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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

the year of living slothfully

I blame my Chromecast.

It has been an adventure, exploring all the cool crap it can do.

I also blame the weather. Clouds make me sleepy.

But mostly, I blame a big, gigantic dream swirling around in my head.

My business is going through some changes--very good changes, but changes nonetheless. Changes that require thought, planning, dreaming.

When I have a lot on my mind like that, I tend to retreat. I usually beat myself up for it.

But tonight I realized something. What if the slothfulness is just part of my process?

In order to create something amazing, maybe what I need is downtime. Thought time. Processing time. Dreaming time.

Time's up. I have a meeting on Friday to prepare for. I have a dream to sketch out. I have a business to plan, a business to build.

It's gonna be awesome.

Monday, October 27, 2014

another week of nailing it

62,369 steps last week!

Wasn't sure how it would go.  Spent 4 days in Wisconsin.  Dancing for 6 hours on Saturday night really boosted things. :-)

I noticed this morning whilst in the shower that my heels weren't hurting.  Is my plantar fasciitis getting better due to all the walking?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

One day in

Stats for Monday:

Steps: 9,267
Water: Guzzled it
Food: Not great. Ate out twice--lunch at Jimmy John's (was at a client, it is within walking distance); dinner at Don Pablo's (my fav place to eat alone, Mondays are usually my only evening "off" from the kids so I took advantage)

Overall, did well.

Tried refrigerator oatmeal. Supposed to be eaten cold. Nope. Going to try and warm it up a little. 

Finally gathered all the supplies to make the following:

frozen chicken burritos
soup in a jar
green salad with chicken and chili lime vingegarette

Plan is to put this stuff together tomorrow and get my kitchen in order.

Now it is MEA which means kids, outdoor fun and no structure! Can I survive? Stay tuned.... :)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

michael bolton, we're gonna need you to focus up

Alright peeps.

Time to get focused and back to the mission.

This past year has seen me make great emotional strides and not as great physical strides.

My business is growing and (dare I say?) showing signs of great fruit.

My spiritual life is on track. Just last night I got an answer from God about something I had been pondering. Chose to listen and obey (before first disobeying and suffering the consequences)--that's a good change.

My therapist bitch slapped some sense into me this summer and I made a great leap forward in my emotional healing.

My physical self is in the worst shape it has ever been.

My habits are bad. My resolve is flimsy. My focus is scattered.

So, here is the plan for this week. Just for this week. No more sweeping, grand plans. One week of focus.

This week, I will:
1. Get 50,000 steps logged on my FitBit
2. Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day (bonus love for myself if I start the day off with tea instead of soda)
3. Eat the meals I have prepared for the week

Can I do it? Stay tuned!

(12,345 bonus points for you if you can identify the source of my subject line)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pics from the annual Grand Canyon trip!

Selfie on the South Rim! I spent the afternoon on a ledge cheering on my group as well as strangers. :) Time well spent!
My traveling companions! Gary and his daughter Sara. We desperately tried to hit a Vegas buffet but who knew the lines would be over a two hour wait?!?!? We found a nice cafe and gorged on pizza!
Jimbo (second from left) and his buddies! Love these guys.
This dude is 67 years old!!!! He is so awesome.
 A beautiful rainbow welcomed our hikers to the end of the hike!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

You attract what you put out there, part two

Last fall, I wrote a post about attracting the wrong types of guys. You can read it here.

As you know, I have quit dating. This is a good thing.

That doesn't mean that I don't find myself having moments of loneliness. During one such moment earlier this week, I started thinking about all that I have and how I tend to focus on the one thing I lack.

Yes, I am single. I am not in a romantic relationship with a man. But that doesn't mean I am alone!

I have attracted the most awesome group of friends over the past few years. I am only alone when I choose to be. And because most are all raging extroverts like me, I am very rarely alone!

If it is true that we attract what we put out there, I'm liking what I'm putting out there when it comes to friends. I can honestly say this is one area of life where I am nailing it.

I feel like I have authentic, vulnerable, honest, REAL friendships with these people. They are there for me when life is fun and easy and they are there when things stink. They are willing to go along with my last minute schemes and happy to hang out and be still.

I may not have a man in my life, but I have a network of friends that almost make that deisre disappear. Almost. :)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

See them grow!

Every summer since 1990, my family has spent a week at Crow Wing Crest Lodge near Akeley, MN.

When my kids were each born, they both got a CWC shirt. Each year, I take a picture of them in that shirt next to the door of the cabin.

It is so wonderful to look at all these pictures together and see how they have grown!

Also, we figure Ethan has maybe two more years in his until it becomes a belly shirt.

I envision Ethan holding his up to himself when it doesn't fit anymore and the kids handing down these shirts to their kids someday!


confessions of an insomniac

I've always been a troubled sleeper. I get anxious about sleep, which of course leads to insomnia.

My insomnia was at its worst during my senior year in college until about a month before my wedding. Perhaps that was my subconscious trying to tell me something? Anyway, it finally improved when I gave into taking an antidepressant. Nearly two years of 2-3 hours of sleep a night ended as I finally slept like a normal person. It was pure heaven.

I've tried to get off the meds before--I make it three weeks then crack up. I've finally learned it just isn't worth the pain and that my brain chemistry needs a little help in order to function properly. I'm only on about a quarter of what is considered a therapeutic dose but it does the trick.

However, I am also on another med that helps me quiet my mind. It isn't an actual sleeping pill, but rather an antihistamine (sort of like Benadryl but I can't take Benadryl anymore because it makes me literally start vibrating). I was put on this med when pregnant with Pibs because of course the insomnia and anxiety around sleep reared its ugly head.

I've had very few sleepless nights since beginning this cocktail of meds. Truthfully, it has been delightful! However, I have been in a mild depression for about seven years now. My life started to unravel after Pibs was born and that is when it started. Then there was the divorce, which can make any person depressed.

