Tag Archive: friendship


It’s been a while since I’ve gone out, taken photos and actually posted them. Today was absolutely gorgeous and one of my best friends and I took advantage of it with a 2 hour walk. If we count Brodie, her sweet and adorable pit bull, we were an official walking group. Of course, I had to take a picture of “the tree”, which will never really change because it’s dead, but everything around it is constantly changing. If you look back over previous posts you’ll see what I mean. One of the things I love most about walking with friends is that we get to catch up on everything going on in our lives. Sometimes it’s the best kind of group therapy. And everything seems better when you’re out on a perfect day. Bright sunshine, blue skies, fresh air and a cool breeze make it difficult to hang onto stress. 

As we arrived at Alton Baker Park, I was pleasantly surprised by all the plants and trees exploding with color.

As we continued past the park and along the river we talked about how people tend to assume that others will react to situations the same way they would. Well you know what they say about what happens when we assume. It’s not good. Ha ha! Seriously though, relationships are truly the most important thing  in life and sadly we’ve all put strain on them by making assumptions about others based on what we would do, even our relationship with God. If we can pay a little closer attention to how we’re seeing a situation and open up communication we can save a lot of heartache from happening. Forget about what you would do and find out what they would do. It’s not hard, just ask.

Brodie was looking thirsty so we stopped at a bench and they headed down to the bank while I took more photos.

And then we headed back. Poor Brodie’s feet were starting to hurt and we a long way to go.

Almost back to where we started. Looking forward to our next “group session”. 🙂

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A Breakthrough – Part 2

Ok, where do I start? Before my husband and I got married or were even a couple we were close friends. As a matter of fact, our friendship meant so much to us it almost kept us from getting together. We were afraid if we took our relationship to the next level and it didn’t work out we’d lose the friendship that meant so much to us. We would spend hours talking about anything and everything and even though we didn’t always see eye to eye we listened to each other’s point of view out of respect. I found him to be intelligent, charming and challenging.

We all have hardships and go through tough times, but my husband has had to deal with more than the average person. For our friendship, that meant a lot of the time I was helping him deal with the emotional aftermath of it all and that was fine with me. It made me feel needed and like I was making a difference. The more he let me in the more we connected and eventually I knew I could no longer be just friends. He felt the same way and we became an official couple in August 1995 while visiting San Francisco with my mom.

Through unforseen circumstances we ended up living alone together, something I would’ve never chosen and don’t recommend. But that’s what happened and through the daily stresses of life and the nagging feeling that we had taken things in the wrong direction our relationship started to break down. The mutual respect eroded away and instead of being the close friend he could go to for support I became the one who took the brunt of his frustrations. What was once a life that felt perfect and almost magical became a mentally painful and unhealthy existence. But I was committed to him and making it work. I couldn’t handle the thought of losing him and the friendship we once shared.

Looking back, I have no doubt that a regular person would’ve left many times over and moved on, but because I grew up in an abusive home I had learned to put up with more than anyone should. I can’t blame him for the state of our relationship, either, because we teach others how to treat us. If I had stood up for myself and made it clear that some things were unacceptable, things would’ve been different. He either would’ve respected me more or ended it, but I didn’t. I became less and less the person who had overcome her childhood and more and more a doormat who was losing her identity all because I was afraid to lose him.

At this point, you may be thinking that he’s a horrible person. I hate to portray him that way, but the truth is that he did do some horrible things. He never hurt me physically, but he caused a lot of emotional pain. That’s what happens when two people with  lot of unresolved issues get together and become each other’s world. Being so young and living together was like putting our relationship in a pressure cooker and neither of us held up under the stress. There were times when I hated him and I’m sure he felt the same about me, but I never stopped loving him deep down. Many times we almost ended it, but decided to stay together despite everything. It was like a crazy roller coaster ride that I didn’t know how to get off and didn’t really want to. I just kept believing that somehow we’d work through it and get back to the way things used to be.

