Category Archives: Getting to Me

I Love Change

On and off for the last few years I have read the book Daily Motivation by Nido R. Qudein.  I picked it up this morning for the first time in quite some time and todays inspiration centers on the concept of change.

Now, I have always LOVED change.  Growing up I would rearrange my room every now and again – I love changing up schedules, taking classes, learning new things  – heck I even like walking the dog in different directions.  Change to me isn’t scary – it keeps my brain moving.  As my dear friend Marcus says “Your standards are too high and you get bored easily.”  Yes…and yes.

For August 27th Nido talks about the necessity for change and details the following:

C – Creativity
H – Healthy Habits
A – Accomodation
N – Nose for News
G – Good-bye to the past
E – Eagerness to Succeed

That really made me thing.  I exude these actions and qualities in just about everything that I do.  In my business, life, and even introspection.  When you look at change in this way who wouldn’t want to change things up?

Clearly sometimes change can also be for the benefit your system or other people – accomodation is key.  It makes people feel important and that they matter.  It makes people know you care enough to change to help them out.

I think we all need to have a relationship with change.  And just like money, love, technology – you need to see what you stronly react to and then move to flip it.  If you say I hate change, then look at what about change sets you off and move to see a more positive side.

Honestly, I can go through each part of change that Nido highlights above and write many blog posts about each one.  They can help you through anything that is changing in your life and help you see the positive side.

Well, as a mom who just dropped off her middle daughter for freshman year of college, I’m still struggling to uncover how that change fits in – maybe Goodbye to the past and hello future?  That is going to take me some time to adjust to.

Committing to Me

There are times in your life when you finally “wake-up” from a fog you didn’t see or would not acknowledge.  You might find yourself having an ah-ha moment that is going to propel you forward….you may also wake-up and realize you are in a place you aren’t too happy about (emotionally or physically).  Earlier this week, I sat in the latter.  I realized, that despite:

  • Three amazing daughters
  • A fabulous husband
  • A business
  • Friends

I barely had a life.  That’s right – while others would peer inside and say “oh isn’t she lucky,” honestly, there isn’t all that much there.  Let me take a moment and say that I am not lucky, I crawled through hell to build what I have – but I digress.

I have been intently concentrating on making other people happy that I forgot to get a life for myself…crazy.  I run around doing everything for everyone else, I think so they will like me.  In the process I’ve seen to make everyone miserable.  That’s right…my husband goes off to tennis I make sure I fill his water bottle, my daughter wants to take a road trip to see a college for the second time and I jump for her schedule, my step-son doesn’t have anyone to take him to get his drivers so I jump to take him, a ‘friend’ has a social media/seo question and I sit on the phone for hours with her (not getting paid).

While I have been happy to do these things I have noticed a few things – these people are unappreciative.  That’s right – they may say thank you but quickly move onto “ok, what can she do for me next?”  Pick something up at the food store, run a carpool, get me a new pen at Staples…sign this, write a check, answer another question.

Not being appreciated was causing me to be resentful – and as such I would then do more hoping someone would pick-up his/her selfish head and show some actual appreciation.  But that never happened and I wound up a hot mess, with no activities or interests of my own and barely time or energy to do the crossword puzzle.

So I’ve taken some time this week and put some things into place for myself…her is what I am committing to:

  1. Daily meditation, gratitude, affirmations and bible reading.  Weekly church.
  2. Nightly crossword puzzle
  3. One hour of reading per evening
  4. Tennis twice per week
  5. Exercise for one hour per day (tennis counts)
  6. Guitar for 30 minutes per day and a lesson twice per month.

I’m working on clearing and strengthening my chakras.

What I have noticed is that no where in my 2018 goals is there any room for drama, watching bad tv, video games, or wasting time.  What I need to be accountable for, in a very gentle way, is building myself.  This will set a much better example for those around me…I’ll be happier which is probably most important of all.

Trying Something New…Look, I Ubered

I just arrived in Orlando, Fla to watch Steph compete in a national cheer competition.  I’m enjoying two days of free time, and of course, always turn to writing.  Over the course of my adult life I have realized the awesome power of trying new things.  Some have written books on the subject, others lengthy blog posts.  For some it is easy, and others not so much.