Lately I've been realizing that I sleep WAY too much (this didn't suddenly start, I just suddenly realized it is a problem). I am always tired. My first thought upon waking is wondering when I can take a nap. After talking this over with my doctor recently, I realized that it is more about too many meds rather than depression. She asked if I would cut out the sleeping meds and I told her just the mere thought of that made me start panicking inside.

So I decided to cut my dose in half. That was a few weeks ago. I am still sleeping great but just at night now--far less napping in my life! I have more energy, my head feels clearer and I am getting stuff done. Is it possible that I have been suffering from medication grogginess rather than depression?

Makes me wonder what is possible now! The plan is to get off the med entirely. It still freaks me out though so we'll see. Not sure I can tolerate sleepless nights as a single mama!

Isn't it crazy that the solution to my energy crisis may have been in my hands this whole time?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

healing and dealing

Sometimes I wonder if the healing will ever come. 

Sometimes I wonder if it will ever end.

Sometimes I wonder how much longer I can put up with it.

Tonight I had a breakthrough. 

Need to set my own heart right before I can let the healing flow.

Pray for me.

Monday, July 7, 2014

what's the haps?

Does anyone else feel like summer is FLYING by? It is the second week of July and I feel like we've done barely anything. Disconcerting, to say the least.

I have a good post brewing in my mind but it isn't quite ready to be released just yet. So I shall share some random bits of life with you.

  • Casual dating is a myth. It should instead be called placeholder dating. I am way into placeholder dating these days. Basically, it means you could never envision love or a future with a person but you hang out with them anyway, until something better comes along. So.....yeah. Once I realized that this is actually what I meant by "casually dating", it became clear to me that I must stop. I don't want to be someone's placeholder and I'm certain they don't want to be mine. My therapist backed all this up as well. :) Dating is finished for me. If God wants me to have a partner, He better throw him in my path because I'm done looking for him.
  • My girl Courtney is moving into the house next door! Watch out neighborhood! I adore Courtney and her family. She is the perfect kind of friend to have close by. She is also the owner of a cooking business that uses my kitchen for classes. It will be so convenient to just have to bring things next door! And if we forget her fancy honey, she just has to run next door to grab it. Also, her kids are outside ALL THE TIME so I'm hoping it rubs off on my kids!
  • I currently hold three jobs. I am a coach at Rachel Olson Coaching, a sous chef at Cook It With Courtney, and now a book distributor! My dad and his business partner wrote an awesome book on transformational leadership! They decided to forgo the standard publishing route and hired me to be their distributor. I have about 2,000 books stacked in my garage and ship them out whenever orders come in. However, despite all these fun jobs, I am thinking about finding some part time temp work in the fall. The recent bigger-than-expected drop in alimony and child support has stretched my budget to the max. My business is growing but I can't count on it to support me fully just yet (but I will!!!!). So for now my plan is to find some very temporary part time work. That will still give me time to work on my business. Of course, if I get another corporate gig like the one I signed last month I won't need to do it. 
  •  As you recall from a few weeks ago, financial stresses have been weighing on my heavily. I am taking care of three people on less than what I made working before kids. I got rid of my credit card and am on a cash budget now but there is about $10 left at the end of the month. But when God provides, He provides! Last week I got notice that I will be getting a property tax refund which will help a lot. Then I was at a Mastermind meeting and found out that one of the women has a great contact at ProStaff, which will help me with that temp work I need. It was all a huge relief.

  • Today I began my Grand Canyon Hike training. I've hiked the canyon 3 times but never really trained for it. I've set a goal for myself as far as training goes. If I fail to meet that goal, I can't hike. I refuse to limp along in misery again this time. If I do it, I want to do it WELL. I will still go on the trip (already bought my ticket) because it has become my fall tradition and I love sharing the trip with my dad. I think this year will be my seventh trip! If you are interested in the hike, check out these two blogs, written by people we hike with each year:

That's all for tonight!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

it's good to have friends

Yesterday was not the best day. I learned a hard lesson about listening to my gut.

Late last night, Courtney and I were texting and she asked if I needed her to come over. I of course said no, because I am not one to burden anyone (other than my mom and sister!) with my stupid problems.

She texted me back that she was coming over anyway. :)

I found myself with a huge smile on my face and feeling very loved. She came over, we ate Oreos and watched Pitch Perfect. It was a delightful evening!

I realized that I say no to love way too often. I don't want to be a burden, or be any trouble. But even though I said no last night, Courtney realized what I needed and came over anyway. That is the definition of friendship.

I'd like to learn to be more open to letting people love on me and love on my kids. I was on an island for so many years where the only way to survive was to keep people out. I'm not on that island anymore. I have nothing to hide anymore.

The island is open. Come on by for a visit. :)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Ethan had a breakthrough!

Something excited happened here last night and I need to capture it here.

Some of you know that the divorce was pretty tough on Ethan. He was very sad and got to a point where he was hurting himself at times. Eventually he was diagnosed with situational depression and we found a good therapist that really helped him.

But with kids, the progress is slow and you don't always see the fruit of your labor when you want.

One of the things we worked on in therapy was Truth Talk vs. Stinkin' Thinkin'. Stinkin' Thinkin' are the lies you have in your head. For example, I'm so stupid, I'm unlovable, I'm the worst boy ever. Truth Talk is what you say to combat those lies. For example, I made a mistake that I can learn from. I may not have all the answers but I can handle it. I was created for a special purpose and am meant to be here.  You get the general idea.

It was an exhausting nightly exercise for many, many months with Ethan. We would sit together on his bed, he would be down on himself, I would encourage Truth Talk. Very difficult to see what I feel is a truly amazing boy be so down on himself.

