Tag Archive: relationships


Dear Food,

We’ve been together a long time and let’s be honest, it’s been a rocky relationship. I feel like there are some things I really need to get off my chest. Part of me wishes I could just end this and move on, but let’s face it, I can’t live without you. It’s not you, it’s me. I’ve just had a really hard time figuring out how to be in this relationship without screwing things up. You’ve always been there for me, willing to provide everything I need. But too often I’ve taken you for granted and didn’t see you for what you are – helpful, kind and caring. You’ve wanted nothing but the best for me. You’ve wanted to not only give me strength to get through my days, but pure enjoyment. I haven’t appreciated that, though, and used you…only taking advantage of your “naughty” side…and it’s really gotten me in trouble.

I’m sorry for all the times I’ve hidden our relationship because I was embarrassed to be seen with you. I guess I didn’t want people to see how messed up our relationship had become so early on. And then there were the times I was selfish and kept you all to myself not wanting to share you with the others in my life. Let’s not forget the jealousy. When I did see you with others I couldn’t just let them enjoy you and be ok with it. I had to have you, too. Can you blame me, though? You always look so tempting.

You’ve done so much for me, but I know I’ve taken advantage of you. Instead of seeing you as the complete, wonderful thing that you are I’ve used you, only wanting to get a quick fix, and completely ignored how great you can be if given the chance. You’ve always been there when I’ve been sad, lonely or stressed out, but then I’ve basically ignored you when everything is fine. Sure, we’ve been together, but I haven’t payed enough attention to you day in and day out. Instead of giving you the time and attention you deserved, I only thought of you when I absolutely had to instead of looking forward to our time together. All those brief interludes in the kitchen with me spending as little time with you as possible just trying to get what I thought I needed instead of sitting down with you, giving you 100% of my attention and really enjoying you. Or the times we’ve been hanging out on the couch, me knowing you were there, but focussing so much on the TV I didn’t even realize how much I was taking from you without giving you the proper attention.

Treating you this way has not helped me at all. It’s just alienated us and, in a way, made me hate you. I know I shouldn’t feel that way, especially since I brought it all on myself. The more I’ve abused our relationship the less I want to think about you and everything you are to me because I feel like I don’t remember how to have a healthy relationship. I don’t like spending time with you anymore because I’ve forgotten how great we used to be together. There were those good times when I respected you and allowed you to give me just what I needed without treating you like a pile of junk.

Maybe we can get back to that again. I know you forgive me. You always do. I just need to forgive myself and give you the time and energy you deserve and to stop acting as though you’re only good for a cheap high or a quick thrill. I know now that those things don’t last and I always end up feeling guilty afterward. There’s so much more to you. You have amazing qualities that not only are fulfilling, but that last without making me feel bad. Sure, occasionally it’s ok for us to indulge a bit, but that’s not what a healthy relationship is based on.  From now on we’ll spend more quality time together, ok? And I know that the more I learn about you, the better our relationship will be. I’m sure that once I don’t feel guilty because I’ve taken advantage of you I won’t feel the need to hide you or be jealous when I see other people enjoying you. Once I start caring for you the way you care for me we can be happy again. I know we can make this work.

Love,

Me

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Better Late Than Never

Though I grew up as an only child, I actually have three siblings. Two half brothers and one half sister. We all share the same dad. Well, it’s actually a little more complicated than that. The youngest brother was adopted and there was another brother who died shortly after birth. I was the last to arrive and the product of the next to last marriage. There is a pretty big age gap between them and me so they were all adults by the time I was old enough to remember spending time with them, which wasn’t often.

Of the three, I saw the youngest brother the most, about once or twice a year on holidays until I was a teenager. The oldest, my other brother, I may have met once when I was in elementary school, but neither of us actually remembers the encounter. Over 25 years later we finally started to get to know each other on facebook and have visited each other twice since with plans for another visit this summer. Unfortunately, I don’t have the same chance with my other brother because he passed away a few years ago due to health issues brought on by some unfortunate choices over the course of his lifetime. Even though I spent the most time around him I never felt like I knew him at all. Though I’ve heard many stories from those who did know him, I wish I had gotten to know him first hand while he was still alive.

