Breaking up gracefully. 10 tips to help you through the split.

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First, I would like to say, I am so, so sorry you are going through a break up.

Second, you will be ok.  I promise.

Breaking up sucks.  There’s no other way to put it.   But having been through my fair share of break ups, I have learned a lot, and figured maybe my trials and tribulations may help others.  I’ve put together this list on how to break up gracefully, and I hope it helps you through this loss.

  1.  A break up is a loss.  Mourn it.  All too often I see people doing things to distract them from facing their break up.  Believing a break up is a loss, I encourage you to grieve it.  Be sad about it, cry, be angry, but face it.  Acknowledge this constant it gone, that your life will be different, and that it is indeed going to be difficult.  But you will be ok.
  2. Set a mourning time limit.  While I encourage mourning the loss, I also encourage moving on from the loss.  During my divorce, my counselor told me to mourn it, but set a date when I would stop crying and move forward.  It sounded silly at first – but it worked.  I set a date for myself, months away, and I let myself be sad.  I let myself cry, be angry, question my decision, and I did so without guilt, because I intentionally allotted time for this process.  Grieving a relationship could easily go on for years, a lifetime for some, but I believe we can take control of this. Don’t sell yourself short, take as much time as you need, but it’s worth it to move on eventually.
  3. Trust your gut.  I would bet every single person after one break up or another, questioned their decision.  Loneliness sets in, and maybe that reason you broke up doesn’t seem like such a big deal now.  You really miss them.  You didn’t try hard enough.  You’re just so sad, and getting back together would make it better.  But I ask you this: Why did you break up?  What led you to believe that you would be better off without this person?  Has that changed?  Do you actually miss the person, or do you miss the companionship or consistency?  It will get harder before it gets easier, but you have to believe in yourself.  You have to trust yourself that you have thought this through, that this wasn’t impulsive, it was intentional.  You knew in your heart what you needed to do.  And you did it.  Trust in yourself, you know you best.  You will be ok.
  4. Take time for yourself.  After my divorce, I spent a solid 9 months focusing on me.  I tell ya, those 9 months were the best 9 months of my life. I went to counseling, I traveled, I quit my boring job, packed up and moved to a little mountain town, found my dream job, I made new friends, I tried new things, I didn’t date, and I felt peace.  I filled my time with activities and people who enriched my life and helped me grow as an individual.  I recognized the errors of my ways and I worked on them.  Let me repeat that, I worked on myself.  I didn’t sit there and blame the other person, I had the humility to realize my actions contributed to the outcome of the relationship as well.  This process humbled me and changed me for the better.  The best part of this me time was realizing I am ok alone.  What peace you feel when you know you are ok alone, and actually enjoy it!
  5. Give it time before you start dating.  I would encourage you to give it at least a few months before you start dating someone, or many someones.  Even if this break up has been a long time coming, you really feel the loss when it actually happens.  Distracting yourself with someone takes away from your time to process and heal.  Pay your relationship (and yourself) some respect by not hoping into another one right away.
  6. Allow yourself to heal by taking some space.  The thought of cutting this constant out of your life if heartbreaking.  This was your best friend, travel buddy, Netflix companion, and it’s crazy to think of life without them.  You want them as a friend still – we can just be friends, right?  Let me start by saying I fully support being friends with an ex….in time.  However, 5 minutes after a break up isn’t enough time.  I know there are some circumstances where exes have to be part of your life (i.e. kids, shared property) but if you don’t have any ties, I would strongly urge you to give yourself (and your ex) some space to grieve and heal.  While it’s hard to think of them not being there, you will get used to it, and you will be ok.  I very much believe it will be harder to move on if they’re still around.  Also, maybe they need the space.
  7. Don’t stalk them on social media.   I bet, out of this whole list, this will be the hardest suggestion for some folks.  What they are doing?  Did they move on already?  Are they wallowing on the couch like I am?  Who is that person they are with?  Stop.  Stop that right now.  I think this is one of the most unhealthy, hindering behaviors you can do after a break up.  Chances are, you might see something you don’t want to see, then what?  This type of behavior, in my opinion, can only cause you pain.  Maybe take a break from being “friends” or “following” each other, block them if you need more restraint.  But give it a break for a while, and do whatever you have to do to not look them up.
  8. Don’t isolate.  It’s easy to sit alone on your couch, night after night, watching re-runs of Sex and the City while crying into your bowl of gelato.  While I support this occasional “woe is me” night, I think you should get up and get out.  Go out with friends, join a meetup group, take your pup to the dog park, but do something, with someone.  We (the human race) need companionship – it helps us through the grieving process and lets us know we are not alone.  Conversely, I think it is ok, beneficial even, to isolate from social media.  Studies have actually shown going on sites like Facebook, and comparing your life against others, can cause feelings of depression.  Deactivate for a bit – get some fresh air!
  9. Be mindful of the advice you receive.  A line that makes me cringe is “the easiest way to get over someone is to get under someone else”.  Are you kidding me? That’s the worst advice, and I guarantee that person is single – not by choice.  So who do you take relationship advice from?  You take it from someone who has the relationship you want.   We all have that go-to person we talk to about everything, but they may not be the best person to give you advice about your break up.  I ask you this – who would you take medical advice from;  your dog fluffy or your doctor?  Think about it.  I also strongly encourage talking to a counselor, especially if you’re having a prolonged, difficult time with the split.  I know there is plenty of people who would never consider going to a counselor, and I think that’s a shame (side note, I would caution you about dating someone resistant to getting help – that’s a red flag in my book).  My counselor has the same morals and beliefs as I do, and has the marriage I want – of course I am going to seek advice from her!  She’s well educated, she thinks of things I wouldn’t even consider, she has the tools to help me, and she just simply knows what she is talking about.  I humbly walk into her office, accepting the fact that I could use the help.
  10. Smile (and exercise).  Did you know even the action of smiling releases endorphins which are responsible for making us feel happy?  Sometimes when I am really down and out, I force a smile, albeit fake, it helps!  I feel like an idiot, but it actually helps my mood!  The same goes for hiking, walking, swimming, or any type of physical exercise.  I feel better by just moving.  So seriously, get off the couch and go outside or to the gym.

