“Sometimes Reclaiming Your Life Means Giving Up The Fariy Tale”

Couple in conflictHave you ever felt that you walked the path of your life alone? That you were the only woman who has ever made a painful, stupid mistake? That you settled for less than you deserved?  Did you desperately desire love above all else? Did you yearn for a real partner so much it hurt: Have you ever thought “Why is every woman but me in a great relationship?  “Why can’t I be that happy?” Or found yourself rejected by the person you loved and it left you feeling that something was wrong with you?

When a devastating breakdown of a relationship ends it can feel like a wild boar‘s tusk ripping through your heart. You can become convinced that you are the only woman who has ever made a complete mess of your life. You feel alone, rejected, and furious that you had deceived yourself for so long. That you had given up on “yourself” to keep the love of another for years, only to be left with a heart torn to shreds.

What women learn shortly after the initial blow of their relationship’s end is that, they failed to understand above all else, is that they needed to honor the most important relationship of all “the one with themselves.” The ending of a relationship becomes the beginning of a journey for women  to learn many things about themselves and how to love and honor themselves.

The journey of being a woman can seem crazy and confusing but for better or worse, women have many of the same stories, heartbreak, obstacles, and expectations. The good news is that women don’t have to remain captive to the limiting beliefs swirling in their psyches and in society, which keeps them far from their dreams. We always have a choice. Along life’s path, we all have the opportunity to gain wisdom from our mistakes, the self-awareness that comes from healing our wounds, and clarity by claiming our needs.

If we are lucky enough to wake up to the immense power that is available to heal our hearts and teach us how to love ourselves, we have a responsibility to share our stories and insights with others. Otherwise, the true power of our realizations will be lost. Sharing allows us to see ourselves in the words of others, gain witnesses to our personal journey, and broaden the possibilities that lie before us.

I, too relied on the wisdom and support of many women, some of them total strangers, to progress through my journey to wholeness.  By watching others and listening, I learned that to fully and wholeheartedly love another I first needed to fully and wholeheartedly embrace ” myself.” This realization is a major source of inspiration in my decision to share my knowledge and experiences with  other women. Women need to share the wisdom gained on their personal path as they went from being a person they thought they had to be to be loved to being the one they actually are.

In them I gained wisdom while on my personal path as I went from being  a person I thought I knew and loved to being one I actually do know and love. We shared our stories about living ordinary lives, raising children, creating a safe home life, the ups and downs of stay at home moms to the working moms. Some of us were married and some single. We talked about many issues like paying bills, being young, and getting older and the list goes on and on and lets not forget divorce as well. We also talked about trying to find sources of love and happiness but often looking in the wrong places. When we stopped and took a careful look at the life we had created and honesty answered this question “Am I honoring the most important relationship in my life first?  The one with my self and God.

We discovered reclaiming our lives meant giving up the fairy tale that we had created about ourselves and instead finding out what reality was. The new path may did not seem clear at the beginning to us  and we felt like we were fumbling in the dark grabbing for something to hold to, then one of my dear friends said, remember this is a normal feeling and keep moving forward and don’t go back. During this time we discovered within ourselves the spirit of survivor and a deeper faith we never knew existed.

 We also learned that loving ourselves is knowing ourselves, enjoying and valuing the women that we are, and understanding that getting to know ourselves and God  is a lifelong personal enterprise. It meant that we needed to  appreciate ourselves as much as we appreciate the ones we love. Loving ourselves is recognizing our gifts and talents and then putting them to good use, acknowledging our flaws and forgiving ourselves for them. We learned that loving ourselves was reaching for more, it was reaching for the best, in ourselves. We discovered that our hearts can only hold as much love as we believe it can. So often women put up with shabby treatment in love because they don’t believe they deserve better or they are still stuck in fairy tale thinking.  So treat yourself better, believe you deserve to be treated well, and you will get treated even more wonderfully in love than any fairy tale woman has ever been. 

Carol. M.

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If I Be Like Her Then Who Will Be Me?

Worry gives small problems big shadows. Corrie Ten Boom said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows; it empties today of its strength.” Most anxiety stems, not from what we need, but from what we want. Who wants to live with yesterday’s rubble? Who wants to hoard the trash of the past? You don’t! Do you? Or do you?