I always dreamed of having a sister when I was growing up. Someone I could play with and tell all my secrets. Someone who had my back no matter what.  My parents divorced when I was very young so I never had that experience. Of course, I did have a sister, but she lived in another state with her husband and kids. We visited them a few times and I even stayed with them for a summer, but it wasn’t exactly the kind of sisterly relationship I was longing for. The funny thing is, though, that as time goes on, the difference in age becomes less and less significant. We’re both adults now and can relate on many levels. It’s been years since we’ve seen each other or even talked, but again facebook has brought me closer to my family.

 This is a photo of us when I was very young, too young to remember the visit.

As I compare that to this recent photo of me I am blown away by how much we look alike.

It turns out our looks aren’t the only thing we have in common. At the top of the list…procrastination. I find myself saying, “better late than never”, a lot. When it comes to my sister, that’s especially true because she is a cancer survivor. I lost my mom to breast cancer weeks before my husband and I got married and missed out on sharing my life as a wife and mom with her. I can count the number of female relatives I’ve actually met on one hand so connecting with my big sis is a big deal. How tragic it would’ve been if I had missed the chance to build a relationship with her.

It’s so easy to take people for granted and sadly that means we let important relationships slip through our fingers as time flies by. I wish I had been there to support my sister as she battled cancer, but at least we still have time to be sisters now and her victory over one of my greatest fears inspires me. Better late than never, indeed.

Once again, my son missed the bus. Turns out there’s been a sub who’s been following the schedule a little more closely than the regular driver. I’ve enjoyed the extra time with him while driving him to school, though, so it’s been a good thing after all. My mixed up schedule allowed my to walk with another friend today and catch up. Our conversation reminded me that relationships aren’t guaranteed. When we get married, the plan is to stay together forever, but so often that doesn’t happen. My own marriage has come extremely close to ending on more than one occasion. Relationships that last take work and both people have to be willing to put in the effort.

My husband doesn’t ask for much really. Just a few simple things that make his life a bit easier and less stressful, but sometimes I let those little things slide because I don’t always see them as being as important as he does. I’m thinking, though, that those are the things that make or break a relationship. It’s so easy to get caught up with what we’re doing and working toward that we forget that our goals include and are often for our spouse or partner and family. But if we don’t take the time to do the little things that mean so much to them and to stay connected, even if it means scheduling time to be alone together, all our work could be what causes the relationship to end.

That being said, I’m going to post the photos I took while walking today (which aren’t that many since I was thinking more about the conversation than what we were passing) and do some of the things I know will make my husband happy…not because he deserves it, though he does, but because it’s my job to actively love him no matter what. And while I’m on the subject, let me just say that The Love Dare is an incredible book that can help any marriage be better whether it’s already pretty good or about to end. I know this from personal experience.

Same trees as yesterday, looking up which I’d never done before.

There’s no time like the present to do something special for the people we love. What will you do today to let someone know you love them?

As I read a comment on yesterday’s post this morning with a tear of joy in my eye, I was reminded of a video clip on my Turbo Jam DVD. It was part of the “getting to know Chalene Johnson” section and it’s her talking about a phone call she got from a friend who’s pants were falling down. As I watched her tear up as she told the story about such a little thing and how it gave her so much joy to have helped her friend, I knew I’d found something special.

I started doing Turbo Jam when I was at my heaviest, 323.6lbs, and at one of my lowest points mentally and emotionally. Just as much as I needed someone to show me what to do physically, I needed someone who could help me feel like a worthwhile person again and capable of making the changes I needed to in order to get my life back. In that moment when I saw Chalene get so emotional over another person’s success a spark of hope was ignited in me. She was exactly what I needed. (I’m sitting here writing this with tears streaming down my face.)

