When Lemons Fly

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Just over a year ago my life was flipped on it’s head. As it turns out it was the best thing to happen to me in a long long time. Other people in my life would not agree. They like to point out, but this or that bad thing happened. Well, yes those things did happen. I chose to focus on the good things that happened and not the bad. There are at least as many good things as bad, maybe more. Besides, it’s my life not yours thank you very much. Maybe it is the whole if life hands you lemons thing or I should say, when lemons attack.

When life threw the first lemon in my direction, I ducked out of the way. I changed perspective. I did not think about what could happen in a week, a month, a year. I focused on the twenty four hours in front of me. I looked at each day as a brand new opportunity, a blank page. I got through that one and each morning I turned to the next page then the next and the next. Before long an entire year of pages had been written. Yes, there was a pretty big barrage of lemons at my feet. However, there was laughter, love, happiness and blessings written on the pages of my year. Pretty dang good year if you ask me.

It is up to you. You can live with the poor me, I had a terrible year attitude. You could focus on the all the bad things…Blah Blah Blah. Or you can do what I did, ignore the stupid lemons. Take a look back on the year and focus on the good stuff. Besides, you can always take those lemons and chunk them back. Take that life!

OK, enough with the cliches already. Go do the things and be happy.

It’s my Choice

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I choose truth.

I choose to care.

I choose to trust.

I choose to provide.

I choose to accept.

I choose to make our life, our future a priority.

I choose to protect.

I choose to cherish.

I choose your family as part of my family.

I choose to be happy.

I choose to love.

I choose you.

What is Marriage?

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What is marriage? Is it a wedding ceremony and a license? Is it a commitment to love honor and obey? Marriage is defined by Webster’s as the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law or by the rite by which the married status is effected, an intimate or close union. No mention of love.

Marriage existed before any government was organized. For thousands of years, people were getting married without a marriage license. Even today, there are some countries that have no governmental recognition of marriage and no legal requirements for marriage. Government endorsement is usually necessary for certain benefits, however. In American history, up to around the 1920’s, there was no such thing as a marriage license. The states invented them as a way to dictate who could and could not get married. Primarily as a way to stop white people from marrying black people. Still no mention of love.

Some people believe that a man and a woman are married in God’s eyes when they have completed some kind of formal wedding ceremony. There is an event, action, covenant, vow, or proclamation that is recognized as declaring a man and woman to be married. Love may be present, maybe not.

But does the very act of getting married constitute a true partnership? Does connecting yourself to another in the bonds of marriage mean that you are equally respected, loved or wanted?

Though many of my characters that I write choose to get married, I for one do not like what marriage has become in today’s society. It is an institution that gives people carte blanche to dictate what another person can and can’t do. I consider myself an expert on how not to be a spouse and how not to preform life as a married person. I should know I have had three failed marriages. Just as it takes two to make a marriage work it takes two to destroy one as well. I know I have been there. Usually it plays out that one person gives up sooner in the marital timeline than the other. The vow is broken, hurt happens and loss is felt. Often a marriage dies long before the participants are willing to admit it. How many times have you known people who stayed married for the sake of the children or other reason that is not that they truly liked being together? Notice I said marriage not love.

As I have said many times on this blog and other places, love is a choice. Love is a promise to cherish the other person. You choose to love or not. There are couples who are more devoted to each other without a marriage license than others who have been married for years. It is society that has conditioned us to believe that those who are in committed relationships but are not legally married are somehow not valid partnerships. Somehow we are taught to believe that two people can’t be devoted if they do not get married or we think maybe they don’t love each other, trust each other, or care about each other enough to get married.

Marriage as ordained by God is a spiritual connection that is grounded in faith not government. Faith in God, faith in each other and faith in your choice to be together.  It is not based on the human’s faulty idea of marriage that is a contract and dictated by social norms. It is the choice and promise of commitment to that one other person is what is important. Love and devotion do not require a piece of paper or even a ceremony. Ultimately, that is between the couple and God. Only God knows our true heart (1 John 3:20).

A marriage license is just a piece of paper. If there is no love there is no point.

Love by the Numbers

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I have been in more relationships and marriages than the average person, so I thought. I recently read a couple of studies that say statistically the average person falls in love 3 or 4 times in a life time. Theses magical studies also say that you will have 7 to 10 serious relationships, with men having ten in their lifetime, compared to an average of seven for women. The average number of marriages is 3 to 4 for Americans. Thinking back through my life I have only been in love, true love, twice. I have had many more serious, or what I thought at the time were serious relationships. Marriages? Don’t get me started!

I am not so out of the ordinary after all.

What the studies do not explain is why will the average person have so many relationships,why will they fail and why we settle for less that perfect in some relationships. I can’t speak for the masses but I can tell you that there are several reasons why I had so many relationships, why they did not work out and why I stayed in the dying ones. Since I am about average according to the studies I bet my reasons are about the same as yours. The topic of why relationships fail is a big one and space here will not allow for a complete exploration, so we won’t go there.

I  do believe that God sends love to your life. You choose if you accept that person or not. Choice means that you choose to stay with him or her, to fight for love even though they are not perfect. One promise to them that you will be their forever person no matter what life throws at you. Never taking them for granted even on the days when you are the only one in the fight for love. Love is not a 50/50 thing. It is a 100% by both people in the relationship. Like any good fighter you also have to know when it is time to throw in the towel. That is a difficult choice, still a choice. Love is your choice to make.

Let me reassure you, dear reader, that you are not alone. No matter how devastated you are at the death of a relationship, all of us have been there at least once in a life time if the studies are to be believed. To me what is worse than the out right end of a relationship is the staying in a dead one.