I’m not talking about the trash in your house, but in your heart, not the junk of paper’s and boxes but remnants of anger and hurt. Do you rat-pack your pain? Amass offense? Record slights?

A tour of your heart might be telling you a pile of rejections: Accumulated insults, no one can blame you,
there are innocent takers, promise breakers, and wound makers. They’re everywhere and you’ve had your share.

All of us know what a morbidly delicious temptation it can be to beat yourself up about almost anything that goes wrong in your relationship or, for that matter, in life in general.

If you have a fight or if you’re to chicken to pick a fight, if you waste money or are a miser, if you’re a neatness fanatic or a slob what ever your habits, predilections, attitudes, or expectations, you find yourself blaming yourself for whatever goes awry in your relationship.

The reality is that no matter what your style, no matter what you do precipitously or fail to do in time or in the right way, you’re doing the best you can. Beating yourself up, blaming yourself, focusing endlessly on your faults the way you might have been, or should have been, done it, or not done it, never improves the situation.

Look at yourself with compassion and start enjoying your curious little idiosyncrasies. Acknowledge that it’s just fine to be you. Let it be all right that you’re different from everybody else. Like the old Yiddish adage says, “If I be like him, then who will be me?”

Being easy on yourself means that you accept yourself as your are, that you forgive yourself for your mistakes and go on, lovingly acknowledging your foibles, your idiosyncratic style. Only by being gentle with yourself can you also be good-natured and forgiving with the person you love.

 Give yourself a break; decide that you’re just fine exactly as you are. My two-year old grandson knows he is perfect just the way he is and every time he greets me he says, Hi, I’m me! I say, you are you! He says, I am me!  Can you say Hi, I am me and mean it like he does?

At First Glance

 Jennifer never dreamed that she could fall in love with any other man but Joe until Jennifer went to New York and walked into The Plaza Hotel and there was a handsome young man standing in the lobby, their eyes met they couldn’t stop staring at each.

Before she knew it they were talking, he invited her to dinner. She said, I’m engaged he said, don’t engaged women eat? She said, “yes.” He said, dinner at eight.

They danced the night away until half past two, then they returned to the Plaza Hotel and sat outside by the pool and talked until sunrise. There was one embarrassing moment when Jennifer’s father came outside in his pajamas looking for her, and said.”Oh, you’re with him the man your going to marry. Okay then and he turned walked away. 

Jennifer blushed and apologized for her fathers out burst and James said, I agree with your dad I have just met the girl I’m going to marry. It seemed as if war-time had speeded everything up. A few months after Jennifer and James celebrated their thirtieth wedding anniversary James passed away unexpectedly. 

 Jennifer and Joe met in kindergarten and instantly became best friends. Their first official date was their prom. After graduation Joe joined the army and purposed to Jennifer she said, “yes”. Two weeks before the wedding  Jennifer met James.

Even though Joe had hurt feelings he was happy for Jennifer and they remained friends. Jennifer and Joe supported each other through their time of sorrow when they lost their spouses and as a result fell in love with each other again. They had a quite family wedding that included children and grandchildren from their previous marriages.

Joe surprised Jennifer by buying her childhood home and restoring it back to the way it was when they were children and Jennifer found the tree where they had carved their names and declared their friendship and had it moved to the back yard of their home.

Two defining moments changed every thing for Jennifer and Joe the first one was when Jennifer and James eyes met and when James died and Joe came back into Jennifer’s life. When Jennifer and Joe were asked if they had any regrets they immediately said, “No.”

Matchmaker- Matchmaker

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a match, find me a find, catch me a catch. Matchmaker, Matchmaker, look through your book, and make me a perfect match. Matchmaker, Matchmaker, I’ll bring the veil, you bring the groom, slender and pale.

Bring me a ring for I’m longing to be the envy of all I see. For Papa make him a scholar. For mama, make him rich as a king. For me, well, I wouldn’t holler if he were as handsome as anything.

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a  match, find me a find, catch me a catch. Night after night in the dark, I’m alone so find me a match of my own. I promise you’ll be happy, and even if you’re not, there’s more to life than that…Don’t ask me what?

