The Law of Attraction

Lately, I’ve noticed a swirling around me.  Clearly unalighned, the universe has put people and messages in my path reminding me of the unique intense power I possess in attracting what I want into my life.  And I’ve realized how completely out of alighnment I have been in my thinking vs. what I really want.  It all has reminded me of a little story.

Years ago when my children were much much younger, we arrived at the beach and they told me they wanted to collect shells.  We went to the waves and could not find a thing so we decided to take a little walk to the little lagoon – not a single shell to be found.  And then my middle child suggested we keep going and climb over the sea wall at the other end of the lagoon…to where we have never been.  And I thought to myself:

We have to climb over the wall, is that safe?  Will the girls get hurt climbing?
We have never walked that far.  Can they make it that far?
What if they get tired?  Thirsty?  Hungry?

Before I knew it the perfect middle child was well on her way climbing right over the wall. Perfect path? Safe?  Didn’t matter. She was determined.  My other two daughters and I quickly followed.  And as our toes touched the sand, and we looked to the water we saw…exactly what we were hoping for…more shells that we could have imagined.  And these were the big shells.  We could not have picked them up quick enough or carried them all.  There was an abundance of shells – those big ones – exactly what we had been looking for since we arrived at the beach.

We collected as many as we could carry (remembering we had to get over the wall and had a long trek back to our stuff). More just kept coming in with the surf.  We turned our coverups into shell carriers and brought our booty down the beach.  And just as we passed that lagoon  another mom with her kids was walking up the beach. They saw our shells and asked where we had found them all.

I was so excited to tell her that they are right on the other side of the wall.  I explained that all that they had to do was climb the rocks over.  Her response to me…

That is too dangerous.  We can do it.
They could get hurt or tired.
And she turned and walked back.

It was amazing to hear the exact same limiting beliefs come from her that I had in my own head before my daughter blazed ahead with unending belief that we would find the shells we were seeking.

Even with this profound story behind me (and btw, I did do this with $10,000 at one point, but I know you will think I am NUTSO if I tell you that one) – you would think I would have turned a point and just started living my life from the law of attraction. But the truth is, I have not always. I am grateful this series of events has brought me back, reminded me of this fabulous little story, and will propel my life not only back on track, but to the moon.

She let go….

I am not enough…I will not be succesfull…what if it all falls apart?  What if I can not keep it together…if it never sells…if they are not happy…if it all gets too expensive?  What if they leave…what if others indefinitely stay?  Not enough time…too many ideas…where to find balance.  What if they really never come back…how will I deal with that pain…of not being enough.  A vicious cycle of fears and what ifs….

And then one day I just let it go.  I stood up from the sofa and knew it was time to step into my power as a mom, a partner,  a business owner…a woman, heck and as a person.  I had just heard a “She Let Go” poem read by Petra Kolber at a conference.  It was a good one for sure, but I knew mine had to be a bit more personalized.

Here is my “She Let Go…”

  • There was no post or tweet
  • No texting a friend before or once it was done
  • No french martini in hand to toast the departure
  • Without the validation of an academic degree or new url
  • No picture taken to record the moment
  • No journaling done
  • Life coach was not present or consulted
  • There was no podium…or microphone…applause…or handout
  • No advice given and no wise counsel
  • No  overanalysis of studies on the subject
  • Without caring what others thought
  • Didn’t read a book or a blog
  • No plan..or calendar…or google alert to remind me
  • There was no struggle…

I stood up from that couch in charge of my world….and let go of the anxiety and fear…the struggle and the past.  Those who had exited I did not need…I let go of my need for perfection and fear of the mistakes  – of wanting more – of not being enough – of “when” it might all come together.

The beautiful and wonderous circus that is my life was finally accepted

We could mark the moment as when:

She let go of being anyone’s anything
and became her own everything

She started to live in the now – build for the future.  No longer wonder but to create.  She even committed in her own special way to start adulting all areas that needed adulting – no matter how much she hated that.

This happened after a rollercoaster of a week – and a bigger rollercoaster of a weekend….and a morning – and a minute.  They each were filled with great disappointment and incredible highs.  She saw disappointment in someone’s eyes about her actions and realized it had nothing to do with her – this was her life to live…to share with those who cherished and fed her soul – as unusual and spectacular as it might be.  To the right person she would be enough…and most imporantly to herself she was more than she could handle.

The IP of Your Business

Should I get a trademark…or a copyright…or a patent?

If you have asked yourself that question recently then it is probably time to sit with an attorney who specializes in intellectual property. Today I had the good fortune of sitting with Catherine Cavella of IP Works located in Doylestown, PA.  Catherine is an Intellectual Property attorney who helps business owners protect their logos, ideas, color schemes, website layouts and trade secrets.

