Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Ruin and Restoration

As I am planning, writing, organizing, and preparing for this new beginning of Real Gurl Life, I am positively, absolutely, stunned.

It feels like yesterday that I thought the world, my world, was going to end. I would watch others around me, living life as normal, going about their daily business, and I couldn't understand why they did not feel the same fear and anxiety as I did. Why weren't they bewildered and riddled with fear and screaming for their lives? I felt it was obvious that I was doing those things and yet no one looked my way or paid attention. They couldn't see it because it was all being held on the inside.

I was sure I was going to die.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Got Gratitude?

Gratitude. I just keep coming back to being grateful and what does it really mean? It is a beautiful word and one that creates a skip in the beat of life. It causes one to ponder, at least for a quick minute, and reflect. However briefly, it is a good thing.

Except I just can't get my mind off of one thing. Am I really grateful? Is it a true and sincere attitude of thankfulness?

I bet most of us

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Fight for Authenticity

There is a longing inside each one of us to be our true selves. Our true self is not one made of wishful thinking or high hopes. It is The Gift that God himself placed inside of each one of us, individually. We each have a gift that we, and only we, can give to others in just the right way to bring hope and light to a soul lost in the darkness.

It is a battle to be your true self. I know in my own fight for authenticity that turning off all the noise of "should have" and "could have" and "why didn't you" is difficult indeed.

Some people seem to be born with authentic genes and others seem to have no hope of it at all. The truth is we ALL can live authentic lives.

"To be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody but yourself-means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight-and never stop fighting." E.E. Cummings

For today, I will offer these words from Brene Brown: "Choosing authenticity means cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable."

Fight on, Real Gurls. It is worth the fight! Freedom awaits.....


Friday, October 23, 2015

It's True...Believe with me!

This was on my newsfeed on Facebook today and upon seeing it I knew it had to be shared! 

Think about this today:
In God's garden of grace, even broken trees bear fruit.

God can make all of us bear fruit for Him. We may think we are broken, useless, run-down, disqualified- but we are the treasures of God and He longs for us to know that He loves us, and He desires to use us for His purposes. -Rick Warren

No matter how many times we have experienced crushing storms, broken limbs, stripped bark, and become a barren, lone-standing tree....because of His love and care for us, we can still bear fruit. Don't give up, friend! You have something to offer, a gift to share with others. What you have is a gift that no one else can share quite like you!

Because of God's grace, we are worthy and acceptable. Do not let others determine your worth or value. There is a purpose and a plan for everything. It will bring you to that fruitful place.

I am believing for this too. I am not what I once was and I am not yet all that I will be!


Friday, October 16, 2015

Diary Entry: I Saw Him the Other Day

There are things and people that come to mind, especially when the day is long and the night is dark. This is one of those times. The memories that I treasure make me smile involuntarily. Certain grins, SportsCenter being watched over the  morning cereal bowl, March Madness brackets, asthma kept hidden so the game could continue, and not getting home each weekday until 9 p.m. because we went to 3 different team practices after school. Oh yeah, and 3-pointers too!

If I go wayyyy back, there was the boy in the playpen at 9 months old, parked right behind the backstop so momma could keep the scorebook. Every single pitch over the plate that boy would grunt with the batter as he swung away. He started watching ball on t.v. about that time too.  He would stand mesmerized in front of the television in the family room. He grew up to be able to argue just about any sports statistic and when he started winning over his father, well, he was king, if but for a minute.

He was always a lover. He really had a heart connection with his momma. As we drove to daycare one day, he reached over to hold my hand and laced his fingers in mine. He looked up at me ever-sweetly and said, “Mom, my fingers are smiling.” Wow. My HEART was smiling.

When kindergarten came around, he was already choosing his own clothes and was always spot-on in his selections. He was also so prepared each morning, collecting any papers, homework, and eventually sports gear, to make sure he was ready for the day. He was ahead of his age bracket in his daily rituals.

I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. Each morning as our family van lumbered to the grade school to drop him off for kindergarten, the two older siblings and I would just sigh as we watched him walk in to the building. He was just so cool. I swear he was the one who started slinging his backpack over one shoulder and he was definitely the only one who could make a jean jacket with Mickey Mouse on the back look GQ. We were, and are still, his fans.

The time between grade school and now seems mostly filled with the world of sports. Even with asthma, he wanted to play every sport, every day, every time, every team. If memory serves me correctly (which it may not), he started running cross country in 4th grade. From there we added flag football, school soccer and club soccer, and of course, school basketball and two community basketball teams. He was busy from sun-up to sun-down and though he would be hungry and tired when he got home each night, he was having fun. Woe to the nights, especially in summer, when the organized activity waned, when he would find it difficult to sleep at night. His engine would rev and roar as he fought bursts of energy to fall asleep.