Now, that little spark has turned into a passion to help others…to pay it forward. The walking group is one of the ways I’m trying to reach out to the people around me. Up until today, the only people who had joined me were friends who don’t live in the apartment complex which is where I advertised the group. But this morning, in response to the flyers that went out yesterday, I got an email from a man who said his “very shy” wife was interested in walking, too. YAY!!! Maybe one person doesn’t seem like much to get excited about, but change happens one person, one decision, one step at a time. I hope to meet her tomorrow morning and that she won’t be too shy to come since it will likely just be the two of us. (As always, scroll over the images for more info.)

It’s really the little things in life that make all the difference. This morning, waking up ten minutes early meant I had time to fix breakfast for my husband and he had time to eat it. It also meant the kids had more time to drink their shakes without me announcing the time every two minutes which normally becomes stressful for all of us. Last night, I forgot one little thing that meant me frantically searching for the camera so I could put the batteries back in and still make it down to the meeting point in time. Turns out I didn’t find the camera, but it could be considered a blessing in disguise because I was forced to use my phone instead which takes better pictures of little things. Perfect since I wanted to talk about little things today.

Though it’s important to be able to see the big picture, it’s the little details that add up to create that big picture. Our lives can be full of joy or misery depending on the details. Take our families. How do we greet each other? Seems like a small thing, but there’s a big difference between being greeted with a smile or a frown. Do we say please and thank you? One or two syllables, but they speak volumes. Any seemingly small thing, repeated day after day, will become the focal point in the big picture. It’s up to us to decide if it will be a thing of beauty or something that makes us want to turn away.

It doesn’t stop at our front door, either. We go out into the world and are faced with thousands of little decisions each day. They way we interact with our co-workers, friends or even strangers makes a huge impact. You may think you don’t have any influence, but you do. Just like one tiny raindrop hitting a puddle makes ripples, a single act of kindness can pass from one person to another, changing the lives of many.

Then, as people join together, looking for ways to make their communities better one person at a time, the effects are even more noticeable.

Then, all those single drops coming together turn into rivers which can bring about huge changes. Ever hear of the Grand Canyon? Of course it doesn’t happen in a day. It takes time, but we all have the same amount in a day. Hour after hour, minute after minute, second after second, moment after moment. It just takes a split second to choose an action that will lead to another and another and another. Sometimes, we only have that split second to take advantage of an opportunity before us so we need to be aware, looking for the chance to make something happen.

Maybe we sometimes think that our attempts are pointless, but we should never give up. Seeds are small, but they can grow into gigantic trees. Buds are small, but they grow into beautiful blooms. It just takes time. We wouldn’t expect a tree to appear as soon as the seed is placed in the ground. We wouldn’t expect a garden to be in full bloom the moment after the buds appear. “Let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9 (One of my favorite verses.)

It all starts with one little thing. How far should I go back? Let’s start with my kids. I needed some adult interaction when the boys were little so I joined a MOPS group because of an invitation from  friend I met at church who’s daughter was born on the same day in the same hospital as my son. At that MOPS group, I met another mom who became my close friend and at one point, co-worker. She moved away 😦 and I joined facebook to keep in touch with her. Through facebook, I got in touch with my brother who, if I had ever met him, it was only once when I was a kid and we had basically no contact after that. That led to him coming to visit with his wife and of course, take pictures. Seeing those pictures made me order Turbo Jam which allowed me to see that video of Chalene getting emotional. The motivation I got from her led to me pushing play day after day. My success with that program led me to getting the more challenging version, TurboFire, which I loved and posted comments about on facebook. A coach saw those comments and became my friend which led to her asking me if I wanted to be a coach, too. That decision led to making more friends on facebook, including one who suggested I start posting more stuff on my blog which I started because I wanted to reach more people as a coach. Her suggestion led me to posting my photos from my morning walks which led me to start sharing the thoughts that run through my head while I walk which I hope you are finding helpful. Whew! And that, my friends, is how one little thing leads to another. 🙂

So, what small step will you take today?