Despite all the red flags, we ended up getting married in July 1998. I hoped that making that commitment would allow things to settle down. We left California and headed for Oregon for a new beginning. But old habits don’t stay behind. We moved in with family by marriage on my husband’s side, but things continued to be the same. There were bright spots. There always were. Just enough to keep my hope for a happy life together alive. Then I found out I was pregnant. For most, that news would’ve brought joy and excitement. For us, not so much. The added stress almost ended our marriage, but again we decided to stay together and try to make it work. We moved out on our own and it was tough. A new baby in a healthy relationship can be difficult, but for us…well, I’m sure you can imagine. Eventually I lost count of all the times we almost split up.

That sweet little baby brought a new sense of purpose to our lives, though, and slowly we began to figure things out. Just when we started to gain some momentum in the right direction I found out I was pregnant again despite our best efforts to keep that from happening. When he was born I fell in love all over again, but the stress of providing for our growing family was driving a wedge between us again. Our relationship was nowhere near a place that could handle more strain and we ended up separating. We had both had enough and as much as it killed me to let go of the hope I had for us I just couldn’t do it anymore.

I can’t even tell you now exactly what it was that made us decide to go to counselling and get back together. I’m sure it had to do with the kids and not wanting them to grow up with divorced parents like both of us had. And despite everything I still loved him. We didn’t stay in counselling as long as we should have and so even though we were making some progress there were many times when it felt like we’d move one step forward  then two steps back. Then I was introduced to a book that gave me the tools I needed to make some changes that finally pushed us out of that rut. That book was The Love Dare. When I started it my husband wasn’t even speaking to me and for what seemed like the thousandth time I was sure our marriage was over. But I took it seriously and by the second week not only was he speaking to me again, but he was buying me flowers for no reason. Things were starting to feel a tiny bit magical again.

I wish I could say that I’ve continued to do everything I learned from that book everyday since I read it, but old habits are hard to break. As much blame as I can lay on him for the problems in our relationship, I have to accept responsibility, too. Our friendship, the foundation of our relationship, was broken down from both sides. Along the way, I stopped listening to him and trying to see things from his point of view. I started feeling like I already knew what he was going to say and would cut him off before he could finish his thought. That made him feel like there was no point in talking to me so the two people who once shared anything and everything suffered a complete breakdown in communication.

With the help of my wonderful, supportive friends I realized that I couldn’t continue to be a doormat and expect our relationship to heal. I had to start respecting myself if I wanted him to respect me. Going back to work played a huge part in that as I felt like I was contributing not only to our family, but to the businesses I worked for. I was able to start lovingly, but firmly communicate to him what was unacceptable and what I needed from him even though sometimes I felt like I was talking to a wall. Then I discovered Turbo Jam and Chalene Johnson. Her outlook on life has pushed my “recovery” to a whole new level and my life has completely transformed.

So what does all this have to do with staying in bed with my husband until 3-something in the afternoon on a day he should’ve been at a job fair giving his resume to potential employers from all around the country? Well, despite my new outlook on life and the vast improvements to our marriage we’ve never found our way back to the friendship we once had. Of course, after all the years of trials and heartache I know it will never be exactly the same as it was, but I believe in some ways it can be even better if we can rebuild it. One of the most frustrating things has been that I’m learning how to be happy and successful and even though I’ve been able to share that knowledge with my friends I haven’t been able to with him, the person I care about the most who needs it the most.

The alarm went off when it was supposed to, but neither of us got up. Then it went off again with the same results. Finally, it was time to get the kids up and off to school so I got up and took care of that. He still wasn’t up despite much nagging and pleading from me. Taking into consideration that he normally only gets 3-5 hours of sleep on  weekdays and that we had stayed up until 4:30am getting everything ready for the job fair, I wasn’t at all surprised that he wasn’t getting up. I climbed back in bed and quickly fell back asleep next to him. The next thing I knew we were both waking up and it was after 1:00. So much for the job fair.  