I can’t tell you much about the high school years. I did not get to be there for those. Another woman played the role of mom, and however that played out, I appreciate that he had someone in that role. I missed him terribly but I was in the fight for my life and did not make very good decisions. If I had my wits about me, he would have been with me. But that is another story, and quite possibly not mine to tell.

I CAN tell you that his high school basketball team, a small, private school team, won the state playoffs during his junior and senior year. I was able to make the trip to see the senior year playoffs. This was truly the highlight of those years for me. I made it to the arena and found my seat in an already crowded and noisy venue. The other team was warming up but his team was not on the floor yet. I sat, anxious but happy, watching for him. My eyes darted all around, diligently keeping lookout.

The other folks sitting in my row were all together.  There were about eight of them. The odd thing was they weren’t cheering for any particular team. They were locals and had the same seats for years. They just came for the fun of it. I made friendly talk with a couple of the ladies and the story of my long trip and player on a team soon made it down the row. Eventually, the entire row was cheering with me for his team. It was a great week.

Back to the warm-ups….His team finally dribbled in and parted into two lines to make shots and rebound. I finally saw him. He was dribbling but he wasn’t looking where he was going. His eyes were scanning the arena with about 12,000 seats and tons of noise and people scurrying about.

It didn’t take him but 10 seconds and his eyes met mine. There, in the gigantic arena, he found me. He did not know where my seat was or if I had even made it to the arena yet. But he found me. When he did, he gave me a little dip of his head to acknowledge me, and promptly ran up to make his lay-in.

It was a glorious, long-weekend, capped off by his team winning state and my entire row of basketball fans cheering so loudly with claps and whistles and hollers. This is a memory that hangs in my mind often.

After graduation from high school, the real disconnect began. It’s difficult to have conversations that are open and meaningful with a young adult but over the phone and long-distance has to be the worst. I found myself asking questions and talking about nothing important just to keep him on the phone for a little bit longer. It began to feel like an obligation to reach out to me, though he never acted that way or mentioned anything of the sort. He was always patient and polite, maybe a little bit disinterested, or maybe just uncomfortable. Our easy way between us had up and left.              

Each call I felt a bit of my heart slipping away but without any power to stop it. He was going through tough times: college, home life, money, and jobs. Things that he did not always feel he could share with me. At that age boys are trying to be men. Leaning on your mother doesn’t quite fit that mold.

I should add, I probably wasn’t worth leaning on either. I was still dealing with my own demons and they would keep me pre-occupied for next ten years or so. I just couldn't be much help.

Then, this past summer, I saw him!
I was at the athletic club pool with my roommate and his 3-year old son. We go once a week to be out in the sun and to enjoy summer. I love to be tan, so I am mostly there for the rays.

I looked up rather nonchalantly and saw him, just going through the pool gate with a couple of girls. It was him! I would know those long legs, lanky, lean body, and messy blonde hair. He wore a basketball branded t-shirt and those long basketball shorts with the Jordan/Nike emblem on the lower leg with flip flops. As he passed through the gate, he held it open for the two girls, looking down on them and smiling at whatever they were saying. They moved down the sidewalk and my heart started yelling.

“Hey! I’m over here! Why didn’t anyone tell me you came to town? Hey! Hey! Oh….wait. Is that him? Oh. No. It sure looks like him. Wow. Just like him.”

He will be 26 years old on his next birthday in January. I don’t think I have heard from him in about three years. Between the lines of all of the sweet and good of this story, there is also immeasurable brokenness, disappointment, misunderstanding, lack of communication, and downright awfulness. I couldn’t tell you exactly which one is the reason for the break in our relationship. I wasn’t given any kind of notification of a change or break. I just know it seems irretrievably broken. I no longer have a valid phone number for him and I no longer know his address. I could not fix this if I tried. It will take a miracle.
When the day is long and the night is dark, this is one of the stories that tells itself. It's on the DVR in my mind, ready to roll at a moment's notice.

One day, I was lamenting about my broken family, longing for a chance to make things right, just a chance to hear their hearts. As I spoke out loud I found myself saying, “There is just no way to fix this. There is too much pain, too much time gone by, way too many hurt feelings. How could this ever be made right? This is not something that just one person saying ‘sorry’ can fix. Only God can fix this.”