Friends, you will be ok.  Keep telling yourself that.  Also, you’re strong, beautiful, handsome, smart, steadfast.  You got this.  You will be ok.

God is good friends.  God is good.  For those that believe in prayer, I offer an 11th tip.  Pray!  Give God your pain, release it to Him, let Him heal you, He WILL not forsake you, you are the love of His life, and He has something better in store for you.

May you…

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May you wear polka dotted dresses, and dance through the wildflowers.
May you never stop seeking joy.
May you understand, it’s only temporary.
May you stop and take in your glorious surroundings – wherever you are.
May you have peace knowing you were uniquely made to be you.
May you feel God’s indescribable peace, in the midst of war.
May you trust there is something bigger than you, that loves you.  Yes, you.
May you feel peace when you’re alone, and rejoice that you will be just fine.
May you grasp, though beyond understanding, it is how it is meant to be.
May you realize you command your destiny through your words.
May you smile, even through the heartbreak.
May you know it will get better when you decide it will.
May you know, this is the day the Lord had made, rejoice and be glad in it.

Year 29

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This is how I spent my 29th birthday.  On the couch with some Ben & Jerry’s in the most comfortable onesie ever

Only moments ago I was sliding on a piece of cardboard down the grassy hill near my house, fishing for crawdads in the creek, playing in the street until the sun went down…

Time flies,  faster with every passing year.  I find myself wishing for this day to end or saying I can’t wait for the weekend, but this year, my wish is different.  I wish for time to slow down…way down.  This year, I’m going to be more present, in every moment… even in the 4th mind-numbingly boring meeting of the day moments.  Friends, there are literally times when I am talking to someone and I hear absolutely nothing…nothing.  It’s almost impressive, but mostly sad.