You see, I have established and continue to build a business which helps small business owners position on Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.  As Your Social Media Expert my work sends clients to the first page of Google search,  has their office phones ringing off the hook, and causes them to hire more staff to handle a boom in business.

My business is scalable and I have lots of ideas in the hopper…with that growth comes many questions and concerns regarding protecting my look, my logos,  message, and processes I use to achieve success for my clients.  What can I trademark and how do I protect what I build is all very important.

As part of my push to turn my passions into a profit, I have learned that it is always wise to sit with experts when you have questions.  From accounting and paying estimated quarterly income taxes  to incorporating your busines without piercing the corporate veil, paying for consultations is always a good idea.

So now onto the presonal note – we all have those huge moments in our professional lives – your first large speaking gig or that moment when biz coach lets you buy him breakfast because you have met a specific goal (not a joke, that actually happened).  And I can add my meeting today with Catherine to that list. As a seasoned professional who herself is a small business owner (and has seen the inner workings of many small businesses) she told me I really do have something substantial to build and that I have a growth mindset.  I was honored to hear that from someone so successful.

As I go through these next stages of growth I am glad Catherine will be on my team reminding me of imporant legal tasks that need to be handled.

 

Mom Management

I just dropped my youngest off at a birthday party…on the other side of town…and we had to pick-up gifts on the way.  She had forgotten to pick-up gifts the night before (when she was out with her sister and my credit card) so that was annoying.  But ya know what?  For a 13 year old who is still learning the ways of the world she handled the entire situation beautifully.   As we talked about how well she did, we decided she has mastered Mom management.

Sure the party was on the other side of town, before my workday ended, we had no gifts and had to make an extra stop.  How did she avoid a lecture and some mom crazy?  Read on:

  1. Know thy schedule and make sure it is on my calendar.  She did this weeks ago when the invitation arrived.
  2. Provide a pleasant reminder at the beginning of the day.
  3. Give me a pleasant 5 minute warning and ask if there is anything you can do to help.  For me this includes finding my car keys.
  4. Be pleasant when we are on our way.  Ask me how my day was and more importantly tell me about yours.
  5. If you need something (like a gift) ask “is it ok if we leave early to pick-up…?”  Best if you can make your sister do it the night before – oh, you forgot, “mom, sorry I forgot to get it while I was out.”
  6. If you leave gifts to the last minute, you should have a plan to conveniently pick them up.  My daughter thought this out and got her friends gift cards to Starbucks at Acme.  Practical, easy, and very very useful.  She asked if we could pick up three total since she had two other parties to attend and we should pick them all up at once.

Brilliant!   After all, the Mom in our house is running a business, preparing a household to move, and helped you earn your spot on the JV cheer team at your new school.  I am juggling quite a lot and am not a big fan of being treated like a taxi service. My daughter realizes her attending these parties is not a right and I have no responsibility to drive her.

My children are very well aware my responsibilities to them only include food, shelter and clothes.  They know that extras are my gift to them.   Sure, I provide far more than the basics but they best be appreciative, help out around the house, and manage me when they need to.

Cell Phone Bill of Rights

Over the last two years our cell phone plan data component has, from time to time, been an issue of great concern.  By great concern, I mean my children have chewed through record breaking amounts of data in short amounts of time causing overage charges.  So the great concern is for my wallet.

This first hit my radar screen when I was getting a daily overage charge for an extra gig of data – cost me $10 per day after the first 1/2 of every month.  I would wake up and there would be a text message from AT&T that they had loaded another gig onto my plan.  Trips to the store, calls to customer service…lots of research – and I could not figure out the problem.   Then I learned my older daughter was playing Pandora radio on her phone every single night.  Since we had horrible internet service (thank you Comcast) our wifi would often turn off and she was running music all night off of our data plan.  So I was paying for her to listen to music while she was asleep.  I hit the roof.

Since that time I have started discussing costs to run a household with my children.  They understand mortgages, insurance, and how much food costs.  I also told them it is their responsibility to help me save money.  If the cell phone bill is out of control and I am concerned use your brain and think about it.  We have had the “I am responsible for providing you with food, clothing and educational support until you are 18, anything else is a luxury.”

Now, when there is a problem, and I they are approaching their data limit, I simply turn off their data access. I have an app on my phone where I can view usage and shut off at will.   Call Dyfus?  Alert the media?  No, I am the parent, I own the cell phone and pay the bill.

So I thought it was time for me to put some rules and regulations down for other parents to use when setting limits for their children.