About that moment, I felt a nudge from God, saying, “Thank you. I will take it from here.” I felt silly behaving like I had any control whatsoever. I have to admit it and let it go.

I have no idea if I will live to see this relationship restored. All I can say is that I love him with all my heart. I beg forgiveness for my part in our broken family. I am sorry for any hurt I caused, whether it seemed intentional or unintentional. I do not hold anything against him. I only have love in my heart and hopes for the best. Perhaps one day he will remember some of the sweet and the good that we shared.
I think about it every single day. I will hope until forever, however I do believe that God knows best and I will always trust in Him.

Until then…..

Much love,




Saturday, October 10, 2015

Courageous or Cowardly?

Just saying the word "courageous" makes me feel good. I get a sense of strength and renewal. It's kinda like when you enter a peaceful, small town coffee shop. There is a small hum of friendliness and an aroma of warmth in the air. Saying "courageous" is like entering a room that brings thoughts of being strong and capable.

It is a good word. COURAGEOUS.

We all (this is an assumption) would like to be courageous. I think that we can all admit that there have been times in life when our courage floundered and the Cowardly Lion made an appearance, with all of the tail-holding, tear-crying, boo-hooing that has ever been seen.

I am currently reading Brene Brown's book, The Gifts of Imperfection. She writes that while we may desire courage, we seldom talk about the "how" to get it. It is scary to talk about the cracks in our imperfect self to discover the how. Here is a bit from Brown's book that I think is really thought provoking:

"Courage sounds great, but we need to talk about how it requires us to let go of what other people think, and for most of us, that's scary. Compassion is something we all want, but are we willing to look at why boundary-setting and saying no is a critical component of compassion? Are we willing to say no, even if we're disappointing someone?"

Most of us want to belong so much, we are willing to side-step what we know to be real, true, or right for our lives. We can call it compassion but is it really?

This question about courage is definitely worth investigating. I know I enjoy the welcoming hum and aroma of the coffee shop. I would walk through rain, snow, sleet, and dark of night for an extra hot toffee nut mocha. It is worth much more to be honest with myself, to let go of the overwhelming desire to belong that creates such cowardice in me, and seek Courage!

Goodbye, Cowardly Lion...I am off to find my yellow-brick road of COURAGE.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Measuring a Life

As of recent, I find myself thinking about time a lot. It makes me afraid. Life is flying by and I am not satisfied with mine. I am no longer in my 20's or 30's or even 40's. My three children are all gainfully employed, successful, self-sustaining adults. They don't need me anymore, or at least not in the same way. I am single, without a partner to share my life and activities, and at the moment, jobless.
This has all built to a crescendo and my thoughts thunder at me, questioning, "what, exactly, is important to me and when, exactly, am I going to act on it? What is the meaning of my life?"
The first time I heard "Seasons of Love" (the Broadway song from "Rent"), I think I listened to it 20 times. Yes, I am one of those girls. When I find a favorite song, I listen to it over and over, ad nauseum, much to the chagrin of those trapped in the moving vehicle with me for the next 200 miles. I am not completely satisfied until I have it memorized and can fully enjoy singing it to the tops of my lungs!
I love the pep and beat of the song, and the joyful singing. The vim and vigor of the music belies the seriousness of the words. I have always been one to judge a song on lyrics versus melody, but these lyrics greatly impacted me. This cleverly written song skips along as it breaks down the reality of time and how we spend it.
If you have never heard the aforementioned song, here are the lyrics so can see what I mean:
 Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes

How do you measure, a year in the life?
How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love
(Season of Love by Johnathan Larson)
As I am re-reading the lyrics, I am thinking, "yep, it always comes back to love for me." I have never been one to want to be the most important at work, or in a high office, or desperate for a flashy lifestyle with a big paycheck. It has always been about relationships for me. I don't measure my life in those other things. It hasn't been until recent years that I could honestly say I am a good person, a true friend, a kind listener. But today, that is who I am.
When my children were still living at home, I was always racing to keep up, as parents do. Do we have the right backpack and we need to get those soccer cleats and are my kids on the honor roll and dinner just got burned in the oven! I did not pay as much attention to my relationships as I should have and paid the price. That crazy woman does not exist anymore, the one who wasted glorious days meant for building a life. Now, after many personal adjustments, there is a hole that I am looking to fill and I am scared. I worry it's too late for me.
And all I know is....to love.
Yes, I can type 90 wpm and am pretty savvy with computers. I can carry on a good conversation and I love to write. But the best of me is showing my love and care to those who are in my life and letting it splash over on those around me.
This blog was meant to be a question, how do you measure a life? For me, just writing brought me to what I already knew. I don't want to be known for success, money, or brilliance. I just want to be known loving unconditionally, for giving those I love all that I've got. I pray that the good memories will outweigh the bad.
That would be enough for me.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

You Are Invited!