Out of nowhere he started to ask me some pretty odd questions saying he just needed me to answer even though it didn’t really make sense. I went along and that led to a conversation about why he does what he does…including skipping the job fair even though we spent all night preparing for it.  A real conversation. Both of us taking turns talking and listening. He was opening up and asking for my help and I finally had answers for him. It was amazing…dare I say, magical. The conversation even turned to me when he asked what kinds of things I was dealing with. I realized that I couldn’t remember that last time he had shown that kind of interest in my well-being and it took me off guard. I’ve spent lots of time talking with friends about my issues, but in that moment I didn’t know what to say. Finally, I found a way to open up to him and trust him with my vulnerability. I think he sees me differently now, in a better light because he’s realizing again that we’re in this together and need to lean on each other the way we used to all those years ago.

At one point, he started to say something and I felt like I knew what he was going to say so I cut him off. Instead of shutting down, he pointed it out and asked if he could finish. When he stopped talking I asked if I could respond and he said no. He could see it was killing me and explained that that’s how he feels when I don’t let him talk. It was the most vivid “a-ha moment” I’ve had in a very long time. I felt such remorse for making him feel that way for all these years that saying I was sorry didn’t feel like enough. Over the years, I’ve apologized for many things that I ended up doing again and again so I know the words probably didn’t mean much to him. But the point hit my with such clarity that I can’t imagine doing that to him again. Not that the temptation won’t arise, but the understanding I have now will always make me think twice before I open my mouth and close my ears.

Yes, he missed the job fair, but it worked out for the best. We had a major breakthrough in our relationship which to me is more valuable than all the money in the world. There will be other opportunities and I know he’ll end up where he’s supposed to. The important thing is that we’ll be there together, happier than we would’ve been if things had gone as we planned, and for that I am eternally thankful.

No, I’m not describing my workout, although it would qualify. I’m talking about a good laugh. When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried, people were telling you to breathe and you used ab muscles you forgot were there? If you don’t remember then it’s time to do something about it! I believe we are all capable of experiencing the pure joy that comes from a good laugh. Babies certainly know how to do it. Check out this one. Even if you’ve already seen it, it never gets old. I think it’s one of my favorite videos of all time because it always makes me laugh. Breathe, baby, breathe!

Today, one of my friends joined me for my walk. See? Here’s proof. 🙂

As we walked, we talked and laughed. I think we may have done more laughing than talking which probably made us burn even more calories and there’s nothing wrong with that! Every once in a while I’d remember that I was supposed to be taking pictures.

I love seeing signs that Spring is just around the corner.

I love Spring because it’s like all of nature hits the reset button, just like a good laugh. You know that feeling, when you finally settle down, let out a big sigh and wipe the tears from your eyes, still grinning ear to ear. It’s like a huge weight is lifted and you can keep going, no matter what you’re dealing with. Like you can breathe again.

The best kind of laughter comes from a heart filled with love. Sure, we can laugh at others and it may feel good for a second or two, but deep down we know it’s not right and the joy is tainted. There are plenty of things to find humor in without bringing other people down. Sometimes my kids say the most hilarious things and we all have a good laugh and there’s nothing more freeing than being able to laugh at yourself. Somewhere along the way many of us became reserved, unable to just let loose, but if we can recapture the pure, bold, unashamed joy of a baby who’s delighted by the simplest things each new day will feel like we’ve hit the reset button. As adults living stressful lives, who couldn’t use that?

Instead of focussing on the negatives, I hope today we can look for some joy. And like I said before, we always find what we’re looking for…one way or the other. 😉

Hello! How are you today? [Oh,Aw], I’m so [happy,sorry] to hear that. [ 🙂 , 😦 ] Me? Oh! I’m FANTASTIC! Thanks for asking! Why the extra cheerfulness on this otherwise dreary day? As I headed for the tree I was wondering the same thing, but it was undeniable. I was filled with joy and excitement.