So flash forward to last night. After I tucked the kids in, Ethan came back down to tell me he had a chat room fight with a friend. He was just explaining to me what had happened and that they worked it out but I was only hearing "cyber bully!!!" in my mind. I told him very firmly that he was not to ever say mean things to a friend online ever again or I would take tech away from him for a very long time. I didn't even really hear what he was actually telling me, which became clear later.

When I went up to bed, there was a long note for me at the top of the stairs. He explained that he made a mistake, that he felt bad about it but that he was glad he apologized. Then he said "I'm a very tired boy, I need to sleep now".

I immediately wrote him a note to see in the morning about how I could've handled that better and praised him for apologizing to his friend and for handling the situation.

Then I creeped into his room just to see if he was still awake and sure enough, he was. We hugged it out and I gave him my note. He told me that he was going to write "I'm a stupid, terrible boy" but then he stopped and realized he was just really tired and that those things weren't true about him.

THIS IS HUGE. I've gotten many notes from him that tell me how horrible he is, how stupid he is, how he is the worst kid ever. Honestly, when I first saw that he had written something last night, I sighed and thought "Here we go again.". My instinct when I get those bad notes is to hug him, tell him how amazing he is and let it go. But that doesn't really get to the heart of the matter--what he believes about himself. He is the only one who can Truth Talk himself. I simply need to put the right tools in his path. I am so proud of him for doing it all on his own this time!

Ethan just made a huge step forward in his emotional health. I want to celebrate him and encourage him to keep moving forward in the right direction!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

the ugly cry

Well, it had to come out sometime.

Ever since the financial bomb went off last Tuesday, my soul has been trying to get its ugly cry on. Hasn't happened. The best I was able to do was to get a cracking headache and walk around with heavy shoulders.

But today, it found a way out! Of course, it was at church. And of course, I was in the front row since I had to be on stage at various times. Thankfully, the ugly cry waited until my speaking parts were done. 

I love worship music. It's how I chill with God. It centers my head in a way that reading the Bible or being in prayer can't. So our awesome music leader started singing The Desert Song by Hillsong. The lyrics just smacked me in the face and the ugly cry began. 

After a minute of trying to wipe at my eyes and not completely lose it, I felt a tap on my shoulder and saw a pack of tissues. Darling Katie, a few rows back, passed them up. Then Shelcy came and sat right next to me and wrapped me up, while I dripped tears (but not snot, I promise Shelcy!) on her arms. Somehow feeling love from these friends made me cry harder so I just let it go. It actually felt really good to get it out.

Unfortunately it isn't done. I've been breaking into tears on and off all afternoon. Ethan is circling me like a hawk and keeps finding me to check in. He's calling himself The Security Guard. He is such a sweet and precious boy--he just wants his mom to be okay. I struggle with showing this side of my emotional life to my kids. I don't want him to be worried about the things I'm worried about, but I also need him to understand that life isn't always perfect. 

This level of being down doesn't happen to me often. I've been worrying over things, been frustrated over things, been complaining about things. The reason I finally broke down is because I realized something very simple. I am trying to handle adversity on my own. I wasn't taking it to Jesus. It's so simple, yet somehow I continually forget. 

Below are the lyrics to this song. Not sure if Hillsong wrote it but that's the version I downloaded when I got home. Every line of this song is speaking to me right now. But the one I am choosing to focus on (or planning to when I can stop crying) is this: So refine me, Lord, through the flame. The Lord has been refining me since the minute I found out I was getting divorced. My continuing question has always been "Lord, what am I supposed to learn? What parts of me need to be refined?". When you ask God questions like this, He will make it painfully clear what He's trying to do. :)

"Desert Song"
[Verse 1:]
This is my prayer in the desert
When all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides

[Verse 2:]
And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me, Lord, through the flame

And I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

[Verse 3:]
And this is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on its way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand

[Bridge 4x:]
All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

[Verse 4:]
This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be emptied again
The seed I've received I will sow

Thursday, May 29, 2014

it's getting better

Thank you for all the calls, texts and emails. I am still kicking. It was a bad day. But it's getting better.

First off, the job came through. The terms have changed a bit but it is still a great gig and a huge step forward for my business. With it came some great learning about how to put this offer forward to other organizations in the future.

Second, I have a plan for the financial side of things. I'm not going into detail about it yet (or maybe ever) but it is going to be very painful and difficult for me. I think some pain and difficulty is exactly what I need to finally learn how to manage money.

I've been trying to get better about remembering that a feeling is just a snapshot in time, and that it isn't necessarily permanent. That is hard for a person like me who sees the world through feelings. But I'm slowly learning how to be less of a slave to my feelings and to be more of an observer.

When I am getting beat down over and over, it is very difficult to maintain any sort of coolness. My head has been spinning for the past two days and that is usually not a very good thing.

However, from all that spinning has come ideas and solutions. New ways of looking at a situation. I'm not completely out of the spin cycle yet but I'm getting there. And now I am formulating a plan.

I'm going to be okay.

it just keeps getting better (heavy sarcasm)

On a bad day...

The past 48 hours have bitch slapped me hard.

First the ex informs me that due to an error in his payments to me, I now owe him a ton of money that I do not have. I am barely surviving on what he pays me; I definitely don't have extra cash lying around. Supporting myself and two kids on less that half of what it used to be isn't working. However, due to our divorce settlement, if I go to work and need to put the kids in daycare I need to pay for it all myself. Kind of negates the money I would make working.

And now summer is upon us. Which means kids 24/7. Which means when I do work, I need to scramble to find childcare.

Then I found out that a big contract I was about to sign is up in the air. It was going to alleviate some of the financial pressure.

Then to top it all today, Ethan started throwing up.

Feeling pretty down. I know this is just a moment in time--it doesn't mean things are really this bad. But man, it feels like crap.

I created a Pinterest board to wallow in for a while. Join me if you too are having a bad day or three.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

two years

Two years ago today I signed my divorce papers.