Hi Real Gurls!

Have you been wondering....What exactly is Real Gurl Life? I would love to introduce you. This is a group that is all about supporting women of all ages in the pursuit of an authentically imperfect life.

I lived the first 42 years of my life floundering, trying to be everything I was "supposed" to be and failing miserably. I became broken beyond recognition and after experiencing much hurt and loss, I began chasing the real me. The best medicine was when I realized that there were others just like me.

Would you like to know more? I am inviting you and your friends to sign up to follow the RealGurlLife blog! This is where I post encouragement and stories of my journey in hopes of helping others to find their real gurl too. You will also be able to keep up with weekly posts as well as any upcoming meetings or classes.

Recently a new software was installed to alert you to new posts, so we welcome you to sign up, and if you have previously signed up, will you please do so again?

NOTE: (I solemnly promise, you will receive no more than one alert each week. See "Follow Real Gurl Life" in the upper right corner of this blog and enter your email.) 

Thank you in advance for your support and participation in RealGurlLife.  We are better together!

Grace and Mercy,

Authentically Imperfect since 2010.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Love bears, believes, hopes, endures

Wanna know what love is? Ever wonder what's love got to do with it? Or questioned if you are in "real" love? It is in our grasp to experience REAL LOVE every moment of every day. Genuine, authentic love. Not playful, puppy love. Love born of a mature spirit from a full heart. Love is truly a choice.

The following is an excerpt, with minor edits for clarity, borrowed from Quotes Made with Love as posted on September 27, 2015:
"Spiritual maturity isn’t measured by how much you know or how often you go to church. Spiritual maturity is measured by the way you treat other people. It’s measured by the love you allow to operate through you.
In the Bible, First Corinthians 13 (often called the Love chapter) tells us about the characteristics of love. When we are walking in love, we treat other people with courtesy and respect. Are you kind to the person at the checkout counter that may be moving too slowly? Are you gentle when you are driving down the highway and someone cuts you off? Are you patient with your family and coworkers? These are all ways we show love.

First Corinthians 13 tells us that love is patient. It is kind. It does not envy; it is not proud. It is not rude. Love is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love never fails.

Notice that these characteristics don’t have anything to do with feelings. That’s because love is a choice. You can choose to walk in love toward people even when you don’t feel like it — and that’s what being spiritually mature is all about!"

Choose well, my friends.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Five Actions to Fight Off the Blues

I had the best of intentions today. Last night, when my head hit the pillow, my plans for today were firm. Household chores that I have put off for two years were in my sights. I could feel the achievement already. Seriously? Yes, seriously. TWO YEARS!

Okay, I hear you wondering what exactly could I have put off for two years?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Reap What You Sow

Fall is coming and so are the colorful autumn leaves, football, and yummy pumpkin spice lattes. Fall is also the time of reaping what was planted back in early spring. Soon, we will see the roadside farmer's stands with apples, corn, gourds and pumpkins. We will delight in the crisp morning air and the coming of a fire in the fireplace and cozy sweaters. 
As we prepare for the changing season and begin to reap the bounty, I have been reminded you can only reap what you sow. It's so simple, really. If you sow nothing, you get nothing. Any farmer knows that If you plant beets you cannot expect corn and if you plant carrots you will never, ever get apples. It is a basic law of life. You reap what you sow.
From a relational view it works the same. We get what we give.  Friendships don't

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Admitting It

I don't know everything. 

There, I said it.

I can't fix everything either. 

And it just might always be this way.

Sometimes you just gotta own where you're at in life. Admit your faults, make known your needs, and turn to the ones that share life with you for love, comfort, and support. A nice warm blanket on mom's couch with a Disney movie and a cookie helps too.

I was sharing a story with some friends of mine this week over dinner.  As I told it, thinking I might inspire someone, I realized that I was the one who needed to hear it.  I cannot remember the story exactly so it is definitely paraphrased here, but credit does go to Liz Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love for sharing the original version.

In her dream, Liz was standing on the beach with a holy teacher. Together, they stood on the sand and watched the waves roll in.  It seemed a storm might be brewing because the waves grew and crashed and sprayed their faces with stinging, cold seawater.  The holy teacher looked over and said with most sincerity, "Liz, I have a task, just one task, for you. I want you to stop the ocean."