This matchmaker story is true and is about a man named  Paul and a woman named Karen he lived in New York and she lived in San Francisco, Ca.They met while Paul was attending a family reunion in San Francisco and he asked his cousin Hedy and her fiance’ Jack if they would call some friends who might be willing to go out on a date with him. They went to work, calling various women fortunately, Karen called them back. Hedy’s nick has been  Matchmaker, Matchmaker ever since her  collage years because she matched up more than fifteen couples which she never lets anyone forget about. Hello Dolly has nothing on her that is for sure.

Karen was sitting at the restaurant with Paul’s cousins, and she thought, he’s pretty good-looking. They started talking and Karen noticed Paul was one of the happiest people she had ever come across. And when he would talk about things that he had done and things that you wanted to do, it sounded incredibly appealing, like it would just be a fun life with him.

By the end of the evening  Karen handed him her business card, and He said, he would keep in touch. He called her from his family reunion and asked her if she would allow him to take her to dinner, and then would she take him to the airport? They continued their conversation on the pay phone rather enthusiastically for two hours and Paul’s cousins wondered why Paul wasn’t paying any attention to them or anyone else in  the rest of the family.

They had a great dinner, and then Karen took him to the airport. She saw him off, no peck on the cheek, nothing like that. While Paul was getting on the airplane he was thinking, this could be interesting. He spent the whole time on the plane writing a letter to her and when the plane landed instead of going to pick up his luggage he found a mail box and sent the letter. And come to find out that she had been up all night writing a letter to him and mailed it first thing in the morning. Matchmaker, Matchmaker make me a perfect match!

Karen was really resisting having any feelings of liking him, because she lived in San Francisco and he lived in New York, which was extremely far away. She had never been there. And she had a nice career going, She owned her own home in San Francisco. She had a whole life in California, so why even get into any kind of entanglement with a man who lived so far away? It just seemed crazy. But then, obviously, She really like him.

They wrote each other a lot. They built up a lot of intimacy with all that communicating. It’s was like an essay every single day about a new topic. They wrote about everything. Paul said, a lot happened in those letters and he couldn’t help but be somewhat flirtation, just because it was kind of fun and innocent enough. Karen said, he was plenty flirtatious, but never made a pass at her.

Soon they were spending  hundreds of dollars a month on phone bills, flying back and forth, so they decided to cut to the chase about things. The catalyst for them was when Karen’s mom died in a car accident suddenly and it forced Paul to figure out whether he should be apart of this kind of …sadness. He hadn’t met her family and they were still in a new relationship. Paul thought it over and decided he wanted to be with Karen.

Karen asked her dad if he was up to meeting Paul and he said, yes.  He made a welcoming sign for Paul and made Paul feel welcomed and comfortable.  Karens dad was warm and kind to Paul even though he had just lost his wife and was very, very, very sad. Paul always admired Karens dad for his strength and making that sign for him. It was a tough time, but it built strength between them.

A few months later Karen was at work, and her colleague, said, “Oh, we forgot to tell you: we have to go across campus to see the new dean at the chapel.” So they were kind of jogging across campus, because they were late, and as they walked into the sanctuary she noticed some violin music. It wasn’t until she was pretty far into the church that she realized that it was Paul, and that he was playing the Winter Movement from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. There was an older couple sitting in the front pews, just in rapt attention, listening to him.

Karen didn’t know what was going on: Why was Paul doing this performance in the church? And then Karen kind of got an inkling when Paul finished he went over to her and asked her if she would marry him. She said, yes. It was incredibly romantic and incredibly surprising.

One of things that Karen said to Paul during their vows at the wedding was that she looked forward to seeing his happy face every morning and she still does. Paul still thinks Karen is all he imaged she would be except more of it. She is smart. She is generous and most of all she is just lots of fun to be around. They are very grateful to Hedy and Jack for matching them up.

Stella’s Honeymoon On Hamburgers, Milkshakes And Love

Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known.

After Stella graduated from high school, she couldn’t afford college, so she went to nurse’s training school at the general hospital in her home town.

One day one of her patient’s son told her he was really crazy about her friend Betty, who was working on the ward with her, and asked if she could get him a date.