While it’s easy to say “I’m going to be more present” I understand this must be an intentional effort.  Here are some things I plan to do:

    • Start each morning in prayer: “Lord, please guide my head and heart and help me be more present”
    • set a realistic schedule for my day (even scheduling in time for breaks!)
    • only use social media once a day (do this by deleting the apps off my phone!)
    • avoid the “what if” or “coulda shoulda woulda” thinking
    • engage my senses more
    • cuddle my dog for at least 20 uninterrupted minutes a day
    • have a regular sleep and exercise schedule
    • smile more, even to myself

And the most important of all:
Have peace that God is in control and I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

While 26 is still the best year yet, 28 wasn’t so bad (less the last 5 days of it).  I enjoyed vacations in Bend, OR., Kauai, HI., Tahoe, Yosemite, Disneyland, Cambria, remolded my bathrooms, got a promotion, bought myself a brand new Subaru Forester (name pending, I’m thinking about Sheila), helped big-hearted folks create Bay Area Animal Rescue Crew and made a dent in finishing my master’s project.

So here’s to 29.  May you blow my expectations out of the water.

Let’s not forget…

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Memorial Day: 5 Ways to Honor Fallen Troops

While most of us will be enjoying the 3-day weekend with BBQs, camping trips and cold beer – let’s take a moment to say a silent THANK YOU to the men and women who died fighting for our country – and aloud to their families – for supporting their service member, who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Let’s take a moment, to bow our heads, and give glory to God for letting us (Americans) live free. That fighting for our country is now a choice, made by less than 1% of the bravest of the brave.  Just take a moment for sheer gratitude, knowing that the majority of us, will never know what it means to be on the frontline.  Take a moment to feel the sun, warm on your face, and just feel peace.

Thank you, for your service, for trading your life, so that I may be free.

Visit www.r4alliance.org to learn how you can support service members and their families.

Guest Blog: Confidence 101

Every so often I ask someone to write a post for my blog.  Today I asked my sweetheart to, and I love his wisdom!  It’s simple, and just makes sense!  Enjoy!

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Alex, my guest blogger, and me 🙂

I’d like to think that I dress well. I dont like to spend too much on clothes, mind you, but if I see something that I like and I can justify the cost, I’ll likely go for it. Why shouldn’t I? I work hard and I believe it’s important to reward yourself however you see fit. I often get comments on the way I dress. Most of the time it’s the typical “ooh, you look nice today.” or a variation thereof. Or sometimes I’ll get the sarcastic “wow, look at this guy”, however, I take those with a grain of salt as it usually comes from the type of guy that wears the same pair of cargo shorts 4 days a week and I don’t let that stuff bother me anyway.

In any case, the reason I mention all this to you is to explain WHY I like to dress well. Not only have I developed an appreciation for certain styles, but I firmly believe that they way you dress DIRECTLY affects how you feel and the level of confidence that you not only project, but actually have within you. Now, this is only one aspect of a source of confidence and I believe one should have several sources, but it certainly made a large impact for me

Have you ever heard the phrase “Look Good, Feel Good”? I had heard it plenty of times over the course of my life. Heck, 9 out of 10 fitness or diet infomercials will say something like it. But it never really sank in, it was more of a sales pitch than anything. It finally hit me when I was in college.

I was visiting my family and had mentioned to my sister that I wanted to…update my wardrobe. I was living out of a pair of jeans that were too big for me and a few hand-me-down shirts. So, we hit the mall to re-image me, (at the time, I was a big fan of The Mentalist and thought we should emulate that classy yet relaxed look). We ended up with a few new button-up shirts, some jeans that fit correctly, and a couple of vests.

At first I was a little nervous to dress that way in public (even though I had just laid down the money to do so). I had little in the way of confidence and thought I would get laughed at for “trying”. However, I was completely wrong. I felt, for lack of a better word, AWESOME. It was a complete 180 degree turn from where I was. I stood taller, walked faster (but not in an awkward way), looked straight ahead and felt like I had a million in cash with me. It was great! What’s better is that I got no negative reactions! I would get double takes from girls (and the occasional fellow) as well as some comments. All of this serviced to feed my inner confidence and as it did so, it would show in my appearance and attitude. It was a perpetual cycle of feeling fantastic. Since then, I have picking up new articles of clothing and developing my own style. A blazer or two here, some slacks and shoes there, and all worth every penny.