  1. When it comes to your cell phone, you have no rights.
  2. If you have any problems with this document, please feel free to get your own cell phone plan and a job to pay the bill (including the overage charges you incur when you run out of data.)
  3. When I refer to “your phone” please do not take this to mean it is actually your phone.  It is my phone.
  4. When I refer to “our data plan” please do not take this to mean it is actually your data plan.  It is my data plan.
  5. We have a 10 G of data and 5 phones.  Everyone gets to use about 2 G.
  6. If you start to approach your 2 G limit your data plan will be turned off for the remainder of the month.
  7. If you start using an exorbitant amount of data, I will not launch an investigation digging through our online account information.  I will not go to the store and complain.  I will just turn off your data.
  8. If you believe there is something wrong with your phone then you are welcome to try to fix it yourself.  I am sure there is a Youtube video on it.
  9. You spend a majority of your time at home and school.  In both places you should be connected to wifi.
  10. You are not allowed to have your cell phone in your room…ever.

Mean right?  Not to me – this list is all about parenting.  In today’s world parents want to be friends with their kids, I want to raise responsible children.  I want my kids to have what they need, a few fun extras in life, lots of fun, but really the ability to get out there and grab the brass ring on the carousel for themselves.

See you in the Cayman Islands…

So that was short lived….I recently posted about the thrill of making my first quarterly income tax payment.  And now I just made my second (due June 15th).  Honestly, this time around it was once again a thrill…but reality crashed a bit harder and the fun was very short lived.  While it is awesome to be building a business that is already turning a profit, it quickly hit me I do not like paying taxes on it.

Welcome to the party sister.

Over the years I have always heard jokes about how to hide money – Swiss bank accounts – closets in the Caymen Island (remember The Firm?).  So, during April, I set my sights on finding legal ways to stash cash.  TG and I marched around getting advice from financial advisers, an accountant, tax accountant, and a large financial institution.   Our goal is to find someone who resonates with us, we understand, appreciates where we are in our own financial relationship and my growing business.  It isn’t easy, especially since we, both as individuals and a couple, need a whole lot of explaining.

Anyone who works with us also has to have ALL the answers and know every nook and cranny of any financial vehicle we may read about on the web.  We like to know all options, analyze all angles, and we do not like making mistakes.  Hence the research and the meetings.

Here are a few realizations:

  1. You have to pay taxes.  At first I was under the grand delusion that I could sock away up to $50k (ish)  per year into a SEP or Individual 401k regardless of how much money I was making.  That sum would then significantly reduce my tax exposure.  But this leads to point #2:
  2. You have to pay yourself a reasonable wage.  You can only stash 20% of your income up to $50k (ish).  So, if you are making $100,000 you can only save about $20k per year.  Not chump change, but significantly less than what I originally thought.
  3. To be clearer, you can not sock all your money into a retirement account.  If you have limited living expenses (and live well below your means – imagine that), you might have extra money sitting around.  You can not just put it into a retirement account and then not pay taxes.
  4. Why… and this brings us full circle…because you have to pay some tax.  A point that sucks and keeps smacking me in the face.
  5. And then on a recent Google searching expedition, I found another article stating I could sock away 20% + and additional $17k.  Back to the experts I go I guess.

All of this is…well, very exciting.  To be at a stage in my business where I am able to think about saving a bit and to have a partner who wants to sit next to me and hold my hand as I figure it out is all very exciting.

If you are sitting in my shoes and want to know what to do with your own money, I highly recommend starting to read and then start talking to experts…many of them.  You will want to have a very clear picture of your financials right now and your projected tax exposure for this year.  As they say, any small business owner needs to know their numbers inside and out.

Oh, and yes, as a joke during one of the meetings I did ask about the Cayman’s, after all in the movie The Firm it didn’t look all that difficult to stash money in a closet in a condo.  Given the birth of the internet it has become a bit more difficult…turns out they can track you a little better.  And honestly, that would make me a bit nervous and all.

 

Fuel, Lens, Anchor

This is a post that belongs in all categories of this blog and my life.  I recently had the honor and good fortune of working with Sue Guiher  of Thrive for Success.   In just one hour she helped me make sense of some very confusing parts of my life.  Before I knew I didn’t quite understand them and tried to reach clarity in other ways.  Sometimes you have to wait for the solution to appear, and for me it did with Sue.  Ok Jen, let’s get to what happened.

Continue reading Fuel, Lens, Anchor

The Independent Chick Let’s Go…

It was my first trip from TG’s home down to Philly…I was going in to start renting office space in the city.  The plan was simple – he was going to drop me at the train station right near his office and pick me up from at the station on his way home.  Simply and easy, just like our relationship.