I was told this week that I am one of those people who appear to have their lives together.  You will notice a section of my blog “hot mess to great success.”  While I appreciated the compliment I know all too well that sometimes I have it together and sometimes I do not.  Lately I seem to be falling into old habits – bad ones – and I am bored to death.

This trip is the first time in quite some time I am traveling without my husband.  I love when we travel together – there is an ebb and flow that we follow in our trips that includes chap stick and hand lotion on the plane…to the rental car…to us veering off the path and golfing in an RV park.   Since he wasn’t coming I made the travel arrangements which included staying in one hotel for the entire stay (the horror), no car…and thus…no way to get to leave the airport.  So, I used Uber.

Now, besides the insane number of security issues I have about being picked up in a strangers car, I also had lots of concerns about my credit card information and how long it would take for the car to arrive (have I ever mentioned that I HATE waiting?).  I decided I would embrace what everyone else calls amazing and just try it out – what did I have to lose – a few hours in the sun?

And ya know what I learned?  Uber is FREAKIN’ amazing!  I want to share my “new thing” journey with you so you can possibly use it in your own life or business in some way.

  1.  I researched the heck out of the idea before I landed – I always do this on my laptop with several tabs on my browser open.  I looked at shuttles, compared prices, estimated Uber prices, safety, and availability at the airport (do you know that at some airports there are “Uber lots?” – this fascinated me.
  2. I committed to doing this and not taking the chicken exit of a cab or shuttle – this was the most important part.
  3. I downloaded the app at home and then put in my credit card info so it was ready.
  4. As we landed I checked the wait time and then actual cost.  I read the info about pick-up and was off.  There was one 10 minutes away.
  5. When I got to ground transportation I placed my request and I saw  – on the map – the car headed my way.  I was told the driver’s name, type of car and how many rides he has given.
  6. When he arrived I waited for him to say my name (safety feature) and we were on our way.

I wasn’t proud of myself for figuring out the technology of this – I was reminded how important it is that something new can be easy and less expensive.  I did think it was weird that the driver was using the same car he transports his kids around in.  But whatever – it was clean and he was very kind.

When there is an opportunity for you to try something new – take it.  Be safe on all levels, know what you are doing…and who knows, you just might find an easy and simple solution to a problem you have been waiting to solve – and you just might have fun in the process!

Returning to Church…

For years I have battled an internal struggle revolving around returning to church.  I was raised a devout Catholic where church doctrine was never questioned and mass was always attended even on vacation.  I taught Kindergarten CCD for my oldest daughter and started having problem with the prayers I was expected to have them memorize even though I didn’t know some of the vocabulary.   I attended the children’s mass a few times and sat in horror as I watched these children stand and recite these same prayers without comprehension.  Then the sex abuse scandals broke and I watched in horror on TV as the accused and convicted were shuffled around and moved to more prominent positions as if to be rewarded for their crimes.

And I said no more.  At this time I committed to the girls all receiving their First Holy Communion, basically so everyone would have the picture in the white dress and a big party to remember.  We started attending a family program at our local Presbyterian Church which had a stellar Youth Group component, and I suddenly found myself no longer a practicing Catholic for the first time in my life.

I was no longer watching the hypocrisy of Democrats accepting communion (this always bugged me) – the cafeteria Catholics who took prominent positions in the church and then left the building and then no longer lived a Catholic life.  I didn’t care what they did at home, I just hated that they acted one way in front of the cross when others were watching.

When we moved out here to the sticks I attended service at the Lutheran Church…it was deserted…the Presbyterian Church was so stuffy and sort of reminded me of the folks in The Purge…and then I went to the other Lutheran church, which was as deserted as the first.  I resolved to find a church when it felt right again…

Last year I found myself actually returning to the Catholic Church.  Not for mass but to light candles and talk to God…actually beg God to save him.  To spare his life and bring him home so that my children would not have to walk a path without their father.  This fall I returned to cry in those pews and light candles asking for John to move college applications for our middle daughter into the “yes” pile so she didn’t know rejection after losing him.  Needless to say, John passed away and she was rejected from her first choice..the candles did not work.  As a realist I was not lighting candles asking for help, I know God rewards all.  I was there out of desperation and reaching back to a world that I knew – because there was nothing else I could really do.