Maybe it was that the rain had stopped before I went outside to walk, or that I knew once I got back I’d be stuffing 240 newsletters with flyers for the walking group and a weight loss/fitness challenge starting in two weeks. It could’ve been the preview for the new episode of House that got this song stuck in my head, or maybe it was that I got to talk with one of my best friends from high school the night before which me feel a little more like “me”. We used to do all kinds of crazy stuff and laugh our heads off all the time. I’m sure some people thought we were totally off our rockers (only partly true) or high, but we were just being ourselves and having a blast. If you want to see some photos you’ll have to connect with me on facebook.

I think a big part of my happiness, too, was because I had discovered earlier that morning that I had qualified for Success Club (something that’s part of my coaching business) and didn’t even realize it. Why is that so important? Well, it means my business is doing well and eventually I may end up on a cruise as a thank you from the company I’m partnered with and now I’ll be getting new leads in addition to the customers that are already assigned to me every couple of days so I can be their coach. But, that’s not the most important thing. It’s the fact that I was recognized for doing a good job, but I wasn’t doing it for the recognition. I was simply doing what I love, helping other people transform their lives the way I was helped by the supportive community I’m part of as a coach.

I don’t know about you, but to me that’s a big deal. I’ve had jobs where I did what I had to do, but didn’t really enjoy it. I’ve had jobs where I started off excited, wanting to get ahead, but left with a bad taste in my mouth because the people I worked for only seemed to care what I was doing if I made a mistake. I’ve had jobs where the more the company grew, the less I felt like a valued member of the team. But not now! I feel successful, appreciated and trusted. The funny thing is, I technically work for myself, but the company I represent makes me feel like part of a family even though it does hundreds of millions in sales each year. It’s all because the heart and soul of the business is people helping people, one on one. It starts at the top with an amazing CEO who’s passionate about helping others and it gets passed on, person to person. That makes me very happy.

The farther I walked, or bounced, along the more I thought about all the things I’m thankful for and it wasn’t long before I realized I had a huge smile on my face. Then it hit me, the beginning of true happiness is gratitude. We can be happy in any situation or circumstance if we choose to focus on the positives and have an attitude of thankfulness. Every situation can be looked at from different perspectives. It’s up to us to choose to look at things in a way that will move us forward. We have to take responsibility for our happiness and stop telling ourselves that if this or that was different, then I’d be happy. There are things in my life that certainly aren’t perfect, but if I dwell on those things that’s exactly where I’ll be stuck. I choose to see the opportunities and focus on the progress instead of wallowing in self-pity thinking only about what I don’t have or what I haven’t accomplished yet.

So where are the photos? I was pretty distracted by my feeling of euphoria this morning and I couldn’t bring myself to posting pictures of a gloomy day when all I felt was sunshine. I did remember how much I love the happy, cheerful sculptures at Alton Baker Park and decided to go hang out with them for a few minutes.

We can’t rely on our external surroundings for happiness. If we do, we’ll never really be happy. Lord knows there’s always plenty of trouble all around. There is a plan for each of us and we all have the potential to do great things if our thoughts are in the right place. If you want to feel like your life means something, find the right motives and be thankful for everything that’s happened to you up to this point. Each experience is there for a reason. Maybe it’s an opportunity to learn and grow. Maybe it’s a chance to help someone in need. But sadly, we’ll miss out on the happiness if we can’t learn to be thankful…in all things. I hope that you can experience even a fraction of the joy I felt this morning because it was worth every challenge that made it possible.

The original purpose of starting this walking group was to get my neighbors interested in health and fitness. So far, no one from the apartment complex has shown up. I’ve had a couple of friends join me on occasion which is great, but for the most part I’m walking solo. I suppose I could’ve just given up. It’s not like I need to walk for exercise. I’ve got plenty of fun and effective fitness programs at home like Turbo Jam, TurboFire, P90X, Brazil Butt Lift, and the one I’m currently doing…ChaLEAN Extreme. But, I keep going because I know eventually someone will join me and I have tons of energy and I love being outside taking photos of the things I find interesting.