We arrived at the train station and I was ready to be dropped off.  I was puzzled as he started looking for  a parking spot…and then even more so when he parked…I moved to completely baffled as he walked me up to the platform.  He checked the schedule, confirmed my plan.  He asked the only other person on the platform if the time was correct since the train was late.  I was at the point where I was a bit horrified that he didn’t trust me to figure this out on my own.  My inner Gloria Steinham roared…

I AM AN INDEPENDENT SELF SUFFICIENT WOMAN !!!

HOW DARE HE !!!!

What is this freakin’ non-sense that I can not be trusted to read a train schedule?  For the love of all things holy I have navigated my way into NYC from all different directions…I could certainly handle Philly.

But I have learned…and yes it took 45 years…that when the inside voice is roaring because I am offended in some way, to take pause…and to keep my freakin’ mouth shut.  Do not be insulted…something else might be at play.  I gently asked him why he was staying…and he replied “I want to see you off and make sure you are ok.”  And then I realized, this was love.  He was showing me off on my trip…being a gentleman…making sure it was all in order.  He wasn’t just going to leave me there on the platform. By the end of his explanation I was convinced that he was going to try to ask for the conductor’s credentials to ensure he was qualified  (or her…oh Vicki I know, it could be a her).

Sure, I like my car door opened, a jacket when I am cold (even when you reminded me to bring mine). It is awesome when my bags are carried for me, my chair pulled out when I stand up at the table and when you stand up as well. And I guess on this, my maiden voyage from the sticks to Philly, I was given the royal treatment, which, as I am coming to learn is his standard treatment – and does shock me often.

No guy in the history of my existence ever attempted this. I was always just dropped off at the train station…no questions asked.  “See ya later!”  “Can you catch a cab home?”  “Would you mind if I dropped you off early,” or “you will have to wait once your train comes in before I can come get you.”  In fact I have found myself in cabs and trains (after flying no less) when others sat at home.

Never was I walked to the platform.  Now in their defense as the independent roots run deep in me, maybe the others were fearful of questioning my plan or showing any signs of me having to be taken care of.  But TG is different, he knows I can handle this myself…but what happened was all about him taking care of me in the most gentlemanly of ways.  He doesn’t care if I get insulted, in fact, if I get insulted he gets insulted that I won’t let him take care of me.  As you can imagine, we are quite a pair.

Don’t get me wrong…I am not a primadonna who is put on a pedestal in this relationship…THANK GOODNESS.  In fact,  with TJ I have to have crap together…pull my weight (and weeds), chip in, contribute, stand next to him in the world as a partner.  Life will not be “done for me,” and it is a requirement that I have my adult things in order.  In fact, adulting is one thing I am expected to do on a regular basis.

But then there are those times when he steps in, as the man in the relationship…to take care of me in some way…with advice, a gentle suggestion, or…just to ensure I am ok.  I will certainly be on the look out for my ego or staunch independence getting in the way of this going forward.  It is as caring as it is romantic and just the way I want to be treated in our relationship.

Oh, and just as luck would have it I was lucky beyond words TG walked me to the platform.  As it turned out, I also needed $20 since out in the sticks they do not have ticket machines at each station.  Ahhhh…city mouse…falls in love with a good ‘ol country boy…and her whole world changes…for the better.

The Mastermind is even Stepping

Lots of amazing change and upheaval in my life during these last few months…a child making decisionsMastermind about college, clients walking into my business, my man and I deciding it was time to create our own Brady Bunch…I am moving.

One constant during this time has been the unending support of a rather eclectic group of women.  A mastermind group I was honored to be invited into….a holistic therapist, a published author, and a virtual assistant…oh, and me. When I first was approached with membership I thought to myself “why would they want me?”  The Virtual assistant was off and running with her business, and the published author was just that – with radio, speaking, and books.  I invited the therapist because she was just starting to build her practice and I love spending time with her.

For months now we have been meeting virtually via Google Hangouts.  We started as a group of women who wanted a bit of support each week as we each built our businesses. We ranged from “new to off the ground” to “not sure what I am doing,” and each have now realized significant success before we even hit our one year anniversary.  In our group space and private interactions each of these women have been my professional and personal sounding board.  They have taken on the role of mentor, friend, client, and sister.  At various times I have called upon each to solve a problem, recommend a service…and even just listen.

And now, I am thrilled to say, we have each outgrown our weekly meeting.  With crazy work schedules, clients, and life events we no longer need (or have time for) the weekly hourly session.  And we no longer have those “what do I do with this” type of questions.  We each now are faced with building the next step of our respective businesses…hiring staff…publishing the next book…managing tax exposure…

 

So, it appears that as I take my next big steps, my mastermind will step as well…to a monthly meeting, quarterly meeting…we will have to find a way to get together and support one another, talk about new issues and opportunities facing our business endeavors, and of course…being the personal support systems we have become.