When I sat down to write this, I was sure it had been three years. Kept looking at the dates and realized that sure enough, it's only been two years!

Many of you have been with me since the beginning of this journey.  You've stuck with me through great times and awful times.  Your love and support has carried me though.  I would like to take this opportunity to share with you all I have accomplished (with your help!) and the valuable lessons I have learned in the past two years.

In the past two years, I've:
-learned that taking the trash out is NO BIG DEAL. Seriously.
-learned how to operate the beast of a snow blower my ex bought right before he left. It is heavy and hard to use but dang, it clears snow amazingly well!
-learned how to mow my lawn. Although thankfully Jimbo has become my lawn man and does it for me most all of the time. :) (Love you Dad!)
-handled a basement flood, not once but twice and repaired the damage without spending a penny (many thanks to the handy people that came to help me out!  A special thanks to my brother who watched YouTube videos to learn how to stretch carpet!) 
-learned that using my network is the key to surviving single motherhood and home ownership! 
-helped my friend start a cooking business in which she is able to use my awesome kitchen and I get free cooking lessons while she leads classes.
-refinanced my house so now I can say it is MY HOUSE!!!
-paid off my minivan.
-completed my coaching program (with an A average!).
-launched Rachel Olson Coaching!
-made boatloads of new friends.
-gone on many dates, some good. Many not good.
-stayed single--by choice.
-learned how to parent--finally.
-learned how to set boundaries and priorities that work for me and my kids. 
-fallen in love with my kids.
-been to the Grand Canyon twice and camped with my dad
-taken my kids to Disney twice. Each time just gets better!
-done lots of little things around my house to make it feel comfortable to me.  Like painting my front door a zingy shade of yellow! 
-gotten rid of at least half my clothing.
-gotten to a good place with my ex where we can cooperate in the business of raising our kids.
-learned how to cover my gray hair on my own for $2 thus only having to get it done at the salon twice a year.
-worked (am am still working) with a financial planner to set and stick to a budget

Valuable lessons I've learned:
-Infidelity is awful. Divorce first, date later. Seriously. That has been BY FAR the hardest part for me to heal from. When my kids talk about her, it's like a tiny knife stabbing me in the heart. However, the knife is getting smaller and smaller. Eventually I know it will stop hurting.
-I am surviving and thriving. Never believed it would happen. 
-No amount of determination can speed up the healing process.
-Distractions (dating, drinking, eating, dancing, sleeping, etc.) might make it FEEL like you've healed but the pain will always be there until you deal with it.
-Nothing helps healing like a really great therapist!
-My kids were not ruined. It was dark for a while but we have emerged better and stronger.
-I love to reflect on my self growth and development. Probably why I was a psych major. Definitely why I love being a coach!
-I have a sparkle that people are attracted to. It's magnetic.  I'm coming back to life.
-I LOVE to have people in my house! Parties make my world go round. 
-I actually do have a head for business. I've surprised even myself. 
-I LOVE working for myself. I'm the best boss ever. EVER. :)
-The busier I am, the more productive I am.
-Single parenting works well for me.
-I love the team mentality I have with my kids right now. I'm still in charge but they want to do their best for the family. I love that.

What's yet to come?
-a road trip with my kids. Plan is for Fall 2015, Washington DC. Would also love to take a trip out west with them. Since I don't have a spouse to join me, Jimbo is coming! He and I are similar in our love of road trips so it works out well. Plus he is a pro camper and takes care of those details.
-lots of fun stuff planned for the summer. Trying to juggle growing a business and growing kids is tricky but so far it's working!
-a business that is going gangbusters. I have SO MANY ideas.  And they are so good. I need to put them into action.
-my first ski trip since 2005 to Whitefish, Montana
-I hope to have a solid relationship again, possibly even a marriage (waaay in the future.  I still have a lot of learning and growing to do). Although I am currently ambivalent about it, I know that deep down I want to find love and commitment.

I really can't believe it has only been two years. It astonishes me. I never believed things would turn around so quickly. When you are in the midst of a life upheaval, it feels like it will never end. I am so happy to be where I am today. Do I wish it could've come with less pain? Of course. But what is important is that I'm here. I've been blessed with smart people around me that encouraged me to make smart choices when I was at my worst. I have a giant circle of friends and family that are there at a moment's notice. I have a promise written down thousands of years ago in the Bible that assures me there is a plan for my life and for my kids. 

It's good stuff. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Why I changed my mind

Back in November,  I decreed that I would not date for at least a year.

Yeah,  about that.....

I've had it.  I am rescinding my decree.  I no longer need the black and whiteness of that decision.

It's spring (sort of)  and warmer weather makes me want to get out in the world,  go on dates,  have adventures. Plus,  it's fun to go to nice restaurants and not have to pay for it. :-)

My decision not to date was a freedom based decision.  But it was also a reaction to an emotional hurt and being alone was preferable to being hurt. 

I've grown a lot in six months.  Much more than I realized,  actually.  I've gotten so strong in who I am and what I am worth.  At times a little too strong,  perhaps.  But I'm in a much different place today than six months ago.

So I'm going to put myself out there.  I went to a singles party with church last Saturday.  I'm on an online dating site (although I am passively on-I don't make first contact anymore).  I have a date on Saturday night with a guy who makes me laugh so hard that I am still laughing about something he said yesterday.  Will he be a fit? Probably not but at least I will make a new friend and have fun doing it.

My expectations for dating could not be lower-that is actually a good thing. I am approaching it as entertainment and not much more these days.

I am a different Rachel than the one who swore off dating.  Hopefully this doesn't make you disappointed in me.  Instead I hope you feel excited that I've gotten to a place where I can date and not get too wrapped up in it.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

today i felt the fear

I had a very important meeting today. I was nervous. I doubted myself.

Then I put on my big girl pants, took a deep breath and knocked it out of the park.