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Presenting 101

In the organization I work for, employees have the opportunity to apply for “acting assignments”.  An acting assignment is when a regular position in the organization becomes vacant, instead of instantly recruiting to fill the position, they open up the job as a temporary assignment to current employees. As a current employee you have to apply, meet the MQs, interview and be selected.  Assignments are anywhere from a few days to 6 months, and it’s great way to try out a different job and gain new experiences.

I was very blessed to be selected for a 6 month assignment back in October and boy o boy am I working my buns off!  I love it!

Today, I had the privilege to present the 5 months of work I have done to my Assistant General Manager.  At no point was I nervous about the information, but I was uneasy about my presenting skills.  I get the classic symptoms: sweating, stuttering/shaky voice, avoiding eye contact, forgetting information (even though it’s on the slide in front of me…) and more.  But today, I decided I wanted to do well.

 Here’s how I mentally and physically prepared for my presentation:

1.       Have a clear understanding of the expectations for the presentation.  Chat with whoever requested the meeting, and make sure you’re both on the same page.  Set yourself up for success from the start.

2.       Be willing to cater your presentation to your audience.  If your audience loves graphs, by golly use graphs!  If they love to be bombarded with the logistical information – bombard them!  Find out what appeals to your audience.  If you don’t know… ask someone else who has presented to them!  Or, ask the audience themselves!  It never hurts to ask!

3.       Information prep/gathering.  Get on it.  As soon as you have the date scheduled, start planning and gather.  Gather more information than needed and weed through it.  Maybe you won’t present on all the information, but you’ll have it at the ready just in case.

4.       Choose the best presentation tool.  I decided to use a specific presentation platform based off the feedback I got from #2.  Since I found out my audience loved visuals, I decided to go with PREZI. It’s fun and more visually appealing than PowerPoint.

5.       Practice.  Makes perfect!  Or at least prepares you for the next talking point.  Some people like to practice in front of other people, but I prefer to practice by myself, with the slides, and without – to make sure I genuinely know what I am talking about.

6.       Dress professionally.  I am very, very casual in my daily attire, but I stepped it up today.  I wore a dark grey, form fitting business/casual dress ($32, Old Navy), black tights ($4, TJ Maxx), black flats ($16, Marshalls), and a grey/white striped cardigan.  (The dress would be fine without but I chose to cover my tattoos for this meeting.)  I did my hair (a rarity for me) and make up, and I felt good.  I have experienced more confidence in myself when I feel like I look good.

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7.       Say a prayer.  I start every day in prayer.  Today, I asked God to “please keep me calm, collected and focused.  Please let me be eloquent with my words, knowledgeable and lead a good presentation.”  No harm in asking the man upstairs to guide your words and actions.  This is also how I keep calm – but “letting go and letting God.” Yes, this moto applies for all situations for me!

8.       Take a deep, deep breath (or 10).  Taking a deep breath physically calms you down.  Keep taking deep breaths until you’re collected.

9.       Words of affirmation.  Talk yourself up!  You should be your biggest cheerleader.  “I’m going to nail this presentation today!” “I got this!”  Also, it’s encouraging to hear from others, so don’t hesitate to share about your upcoming meeting and ask for some positive vibes be sent your way.  I posted a photo on IG asking for friends to send love, and within an hour I had multiple supportive comments and likes!  It helped!!

10.   NAIL IT.  You’ve got this.  You’ve prepped, practiced, rehearsed.  You’re ready.  You know the information you’re presenting, you’re the expert.  YOU GOT THIS.  Walk in confidently and shine my friend.

Other Tips:

*Before the meeting, brainstorm any possible scenarios or questions that may arise.  Be thinking out of the box!  If you have an answer, great, if not, don’t make something up!  Simply say “I will get back to you”.