For a split second Liz thought he was joking but the "doer" inside grabbed the problem and ran with it. She drew sketches and considered theorems and turned the drawing this way and that, but to no avail. 

The holy man began laughing, quite loudly and with eyes sparkling at the thought that this woman actually believed she could control the ocean.

"Liz, Liz, Liz....Do you really think you have the power to stop those waves?"

So it goes with many of us. We see a problem and jump in head first, sure that with just the right amount of finesse we can fix it. But if you consider this story, you can surely see how silly it really is to believe we can control anything; that we can fix it; that it is in our toolbox to manhandle any issue and make it right. That we can stop the ocean.

Repeat after me:

I don't know everything.
I can't fix everything.
The situation just might always be this way.

Many times we step in, or should I say overstep, and wrassle issues that are not ours. I have lived this life and what I learned is that it takes that much longer for the situation to right itself when I try to throw it down on the ground and pin it.

Sometimes the only option is to stand on that beach and let the waves crash over you. The spray may sting your face like a thousand needles.  Or, it could be on a hot day and feel really good! Your shoes, long forgotten on your feet, might become soaked and your toes all shriveled up. The winds may die down and the waves begin to just lap at the sand and the clouds part to reveal a pink sunset in all of its glory. You may even begin to smile.

Whatever the case, acceptance of what you cannot change is imperative to achieving a peaceful life. Knowing your limits, knowing when an issue is yours to amend and knowing when it belongs to another to figure out, are important to understand. Usually it isn't doing anyone a favor when we step in where we do not belong. Each person must run their own race, own their own stuff, and look their own fear in the eyes.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference!

It is not in our power to change others. We can only change ourselves. That is BIG. Because changing ourselves IS in our power. With change comes hope. Change brings the possibility of a new direction, a new dream, a new outcome. 

So join me today. Admit and accept the things that you cannot change. Look for the things in yourself that you CAN change and do so courageously. Always pray that you will know the difference.

Stand on a sandy beach, rain or shine, and accept your limitations.  

God will meet you there.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Real Gurl Life....for real!

It is with joyful heart that I begin making Real Gurl Life come alive!  For over five years I have carried this dream in my heart. This week it finally appears to be on the verge of reality. I am giddy with excitement!

As you can read from the blog description above and the personal profile to the left, Real Gurl Life is all about living authentically.  It is sounds good to say but so much more difficult to do. When we are brave enough to be our true selves, then we can be truly happy.  Many folks never find this "sweet" spot in life.  It isn't perfect, but it sure feels good!

If you are wondering what credentials I have to bring to facilitate this program, I will say that this is a question I often ask myself. The resume is less than stellar, but here is what I have got:  I have a couple years of community college studying psychology.  I have worked through The Genesis Process with a small group successfully.  I then became a facilitator of the same, working with three groups weekly to move through the process of change.  I have raised a family.  I have worked in office administration for most of my life.  I have also spent some time in health insurance, web design, and most recently, physicians billing.  Oh, and I have a dog.  Does that count?

Seriously none of these things add up to credentials as considered by the world and yet, ALL of these things ARE my credentials.  Some people call it the "School of Hard Knocks." I call it "Surviving Ground Zero Moments and Living to Tell About It."

All I know is that when I successfully completed my turn in The Genesis Process and turned to being a facilitator, my whole being came to life. I felt awake.  I knew I had found something that I loved to do and I was pulled towards it like a magnet. I knew that I was completely fulfilled doing it.  There has not been one day that has passed since that I have not been yearning to help other women find the freedom that I found, in spite of everything I did to wreck it.

Real Gurl Life is in the process of becoming and it is thrilling to me to be able to talk about it beginning!

Here is a sneak-peek at the upcoming offerings!

First Look - This is a FREE, one-time introductory meeting with an overview of Real Gurl Life, course of study, types of help, and friendship building too.  
Commitment:  75 minutes  Cost:  FREE  Size of class:  Unlimited.

Explore - This a 4-week class that hits the highlights of personal change, offering common sense tools and exercises to assist in bringing life back into balance with authenticity and grace. Presented with a focus on family relationships and friendships.  Commitment: 75 minutes weekly.  Size of class:  maximum of 12.  Cost:  TBA

Dig Deep - This course is in two parts.  Each part is 12-weeks long and do not have to be concurrent, although preferred.  It is an in-depth, serious approach to discovering what holds you back from authenticity and how to create change that can last.  This class requires commitment to attendance, homework, and respect and confidentiality among group members. Commitment:  90 minutes for a 12-week session; two sessions required to complete the course. Class size will not exceed four participants.  Cost:  TBA  Required: Workbook and Bible.