It was a great meeting. The outcome isn't certain but once it is, I will be celebrating the crap out of it.

I feel amazing.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

you reap what you sow.

I don't think I've ever gone on a pop culture rant on my blog before, but I'm ripe for one today!

I got my US Weekly in the mail today. Don't judge. The ex got the subscription for me for a very low price; I will not be renewing it.

Here's the cover:

Tori Spelling and her husband Dean are struggling through a cheating scandal. Boo hoo, right?

This article is about how strong Tori is and how she is so compassionate and understanding yet so shattered by his cheating. 

Then a little sidebar: She and Dean were both married to OTHER PEOPLE when they had their own affair.

At the time, there was no remorse from Tori. She and Dean were meant to be together, they were "soul mates" (gag) and even though they had an affair, it was all good because they just loved each other so much.


Flash forward seven years and now Tori is the one dealing with a shattered life. In the article, she makes no parallels between her having a hand in breaking up Dean's previous family (he had a child then). It's all about how Dean did this to her and how will she ever put her life back together and how will she ever trust him again...

I fail to have any compassion for any of these idiots. You reap what you sow.  I just feel sorry for their kids.

I would have a slight bit of compassion if either of them took responsibility for their poor choices in their affair. But in my experience, people who have affairs only want to justify why they did it.

Don't cheat. It hurts people and will follow you forever.

Bottom line: I know it is ridiculous to get fired up over Donna Martin. But I have seen so much pain caused due to infidelity. Many of my friends that I've made post divorce have had this in their life. I also have several dear friends whom I love that have been the cheaters. The difference between them and Tori, however, is that they take responsibility for their behavior, they have repented and they have dealt with the consequences of their behavior. End your relationship before starting a new one. It allows for respect and dignity.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

beautiful things

In the winter of 2012, my life was chaos. My marriage had ended, I was struggling very badly and my kids were as well. It was the most awful period of my life, ever.  

Every Monday, my kids and I would go to DivorceCare. On each drive, we would listen to Beautiful Things by Gungor over and over. During the darkest part of our lives, that song gave us hope that things might get better.

One night Ethan drew this for me:

Isn't he just the best? "Don't listen to the dust Mom. I am sorry that you are sad. I love you. God makes beautiful things out of the dust." This proves that kids do listen to song lyrics!

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

So flash forward to today. On my way to a meeting, I was listening to Beautiful Things again. Each time I hear it, it brings back memories of that difficult time. However, today I noticed that although those memories will never be erased, they have been handled. Here's the next verse:

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new

God is faithful. Always. God has made us new. God has taken the ugliest of things and created something beautiful from it. Hope is springing up. Obedience sprang out of chaos. I am just so thankful to love a sovereign God that has a plan for me and my kids. Our story continues. 

Two years ago, I never imagined the tears and ache would stop. I thought my kids would be ruined. None of my fears came true. God has made us new. Believe that.

Here is the cover art for that song--look very closely!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


My dear friend Rachel made me a calendar that has a monthly theme.

The theme for March was Gratitude.

I have so much to be grateful for. Sometimes I forget to stop pushing and just sit back and be grateful.

I hosted a big dinner party here last Saturday night. I worked hard to get the house spit spot, Courtney worked hard to create an amazing meal and together we created a glorious evening. I am so grateful I have a home. I'm so grateful I have THIS home. (So are my kids--I told them we were moving this morning as an April Fool's joke--they panicked and freaked out! Not funny, I was told.)

I'm grateful that I have an ex that pays me support faithfully--his leaving me enabled me to create my business and follow my dream.

I'm grateful my kids are happy and healthy. It was a tough road to get them here but they have arrived.

I'm grateful for high speed internet. And my phone.

I'm grateful for my amazing family, who I realize is even more amazing than I thought almost every single day. They are people I actually WANT to hang out with. Not sure many can say the same for their families. I realize it is unusual.

I'm grateful for clients that drop into my lap and for opportunities that pop up out of nowhere.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to write without worry of censorship.

I'm grateful to be 36, single and the mom of two kids. It isn't where I imagined I would be but now I can't imagine being anywhere else. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

little bit of this, little bit of that

Dreary. Dreary day. Who else wants to just snuggle up in a fuzzy blanket with a good book? My couch is currently covered in goldfish crumbs so I am forced to be upright and working. Probably a good thing.

Still struggling with no energy. I got rid of the tv in my bedroom and thought it would improve my sleep. NOPE! Made it way worse. Now instead of going bed at the end of a certain show, I am staying up until 1 AM following rabbit holes all over the internet. Ugh. Need to stop this.

I am having a coaching identity crisis. What I thought I wanted to do with my business has changed and now I am trying to figure out what my business looks like going forward. I've been doing a lot of corporate work using strengths, which I love. I prefer group to individual coaching. I don't want to work solely with women dealing with divorce. I've moved on since I first created my business and I need my offerings to reflect that. I've been doing a lot of research and writing lately, just trying to find the right fit. I guess it's normal for small businesses to evolve, right?

Going to start a whole foods cleanse on Monday. Only 7 days. No supplements or potions. Just whole food. Recipes look tasty. More info here.

Had a great breakthrough whilst reading a blog the other night. When I was first single, I went on the best date ever. Still is. It was seriously a super fun night. I hold that night up as the standard which of course no date since has met. So for a long time I thought there was something special about the man I was on the date with. He was a nice man but not the man for me. But that special evening made me think he was the man for me. It took me a long time to move past it but I have now. But what I realized is that he was not what made that night seem so special. I loved who I was that night! I was sparkly, vivacious, hilarious, engaging...all good things. And my hair looked great that day. :) I want to FEEL that way again--it has nothing to do with him. I felt excited, liberated, hopeful, ready to take on my single life. I am far more jaded now and expect each date to be a miserable failure (another good reason not to date right now). But that night was magical. It really was. But the breakthrough is about how I want to recapture ME in that moment, not him. Maybe I will be that girl again someday. I hope so.