*Take notes, especially if you’re presenting to a superior who will be giving directives during the meeting.

*If you find your nervously talking fast, keep a bottle of water with you.  Take sip, and use these few seconds to relax and breath.

*Smile.  The act of smiling has mental/physical benefits, and, has anyone ever told you you’re much prettier when you smile?IMG_9918

I’m excited to say I NAILED my presentation to say.  Or as a co-worked told me “you f-ing killed it!”  This is one of the few times I walked out of a presentation feeling confident.  Hallelujah!

I wish you all well!  These tips can be applied to meetings, interviews, you name it!  I’m rooting for you!

Being consumed.

To be consumed with joy, peace, happiness, bliss… Good.

To be consumed with envy, fear, hate or anxiety….Not so good.
What about being consumed with…somebody?  An example of this would be I’m so in love, my mind is consumed with thoughts of McDreamy but what about the negative side of this?
Let’s break it down.  Consumed literally means to be ingested, to be engrossed, or to destroy totally.  For the sake of this blog, I am referring to #2 – engrossed.
This topic has been on my heart for a while.  For personal reasons, and for things I’ve seen among my friends.  I received permission to talk about one situation in particular – but the others, I think are common enough that I will speak in generalities.  By no means am I giving the only examples of how people can be consumed – just the scenarios I see most often.
Have you ever been consumed with someone?  Just heart and mind constantly, and I mean constantly, focused on this person?  Whether in love, hate, envy or whatever else – it doesn’t ever seem healthy to be totally consumed with someone else.  I’m sure those in love may be thinking otherwise, but here’s my point.  This life is your life.  Shouldn’t YOU be the focal point of YOUR life?  Now I’m not talking about being egotistical or selfish, I very much believe in being selfless, so try to not take this out of context.
Let’s go with some examples, shall we?
Some of us my have the joy of having an ex that we’re not on the best terms with.  Or just an ex in general.  Maybe an ex with a new beau/girlfriend?  Most of us could relate to one of these.
Ever look at their social media pages?  How often?  No really… how often?  Ever find yourself looking into them anyway you can?  Googling their name?  Anonymously checking on them in LinkedIn?  You’re “over them“, just “curious” to see what they’re up to.  At what point does mere curiosity turn into….obsession?  Time consuming, thought consuming…
I have a good friend who’s on the other side of this scenario.  The person who has taken an extreme interest in my friend, and their family, has taken it too far.  What’s too far?  How about creating faux personalities to stalk, keep up to date, track what they do and harass them?  Calling from blocked numbers, following their friends, creating a whole other persona JUST to know what they’re doing. Now for my friend – that’s scary, creepy and just generally unsettling.  But I’d like to look at it from this insecure person’s angle.  At what point will this person realize that their interest in my friend has completely consumed them?  That tracking my friend has become a major effort and takes significant time and thought.  Perhaps this person should realize the type of power she’s given my friend.  Yes, power.

Perhaps it’s not one person – but multiple people, or a certain type of person.  Maybe you’re consumed with constantly comparing your life to those around you.  This one hits home for me.  While I am genuinely happy for those friends of mine who are happily married and starting families… I find myself getting jealous, wondering why isn’t that me…and before I know it, I’m consumed by bitterness that my life hasn’t turned out the way I thought it would

I think it’s easy to be consumed by things/people/emotions but I’d like to encourage you to do a self check.  Did any of this hit home for you?  Have you put more effort into checking on someone else, comparing your life to someone else, having overwhelming unhealthy feelings?  What about other scenarios that weren’t discussed?

This is your life – make it about you.  It’s all relative friends.  I believe, with all my heart, in God’s perfect timing.  For me to fully embrace this, I can’t focus on the lives of others, be consumed by thoughts of “what if” or spend more time on someone else instead of caring physically/mentally for myself.

Friends, I want you to feel joy, peace, release, trust, faith in God’s timing and make this day, this life, about you!  My prayer for you is that whatever may be negatively consuming you – LET IT GO!  Enjoy this beautiful life that God created FOR YOU!

