Thursday, February 21, 2013


It's been forever since I have written here. Every once in a while I get an urge to write & tonight is one of those times!

I have been thinking a lot lately ... actually, who am I kidding, I'm always thinking about something! It seems that so many people talk about being happy, or the search for happiness. I see quotes & posts on Facebook all the time that relate to happiness. Sometimes it seems like it's this elusive thing that we all search for in life ... so why is it that some people seem to have it & others do not? Is it personality, life experience, is it just not meant to be for some or is it a choice?

I have to be honest ... I have been one of those people who have sought it at different times & it has just seemed to be out of my reach ... or at least that was my perspective. In many ways I put my happiness in the hands of my husband or my kids and when they did not meet my expectation & fill that need then I became even more miserable ... I think you can get the picture! Sometimes I just plain felt hard done by.

Now what I known to be true, logic, & what I have felt to be true, emotion, have sometimes been on opposite ends of the spectrum. Of course I know no one can make me happy, yet I've waited for others to make me happy ... why ... well the answer is simple. I believe  it is because it's easy. It is easier to put the responsibility on another then to make the necessary changes in ones own life & make it happen for yourself. After all if it doesn't happen it is easier to blame someone else then to have to admit we have let ourselves down ... isn't it?

So what are the things that happy people do to stay happy ... Of course they live with things like gratitude, acceptance & forgiveness, just to name a few. But here is my thought ... In life there is a thing called an integrity gap ... my stated values/beliefs vs my lived out values/beliefs, what I say is important to me vs where I spend my time & my actions. How big the gap is between those two things, I believe, is directly linked to how happy a person is in their life.

If I talk about the fact that my family is  most important to me, yet I treat the stranger on the street more kindly then I do them ... I have an integrity gap. If I say health & wellness is important to me, yet I chose to live in an unhealthy manor ... I have an integrity gap. If I say being honest is important to me, yet I lie ... I have an integrity gap. If I say trust is important to me, yet I am not trust worthy ... then I have an integrity gap. If I say God is important in my life, yet I make no time for Him ... then I have an integrity gap.

When we chose to live in this manor we live a lie ... not only can others around us see it, but ultimately we know it to be true. How could one ever be happy when you know you are living a lie? I am not saying that there has to be perfection in ones life ... but just be honest with where you really are. Accept the fact that you may want your family to be the most important thing in your life but currently they aren't & then start to work on it. Accept the fact that honesty may be your struggle & then work from that place. I don't know what your things are ... the reality of it is, for me, some of those things have very hard to admit ... some of them I still struggle with ... after all it's embarrassing to admit. It's embarrassing to admit some of these things to yourself because often, I have found, it would sound horrible & if people knew they would judge me. The reality of it is, the sooner you or I can be OK with the place that we are at it is the sooner we can grow into becoming more of who we want to be. Ultimately as the integrity gap closes & we accept where we are at that is when, I believe, true happiness is found!

"There is no way to happiness ... happiness is the only way."

Sunday, November 4, 2012

On October 26 it was my husbands 38th birthday. I really wanted to do something special for him. You see the past several years have been difficult ones ... financially, relationionally, spitiually & health wise. We've have made it this far but, it has not been easy. In the last three years my husband left his job of 10 years, after dealing with less then ideal circumstances, started his own company & got diagnosied with an auto-immune diease. In the last year he has undergone 5 surgeries proceedures ... one being a major sugery. At one point he had lost over 50lbs & was able to fit into my jeans. I am not trying to cry you a river, but give you a small glimpse into just some of the things we have gone through over the past while.

To say that the last few years have not been difficult would be lying. The toll these kinds of things put on a relationship is not easy. So for Ray's birthday I really wanted him to know what an incredible & amazing man, husband & friend he is. For the 38 days before his birthday I left him a special note that I created & designed to tell him one thing that I loved about him. I also contacted the closest people in his life & asked them to share a thought or message that they would like to share with him & created a printed book from shutterfuly for him. Because we were in a wellness conference on his actual birthday I had planned a surprise dinner for him a few days later. I had his brother come over & sent him on a birthday scavenger hunt to the important places in his life. When he came home many of his friends & family were here waiting to spend a fun time with him.

I am not saying these things to try to brag or for my own glory, but for one reason ... It is often easy in life to get caught up in the negative things of life ... in the things that are not working or the things that your spouse isn't doing that you would wish that they would. It easy to see & picture all the things that are not working right ... to focus on the negative! I have found myself in this cycle so many times ... not because that is where I have wanted to be, but because that is where I have let life take me. I have not lead my journey or my path, but followed the flow of negative thinking & let circumstances be my guide.