Mining Me - This is an individual option when you desire one-on-one mentoring.  These can be ongoing, scheduled, weekly, or random and are at the request of the participant. This confidential time allows for open and honest talk with an emphasis on the individual needs.  Focus is on the life-path of the individual and evaluating options for moving forward into a fulfilling life.  

Seminars - Ranging from a range of books like TrueFaced or topics like co-dependency, plans are for a seminar to be held several times a year.  At times, guest speakers will also be invited.

Speaking Engagements -It is possible that your women's group is in need of a speaker for an event.  Please do not hesitate to ask!

Announcement coming soon about a First Look class to be held this summer! Stay Tuned!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Never Miss a Good Chance

In my humble opinion, which is worth less than nothing, it is always wise to find out the facts prior to submitting opinions. That is, if your opinion is even necessary at all. 

Between politics, water-cooler conversations, and basic family drama, I think it is safe to say that no opinion, verbally or written, is safe.  Treading lightly is generally a good idea because there is always gonna be someone who does not share your particular viewpoint. In fact, I submit to you, that as many people are in a conversation, there will be no less than that many points of view.  Seriously, I have witnessed some of my "distant" relatives change their opinion 3-4 times in one conversation. That really ups the drama!

Sometimes, and I am pointing to myself as I write this, it is just better to minimize the sharing. Swapping stories and sharing soda are good times. An all-out argument over the color of a dress on the internet, well, not so much. I enjoy a good Dr. Phil smart-ism and this, one of my favorites, I offer up for just these types of situations:  Never miss a good chance to shut up!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Just. Be. You.

Far too often I am swayed by others on how I should see myself.  For some reason, Brain thinks it knows EVERYTHING others are thinking, seeing, feeling, and believing.  Then, it dictates to me and I believe every single word.

If you are like me, then you have a difficult time seeing when you are being impacted by others' opinions.  We do it so often that, sadly, it has become second nature to be untrue to the Real Gurl who lives inside.  Sometimes it seems we willingly take on this heavy cloak that is only filled with a desperation to be accepted.  I will admit, approval is my middle name and this happens to me far too often.  I, for one, am sick of it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Star Light, Star Bright

Star light, star bright
Wish I may, wish I might
Have the wish
I wish tonight.

Have you ever seen a shooting star?  I have often wanted to see one but I never expect to witness it.  Shooting stars seem very elusive.  I have often thought I had to be somewhere special to see one....somewhere like a high mountain or even, Alaska.

However, one night at the end of summer last year, I had a sighting.  It came, along with such a spiritual "feeling" that it was just for me, that it has become a treasured memory and I think about it often.

My shooting star looked much like this one.
It was on the evening of September 28, 2014 and I was outside on the deck with the dogs. I looked up at the sky and studied the stars for a while. I studied the twinkling specks, admiring the flickering of the stars against the dark, night sky.  I viewed the beauty with suspect eyes not wanting to be taken in by just a passing airplane. Doesn't it seem like the more you stare into the dark sky the more vivid the stars become?

Friday, May 29, 2015

Make It Count

Here comes the sun.
Follow your dream.  
Sing a song.
Ride a bike.
Play ball.
Stick your toes in the sand. 
Call a friend. 

Make your weekend count!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Not My Finest Hour

Yesterday at work was not my best moment.  Some of my co-workers witnessed my bad behavior and especially one, who was the brunt of it.

Maybe you have experienced this too?

It's like everything inside me is screaming "STOP" and I just stick my fingers in my ears and charge ahead, exactly like a bull in a china closet, wrecking everything in sight.  First, hurting someone that is attempting to help me and second, hurting those around who I hope will be my friends.  I am heartbroken that I did not handle myself better. Why do these things happen?  Why do I let the frustration win out over personal relationships?

Have you ever felt this way?
It was one of "those" days.
As I wept over the mess I had made, the following words of a song came to me.  Maybe you will like the words too.
Somehow I Know 
by Tim Sheppard

I failed You once again.
I promised that I wouldn’t Lord.
How can I be your friend,
When all I seem to do is hurt
 the ones I love the most?

I wake up in the night,
Trying to find the words 
to make the wrongs all into right.
How can I ask forgiveness?
Still somehow You let me know.
You’ll never let me go.

You love me.
You love me.

Somehow I know.
Somehow You care.
Somehow I know.
Somehow You’ll always be there.
Somehow I know.
Somehow You love me.