Picture from http://floricultures.tumblr.com
God is good friends.  God is good.

I used to be fearless

I used to be fearless.

I used to run up to the edge of the cliff, then take one step further.  Just to feel the rush.
I used to walk into a crowded room and make friends with anyone and everyone.
I used to take risks, knowing I could handle whatever the outcome.

I used to.

This is me at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland.  It looks like  I am close to the edge here – but I’m not.  The angst I felt really hindered this experience for me and I am truly bummed I let my fear take control.

What changed?  At what point did I stop running up to the edge?  What happened that I no longer seek a crowd, but seek solitude instead? At what point did I let the fear sink in?

I’ve always heard people say “I slowed down a lot when I got older.  I realized how fragile life was.” I get that– but here’s the beautiful thing… you’re here aren’t you?  You made it this far?  I get having “near death” experiences that introduce this fear and reevaluation of life choices – but I haven’t had that.  There was no flip of switch moment for me.  So where did my fear come from?

I’m not ashamed to admit I have anxiety.  I’ve had it for years, and no doubt some younger life experiences aided in this nuisance I deal with daily.  I’ve tolerated and controlled it well enough, and have gotten by just fine.  What I don’t get is – my life has calmed down drastically in the last year.  I’m in a rhythm, I’m secure and I’m happy. But this fear…this anxiety…it’s growing.  And I need it to stop.

As I type this, I feel my sweet sweet savior telling me “I bring you peace”.  This my friends – is what I call divine intervention.  This isn’t the direction I had this post going in…  Funny how God works.

I was going to propose a challenge… a physical, “face my fear” kind of challenge.  But that’s not what I feel God speaking to me.  This is:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, WHICH TRANSCENDS ALL UNDERSTANDING, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7

So today, I face my fear by choosing to not acknowledge it.  To not give it control, or not let it sway me.  I choose to immerse in God’s peace.  A peace than transcends understanding.  A joyful, beautiful, honest peace.  Hallelujah!

God is good friends.  God is good.

Know your spot

For me, life is all about relationships.  With God, friends, family, pets, etc.  Every relationship is challenging, to say the least, but worth the work.  Now I say that, but as I’ve grown up, I’ve come to realize not all relationships are worth the work.   I’ve had the…opportunity I’ll say, to have had an abundance of relationships.  (For those of you thinking “yea you have” shut it lol!)  I’m talking about all sorts of relationships – and since I’ve had quite a few – I feel somewhat justified to speak (type) about this. 

SO what am I getting at? 

The point of this rant, is to identify your spot in the relationship.  Where do you fit in in this person’s life?  Are you front and center – a vital presence in their life, are they dragging the relationship on – making every effort and you go along with it if you don’t have anything better to do, are you in a one sided relationship with multiple people, or have you found a healthy balance? What’s your status in the relationship?  How does that relationship hinder/grow you as a person, and your life in general?  I realize these are odd questions to ask – but since I hit my wise age of 27, I’ve been asking myself this a lot.  Why?  Because I’ve reached the point in life where I only want relationships that are going to last, and have a meaningful impact on my life

Ever hear the saying “I’d rather have 4 quarters than 100 pennies”?  Amen to that. 

Even though these are odd questions, they’re pretty simple to answer.  How? you ask.  “Actions speaker louder than words” will answer these for you.  An example.  My dog, Lynard.  I know he loves me endlessly by how excited he gets when he sees me.  He showers me with stinky kisses, and cuddles up next to me any chance he can.  His actions demonstrate his love for me,  Another?  Sarah – my person.  Time isn’t an issue for us. We’re lucky if we see each other twice a year, but that doesn’t matter.  She’s constantly doing things to assure me of my importance to her, and we both make a genuine effort to make our long distance best friendship work.  We’ve had ups and downs, but we, together, worked through them.  Here’s another one for you.  I’ll call him… Rico  – because he was so suave.  Rico was charming.  We would go on great dates, and Rico talked to me in such a way that made me think he wanted something real.  Uh…Rico?  Where are you?  Oh there you are days/weeks later.  He’d disappear, reappear and somehow turn the disappearing act on me.  Repeat date.  Repeat disappearing act.  The sad part was, I held onto the dreamy things he said during our dates, and didn’t realize his lack of actions showed he genuinely didn’t care about me.  This was a hard realization – but I finally understood I was a toy in his game and the only person getting hurt was me.  One last relationship.  My God.  God loves me (and you) so, so much deeper than imaginable.  He longs for relationship with me, and if I have time, I’ll give Him a few minutes.  Boo on me.  Why would I not invest in this relationship?  I need to get my act together. 