That's it for now. Off to serve a free meal at Grace to whoever needs it. We are having hot dogs tonight, Pibs is pumped!

Monday, March 24, 2014

the desire map

Nope, this post is not about sex. Sorry to disappoint. :)

My dear friend/consultant extraordinaire Rachel Greenhouse put The Desire Map in my path. She suggested we read it and discuss during our weekly co-working sessions.

I have been working my way through the first part of the book, which is all about creating goals with soul. Initially I thought I would use this more on my work side but it is turning out to be more about my personal life. I guess in my case my work and personal life are entwined, due to my brand being ME!

I like her approach. The book is an easy, almost stream of consciousness type of style. She hates the idea of boring, stiff goals. She prefers to call them intentions. In creating goals with soul, you connect on a deep level with what gets you really fired up and do more of that, rather than setting lofty, responsible, well thought out goals that don't excite you.

I'm finally at the part where I am ready to start mapping out my desire map. 

She focuses on 5 areas: 
  • Livelihood & Lifestyle
  • Body & Wellness
  • Creativity & Learning
  • Relationships & Society
  • Essence & Spirituality
Sounds a little like my 4 areas of focus!

I tackled the first of many pages today that require me to really think about what I really want, what I truly desire.

Example: the prompt was "I crave" and what flowed from my pen was this:

peace. confidence. comfortable skin. less chin fat. a quiet mind. love. true love. a partner. feeling accomplished. strength.

Two pages full of stuff like that. There are many more to be filled!  I want to take my time though and really think. It's easy for me to think about emotional things with very little effort. I don't want to do that here. I don't want to get caught in the trap of writing the "right" things. I want intentions that sizzle and fit me perfectly. 

The only part of this book that sticks in my craw just a bit is where she says the point of all this is to feel good. I agree with that; however, I hesitate to accept that as a life mantra. Sometimes people do really selfish things that make them feel good and rock the worlds (in a bad way) of the people who are connected to them. I think there is danger in focusing solely on what makes you feel good. There needs to be some thought put into how your actions (or intentions) effect others.

So I will be working on this book for the next little bit. Taking my time writing is not the norm for me. I usually crank these posts out in under 10 minutes! Taking time to think before writing something is new for me. Maybe something amazing will come from it!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

back from vacation!

I'm back from Disney!

It was a fantastic trip, of course! Although nothing about a Disney trip is relaxing--I always come home totally wiped out.
I wore my FitBit the whole time and logged 62 miles for the 8 day trip.  The park days were 25k, 21k, and 23k.  That's over two days worth of steps each time!  No surprise that my feet really hurt by the end of the day.

I ended up getting an ear infection on our second day down there.  Thankfully it was a rainy day so laying in bed all day on a heating pad wasn't a huge waste of time.  Unfortunately, it still hasn't healed and I am now on a second round of antibiotics. I need to be nicer to my kids when they have ear infections--this is awful! Yesterday was the worst day--everything above my shoulders was in pain.  I think the hearing in my infected ear is down to 30%. But it can't get a whole lot worse so I am looking forward to healing!

I had some pop in Disney--something about sunshine, swimming and soda just goes so well together!  I started the week out very strong by making good food choices. By the end of the week, I was having pizza every day!  Believe it or not, I actually lost a pound on the trip.  That has NEVER happened!  Must've been all the walking.

I have been pretty wiped since we got home.  I finally got off my heating pad this afternoon and picked the house up some, went through my emails, and am now writing this.

I feel like I've lost a little focus on my year. I've nailed a few of my goals, which I need to write a post on. But my weight and fitness goals are still hanging out there, unfinished.

I made the decision to quit Lifetime and join Anytime. On Monday I will go and officially sign up. I plan to go daily--Pibs loves it and worked out with my last time.  She watched Doc McStuffins on the treadmill next to me and walked for 30 minutes!  It needs to become a regular part of my morning. I also think it will help me this summer with managing all the free time we have as a family without school to give us structure. They also have a Zumba class on Monday nights that I am excited to check out!  Unfortunately, I have coaching sessions scheduled for the next few Monday nights. But I will get there!

Here are a few fun pics from our trip!

 Party rocking at the Magic Kingdom! It was open until 1 AM, we made it until midnight.

 Doesn't Ethan look so handsome in this picture? The kids rode Star Tours four times in a row.

 Each kid bought a light up toy from the cart at the Magic Kingdom! Much whacking of strangers legs ensued.

 Hanging out with the characters from our favorite show!

 Aren't they breathtaking?

Because we go to Disney so often, they upgraded us to Royal Rooms! The headboard had lights built in and Pibs went crazy for the princess decor. When we walked into our room, she went right to all those framed pictures on the wall and announced she was sleeping right by them!

Friday, February 28, 2014

the end of a relationship....

It's official--I have broken up with diet soda!

After three weeks, the cravings have FINALLY gone away!  I'm not going to lie--this was rough.  It wasn't until yesterday that I didn't have a craving for it.  Every other day I woke up and thought about having a diet coke every 10 minutes.

But yesterday and today? Didn't even think about it.  And knowing what it does to my body has helped me make up my mind to have pop very rarely from now on...and never again will I drink diet!

I am shocked I made it three weeks but also so proud!  I've never stuck with it long enough to see changes.  Well, I do now and I will not be going back.

No judgement if you drink it--you can probably moderate yourself, which I cannot!  Plus I have those gallbladder issues messing me up.

So I went and got my nails done with the money I would've spent on pop these past three weeks!  :)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

day 19

I made it to day 19 of no pop!  Bad news is, today I had a pop.  Whoops!