So for 38 days I decided to change my focus ... I decided to focus of the positives! The things that I appreciated. To live my life with gratitiude, rather then let negativity flow in & take control. For 38 days I was not only reminded of many of the things that made me fall in love with my husband, but also for the things that I have grown to love about him over the years. It was also a belssing for me to read & hear the things that those cloest to him value & the gifts that they aslo see in him.

I challenge you ... to try a different perspective for a while. Stop looking at the negative & start choosing to see the positive. Start by letting your significant other know the things that you value in them, rather then all the things they are doing wrong. Tell them before it is too late the things that you see as gifts in them ... you may have to start off small, because initially it may be difficult to see those things, but I promise that over time it will become easier. Easch day focus on that one thing & you will be amazed at the difference it will make for not only you , but also for them.

By seeing the positives in life ... it is not only us that gains the benefit, but also those around us. Start each day by focusing on one thing that is good & positive & watch what happens. When those negative thoughts start to creep in don't let it gain speed & power ... stop it dead in it's tracks by refocusing on the one positive thing that you have chosen for that day.  ... it won't happen in one or two days ... but be commited for a period of time regardless of the results ... You'll be amazed at the results over time! You see Ray's birthday gifts ended up being as much for me as they were for him!

Ray's Birthday Dinner

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Experiencing the NOW!

On September 1, 2012 my husband & I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary. As we came close to approaching the date it seemed like every obstacle was thrown our way ... to say that the 2 weeks before September 1st weren't difficult would be a lie. It seems like when there is reason to celebrate, life will try to throw every curveball at you. As we were going through this time I was reminded of how many people never make it to year 16. So what makes us any different? Why is it that some make it while others do not? There may be many reasons, but I was reminded of a few over our anniversary weekend.

On our special day we had the opportunity & the privilage to have dinner with a few close friends. We celebrated eachother, laughed, told stories & just enjoyed eachothers company. It was one of those situations where you experience people breathing life into each other. These 3 couples are individuals that have been there for Ray & I ... they have supported us, loved us & asked us tough questions at times, but I think one of the greatest gifts they have given us is that they are really there for our marriage. They aren't there to take my side or to take Ray's side ... they aren't against one or the other, but they are FOR us as a couple ... So often in life we end up surrounding ourselves with people that make us feel good. If someone tells us something we don't like, we are often so quick to think they are unsupportive & we turn our backs & cut off the relationship. I'd like to think that at this stage of my life I care less about my feelings being hurt by the truth & rather have people in my life that will chose to be honest with me. Life is too short to have to be right ... life is too short to only have people in our lives that tell us what we want to hear. A text in the Bible come to mind that says a wise man has many counselors.

The following day Ray had a surprise for me. In my life I tend to be the type of person whose head is in a million places at once. I always have a list of things going in my mind of things to do or schedules to meet. I am often, well lets be honest, always worried or stressed about one thing or another ... about what has happened or about what I think could happen. Living my life in this way ends up stealing the joy out of many little moments that I could have had each day. So back to my suprise ... have you ever been suprised with something that you are also afraid of? ...My surprise was the opportunity to go bungee jumping. Now, it's something that has crossed my mind to do ... but to actually do it? I don't know that I thought I ever would. I had no idea of what was about to take place as I woke up that morning! I had no idea of it while I ate my breakfast or even as the family got in the car & started driving. As we drove I eventually figured out the general area that we must be heading ... & a few ideas crossed my mind ... remember I always have stuff going through my mind! ... I thought that maybe we were going zip lining ... or maybe to Whistler for the day. As we got closer I started to see the sign;s that said "Whistler Bungee." It crossed my mind when I saw it, but I quickly pushed it out. We passed the exit & I breathed a sigh of relief ... unitl Ray looks at me & says ... "You'll know where we are going now." as he pulls a u-turn. Instantly I am questioning & not believing the fact that this is what he has planned for us ... Oh wait! Did I say "US?" ... I meant me!

We pulled in just as someone was jumping ... I was excited & a bit nervous ... but still calm! Infact I was beginging to be concerned that I was too calm & wondered why I wasn't more nervous? ... We got up to the top as we saw several others jump ... screaming all the way down. I was given opportunity to not do it ... but really I am not usually one to back down from a perceived challenge! So, we go to pay the fee & the girl says "ok, you'll be number 13!" ... really? Now I am not superstitous  ... but 13 really?

I got harnessed up & stood & waited with the kids & Ray, while more people jumped. They kids couldn't believe I was going to do this & I think Ray even questioned a time or two if I would actually take the leap.

It was fianlly my turn ... I took the step out on the ledge ... Still surprisingly calm. Then the guys tells me to put my toes to the edge. Ok, now my heart beat quickend & I felt me hands squeeze tighter to the rails. The next thing I knew I was being given this instruction & that, told to look over to the camera & smile, look at my family & waive & then told to jump out & belly flop! Belly Flop? Really??? ... The count down began & I jumped ... without hesitation ... the free fall ... I screamed ... I can't lie! It was scary & exciting & freeing all wrapped up into a few seconds!