If you are a small business owner just starting out, I highly recommend finding a supportive group of people to check in with on a regular basis.  And then, as you get bigger, know the group will change.  Be ready for it…it is all very exciting.

 

Moving in…step by step

So I’ve started moving a few things into TG’s home.  I’m not overwhelmed by the prospect of moving…what?  You would be?  How hard can it be to clear out a home you have owned for 15 years, sell all the furniture and treasures, pack up yourself and 3 teenage daughters while sending one to college, all while continuing to build your business and sell your home?  Let’s not forget three kids starting three different schools, in three different towns in two different states.  Add to this blending families…and did I mention selling my house?

Actually, that is not overwhelming at all…what has taken my breath away, every few hours today, is that I have moved my desk into his home (our home?) and now sit in the office I will occupy for quite some time.  I look around my new office space and wonder (while hoping to orchestrate most of it) what these next few months will actually look like for me.

Last week when I was here I moved some things into his closet – ski paraphernalia and some winter sweaters.  I thought it was safe – I no longer need them, and then next time I do…well I will be living here.  I wanted to take a small step, see what a bit of my ‘stuff’ looked like in his space…our space.  Next to move in was my desk because the patio table I had been working on had to go outside for the season.

Over these last few months there have been times when I have sat for a moment (because honestly I only have a moment) and wonder, how did this even happen?   How did I get this lucky…to have found him?  To be at the point where file0001207444674we are now blending families and lives?  At a time when we were both playing the “in 5 years we will make a serious move in the relationship” someone one conversation became the catalyst for planets aligning in a different way altogether.

I know quite well how it happened actually.  I put myself so out there as I attempted to grab the ring on the carousel. I was not settling this time around and went after a relationship of my dreams.  And while I went around a few times and grasped a bunch, the ring was finally mine – with his steel center core of integrity, parenting style that matched mine, and crazy zest for life.

So here I sit, my new desk in place – right now living on a  bridge between my old life and new as I start to set-up shop on this side of the river.   Still more “stuff” on my side.  I also wonder when seesaw will tip..when will more of my treasures be here than over there?

True to our nature the move will happen slowly, in small steps.  But as my power animal is the turtle that speed has done right by us in this relationship…slow…as we slowly allowed our hearts to open…dip in toe, send out troops…test waters…get comfortable.  No grand swooping, not to quickly…very cautious – and perfectly us.

Hold tight to me my dear…this is going to be a wild ride for sure.

When You Should Be Switzerland

Switzerland, a neutral country and by all means, everyone’s friends.  No, we can no longer hide our money in their bank accounts to avoid taxes, but from what I hear a nice place to visit and they do make some awesome chocolate. Now, let’s cut to the chaseUntitled design (12) here – when two family members are having a bit of a tiff, stay the heck out of it – be Switzerland.

Staying neutral is quite easy:

  1. Not my circus, not my monkeys.  Do not involve yourself in the drama of others.  If you have nothing to do with the dispute, then stay the heck out of the way.  Provide support to both sides by listening but make it clear you are not taking a position.
  2. If one of the family members attempts to suck you in or asks you to get involved just tell them you  are not comfortable and will not take sides – or lie and say you are washing your hair.
  3. Do not try to mediate unless you are an actual mediator.  Unless you are professionally trained, you do not have the skill set to deal with crazy people.  And when family members argue they are probably out of their minds.
  4. You do not have the time to get involved – you have your own life (you do have your own life don’t you?)  If you do not have a life then put some effort into getting one!  Take a photography class, rescue a pet, start dating, save whales – whatever, just stay out of the disagreement.
  5. If you get involved and it all turns ugly, the disagreement may now be a three way with you as the third party.

One thing you do have the right to do is to get involved when there are gatherings where the tension is obvious or the individuals are nasty.  For instance, if one family member is making back handed comments then that person has to be called on their bs.  If the arguing parties bring their feud to the Christmas dinner table then it needs to be silenced immediately.

A family can be ripped apart when members argue and others jump in and take sides.  That is why I recommend staying the heck out of it and remain Switzerland.  Be the voice of reason in telling the feuding members that they are each being crazy by allowing the argument to fester and if an agreement can not be reached then they just have to get over it…then give everyone chocolate – that always seems to help.

When a Bathroom isn’t Just a Bathroom

Potty
There are some guys who whisper “I love you” in your ear, look longingly into your eyes and tell you how beautiful you are, and plan romantic get-a-ways where you dress in your Sunday finest and violins serenade you at dinner.