Wow, I just cannot understand it, but He loves us even when....despite everything....It is so hard to comprehend.  I make the same mistakes over and over and yet, God is always there, hearing my cries for forgiveness and making a way to be new again.            

There is a verse in the Bible that says "His mercies are new every morning."  Sometimes I wonder if He knew there would be me, Real Gurl, needing new mercies every hour!  Real Gurl:  Real and authentic, not fake and full of misspellings, failures, and messes.  Yep! I am a mess. 

I have apologized to those I know I hurt.  Several have already been very gracious to respond with kindness, loving, forgiving.....allowing me to begin again.  I am grateful.

I will try again, starting right now.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Every Day a Friday

Erma Bombeck is one of my favorite authors.  Sadly, she is no longer with us after a battle with cancer, but her books still linger in me.  She wrote, "If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?" and other such lovely, funny books about motherhood and it's craziness.  It was life before pantyhose and microwaves that defrost and she made it hilarious!

In one book, Erma wrote a story about being in church with her husband and three children.  Everyone wearing their starched best and displaying their best manners and showing the appropriate amount of reverence.  Then the baby on the third pew decides to look over her mother's shoulder and coo and laugh at the crowd behind her!  What a cutie! Of course, some of the parishioners looked dismayed.  Misbehavior!  In church!  Where God is!  

But Erma said something I will never forget.

She said, and I am free-wheeling with her words here:  

"Babies don't schedule happiness. They haven't learned yet that happiness must last a lifetime and therefore must be conserved."

You know you are feeling it....the anticipation of Friday. We save our best selves for Friday.  We feel chipper on Friday.  Friday gets special attention. We tend to be more jovial and friendly with others.  We aren't easily kerfuffled and we are more forgiving on this glorious day of the week.  In fact, there is a kind of heroic feel to Friday....like we can do anything and we are above the fray and we are free.

BONUS:  This particular weekend is not only Friday, but it is a three-day weekend and at my place of employment, it is also payday.  This is like the Trifecta of Perfect Fridays. Add blue jeans and BAM!

I was just wondering.....

How would it change life if you approached every single day like it was Friday?

It is worthy of introspection.  Why do we save our best attitudes, our forgiving spirits, our plans for fun, until that one day of the week?  Do we really have to make an appointment on our calendar for this, or can we live that way daily?  Happiness scheduled for June 2, 2016 from 4-5p.m.  It sounds silly but we all do it.  We constantly put off things and people that are important to us.  Like the story about the baby in church, we live as if we have a limited amount of happiness allotted to us.  Good news!  Happiness is unlimited!

It's just a thought but those other six days of the week have value too.  We don't have to wait.  And if we string enough of those days together, we just might make a life worth living!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Wanted: Gooey, Chewy Brownies

Quite often, too often, I go back.  I go back to the ground-zero moment in my life and I am grateful for the view.

That's one thing about time....it does bring perspective.  The saying goes that time heals but I don't believe that is true.  I think time gives us space to grow, learn, and come to understand the past better than when we are at the point of impact and emotionally charged.  That is what has happened for me.  The extreme pain of those moments have lessened and I can admire that I made it through.  It means a lot to me to be able to enumerate the valuable lessons and miracles that I have experienced.  I treasure how those experiences continue to help me live at peace with life.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Positive > Negative

Focus on Building the New

After a long visit with a friend I had not seen in a while, there was great cause for reflection this weekend.  My friend is really going through tough times and I don't envy the load she is carrying.  I can only be there when needed to let her speak her truth and try to infuse some sort of hope into the dire circumstances.

Whenever we are in a tough spot, most people have plans to change.  Most have a desire to live differently and can even envision what that would look like.  However, most people get stuck because they never start!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Wild Woman Rides Again

Peanuts demonstrate peaceful life.
Well....so much for my attempt at a peaceful life.  My response in the midst of rude, critical, argumentative people was less than stellar.  It only took a matter of days after posting the above Peanuts cartoon, when I was challenged to keep the peace.  I failed miserably. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Change is Living

Focus on Building the New

After a long visit with a friend I had not seen in a while, there was great cause for reflection this weekend.  My friend is really going through tough times and I don't envy the load she is carrying.  I can only be there when needed to let her speak her truth and try to infuse some sort of hope into the dire circumstances.

Whenever we are in a tough spot, most people have plans to change.  Most have a desire to live differently and can even envision what that would look like.  However, most people get stuck because they never start!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Real Gurl Life: Courage Required

In the past several weeks I have been caught in a deluge of soul-searching, questioning every aspect of my life and saying "why" a lot!  A recent weekend at the beach where the questioning all began has brought a new perspective.

