart even as I took vows to my husband. We have taken turns giving each other little men… We’ve had some fun with this one! We’ve had a few reunions, though it’s been quite a while since the last one.

Sandy was Harrah’s housemate and was part of the seven sisters. This is how we started to become close. Then as one by one those we were closest too moved away, and as I got married, Sandy and I began to gravitate more and more to each other. We were involved in several projects together, a marriage workshop called One Accord, The Gap Youth Training, and finally Friends On Purpose.

She was also the girlfriend I would call to go do girl things. She was the one I’d call to help me decorate a room, or go shopping. I’m not a shopper, but Sandy is a master at it. She was a confident and dear friend.

Then… she left me too. Married Paul and ran off to Hawaii. I was her Matron of Honor and sobbed through the entire toast. Sigh…. It really is all about me! When she left, she generously gave to me many of the lovely things she had collected on her many shopping excursions. Beautiful garden pots, art work, throw blankets, etc. I have little reminders of Sandy all over my house.

Steve and I went a few years ago, on my birthday, to Oahu to visit Sandy and Paul. We spent the 4th of July and my birthday with them before heading to Kauai for vacation.

When Sandy and Paul came to Santa Rosa to visit they stayed with us. I came home from work one day, and found Sandy busy in the back yard planting lovely flowers in all the empty pots she had given me the year before. She had purchased the plants, the soil, the mulch, and the fertilizer. I jumped in to help, and she taught me all about how to plant arrange and care for flowers so that they would look fabulous for a long time. All the rest of that summer I had an amazing show garden that made me smile with joy and gratitude every time I visited it. Now, every spring I plant my flowers and think of Sandy – and wish she were here to enjoy the process with me. Everything is so much better when shared with a friend.

Today I’m Fifty…

…and I still feel the same as I did yesterday. Heck, I still feel the same as I did at forty, except for this little pain in my knee! I’d like to wax philosophic about turning fifty, but I haven’t had my second cup of coffee yet, and I’m still feeling the room tip from yesterday’s sailing excursion. All I can say is that I’m so glad I chose this way to turn fifty. Being in the life-affirming presence of my girlfriends has been like visiting the fountain of  youth. Their perspective is helping me look forward to my fifties with anticipation and excitement.

Ten years ago today, on my fortieth birthday, Harrah and Sandy threw me a lingerie shower. It was two months before my wedding, though I still didn’t have an engagement ring. I was sitting on the sofa in their living room surrounded by happy cheering women, opening packages of sweet little nothings…. when the front door opened and in walked Steve. He stepped through the women who were sitting on the floor, knelt down on one knee, and handed me a little box. I opened it and there was this beautiful gold ring, with diamonds locked inside Celtic knots. Harrah had helped him design it. He asked me to marry him again. I cried and said yes (of course), and he put the ring on my finger.

Today, I’m with Harrah, tomorrow, God willing, I’ll be with Sandy, and Saturday…. 🙂

It’s early Thursday morning in Maine. The plan is for a relaxing day at home followed by dinner at Shephard’s Pie in Rockport with Harrah and a few of my new friends. Early tomorrow morning, Harrah’s friend John will drive me to Portland. From there I’ll take the bus to Boston. From there I’ll fly to Alexandria, Louisiana, to meet my final friend on this journey, Sandy Barger Bryant.

The final event of my forties was to go out into Rockport Harbor with Molly and Harrah in Molly’s sailboat. Late afternoon going into sunset. Oh lovely. Enjoy the pics.

Molly is great fun and was very generous with her sailboat and her expert sailing skills. She turned fifty last year, and enjoyed helping me celebrate my fiftieth.

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Isn’t it amazing how easily women can just enter right into conversation – especially about relationships? First it was Harrah’s turn to share about her current venture into romance. Then Molly shared her story. Then it was my turn – talking about how Steve and I met, our crazy long (five-year) courtship, no friendship, ok courtship, no friendship, well all right I like you courtship, no wait I didn’t mean it friendship, ok it’s all off friendship, wow I actually love YOU and want to spend the rest of my life with you if you’ll still have me courtship, engagement, and marriage (finally) ten years ago. Sharing our stories – in between sailing instructions like “pull in the jib,” “helms alee,” “turn her about,” “trim the sails,” etc….

Perfect day, beautiful company.
Lessons for the day for single women (and men) considering relationship…

Make your own list (you know… THE list). But don’t make it until you’ve taken the time to know and love yourself. That way your list truly reflects who you are and what you value – not what others expect you to value.

Consider the order of priorities on your list. What are the absolute deal breakers? What’s negotiable?

Have really clear boundaries – and honor them.