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. 😉

Usually when I head out for a walk I don’t plan where I’m going or what I’m going to photograph…well, except for the tree.

But, today was different. I was on a mission. Since I had a free hand, I decided I would go back on the same path I was on the day before and pick up the bag of poop if it was still there. As I looked for it along the edge I found this instead.

Sorry, but I had to share. I was just so amused that there I was looking for poop and although it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, I found it. Of all the times I’ve walked those trails I’ve never noticed any before. That got me thinking about a life principle brought to my attention recently through the wonderful people on my team of coaches. In life, you find what you’re looking for so you’d better look for things you want to find. Like squirrels.

Ok, maybe most of us aren’t looking for squirrels, but we all are looking for something even if we don’t realize it. Our attitudes often determine what we find in life. Positive people find positive experiences and success while negative people just can’t ever seem to catch a break. Even if we’re not exactly sure what we’re looking for, having a positive attitude and an open mind allows us to see bright spots and opportunities along the way. The more time and energy we spend focussing on what we want, or don’t want, the more likely it is that it will happen. Goals gives us direction and something to move toward. We take action so we can move closer to what we want. Eventually, we find what we’re looking for even if it doesn’t look exactly the same when we reach it. The opposite is also true. When we spend our time focussing on all the negative things that can happen we become the kind of person that negative things happen to.

For example, if a person in a relationship is constantly worried that other person will be unfaithful or leave them they begin to act distrustful and jealous, turning themselves into the kind of person their partner doesn’t want to be around. They drive the other person away, creating the very situation they’re so worried will happen. If they had believed the best and focussed on the positives in the relationship they would’ve been that much more irresistible to their partner, creating a strong, happy relationship.

Besides looking for that green bag, I had another mission. WordPress has a weekly photo challenge and the title this week is Refuge. I was looking for something that would fit, though I wasn’t exactly sure what it would be. Since I hadn’t gotten the shot by the time I reached the main part of the park I left Pre’s Trail and headed out toward the mall along the river.

Once I passed the mall I crossed over the river and headed back.

The benches on the south side of the river were donated in memory of loved ones and each carry a plaque. This one was my favorite. Obviously a woman who was looking for good things in life.

Passing by the rose garden, I thought that someone looking for thorns would certainly find them, but even in winter while the bushes lie dormant there was something amazing there.

A little farther down the path, another memorial.

Directly across the path from the war memorial, something considerably more lighthearted.

Shortly after passing the cheerful animals I came upon a figure barely moving forward along the path with their whole life on their back and their head hung so low I couldn’t tell if it was a man or woman. I don’t remember ever seeing a person so downtrodden and heavily burdened. I overtook them quickly as they seemed to be struggling to put one foot in front of the other.

As I listened to the shuffling footsteps fading away behind me it occurred to me that I should do something. As I pondered the idea I slowed down, but kept going. What could I do? I had no money or food with me. Then I knew. I could lift their burden, even if for only a few minutes. I retraced my steps until I was standing right in front of what I had finally figured out was a woman. “Excuse me.” She didn’t look up, but tilted her head to the side so she could see me. “I don’t have anything on me to help you out, but I can carry that for a while if you’d like.” The look on her face made me wonder how long it had been since anyone had actually spoken to her. She shook her head no and kept shuffling along. Maybe she was afraid I would take her stuff or maybe she was holding onto one last bit of pride. Either way, she refused my offer to help, but it was fine. Maybe the fact that someone actually noticed her was enough to lift her burden for a while.

We parted ways and I found myself wishing I had asked her name or just walked with her for a bit. But she was gone so I went back to taking pictures.

I headed home, a bit weary from the extra long walk. Did I find what I was looking for? I did. You can see the photos here. No matter what you’re looking for you will find it. Whether it’s a person who needs help, or an opportunity to learn something new, or beauty among the thorns you’ll find it. And, if it’s poop you’re looking for, well, there’s plenty of that around, too…if that’s what you want.