And now, as I enter 2018, for many reasons and almost no reason at all it is time.  I’m making the rounds…sitting in services among the few and the uptight…looking for a spiritual home.  But this time I have a different mission…and that is just to sit.  Not expect to much and everything that I would want in a Christian community.  As long as  I have a place to go, even if it is a different place every week for a while…well that is good enough for me.

I’m not giving up because I haven’t found perfection – I’m adjusting my expectations and staying true to my cause here – find a place to go and be at peace once per week.  And it is all the better if the community I sit with doesn’t mind if I’m a bit off key.

Behind the Scenes

I exhausted myself staying one-step ahead of you – second guessing and overthinking, maneuvering in the background where you couldn’t see, where you would never look.  Putting so much support in place and then camouflaging it in the care of other people.     Ensuring doors opened for you effortlessly.  I built scaffolding that was invisible – well, except to me since I was holding it together, or would have to rebuild it when someone dropped the ball, or forgot, or upset you in some way that was unjust.  And again, so you wouldn’t see it.  And you thought everyone else was amazing and so supportive, with their comments and cards.

The therapy, support groups, guidance counselors and even just talking to the friends of your parents – the time in searching for the right people to talk with, at the right time, just in case you needed them, we needed them, in the future.

And everyone keeps telling you how great you are doing, how he loves you and is looking down, how his strength will get you through, and how much he loves you.  And I continue to hold up each of you like three boulders on my back.  As parents themselves it is like they do not realize what it would take to get you through this in the real world of our lives.  As if his memory is enough to get you through – and I’m just carrying on doing nothing for you.  It is really easy to post a “he loves you” comment on an Instagram post – it is another to reach out and see if you actually need help.

I get the sense that they feel I’m the ex, and the one who is lucky to be alive – they were clear at the beginning with all of the “should’s” for me, especially for my wallet.  Maybe  they can’t even imagine that I would say a kind word about him – or make you scrapbooks they chose not to contribute to.

My unwavering position from the day of his diagnosis was that you would be ok…you would survive the initial shock of the “c” word.  Right from the start my research led me in the scariest of directions, and “no hope” was the best outlook we had.  But then there was the part of me that didn’t want to be the grim reaper – sure, there is hope, maybe he would be the exception, the miracle would happen.  In my heart I hoped but new the gruesome reality of what we were facing.  Where was I wrong, that it would all be over so quickly and I would be left holding a bag of insanity to sort out, almost all on my own.

But now six months later and you have realized that you are going to get through this – where there was no hope you actually see opportunity and your own strength.  You’ve realized, “Oh look, time marches on, life goes on…I’m still standing.”  You are surprising yourself and astounding me with your insight.

Take the “he loves you” comment with a grain of salt – people need to be in the public eye showing support.  For the record there are only a handful of people who have actually reached out to me – and honestly, I talked to them on a daily basis before his diagnosis.


Goodbye to 2017

I can remember last January (2017)  reading that the most successful entrepreneurs know the magical power of January 1st, they plan for it and then walk into the new year ready to step off and create new habits…new systems…new income…and it all made perfect sense to me.  Don’t miss a single opportunity to create the next year and start on Day 1.   While I had planned a bit I didn’t have the detail to launch an attack on life on January 1st.  And after the hoopla of the holidays, and without a concrete plan and the regular few new clients that trickled in…well, for me 2017 was off and running.

However, at the start of 2017  I did say to the universe, “I just want my life to look completely different by the end of 2017.”  As a powerful manifester I should have known better than to be so vague…what I meant was that I wanted my business to be significantly bigger…

Instead, the universe, acting with zippo direction from me, delivered to me exactly what I had asked for – and I sit here on December 31st still a bit dazed.  From the start of his illness my children were living with me full-time, adjusting to visiting their father in ICU and rehab, no longer able to have full conversations with him due to a tracheotomy and feeding tube that were inserted just 7 days after diagnosis .  They learned and saw the impact of daily radiation and weekly chemo.  Life was already completely different and they hoped it was temporary…and then he died…yep, the guy that promised to be immortal, left us on July 2nd – only 81 days after his diagnosis.  During this time I also noticed my clothes disappearing out of my drawers at an alarming rate – ahhhh…three daughters full-time.