I stayed in  dying relationships for several reasons, the number 1 reason was fear. I was afraid to be alone. I had been told and believed that no one else would want me. No one would ever love me again. What is worse I had more than one ex tell me such lies and I believed it more than once. I was so wrong.

No matter how broken by love and number of relationships you are now, you can be fixed. You will love again. You will never be so broken that some one will not want to love you.  Forget what the numbers say. Forget the lies the sorry relationship killers tell you. Be brave and take the leap off in to the abyss that is love. Do not fear the future. Love is all that matters in this life. We are not meant to be unloved and alone. We are meant for great love. That love will look different for each one of us.

The common denominator is the same. It only takes 1 person to show you 1 time that love is worth all the sacrifice. 1 person to care enough to love you in all your crazy weirdness. 1 person + 1 love + you = happiness

 

A Strong Word

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One of the strongest words in the English language is forever. Merriam Webster defines forever as a limitless time (as in He wants to live forever) or at all times, continually. Forever is one of those words that stands in front of you defiantly and dares you to prove it wrong. It is bossy and intrusive. The word forever and I have always agreed to disagree. It says to me, let go trust that I am true. I say no, no you are not. There is no such thing as forever.  I am good with the continually definition. It is the limitless time that gives me anxiety. Nothing lasts forever. Nothing. Seasons change, people die, good things always come to an end and bad times pass. There is no such thing as forever. The difficult lessons in life have taught me that forever is a fantasy, a fairy tale. We all know that fairy tales are not true.

Just recently I have had this needling thought in my head. It is a particularly chatty monkey that says, “You are wrong. Love lasts forever. Real love is never-ending.” I have resisted the urge to toss that monkey out on his head. I try to get my head around the thought that someone could love me so much that it lasts not just my lifetime but forever into eternity. I have even said to that thought monkey and the person who put it in my head, “No, I do not say forever. I can’t trust that to be true.”

Then the monkey chatter says in rebellion, “What if you are wrong? What do you have to lose? What is love?” That definition of love is stronger than that nasty little monkey called forever.  The same dictionary defines love as a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person, attraction that includes sexual desire, the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship, a person you love in a romantic way, God or personification of love.

I have said on this blog that God is love. I have also said that love is worth the risk.  I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t at least give this forever consideration. I have love in my life that is strong that has the potential to last a long long time. I don’t know if it will indeed last forever. All I can do is hope and have faith that it is enough. That the love I have in my life will last a long time and that it is worth the risk.

At that thought another nicer calmer monkey spoke up in the chatter, “Love is worth everything. Stop listening to your mind and listen to your heart.”

I sighed, conceded and said out loud, “I love you…forever.”

Next to me the one who loves me smiled and said, ” I love you too.”

 

…but I like my cheese where it is

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How many of you read that little book Who Moved My Cheese? I read it years ago and then again recently. (If you don’t have time to read it watch this short video.) The premise is easy, change is going to happen and you have to control how you react to it. If you stand firm and refuse to accept it you will get left in the wake of change. If you flow with it and adapt you will be better after the change levels off and status quo sets in again.

Most people do not want their cheesy goodness to move and do not want change. Change is scary and challenging. In the end I believe most people accept change and move along to the better cheese. Then there is me….

I have been a solid do not move, touch or even look at my cheese kind of person. I like my daily routines thank you very much. As long as I am in charge of the change and I am the creator of the change it is fine, but let someone else change something that affects me look out. I think it is the helpless feeling of not having control. What’s crazy is I haven’t had control in years until just recently. I have let life push me along. I did grab hold of control, went to school and changed my stressful job. Slowly I have taken control back. It is my cheese and I will do the moving..not you…me.

There’s old wisdom that advises that we can only lean against that which resists. This suggests that there might just be something good, or at least useful, about resisting change. Discovering what this resistance is and learning to work with it is key to understanding reluctance to change. That is all fine and dandy as long as I am in charge of the cheese…I mean change.

What throws me for a loop is when I am not in control of the change. That sends me in to flight mode. You know, fight or flight? I am a classic flight risk when I loose control. Either I fly or I bury my head in the sand and ignore the change. If I don’t see it, don’t acknowledge it, then it is not real…..there you go…denial.

Learning that change, even wanted change is stressful will make dealing with the cheese realignment easier. Taking the cheese knife in hand and carving the life you want is hard too. I have no answers here. You have to decide how you will deal with the fact of life that someone will move your cheese. It is just a matter of time.

 

It’s My Life

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For those who know me personally you know I am going through some pretty interesting things. I am as transparent as they come. What you read on this blog may have very well at one point in my life come out of my mouth. In the vain of being real, I have decided to give you an update.

My divorce will be final soon and as a result my name will change. A lot of things in my life have changed. I have lost my dogs since the Ex kept them. That broke my heart.  I have moved in to a small apartment. I have a new man in my life. Well he’s not new really since I have known him since I was 12. I have changed my life style, sort of. I went from sitting home most nights to meeting new friends, reconnecting with old friends and living. I got not one, but two tattoos. I have been to the theater, seen cool art, met and played with Gamers, had delicious food, watched sunsets, walked on the beach, heard spectacular music, and I have had several wonderful life changing experiences.  I have written more words in the past few months than I have in years. What’s more those words are some of the best words of my career. I finished the draft of my novel and started two more.

So many changes in a short amount of time has my head spinning. Then there is this, my beloved blog site you are reading.

Due to the divorce and my impending name change,  I will most likely change the domain for this site. That is a big deal to me. I have had this site since November 2008. I am very nervous about it. I plan to keep the shift as painless as possible for you and me. I will keep you posted.

Thank you for reading my words and being my virtual support system. I can’t express enough how much that means to me and how special you are to me.

On a side note, if you ever hear me say I am getting married again….please for the love of God slap the sh*t out of me! Thanks.