Thursday, November 22, 2007


Last night, as I was laying in my bed Thanksgiving Eve, I felt a sense of comfort.

A cold rain was beating down on the roof, but I was cozy and warm in my bed under the greatest invention in the world: the electric blanket. In their rooms, my two daughters were warm and cozy in their beds. And in each of the three bedrooms were one of our 3 dogs: Ringo laying on the comforter at end of Elise's bed. Charlie with Laura. Little Tami with me. Elise has been away at college and this was her first night in her own bed in 3 months. Just then, right then...for those 10 seconds, all was right with the world.

There is no rational reason why I was born into this time and place. Born in this wonderful country, to loving parents; reared in a nurturing home. Why am I not in some third world country; hungry and cold? Or in a war-torn country where my experience in bed last night would be quite different...listening to artillery fire as I hid under the covers instead of listening to my dog's steady breathing.

It is only by God's grace I am in my skin... and living my life...certainly nothing I have done makes me deserving of my many blessings.

It bugs me when others do it...but I'm so guilty of it, too. Complaining about the things I want, and don't have...instead of appreciating what I do have. So today, appropriately on Thanksgiving Day, I'm going to spend some time being thankful for my many blessings.

I am thankful for my health. That I can put each foot on the floor and pull myself out of bed, pain free, when there are so many others who can't.

I am thankful for my senses: the weather may be dreary but I can see the grey sky with healthy (but aging) eyes. I can feel the sting of the sleet on my skin, and smell the wet leaves outside...and the food cooking inside.

I am thankful for my family: my two daughters, home safely, my extended family who I will see later today.

I am thankful for the technology of air travel, that brought so many home to their loved ones without incident or delay.

I am thankful for my many friends...who I have sent and received holiday emails and texts from over the last 24 hours.

I am thankful for relationships that have been mended; even though not fully resolved.

As I approach the one year anniversary of my current job...I am thankful that so many of my coworkers have turned into my friends, and are like an extended family. As dysfunctional as we all may be!

And I am thankful for a loving God, who has so richly blessed me.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Moving On From a Broken Heart

Into every life a little rain must fall. And I’ve had my share of thunderstorms.

When I was in high school and experienced my first broken heart, I thought I could never feel such pain. But I learned quickly that hearts do heal, and soon became an expert in giving advice on how to get over a lost love and move on. Of course it’s always easier to give advice than follow your own when you are going through it yourself. That first broken heart did toughen me up a little. I was more careful the next time I fell.

When I lost my husband, my heart was broken again, but the grief and loss of a loved one through death is a different hurt entirely than through a break-up or divorce. Some of my divorced friends tell me that in a way I have an advantage. No ex to fight with over kids or money. No going back. No fixing things. No further discussion. No choice but to move on.

And move on I have tried to do.

I didn’t date for quite awhile after Phil died. I went out with some male friends; got comfortable being alone with a man who was not my husband after 20 years, but nothing serious. By year two I’d opened up to the idea of dating…and started going out more, but I knew I didn’t want anything serious. I put myself on a 4-year plan. I wanted to get my daughters through high school and into college before I got involved with anyone. I figured that relationships… especially marriage is tough enough without adding the whole blended-family thing. My daughters had been through enough pain…enough change. My focus was on the girls and on my supporting my family on my own.

And then I met him.

It was instant chemistry. He was handsome, charming, successful, intelligent. Our first date over coffee had us talking away about anything and everything. Two hours later…neither of us wanted it to end…and we made plans to meet that night for a glass of wine. He told me his company was sending on a European assignment that might keep him there a year, and he would be moving in a couple of months. I told him I was in no hurry, and that getting to know one another slowly was cool with me. It seemed so perfect.

After a few more dates he told me with a smile, “your 4 year plan sucks!” While it may not sound like it now… it was very romantic at the time. I had fallen like a ton of bricks and I was sure I had met the man I was going to marry. We saw one another almost every day after that until he left for Europe.

The details don’t matter now…but as more time passed.. the less it seemed like we could have a future together.