Don’t be surprised at the baggage that shows up in you and your potential partner from previous relationships. Do yourself and them a favor and carry it yourself, i.e. do what you can to get rid of it. Don’t expect your partner to carry your baggage. A good relationship can be very healing IF you stay conscious and responsible for your own wounds.

Thank you, Molly, for sharing your lovely boat Ripple and your delightful company with us.

Highlights with Harrah

Alasdair Fraser
On Friday, after hob-nobbing our way through a number of gallery openings with Harrah, we went to hear Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas in concert. I first heard Alasdair Fraser in Sebastopol probably twelve or thirteen years ago when Harrah took me to the Celtic Festival. We both loved Irish and Scottish music, we were taking the Scottish Country Dance class, and I was exploring my own Celtic roots. When I heard Alasdair Fraser playing his fiddle I could imagine my ancestors dancing around the hall.

Since Harrah moved away and I got married I’ve let most of my Celtic interests slip into the background as I’ve focused on more pressing matters. Sitting in the theater on Friday listening to this beautiful music with Harrah at my side brought it all back. My feet started moving, my eyes closed, and I was there. At one point I had tears in my eyes. Not sure why, but something deep inside was touched with longing and love for this part of me.

Dawn
Last night we went to dinner at the summer home of one of Harrah’s friends. Her name is Dawn. She was widowed eleven years ago. She and her husband had bought this property together and restored and built the little summer cottage. It’s out on the point of one of the hundreds of peninsulas along the coast of Maine, in the little village of Friendship. I don’t know if there’s a Country Cottage Living Magazine, but if there is, this place would be on the cover. Here are a few pics I took – ‘cause I couldn’t help it.

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We stayed there until almost midnight, out on the screened porch, watching the sun set behind the island across the bay. There was the boom of nearby firework displays put on by benevolent neighbors. We talked about our own evolving spirituality, aging, community service, the old New England Culture vs. the New, the struggles of the poor in Maine, real estate, politics, marriages with large age differences. It was comfortable and beautiful. I could have stayed there all night.

Barbara

 

Harrah and My New Friend Barbara

 

On Friday morning Harrah got a phone call from her friend Barbara inviting her to bring her friend (that’s me) to her home for breakfast. In the summer, Barbara rents a garage apartment overlooking Rockport Harbor. We had a delightful visit out on her deck, with scones and coffee and fruit. We were there again on July 3 to watch the fireworks from her deck. This morning Barbara picked me up and took me to breakfast at the Maine Media Workshop. When Barbara turned fifty she gave herself the gift of attending a photography workshop here. Now she’s in her seventies and is on the Board of Directors of this elite school for photography and film making. She gave me a tour and introduced me to some of the staff. She has had her work shown in the Portland Museum of Art and is publishing a book of some of her photography.

We chatted a bit about marriage, divorce, and coming into your own. She and her husband split up after raising their children. She wanted to pursue her art, continue her education, and grow as a person, and he wanted her to stay the same as she had always been. He mocked her attempts to educate herself, but she went anyway. She said that all she needed was some encouragement and support from him, even if he didn’t participate. But she felt he resisted all her attempts to grow. Now she’s alone, and pursuing the life she always wanted to pursue. But she’s sad that he’s not there to share it.

 

 

I’m grateful for my husband. From the beginning of our relationship he has supported and encouraged me to expand my interests, increase my education, and do this trip – without him. It’s common at fifty, at least for us women and maybe for men too, to re-evaluate the direction of our lives, the choices we have made, and what we want to be when we grow up. I know I’m in that process. I hope I can do it with grace and compassion for myself and others. And I’m fortunate to have a husband who supports and loves my crazy adventures. I wish for you the same joy.

The Yellow House

 

 

Harrah bought this house nine years ago. It was originally built in the 1800s, and has undergone one remodel before her. Now she is completing an expansion, pushing the kitchen out into a “great room”, including dining and living areas. It’s bright, sunny, and reflective of Harrah’s eye for design and color. When I arrived on Thursday evening, cardboard still covered the new birch floor, dust and tools were everywhere. John the builder was working hard. He’s been racing to get it all done before I came. Almost made it.

 

After

 

On Friday, while we were out gallivanting, John finished up some of the clean up, picked up the cardboard, and loaded up his tools. When we got home, I helped Harrah move furniture into the room. It has been a huge overwhelming project for her.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures of the original mess, or the cleaned up empty room. I did finally take some after we moved the furniture in. I also took some of the boxes of kitchen stuff that has been filling her hallway waiting. It’s been fun to be part of this bright new transition for her.

 

Dinner and a Movie