During the “15 minutes of fame,” which to us parents who have lost the co-parent – is the time when the whole world gathers around you in a gigantic show of support for you and your children.  Ex, or not, you get promises of support, “we are going to check in with you,” “know you are not alone.”  Then reality sets in, people start telling you what to do with your own children and have the nerve to talk down to you when they remind you it is your job to honor his memory.  I was sued by his family as they also managed through a loophole to saddle me with his tremendous debt.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, health and dental insurance, college applications, car titles and car insurance,  and how my middle daughter was going to finish out her senior year of high school where her father lived – dumped in my lap without an iota of care – at one point the family sent me his tax bill and told me to pay it.  Gone was the loving and respectful relationship I had built from scratch with my co-parent.  The day he died his sister called me screaming.

Yep…life was looking completely different.

So, not to get caught again with my manifesting pants down, I have been much more specific.  After-all, I have to be.  The very powerful messages I put out the universe seem to be taken in the most literal sense.  This year will be about building me.

I have told the universe I now have boundaries – no one can come into my house (mind, heart, parenting) and push me around.  My business will build with new systems, new staff, and new clients that are all in place – and more, lots more, will be coming in…and I have a profoundly different outlook on life.

Tonight I will ring in 2018 as my dear sister marries the most kind-hearted and loving perfect man that she manifested.  We have both come a long way since she stood at the backdoor of her home years ago,  ranting about who the heck would ever want to come into her insane life.  Now, we have both hopped across the river and find ourselves living the same mile apart here in PA that we had in NJ. Weird.

I will be wearing a dress owned by my other bestie which, is quite different for me as well.  That woman knows how to shop – and look fabulous – and I am grateful to take advantage of her legwork.

And, as the clock strikes midnight I will be holding myself accountable for every second of time and what I choose to do with it – I will be relentlessly pursuing my dreams – in a way I have never walked before

Tomorrow I will sit with my family but also for a while with my business – lay out those boundaries and continually remind us all of the very specific things I am manifesting in 2018 …and savor the opportunity of starting fresh on day one with a new year.

In 2017 I am leaving behind my very heavy heart and profound sadness I have carried for the last 6 months for my dear friend.  I believe that in many ways I have been the one to care the most about my friend and all that he is missing with our children – several times a day, every single day, I have cried for his pain.  But, I believe that he would want me to be mosying on – and what better time to do that than on NYE.

2017 gave me gifts and lessons while it robbed me blind at the same time.  I bid it a fond farewell and look forward…with specificity of course.

Brick wall background.


As I have maneuvered around in the world, I am often amazed how others think they can treat me.  How my time, ideas and intentions are somehow secondary to someone else’s.  How others can look into a part of my life, an event, or ask for a favor and then think they can somehow dictate everything about it…including how it impacts me…or what I want to do….or again, my time. Continue reading Boundaries

Business Lessons from Getting My Hair Highlighted

Flying hair
© Cherrymerry | Dreamstime Stock Photos

This is not meant to be one of those “oh look, I have something to say and I’m going to cleverly tie it to getting my hair done”  This is an actual concrete real-world example when I learned the basics of business out of a life experience.

Let me start off by saying that for quite some time I have not loved my hair.  Up in a clip it has gone on all days.  I tried to get it highlighted before the wedding in July but the stylist told me afterwards “I didn’t give you the blond highlights you asked for because I didn’t think you would like them. ” Guess what…I didn’t like my non-highlighted blond hair or the $200 I spent to not get what I asked for.  In fact I sort of have issue when I don’t get what I want especially when I ask and pay for it.

My husband is convinced I was scared to get my hair highlighted and he is in large part 100% correct.  I would love it if we could all just age gracefully allowing our hair color to change over the years.  While I am a non-conformist in many ways I am also a realist and know that if everyone else is going to try to look younger I am not going to sit in a self-righteous slump and go grey.

So back to the same salon I trekked before Christmas.  Why?  Because it is the only organic shop in town and the thought of all those chemicals on my hair makes me a bit crazy.  When I called to make the appointment I did speak to the manager.  I explained that I was not really happy last time I visited and asked for the best colorist she had.  Oh my gosh, I walked out with the perfect result.  I mean, I love my hair.  So let me explain a few things I learned.