Others spend untold amounts of money putting a new bathroom in their home to accommodate your children since Operation Brady Bunch will be commencing in t-minus 3 months and counting.

In my guy, I’ve got, and love, the latter.  He isn’t the mushy type, and expects I have realized by now, that simply bringing me so closely into the lives of his children should be more than enough to hang my heart on.  The bathroom is a great show of love from him.  According to his friends he does not crack open his wallet often – and that is all I will say about that.

Part of your responsibility in your relationship is to appreciate how your partner shows love and wants love and see if that is in alignment with how you want to be loved and can show love.  Let’s unpack a bit.

How he shows love is tricky because as a woman you will probably want grand displays of affection.  For instance, we do not do fancy dinners, in fact we split meals at restaurants.  My guy thinks they are a waste of money – I am not a foodie (now, I am a French Martini type of girl).  So this is fine with me.  For my birthday I’m thrilled if the 7 of us go Kayaking and then have pizza.  I get a new bathroom for my children and my hand held as we sit with financial planners and accountants planning our future and determining if I should open an individual 401k or a SEP for my business.  He spends time during his week off relandscaping my backyard getting it ready for sale (oh, and with one of his best friends who was here visiting).  My car is often detailed as I get ready to attend a networking event.

To many women this is all nice but they still want the violins.  And that is fine…but your guy better be able to bring the violins.  My guy has no interest in bringing the violins…if I wanted them he would pull up a video on YouTube and play it as we eat his amazing blueberry pancakes.

If you want to wake up every morning to an “I love you text” and flowers every Friday when he walks in the door – then my guy is not for you.  If you want someone to drive to your home at 7am on Valentines Day to make breakfast for you and your girls (before he coaches two soccer games AND plays a tennis match) well, then you might do well with my man (ok, well you can’t have mine, but we can find you your person for sure).

And how he needs love should fit with how you show love.  My guy wants help around the house and in the building of a life.  He wants me to be an active participant in planning our financial future and the bathroom sinks cleaned.  He wants to know he can count on me to run a kid to a carpool so he can go play tennis.  He wants to be respected for his service, his integrity, and his crazy (and with that last part there is a bunch of crazy to love – a bunch).  He likes the notes I leave him…and the text I send to him every morning when we are not together…and when I call the pro shop at the golf course and pay his greens fees before he plays 18 with his buddies.

But don’t worry, he does realize that while I don’t need mushy he needs to inch in a bit.  When he starts to talk about how great the financial arrangement is of us creating the Brady Bunch I remind him that it is first based on his undying love for me.  He rolls his eyes, and squeezes my hand a little harder and replies “oh yeah, that too.” And I have mentioned to him that the bathroom will not fit on my finger – it isn’t an “engagement bathroom.”  I can joke all I want because he knows I don’t want a ring…when we are ready to take that next step it will not be about the pomp and circumstance of him hating Steven Singer.  We aren’t about that.

Lost Without My Father

images (5)Getting divorced…picking-up a golf club again at 40…selling my home…investing…building my business…making my first estimated quarterly tax payment..he has not been by my side for any of it, and at times I have felt completely alone.  Truth be told I can handle it, I do my research, seek wise counsel, figure out the best move, and then move forward.   And I am lucky beyond words to have TG by my side holding my hand and helping me at each step.  And I have my buddy Marcus who does an awesome job and steps into the role when I am searching (prenup…SEP?).

In many ways, I was raised to be his buddy.  He showed me how to swing a tennis racket, a golf club, and rack em’ in pool.  He instilled in me a great love of music…especially the old stuff…like Mr. Bojangles and Super Skiier….Jim Croce…Chapin.

But then he was gone, almost in a flash, and not around to see my children grow, me finally found peace, happiness and an amazing partner…watch me build a business and have it take-off.

And I have built a life without his help, and an amazing life at that.  But through some very big decisions and piles of research I have wondered…and dreamed a little bit about what it would be like to have his wise counsel.  Or not even have his counsel but just his sarcastic awesome irreverent respect for authority to get me through.

When you have a family argument, there are always two sides to every story.  In fact, both sides may feel as if they have every reason to be hurt.  Usually, both sides need to forgive and both apologize.  When battles rage on for quite some time there are wounds which take time to heal and scars form that will never disappear.  I get it.  But at some point the anger and pain you feel is not even from what originally transpired.  It sort of takes on a life of its own and creates more drama that does not really exist.  And by gosh…if one party apologizes and wants back in, just give them a hug, open your door, and shut up and play nice on holidays.

It isn’t all that hard people.