In my defense, I am suffering from a gross cold and really wanted to feel those delicious bubbles on my sore throat.  So I got a regular coke (in the hopes that HFCS is better than aspartame) was just okay.  Not nearly the bubble rush I was hoping for--I wanted a nice burn on my throat to slough off the layers of mucus.  No luck.

Afterwards, I felt like my teeth were very fuzzy and needed a good brushing.  I also immediately had some "digestive issues", specifically the one that has plagued me for over six years now.  So I think we know what the connection there is!

Bottom line--totally not worth it.  At all. 

In other news, I finally quit Lifetime Fitness.  I feel like a huge weight is off my shoulders!  I checked out Anytime Fitness here in Shakopee.  I had met two of their employees at the Chamber of Commerce Luncheon I spoke at a few weeks ago.  I can go there for $20 a month and I can bring my kids!  My kids loathed the kids club at Lifetime--it is not set up for school age kids.  But at Anytime, they can bring their ipads, watch tv, run around in the studio and do hula hoops...much better for them and me. 

The main reason I was keeping Lifetime was for the pool in the summer (and Norman of course, but he will still be my favorite trainer) but then my pool buddy defected to the Y.  But really, the pool is the only thing I will miss.  Plus, as she reminded me, we have Valley Fair and her boat to look forward to this summer!  :)

Anytime is small, which I like.  When I went to Gold's (before it closed), I had great results.  And back in college, I went to a little Lifetime that was for women only.  I had great results there too.  But in six years at a big Lifetime?  No change at all.  Maybe a small club is just what I need.

Going to try it out after I get back from vacation. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

day 10

I've made it to day 10 of no pop!  I don't think I've ever made it this long.

My brother challenged me to give it up until we go on vacation in March.  For some stupid reason, I accepted this challenge.  :)

I'll be honest--I think about drinking a pop every single day.  I wake up in the morning and my first thought is about getting a pop.  I don't drink coffee so pop has been my morning drink for at least 15 years.

I have noticed some nice changes since quitting.  I feel way less puffy in the morning.  My skin seems healthier from drinking so much water.  My digestive issues are disappearing. 

At this point, I'm planning to just keep going indefinitely.  I don't feel that at this point I can have even one sip of soda--I'll go right back to pounding many cans a day.

The real challenge will be on vacation--usually I get a mug that comes with unlimited free refills.  The rest of the group will get one--will I be able to resist and just stick to water?  At this point, that is the plan!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

musing on love, romance and singleness....

It's February 15!  I made it!  :)

I made it through Valentine's Day without getting down on my single status, without consuming a single piece of chocolate, and by only drinking one glass of wine whilst watching the Olympics last night!

When I was married, Valentine's Day would come and go without a word so this year was no different than most.  Like most relationships, ours started out very romantic with my ex always doing big romantic things that put other guys to shame.  And like most relationships, it all ended the day we got married.  :)

I thought I was being cool and low maintenance by not expecting anything on my birthday, our anniversary, Christmas, Valentine's, Mother's Day....Also, I hate giving gifts so I didn't want to have to reciprocate!

But what I now realize is that these stupid days like Valentine's Day do serve a purpose!  You take the time to make a special effort to make your love feel special.  It might feel forced and you might not feel particularly in love at that moment but the point is to remind each other of WHY you are together and WHY you stay together. When things get hard, you need this reminder!

So although I don't want a diamond if I ever getting married again, I will ask that my future partner buys me cards and acknowledges special days and treats me like a treasure that he is blessed to have found.  I commit to doing the same for him!

One thing I have learned during the last two years is that I was far too accommodating in my marriage, and in basically all romantic relationships I have ever had.  I expected nothing (didn't want to inconvenience anyone) and in doing so, I ensured that I got nothing!

Alas, I have not yet figured out how to be the strong me that is emerging and be in a relationship at the same time.  I know that if I really wanted to be in a couple, I could be.  There was the guy last summer that told me after one date that he was falling in love with me.  I could've decided that was good enough for me (instead of freaking out and telling him he was crazy--he really was, no regrets there).  Or the guy this fall that seemed to like me but really only liked a well-behaved, sanitized version of me.  I tried for a while but just couldn't be okay with acting like such a normal person.

No, singleness is the best place for me right now.  I still have so much growing to do and so much work left to do on me.  I would rather be alone than be in a lonely relationship!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

an update on my single life


It's been almost three months since I decided to stop dating.  I have to say, it has been a simple thing which has surprised me a bit.

It was a little lonely and strange at the beginning.  But now I hardly think about it!  Funny that something that consumed my mind for all that time can be easily shoved out. 

Some people have been supportive of my choice; others have questioned me.  Most of my guy friends think I am completely nuts--that's fair.  :)  A few friends have questioned whether I'm putting God in a box, as far as what I believe He can do in my life.

I can see where that would come from but for me (and only me), this choice was actually a way for me to put trust in God.  I had been trying to manipulate life and make things happen according to my will and timeline.  I kinda just told God to step back and let me handle this.  My track record for love isn't so great so perhaps not a wise choice!

For me, this choice has been an excellent exercise in trusting God's timing.  I have given over complete control to God in this area, which has been the hardest area for me to give up control in.  And I've learned quite a bit about myself in the process.

At this point in life, I feel like being single is exactly where I am supposed to be.  I have trust issues to deal with from my marriage and those don't just go away because you meet a nice guy.  Best to work on those now.  My kids beg me not to get married again--clearly, they are not ready for me to date.  And frankly, I am greatly enjoying my freedom and independence and really do not feel much of a void in my life at this point. 

Do I want to be alone forever?  Of course not!  Who truly desires that?  My guess is very few people.  But I would rather be alone than be unhappy.  Of that I am completely sure.

So for now I am challenging myself to sit back and trust that God has a plan and that it will be way more awesome than anything I could engineer.  It might not involve a man or marriage but that doesn't mean it is wrong.  I would not have been able to say that three months ago!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

a mighty pen

They say the pen is mightier than the sword. 