Distance, past life experience, failed expectations, extended family issues…who knows? I still haven’t figured it all out...but we just didn’t work. I guess we looked at the same picture but saw an entirely different view. And so, it ended. And when it did we were both broken-hearted. So much so that we’ve tried again several times. So much so that whenever we see each other again…even after months have passed, the feelings seem as strong as they ever were. Which I guess is why we kept trying again.

But alas, we both know we don’t work.

There are hundreds of songs on the radio I can relate to about love gone wrong.
Angst- filled lyrics filled with questions about why love alone just can't be enough. At least I know I’m not alone in my pain. And if love was all it took we’d be together. And that...still...makes me sad.

I saw him again recently, and for the first time in all these months I felt a healing between us. He told me that if anything happened to one or the other of us…that he wanted "all to be right and forgiven between us". And so we agreed it was. We both apologized for the pain we caused one another and really meant it. And we both said we have forgiven one another and really meant it.

Maybe now I will move on. Maybe now I really can.

But it doesn’t mean I don’t love him still.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I've have the pleasure of knowing many people who have many successful, happy relationships in their lives. Whether it's a long and happy marriage, friendships that have endured time and tribulation, or family bonds that go beyond blood, there's one common theme in these relationships: Acceptance.

It sounds so simple, but a person's willingness to accept another is the key to an enduring relationship.

My brother-in- law often jokes about how he is surprised my sister puts up with him after 30 some years of marriage. A wonderful and self-deprecating kind of guy, he'll easily list his faults, and follows with word of gratitude that she accepts him with all those faults. And my sister is quick to point out the things she does that drive him crazy.

Acceptance doesn't mean you can't be frustrated by things that bother you. It doesn't mean you like every personality trait your partner has; it simply means you weigh the good verses the bad, and if the good rules, and you accept the irksome traits for what they are. You realize that while they aren't perfect, neither are you. There is an agreement, spoken or unspoken, that you love more than you don't love about them, and the things you don't love you will live with. And, in turn, they will do the same.

When one is unwilling to offer total acceptance, the relationship is in trouble, and often fails.

To search for "the one" who will fill every single need you have is an unrealistic expectation. How unfair it is for us to expect one person to fill our every need when we ourselves cannot fulfill our own needs or 100 percent of another's, no matter how much we long too, or how hard we try.

No one fits like a glove. The people I know with lasting relationships have a variety of people in their lives that fulfill a variety of needs. A woman may love to shop, and her husband doesn't, so she shops with a friend. A man may love to golf, but his wife doesn't so he plays golf with buddies. A couple certainly needs to have common interests that bond them, and shared activities are crucial…but it is also healthy to have friends and interests apart from one another.

We can't change another person's personality attributes or their behavior. We can only change our attitude and our response toward them. In a long term friendship or life partner relationship, we can choose to accept those things about that person that bother us…and hope they can do the same when it comes to our faults. Or we can decide those things are beyond our ability to tolerate and walk away.

I don't think we can choose who we fall in love with. We just fall in love. But staying in love is a decision. It takes work. And acceptance is also a decision, and it too, takes work.

Journaling through a blog

Although verbal communication has never been a problem for me, I've always been able to better express myself when I put my thoughts into words on paper (or on the computer screen as the case may be). Like Carrie from Sex In the City…it seems like whenever I'm struggling, philosophizing or working through something in my head about something….I start writing about it.

Journaling has been therapeutic for me in the past and I used to do a lot more of it. I still occasionally pull out my notebook while laying in bed and jot down random thoughts, but not nearly as often as I used to.

Before the days of email, I'd often write letters to people that I never intended to send. If I was upset about something, or had to talk to someone about something very important, I'd work it out on paper. Often just getting it all out of my system in writing would be enough. I'd put the paper in a drawer and 24 hours later, I'd pull it out and read it, and it's amazing how a cooler head would make me realize what I was upset about really wasn't that big a deal after all. Or, that what I wanted to say could be said better…or not at all. That process has helped me save many a relationship that would have been ruined if I'd spoken the words or sent the email when I was emotional.