Ya know, I’m a pretty tough chick.  I have weathered some storms and certainly some darkness.  I have actually gotten lost, but have found my way.  It is my unwavering belief in myself that has always kept me going.  We all go through tough times, lean on friends and family, and I have been grateful when someone steps in with a loving hand to take a bit of pressure off my back.  And from my perspective, at any age and level of success a girl just needs dad’s hand to hold at times, especially when she is out there on her own…as she hires a contractor, invests for her future, takes on a new client, or sits with an accountant.  Or lets say she starts to plan her future with a new special someone who seems a bit too good to be true.  Sure, she can do it all alone, but it sure would be nice to talk to dad.

I have many wishes and dreams in my life and often share them with the universe so we can start to manifest.  Near the top of my list is to find peace with all of this.  I try to remind myself that I don’t need him in my life…

I only wish my words
could just convince myself,
That it just wasn’t real,
but that’s not the way it feels

Who is Top Gun Anyway?

Top GunI’ve never referred to him by name, and now, as I transition to this blog, you will only see him referred to as TG.  When I was in the world of online dating I nick-named all my dates – backpack man, the playa…and then I found him.  His profile pic was in his US Navy uniform…he told me he was a Navy pilot…and so I appropriately named him Top Gun.

Our relationship is private, only a picture or two on Facebook every now and again.  I don’t want him Google’d (you can’t find him anyway). This is not about “look who I am dating!”   What we have is pretty quiet (even though we are both very loud), not flashy, and overall…well, pretty awesome.  In many ways our relationship is the purpose for moving my blog.   Funny how a guy who doesn’t have Facebook, doesn’t understand Twitter, and hates texting is the reason why my blog is moving.  But, in just a few short months NJ Divorce Mom really will not fit me anymore.  Not saying much more than that…you can read between the lines.

So who is this man dressed in Navy blues who has crept into all corners of my heart?  Over the last (almost) two years he has exceeded my core list of expectations – steel center core of integrity, amazing father, knows where the gym is, has boundless energy, and wants to build an amazing life…with me.  He is as responsible with all aspects as life as he is insane when driving anything with a motor.  When in his passenger’s seat of a golf cart or his sexy two tone mini vane, I sit white knuckled.  For as crazy as he is I trust him with my life.

I went looking for a guy who would sit next to me in the world with a love of mutual support.  My dream was to create a life much like the ecological systems of Bronfenbrenner’s rings.  Our relationship sits in the middle of the system and we would hold tight to each other as our children swirl  (swarm, scream, cling, hug, run) in the first ring around us.  Our families and close friends swirl in the second, with community, work, and a macrosystem in the outer.  I have found a man who not only can be that person sitting next to me, wants to be the person sitting next to me, is worthy of the seat, and willing to work at it.

The TG is quite fitting for him given his previous life, and since I many reference him from time to time here, I feel more comfortable than using his name.  You will learn a bit about him..and the STEPS we are taking together.  Get it???

My life has undergone a large transformation in these last few years…it is all fabulous…and just getting better and better.

Oh, and between you and me, well…he’s much more of a Goose (just don’t tell him that).

 

 

Talk to Me Goose

I have this horrible little habit in relationships.  When I get mad, I go stone cold silent.  It isntopgun‘t that I don’t want to talk it out and move on.  I do, I really do…but the problem is that in some bigger relationships in my life, the talking part has never gone particularly well.  Either the talking lead to screaming or the talking got us nowhere.  I abhor being screamed at and I really hate wasting time.

So, it is much easier for me to shut my mouth and be completely quiet.  Also silence is so much better than saying something that you will misinterpret through your anger and then you really start screaming.

But sitting in silence can sometimes be destructive, at least to the other person involved.  How you act when having a disagreement can be problematic if your partner is interpreting your actions in a way other than you intend.

For instance,  when upset, I like to think…(well, really overthink) ….the situation.  I look at the angles, and try to stand in the other person’s shoes.  I sit and wonder about ways to respond, what I want the outcome to be, and wonder how we can get back on track.  My silence is a period of contemplation in hopes of finding the words to move us forward.  And, truth be told,I have an uncanny knack of calling people on their bullshit with such venom that most of the time it is just better if I am quiet.

But to another person, that silence can actually be interpreted as fury and an unwillingness to move forward.

And, there is that fear, that you will start screaming just loud enough to shut me down and then you get your way (you win) simply because I admit defeat just to stop the noise.  If you are going to start screaming at me, I will not hear a single word you say.  I will be silently counting to 1 billion in my head, or thinking about my to-do-list for work.  “Where did I put my favorite pen?”  “What should I blog about next?”  Both of these questions may also be running through my mind.  And from you, all I really hear is the voice of the parents on Peanuts.