She said, “I’ll try. Betty said, Okay, but that she would not go out on a single date. “So he asked two guys, and I Stella asked another girl, and they went on a triple date. On the day of the date Stella had spent all afternoon at the beach sun bathing, she was red as a beet, her hair was a mess, and she really didn’t want to go.

At the last-minute Stella managed to pull herself together anyway and as she was walking down the stairs she saw the three guys sitting there, and she said to her friend, “Look at the hick; I’ll bet I get stuck with him.” And she did. She knew that he didn’t have any money. They wanted to stop for a hamburger, french fries and a milkshake, and he just frankly told her. “I can’t afford it.” Somehow or other that seemed honest to her. She said, ” Let’s just sit in the car and talk.” And talk they did. They talked themselves right into love and marriage. The next day she called him, they decided they wanted to see each other again and made plans to have lunch together.

When Dave went to the hospital to pick her up and unfortunately Stella wasn’t there. Dave waited for her longer that day than he had waited for anybody in his life. He wasn’t mad, he was disgusted  and wrote Stella off. After all no one did that to him, so he went back to work. 

Three days later Stella called him and explained to him that she had to attend a nurses luncheon and had left a note for Betty to give to him and Betty forgot to. Dave accepted her apology. Dave and Stella had the next Thursday off. He suggested that they go to Turkey Run State Park, which is about sixty miles from Indianapolis. That day turned out to be one of the most idyllic days of their lives.

Friday he took Stella out to the farm to meet his parents and on Saturday they spent the day with Stella’s parents. That was when her mother said to Dave, “I hope you’re not thinking about marrying my daughter, because you’ll marry her over my dead body!’  

He told her, “If I can find us a minister, we’re getting married tomorrow and no you wouldn’t die and she didn’t die!  He went out and found the same minister that had married his parents twenty-five years earlier. He pulled the minister right out of the revival meeting. His mother was an avid gardener, and had what seemed like thousands of gladiolas in full bloom.  His mother cut practically al of those glads, and the house was absolutely gorgeous with flowers everywhere they looked.

So they were married with their parents, grandparents, two best friends, his brother as his best man, and her four sisters and that was the wedding party. After the wedding ceremony Dave had twenty dollars in his pocket and borrowed forty dollars from his dad for the honeymoon, but in the rush and excitement of the wedding, he forgot to get it. They where half way to Lake Shafer on their honeymoon when they discovered that he only had a twenty in his wallet. 

So they honeymoon on twenty dollars. They found a motel for three dollars a night. They discovered a beautiful garden overlooking Lake Shafer and if they ate at the soda fountain they could order a hamburger, french fries and milkshake for seventy-five cents. So their honeymoon was for three-days and nights and they spent Dave’s twenty dollars. When they returned home Dave gave his father in law the forty dollars back.

Stella and Dave have had fifty-seven years of marriage, and never once regretted their short courtship and honeymoon on hamburgers, milkshakes and love. Stella worked as a nurse for twenty years and Dave became a doctor and they had four children but every Saturday night was hamburger, french fire and milkshake night.

Stella and Dave’s love story carries us from the excitement and anticipation of courtship to the deep connection of lifelong commitment, their story just goes to show that love is found in the most unexpected of places and in the shortest amount of time. And if you’re wondering yes this is a true story love story.

Clearing The Cobwebs

How do you let people know you are mad? Some gals holler, some are cupboard door slammers and others get very, very quiet.

Emotions are interesting things. We all have them, we are all affected by them, and we all try to hide them, at one time or another.

Those who cannot hide them well are subject to comments like “she wears her heart on her sleeve” or “it was written all over her face.” Twitching eye brows, clenched jaw, blushing checks, and pursed lips are telltale signs of our inner fluttering hearts, churning stomachs, indignant sensibilities, or raging hormones.

But emotions don’t like to stay hidden for long. In subtle, or not-so-subtle ways, we broadcast our feelings to the world. Our emotional vocabulary includes some pretty interesting phraseology. We talk about our stomach dropping out, our heart stopping, or blowing our stack. We are down in the dumps, hoping mad, in a tizzy, all choke up, in a funk, sick at heart, swamped, and at odds with ourselves.

And when it’s time for these emotions to come gushing out, they take many forms: temper tantrums, endless ranting, sleepless nights, mood swings, critical attitudes, blind rages, constant complaining, pity parties, and hissy fits. Unfortunately, the  popular clichés people say about us to describe how we react when we are mad contain words that are not very flattering are they?