There have been times in my life more recently, when I'd wished I'd have gone back to that tried and true practice. Especially with a man who was very important to me.

There was a part of our time together when we were separated by an ocean. He was in Europe on a work project for almost a year, and the long distance was tough on us. We were still in the early stages of our relationship, and we spent much of our time communicating through email. Because we were still getting to know one another we learned the hard way that the written word can leave room for misinterpretation. Tone can be misunderstood; and the "send" button can be hit too quickly. I can't count the times I'd wished I'd waited before hitting send. It's a reminder in general we should think and edit ourselves before we speak...especially in anger.

These days the journaling I use to do has been replace by careful blogging. I say careful because although what I write in the world of blogging will still contain much of what I'm thinking and feeling about life, love, family, career and relationships…but I'll be more guarded with my words knowing it has the chance of being read by others.

My mom use to tell me when I was little "don't ever write anything you wouldn't want read in front of the class". Great advice.

And I plan to work on this concept in my relationships....writing as if the world could read it... and speaking as carefully as I write.

What's all this talk about "bragging"?

Uh…no…that's "Blogging".

Remember the character of Roseanne Rosanna Dana on Saturday Night Live? She'd do a commentary bit on the "news" and opine on some issue that upset her. She'd go on and on complaining only to find out she got the word wrong…making her whole diatrab meaningless...and then she'd say…. "Never mind".

That's how I felt when I realized I was wrong about "blogging" being the same as "bragging".

I first heard about Blogging on radio talk and TV news shows. I thought it was another fad that I'd hear about for awhile and then would pass...just another chance for a egocentric Bill O'Reily/Rush Limbaugh types to brag and pontificate further on whatever they usually bragged and pontificated about. I thought blogging was another word for bragging online. Sort of a narcissistic soapbox website where you can write what you think and what you feel and put it up for the whole world to see...and that there's a good chance no one cares about.

And, I guess…in a way…it is!

But then I started getting blog links from people I know. Like my niece, for example. And some of them were interesting and fun. Just like MySpace and Facebook started for young people to connect socially, blogs seemingly started out at the other end of the computer savvy demographic spectrum; going from older people to younger. My niece's blogs are analogous to the "Holiday Letters" some people send annually, in that they update everyone on what's going on. But because they can be accessed by her…and us anytime, she updates them often and Grandma and Grandpa and all of us out-of-towners can stay connected to her. My daughter is now living in San Francisco, and I can stay connected to her through Face book and MySpace. And now, she to me through my MySpace and my blogs. It's cool.

It's also cool that now if someone wants information on any subject from cooking, to dating to medical advice to pop culture...they can do a google search and at some point, one of the results will be a blog...and maybe a helpful one.

If you told me even a year ago I'd be doing this kind of writing online, I wouldn't have believed you. It seemed like some alien technology I couldn't grasp. Then my boss at the radio station told me that our online new site had many of the personalities blogging, and suggested I should too. I noticed many radio other station personalities had links to blogs on their sites as well. Our News Director here writes a political commentary blog. Our IT guy writes a tech blog, and another staffer writes on pop culture. My boss has a great one on wine. When I admitted that I had already started a personal blog with thoughts on love, life, career, relationships and family, it was suggested I post it.

I guess I'm hoping maybe someone will find something I write relatable, interesting, entertaining or at least thought-provoking. I'm thinking maybe some of my musings will strike a chord, make people feel better, or at least think. For someone who loves to write—and always dreamed of publishing a book...writing a blog may be as close as I ever get.

Narcissistic? Maybe. But that's what blogging is all about.

And for now, that's ok.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Paradox of Our Time Essay

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers. We have wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less. We buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom.

It is a time when we can choose to share this insight electronically with others, or simply hit delete.

Note: Although this is floating around the Internet and is being attributed to George Carlin, it was not. According to snopes.comit was written by Dr Bob Moorhead, former pastor of Overlake Christian Church in Seattle.

Whoever wrote it…the wisdom is worth sharing.