But this really isn’t healthy since I appear to be sitting all pissy.  Trust me, I’m not waiting for you to make the first move and start the conversation.  I’m not waiting for an apology or for you to try to get me out of my funk.  I can do all that on my own very quickly.

I think what I sit there waiting for is the rational side of you to meet mine.  And I need reassurance that you are not going to scream at me just to get your way.  That pattern, which I have witnessed from parents to partners, shuts me down quicker than you can buzz the tower.

So maybe, the next time you have a spat, we take a few minutes of silence to collect our composure and then one of us can simply say “Talk to me Goose.”

 

A Better Fit

Ya know that feeling when something just no longer feels right.  While it has been a part of you for quite some time, suddenly, it no longer seems appropriate?  Me too.  I just ditched my blog NJ Divorce Mom.

Now, if you are in the biz of blogging and know my writing, well you probably think I am absolutely nuts. That blog had some moxy too it after a nice long three year run with nothing but authentic writing about my crazy life. It had over 30,000 page views, ranked on the first page of Google for my top keywords.

For a few months now the title no longer felt right.  Sure, I technically am a divorced mom living in NJ.  It didn’t hit me all at once, but started as a thought “do I really want to be associated with that title?”  When something doesn’t feel right in your life, you may ignore the signs hoping to stay connected to this thing you know, that feels safe, which is common and standard in your life.  I did.  But then I started to really question and used the following to get through it…

  1. Acknowledge it no longer feels right.  And it really has not for quite some time.  The blog was created for a former employer who needed a companion property to link back and forth with to attract the Google spiders.  He was a divorce attorney, I was a divorce mom – the blog was a natural fit.   But in just a few short months I won’t be NJ Divorce Mom anymore (read between the lines as you will on that one – I’m not saying anything right now), and so it was time to start writing in a different space.
  2. Trust your gut.  For quite some time my gut has been telling me to make a change.  Articles have popped up about getting away from the platform the blog sits on, and my gut told me to change.  So I did.
  3. Know that if you follow the path, greater things will happen.  Once I realized I no longer wanted that space, ideas started flowing for something else I could develop.  And here I sit writing on my new blog, My Steps in Time.  The title is a perfect fit for where I am now and the title versatile enough with many meanings.
  4. Release the attachment to the thing:  As it turns out, I’m not NJ Divorce Mom, I’m just Jen (Dr. Jen to some).  And to label me with the term divorce, well, it just wasn’t the right fit.
  5. Come up with something better.  If you are meant to develop something else, it will come to you…you will find an even better it.
  6. Part with peace and acknowledge the good ride you had.  I am forever grateful to NJ Divorce Mom.  It was a place for me to hone my craft of writing, was acknowledged

Onward…

This Gemini in a Relationship

Samantha Lang in Women, April 8, 2015

I have heard I am intimidating 1000 times.

But ya know what?  Underneath the intimidating exterior is a vulnerability only a few chosen are allowed to see.

I want to be pushed an challenged, called on my shit.  Those closest believe this and also know how to do it without squashing my ego.  I want to be challenged and pushed.

I don’t need anyone.  I want others in my life.  I am building an empire,

Chivalry is not dead.  BUT, I do not need you to act that way.  You should want to.  You should know wh

I have friends, hobbies, passions, dreams.  You are not my babysitter and do not need to act like Julie the cruise director.

You are not my babysitter.  You are my partner in crime.

Clyde didn’t have to drag Bonnie around – she showed up and drove every now and again.

Since I do not “need” you you may think I do not want you…nothing could be farther from the truth.  As my dear sister says, you are my “person” and that fact should speak volumes.  I want to be with you, I do not need to be and I’m certainly not sticking around until the next person comes along.

You just know when you have to step back and step in.  Unfortunately, if you step the wrong way I will step on your toes – I’m not saying this is a delicate dance – it is not easy.

successful, charasmatic, articulate, cultured, hilarious, athletic, compassionate, independent.  Empire builder by day – and at night I just want to rest in your arms and feel protected from it all.

Intelligent – Ok, so I’ve got that…but not really. You hear PhD and usually hibernate in your own crap because you didn’t go to college or feel inferior to my intelligence.  Truth be told, I am pretty smart, but any academic achievements that hang on my wall have been earned with blood, sweat, and an abundance of tears.  I’m dyslexic to the point of distraction and embarrassment.

Be confident enough to open my car door, because, while you are aware I can do it myself, you know I want it done for me.

While Ms. Independent is my outward appearance, I still have feelings and fairy tale dreams.

 

I grab life by the horns…the brass ring on the carousel.  And I turn around and ask you “why don’t you?”

I crave silence and downtime…alone…in my cave.  Usually with my computer which I know you do not understand.