Growing up an only child (yes, I did say I have a brother, two actually and a sister…long story for another day), I learned to enjoy time alone, but like they say…no man is an island. This morning I ended up walking next to a college student on her way to class. Even though we didn’t speak, having a companion made the chilly morning feel warmer somehow. Her presence was comforting. I knew we’d eventually part ways since I’d be slowing down to take pictures so I took this one of her as she went on her way. Yep, there’s the tree.

I went on my merry way, heading left at the tree with the confused moss instead of right toward Alton Baker Park like I normally do. I was thinking about how we need friends and family to support us as we go through life. I remembered the people who have come and gone, the ones who were there for me in tough times and the ones who were there, but still made me feel alone.

A little off the subject…couldn’t decide which angle I liked better so I posted them both.

As I thought about the times I felt alone and about all the people around us who have felt the same way, like the woman I met on my last walk, I couldn’t help but remember that we are never really alone. No doubt, there are those who disagree with me. You may even be thinking, “Oh, here we go. She’s going to get all preachy on us.” But, relax. I don’t have some secret agenda where I’m slowly going to start trying to convert the masses through my blog. I’m just sharing my thoughts and experiences and my belief that God exists and cares about us is part of my experience. If God himself hasn’t felt the need to force you to believe He exists or to trust Him, then it’s certainly not my place to, either.

For me, the question of whether God exists has never actually been a question. Just as I believe the sun is there even when it’s obscured by clouds, I believe God is there even when His presence is not obvious.

I know there are plenty of people who believe God exists, but aren’t too happy with the way He’s running things. All I can say to that is that we see our lives from a different perspective and a limited view. I’m reminded of a quote that was taped on the inside of the bathroom stall door in the girls’ dorm where I went to college. “God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as co-workers with Him.” Desire of Ages

You may not agree with me and that’s fine. I’m not here to argue the point. I just know that all aspects of my life would be much worse if it wasn’t for what God has done in my life. Those who knew me back in high school can attest to the fact that I’m not the same person I used to be…and that’s a good thing. The bottom line, and I think we can all agree, is that all of our lives will be better when we can stop thinking about ourselves long enough to see the people around us who need love, compassion and companionship and do something about it.

Again, I couldn’t decide which shot I liked better so I’m posting both. I was overjoyed that the birds weren’t bothered by my presence and allowed me to take more than one.

It looked like I wasn’t going to be taking any photos of the bottom of this bridge for a while.

After I chatted with one of the workers about the new bridge for a few minutes and continued on my way, I saw a familiar sight. A man was walking toward me with all his possessions strapped to his back, his head hung low. As I approached him I tried to catch his eye, but he just stared at the ground where his next footstep would fall. I said good morning, but he didn’t respond. Not far behind him was another man, loaded down with various packs and bags, but his head was held high. I looked him in the eye and said good morning. After a split second of shock, he smiled back and said the same. Moments later I heard him ask the worker if they would be able to go under the bridge. His reason for being under there was much better than mine, but the answer was still no.

We all need love and companionship so we need to stop and ask ourselves if the bickering and drama we sometimes allow in our lives is worth it. We need to stop taking the people around us for granted.

Going back off subject for a brief moment…perhaps this is the new OPB station since they’ve announced cutting funding to public broadcasting. Not to get all political or anything.

Ok, back on track. I’ve considered renaming this category “Ramblings with Some Focus…and Photos”. Seems fitting. As I finished up my walk and passed by Autzen Stadium I couldn’t help but notice that the wind was picking up and the trash cans that stood alone were being blown over.

The ones that were in pairs seemed to be faring better.

9 “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Eccl. 4:9-12

Yeah, I just quoted the Bible, but I couldn’t have said it better myself. We need relationships, but sometimes those relationships are hard. I’ve found that when we allow God to be that third strand, those relationships transform into a source of joy, comfort and strength.

Tomorrow there may be snow so I might have to miss a day of walking. If it’s possible, I’ll go. Either way, there will be pictures. If I go, I’ll most likely be alone…or not. Just depends on how you look at it. 😉