The next time you lose control think about this statement: Only a fool vents all his or her feelings, but a wise man or woman holds them back. But that doesn’t mean we should bottle them all up. No, it means you need to release some of that inner turbulence carefully to someone you trust.

Do you have someone you trust, someone who will never tell what comes up during an angry spat, someone who can listen with understanding, someone you vent to?  Even though it comes most naturally to let off steam in the form of angry words or bitter complaints, laughter is a wonderful alternative! Remember the advertising slogan: Don’t get mad, get glade! Have you ever turned a frustrating event into a funny story? If you haven’t try it!

We can sigh about things, or we can laugh. Both these responses release pressure, but which one is the most fun? We laugh so we wouldn’t scream. Whatever is probably wouldn’t go away, so we might as well live and laugh through it. When we choose to release some of our frustrations with laughter, we allow others around us to relax and join in the chuckle. A woman or man who is willing to find the funny in their day is unmistakable more pleasant to be around than the one who is angry and venting about how their day went.

The truth is that every day has its share of stress. When you feel like an aerosol can because you are under too much pressure, find a listening ear to act as a safety valve. Throw a pity party for your friends so you can all get it out of your system at once. Drown your fears in compassion for each other and then rise up and give yourselves a great big hug. Encourage each other, pray and hang in there!

Neverland

The clock struck twelve and my third-grade class-mates and I ran from our desks and out the door. It was recess the best part of the day that we all looked forward to.

 My friend Billy and I hit the playground, we ran to the farthest part of the play ground because no one played there.  If they wanted to play basketball or kickball they would play in the area close to the drinking fountain. When we weren’t playing on the courts we could be found on the swings or monkey bars.

Billy and I pretended that we were in different places, like the Jungle, the Desert, or in the Ocean. One day we decided to play Peter Pan. “All right, here is where “Wendy” lives,” I said, pointing to a four-square section of the court. “And Peter Pan will live near that basketball hoop.” Billy liked my idea and we started to make up our game.

“Peter will be in trouble, so Wendy has to come in the middle of the night and save him,” Billy told me. “That sounds good… I think I’m going to be Tinkerbell.” I said, Suddenly Billy looked at me. ” But I want to be Tinkerbell today.  He complained. I told him that I had thought of the idea first, he still whined. “Come on, Billy you can be Tinkerbell tomorrow,” I said, hoping he would drop it. “No! I’m going to be Tinker Bell today. It’s only fair”, he yelled. “How fair is that?” I asked. “It just is!” I sighed. This fight was going nowhere. “Okay,” I said,” either I get to be Tinkerbell, or we won’t play this game at all.”

 Billy yelled at me that’s a stupid idea I guess that’s how girls with portuguese names are then he walked away. I stared at him as he walk toward the swings. I wondered what happened?  What does me being portuguese have to do with the both of us wanting to be Tinkerbell?  Up to that point I thought I was like everyone else. I knew that it really didn’t mean anything but it still wasn’t right or a nice thing to say. Just then the teachers blew their whistles, and recess was over. I told the teacher that Billy and I had gotten into a fight and she let us talk outside the classroom.

 Talking to him didn’t seem to make a difference he didn’t seem to care that he had hurt my feelings. I didn’t know how much it had hurt until I realized I was yelling at him. I stopped and told him I was sorry. “It’s okay. What I said was rude and I shouldn’t have said it. I guess I’m the one that’s sorry,” he said. “Thank you, I whispered. “No problem. And I promise never to make fun of your last name again. Do you forgive me?” he asked. “Of course, I forgive you! I laughed as we held hands while walking back into the classroom.

Once a year Billy and I would go to Disneyland with his family. Billy and I continued to pretended he was Peter Pan and I was Tinkerbell even if we were to old to. Billy and I stayed best friends until high school then we went to different schools and eventually drifted apart. 

I never forgot him or that he never insulted me again just as he promised. I always wondered who told Billy that I my last name was a portuguese name and that made me different from him? It’s obvious that an eight year old boy wouldn’t know something like that? Isn’t it? How did I know it was wrong of him or anyone to make fun of my name?