  1. You need a support team – this cut and color was in the works for months and required tremendous support from my bff Dannielle as well as the suburb hair coloring ability of Erin.  Without them this might not have happened.
  2. When you are not happy with a service you need to speak up – look, I wasn’t happy the first time around and the manager needed to know.  I didn’t scream, rant, rave or even ask for my money back.  I wanted her to understand that I was coming back for specific reasons and really was committed to finding a better person there to cut my hair.
  3. You need to be clear – I showed up with pictures and wording from Dannielle.  Basically I could have prepared a power point presentation on what was wrong with my hair and what I really wanted.
  4. You need to show grace – I am the first to admit that I had no idea what I was talking about when it comes to cut, color, decorating, styling, trends, (or cooking for that matter).  Yet, I am the client and should walk out happy.  This means I may have to go above and beyond and do my research to properly communicate what I want, and I need to do that in a non-superior tone that conveys I need the stylist’s help…no matter how much I hate spending (wasting) time being with her.

In building my business I have learned that grace, clarity, preparation and tact can go a long way when coupled with your expertise.  After all, I am the first person you should call if you have a social media or blogging question…no doubt about it.  But, I am the last person you should call to cook you dinner (unless you REALLY like pizza).


To the Bitch at the Door

This Saturday I had the great honor of attending my daughter’s swim meet.  I won’t go into details about where they were held or for what team. That would not be fair to the bitch at the door.

I arrived at the meet a little frazzled trying to get too much accomplished – I had dropped off said daughter and ran to a coffee shop to work.  I was popping in to see her first race, then off to food shopping, then back to volunteer to work at the meet and enjoy her last race.

I was a bit suprised when I arrive that they were charging admission at the door.  Back in NJ we do not – so I never expected to need cash.  I was relieved when I realized that the mom at the door taking cash was from our team.  I quickly introduced myself, explained that I was running in to see a first race, and I would bringing back my $5 when I ran out between events and volunteering.  I was thrilled to be meeting a mom from the team since I am the new mom on the team.

This woman blasted at me with a vengeance and tone fit only for someone who just ran over a puppy – she cited league rules with a bitterness that literally made me take a step back, “I can not let you in without paying,” “everyone would be running amuck,” “you probably will not come back with the money.”  I explained that I had given my daughter cash for the team breakfast yesterday and had yet to get my change – she suggested I text my daughter, pull her away from the team, even though cell phones were not allowed on deck.  She told me to text another parent on the team to come and give me cash, I replied “I’m new, I don’t know anyone here.”

She was so mean from the minute I put out my hand to introduce myself to the point where I was at least five feet further back.  She is on my team…our team…I was coming back…I explained to her that I was also about to miss my kid’s first race.  I’m new, explained that but not as an excuse, just please do not make me miss my daughter’s first race.

To gain entrance she demanded my PA driver’s license.  I surrendered it quickly and  dashed up the stairs and made it just in time to see my daughter’s first race.  As I left the building (to run errands and get cash) she said “Ma’am, did you forget something?  You owe me $5.”

I wanted to ask her where the ATM was in the stands – since, as the NEW MOM I had clearly missed it.  Instead I clearly explained AGAIN that I was going out to get the money. I didn’t even know where a cash machine was in town!

Her sidekick behind the folding table suggested I take my license back since I would be out driving.  I snapped “oh, thank you, I was not dare going to ask for it back.”  Bitchy, yes – ok, we all lose our cool.

At the heart of this I felt really bad for this poor woman.  Afterall, she had the opportunity to make a friend, do something nice for another mom, take care of a newbie, and put out some great karma to the world.  She knew who I was, could easily track me down if I never paid, but instead chose to be a complete bitch.   She clearly does not know how to be  team player, help others out, or most importantly how to help another mom out.

But here is where I can show her the way – so, to the bitch at the door – if you ever need anything from me…AT ALL…I am here for you.  You see, I am the type of person who understands that we all make mistakes and when I can fix a problem for another I do, or help another mom out, on her best or worst days…I jump at the chance.  Need something retweeted, an onion from the grocery store, your kid needs a ride home, a blue sweater on spirit day – knock on my door, heck give me a call and I’ll bring it over.  And for the love of all things holy – if you ever need an IOU on a swim meet admission I’ll just give you the money.  To repay me you can take me out for a cup of coffee and we can get to know one another – mom to mom.



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.

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…



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.

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

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.”