At the beach, on a bench all alone, unhappy and sad, (two different things) and asking God what could I do different....what could I change.....when it became immediately clear.  The Voice said, "you've got to shake things up.  You have to do something you have never done before."

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What Do You See?

What do you see?
Life is all about perspective, or how we see things; our point of view from where we sit.

In the book, "To Kill A Mockingbird," the young girl Scout finds herself unwillingly standing on the front porch of the "scary and mysterious" neighbor named Boo Radley.  (His nickname Boo was for obvious reasons. The embellished legends of his nightly prowls around the neighborhood were longstanding and though untrue, continue to this day.)

Scout had just crashed into the porch as the wildly spinning tire she was curled up in went rolling out of control.  As she stands in this frightful spot and desperately tries to shake the dizziness away, she looks down her neighborhood street and sees her world in a different light....from Boo's perspective.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Cape Disappointment

Cape Disappointment

Road trips are my favorite....short or long, near or far.  It doesn't matter as long as I can roll the windows down and the wind can blow in my hair and "my" music is playing a song I can sing loud and long!  This makes me very happy.

This past weekend I headed out to Tacoma and ended up taking a detour.  Tacoma was forgotten when I saw a sign for Long Beach and I have always wanted to go.  So forget the map that was plotted on my iPhone Google maps.  Real Gurl was off and free-wheeling.

On my drive, I saw this sign for Cape Disappointment (above).  Some might think it wasn't a good omen for the day but I am sure glad I didn't turn around, because it wasn't too far from Cape Disappointment that better things came along.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Furnishing Your Rut

Since we have already established that perfection is The Great Myth, and I myself declare this to be true, then we may as well own up to the fact that we sometimes fall into a steady pattern of self-defeat.  It may be by choice, because of someone else's choices, or it just may be our own darn fault.  Whatever the case, there are times in life when we fall into a very sad routine that seems impossible.  It feels good for a while but then....

The good news is…..It’s okay.  Everyone does it.  Fall, baby, fall.  Let go.  Sink into the comfort of...what is it?  Despair?

The important part is….DON’T STAY THERE!  Don’t get comfortable.  Don’t decorate and get your favorite blanket and popcorn (and Lord knows what else) and a stack of romance movies like you are burrowing in for the winter.  This is a trap.  It FEELS so good and actually comforting for a while but eventually it is suffocating and dries out your spirit and crackles your bones.  I repeat with emphasis: DON’T STAY THERE!

Here are some helpful hints to dig your way out that I have put into use on more than a thousand occasions!

1.  Listen to your self-talk and be determined to speak more kindly to yourself. Be the CEO of your life and take charge of those thoughts that treat you like a whipping post. I am not lonely, I am lovely. Get it?

2.  Find a friend that, if they can’t help or provide the answers you seek, they will listen with their whole heart until you are through spilling the entire mess. The best ones will do so without condemnation or unnecessary commentary.  It usually requires someone that actually accepts you for you but sometimes a stranger even works.

3.  Pick an inspirational poem, song, saying, scripture….anything that makes you “feel” something and repeat it, read it, and even shout it to yourself when you feel the urge to just burrow back down and tune out the world

4.  Give to someone else.  Yes!  Go outside of your comfort zone and help others.  It does not matter how big or small. Just give.  This is the Super Secret to getting out of a rut.  It changes your perspective like sunshine after the rain.  

Fall into the occasional rut. Cozy up in the den of forgetfulness for a time.  But for heavens’ sake, don’t furnish it!


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Like You Have Amnesia

Many of you, like me, collect sayings, poems, prayers, and inspirations.  Of the hundreds in my collection, the one above is one of my absolute favorites and I wanted to share it today.

1.       We can all agree that life IS short.  It is flying by and there is no second act.

2.       So don’t hold back.  Give it ALL you got.  Take chances and try new things.

3.       Forgive like you have amnesia.  Simplified, forgive AND forget! Never to be remembered.

4.       Believe like a kid.  Wishing on a star, blowing a dandelion, double rainbows……BELIEVE with abandon.

5.       Love like crazy.  I mean, LIKE CRAZY!  Another favorite saying of mine…..Love Wins.  Every time.

6.       Be yourself.  100% authentic.  No carbon copies of someone else.  Genuinely you.

Run your race.  Just be you.  

Live, give, forgive, forget, believe, love and be.

“To be who you truly are you must forget who they told you to be.” -unknown