So what does this have to do with my Anniversary? ... well I learned a few things ... I learned that in that space of time ... I was not worried about yesterday's pain or tomorrow's perceived challanges. I wasn't concerned about what to make for dinner, or the fact that my house needed to be cleaned, what bill needed to be paid or even about what the furture holds with my MS & my health. All I was doing was being present in the current moment & expereincing the NOW! It was a refreshing place to be & a reminder to me how important it is to spend more time in that place. It is important to me, my health, my marriage, my children, my friendships ... because not living in that place impacts every relationship I have, including my relationship with myself.

As I reflect on our anniversary weekend I am greatful for those couples in our lives that speak into us & breath into us ... & I am reminded at how important it is for JUST BE & allow myself the gift of experiencing the now. I believe that if more people did this & had these kinds of relationships more marriages would succeed & more families would be held together with God's help.

I am blessed to have these people in my life & to have had the reminder of how important experiencing NOW is. I am grateful!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Character, Commitment, Change ~ C3 ~ What does it really mean?

I have been feeling the need to write for a while & just have not taken the time to do it. I have had several things mulling around in my mind as I usually do & I have pondered if I should write or not, do I put myself out there or not? One thing I have learned is that ALL people judge ... we all hate it, yet we all do it, everyday. So who cares, I will chose to put myself out there ... what do I have to loose, right?

Several years back ... maybe even close to 8 years ago now we had a New Years party at our house. A lot of people came & a lot of fun was had. It was at that party that my husband shared a concept to which we ended up adopting into our family & business. The concept of C3 - Character, Commitment & Change. If we chose to live our lives with thes 3 things as a compass we will end up in a better place, people around us will be positively affected & most of all we will be able to stand before God one day & hear the words "Well Done."

We have adpoted this as our family motto ... if you were to ask any of our kids they would be able to tell you exactly what it means. I wear a chain around my neck every day that has this on it. I have had it on my liscence plate on my car ... from the outside it would be easy to say & to expalin to anyone I meet. The big question is ... What about the inside??? Do I live these things in my life every day as I deal with my husband, my marriage, my children, my friends, my work, the things I chose to fill my mind with , how I choose to spend my time, the people I meet?

The last several years have been a true test of all these things for me. Why is it that as soon as you put something out there you get attacked from all sides? ... challenged to the core of your being? I have failed so many times at truely living these things out in my life. They say that it is in the struggles of life  that true character is built  ... I keep thinking that I am going to have one hell of a character in the end.(LOL!) Over the last 3 months I have decided that I would dedicate myself to focus on me for the next 12 months ...  to stop trying to change anyone else & to focus my energy on taking care of myself & become the best me I can be. It may sound selfish, but I can assure it is not. Of course as soon as you make a decision like that it is then the difficulty begins  & life hits you from all sides. Your true limits are tested. Difficult people & relationships test you, marriage struggles, kids, financial situations, health, time & the list goes on ... it comes from everywhere.

What I have realized is that over time I have allowed these situations to steal my joy, to suck the life out of me, to depress me & opress me ... That is why I have chosen this year to discover these things again. Every day it is a struggle to keep the right focus & perspective, but over time I am seeing small changes, movement forward & that in & of itself is a positive. Perspective really is everything ... In the end only I can create the life I want for myself. Only I can choose to be happy ... after all it is a choice. When life knocks me down will I chose to get back up & fight or will I allow the struggle to keep my down? I don't want to live fake ... I want to be real & alive & feel! So I chose to live my life with C3 ... Character - who I am when no one is watching. Do the decisions I make & where & how I spend my time reflect the character I want to have & who I say I am? Commitment - Am I commited to the areas in my life that I say are most important to me - my marriage, my family, my health, my God, to discovering my passions & purpose? If people are to look from the outside would they be able to say that I am a committed person to these things? Change - do I embrace change in my life or do I run when things get tough? Do I want to change everyone else but myself? What areas in my life have I committed to changing & are the results visible? Not just talk, but actual results? These are the things I am chosing to focus on ... & with Gods help I will acheive.

Beacuse I want different in my life I am chosing each day to step out on faith, letting go of the past hurts & faliures, not letting fear hold me back any longer, but chosing trust & forgiveness, love, gratitude, acceptance & life. It is a scary journey, but more freeing then I could ever have imagined. It is to that end I choose for different, for better ... for my best! I'm jumping out of the palne in life & chosing to live regardless of life's circumstances. Life will never be perfect, just as I will never be perfect ... but it can be imperfectly perfect for me & that is what I choose! I choose C3.