I could go on and on with scenarios, but you get the point.

The people in my life have made it easy for me to identify my spot in their lives.  If they make an effort to spend time with me, know me, care for me – I can assume I’m an important part of their life.  If I haven’t heard from you in months, and when we do talk, I’m the one that’s done all the initiating, well, I’ll give it one last go, but after that, I’m going to have to let it go.  This is especially difficult with people I’ve known for some time.  I justify the unhealthy/one sided relationship because they’ve been in my life for so long and I feel somewhat of an obligation.  But…Who cares?  Obviously not them.  Some of the most genuine friendships I have are with people I’ve recently met. 

I realize this is somewhat of a downer post – but I think the words need to be ingested.  Life is too short to not feel joy, love, have genuine relationships and recognize your worth.  You, my friend, deserve the best.  You deserve to be treated respectfully, thoughtfully, joyfully… Don’t ever settle for less than you deserve.  It may be lonely at times.. but I believe God has something, someone, multiple someones, stored for you, even bigger and better than you could dream up.  Please note – I do recognize some people/relationships are perfectly fine with only talking when they need something or are bored and I think if both sides are OK with it – then that’s a balanced relationship.  This post is meant for more intimate (close friends, spouses etc) relationships.

A final word…
Thank you to those who have shown me how important I am to you.  I value your friendship, love and support more than you know.  A sincere apology to those who have wanted my time, and for some reason or another I haven’t invested time with you.  Maybe give me one last go – and something beautiful will be formed.  For those of you who wish to merely be an acquaintance, I look forward to sharing a high 5 with you. Finally, for those of you who randomly appear in my life when something has happened and you want juicy details.  Don’t.

God is good friends.  God is good.

The Most Important Thing Anyone Has Ever Said To Me

Words can’t even begin to describe how honored I am to have my dear friend Kris to be my first guest blogger.  Kris is…just one of those special people – that you know, right when you meet them, that they’re a friend for life.  I met a Kris a year ago (as of this past Monday) and he’s truly been such a blessing to me.  I asked him to write about the most important thing anyone has ever said to him – and he wrote something beautiful.  
Enjoy.  
God is good friends.  God is good.
Kris, Infantry Saw Gunner – US Army, Iraq 2004
My father and I have never had an emotional relationship.  My parents divorced when I was 11 and I don’t think we hugged or shared an ‘I love you’ after that. Not that we didn’t, it just wasn’t said. Him and my grandfather were both Army Infantry. When I was 18 it was only natural that I followed suit. 
    Eight months in to my time in to the military, I came home for a four day weekend before returning to Fort Lewis Washington to be deployed to Iraq. My dad drove me to the airport to drop me off alone. As we walked towards security he asked me if I was scared. I would have denied it to anyone else that asked me but I admitted to him that I was. That’s when he said the most important thing anyone has ever said to me. It’s a quote that has been credited to many different people over time in one variation or another. John Maxwell, Nelson Mendela, Teddy Roosevelt. But my dad’s is the one I remember. He said…
“Bravery isn’t the absence of fear, rather having the guts to go through with what scares you”
Then when we got to security I didn’t know what to say to him. I just looked down and said ‘ok dad’ trying not to cry. He hugged me for the first time since I was a kid. No doubt that quote crossed my mind every single day until I saw him again a year later.