Sidebar: does anyone read "sword" and hear it as "S Words" from the SNL Jeopardy skit?  No?  Just me then?

Anyway, I have wielded a mighty pen over the last two years in the form of blogging.  I have been able to air and share my pain, my joy, my success, my failures.  Most of what I have written has been part of my healing process, of that there is no doubt.  Communication is one of my top strengths and it is great for me to put my thoughts down into words.  However, some was purposely useless and hurtful.

For those of you that used to read my private blog, you know that I quit writing there last summer when challenged by my therapist to quit "nursing and rehearsing" the breakup of my marriage.

This blog is not about my divorce--it is about my story, about my year of living healthfully.  However, divorce is part of that story and there is no changing that.  It has shaped and changed me like no other event in my life, mostly for the better. 

However, an event transpired last week that I have been debating about how to write about, not sure I even wanted to write about it.  Partly out of respect for the privacy of the other person but partly because I wasn't sure if it was real or not.

Last week, my ex and I had a great conversation (that he initiated) around apologies and forgiveness.  Our communication since that day has been much more productive and polite.  Something changed that night.  I felt a huge burden slide off my shoulders.  Just the door opening to the idea of an apology was a gigantic event in my world.  I never thought I would get one.

Since September, I've been working on forgiving my ex on my own.  It has been tough.  I have struggled.  I've inched forward and slid backwards.  But I made a little progress.  However, the talk last week pitched me forward many steps.

Is it all better?  No.  Is it perfect? No.  Did I hear everything I needed to hear? No.  But it was a start. 

And it opened the door to a coparenting relationship that is much more in line with my character than the bitter and hate filled one we had. We won't be best buddies and hang out with each other.  But we will be kind and friendly where the kids are involved.  Can't ask for much more than that!  We can stop seeing an attack in every text and getting defensive at every turn.  In fact, tonight we sat and chatted about business for a while and it was quite enjoyable.  It's good for the kids to see us having a normal conversation.

When I saw my therapist today, I said that we didn't need to talk about my ex and the divorce anymore.  I just feel done with it.  It is still part of my story and always will be, but I don't need to talk about the past anymore.

Which leads me to...forgiveness.  Never in my life have I had to forgive such a gigantic thing.  I can't say I'm fully there but I am so much closer than before.  I will forgive not because I want to, but because I am commanded to by Jesus, who I am striving to follow in all areas of my life.  If I am going to accept the forgiveness offered by Jesus, I must give forgiveness to others.  Pretty simple yet so hard!

Since I have accepted the apologies I've gotten (and given some of my own), I am no longer allowed to bring it up, talk about it or dwell on it.  I'm taking this to mean I'm no longer allowed to do those things in a deconstructive or useless way.  There is no way I will never talk about my divorce again.  It was a major life event and I can't just ignore it.  But I don't need to bring up offenses that caused pain and hurt.  By accepting this apology, I am saying that the door is closed on reliving the past.  I can focus on the future.

The pain of the past has been my constant companion over these last two years.  In a way, it feels strange to let it go.  But I think that is the only healthy thing to do, no? 

P. S. If you catch me nursing and rehearsing, call me on it!  Keep me accountable!

Weigh In Wednesday!

Greetings friends!

I have been absent, my apologies.  I traveled to Green Bay last week for a coaching gig and am just now getting back in the swing of things.

Nothing new to report for Weigh In Wednesday.  Travel, too much good food, too much sitting on my butt.  None of which makes for a good weigh in!

Back in the saddle today.  In fact, today I am starting an experiment.  I got up at 6:45 and was showered and dressed way before the kids got up.  I'm trying to see if getting ready for the day early will translate into greater productivity for me.  So far so good!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Weigh In Wednesday

I'm down 1.8 pounds!  Victory is mine!

I am happy with this.  It is progress in the right direction. 

Even though I didn't do as well as I hoped with my eating and exercise, I did enough to lose a bit. 

Each day is a new opportunity for progress! 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Top 10 lessons from my divorce

1.       People and places may not fit as well as they used to.  I did lose some friends.  I give them the benefit of the doubt and figure they don’t know what to say so they don’t say anything.  That is okay.  It’s sad but okay.  Sometimes I struggle to find my place, my best fit.  I look at it as an adventure most of the time.

2.       Focus on the stars, not the mud.  It is SO easy to only focus on the mud that surrounds the break up of a marriage and of a family.  There is a ton of mud.  But eventually you need to look up.  You need to see those stars twinkling, however faintly.  They get brighter.  Quit playing in the mud.

3.       The only path to healing is straight through!  Oh, how I have tried to ignore this truth.  I have tried dating, drinking, eating, cleaning, organizing….Nothing works.  The pain will still be there.  The only thing to do is resign yourself to the healing process and jump in with both feet.  Eventually the process will carry you to a better place if you stop fighting against it!

4.       Dating can be a painkiller.  When I am seeing someone, the sun shines a little brighter, the world sparkles just a bit more.  My pain is dulled and I no longer feel it.  It is wonderful!  And a total fa├žade.  The pain is still there.  That is why I’m taking the year off dating.  Just say no to drugs!

5.       Divorce will not ruin my kids.  I was so fearful for at least the first year that my kids were going to be ruined.  They are not.  They struggled, to be sure.  There were some very dark times.  But ultimately, they are God’s property and He will not allow them to be ruined.

6.       Forgiveness is a choice but also a necessity.  There is very little desire to forgive, as far as feelings go.  However, I will continue to work on forgiving simply out of obedience to the Lord.  I will probably never FEEL like doing it but that is okay and totally normal.

7.       Sometimes you just need to be alone.  When I was first divorced, I frantically tried to fill up my kid free time.  I just couldn’t stand to be alone!  However, now that I have grown and gotten comfortable in this new life, I actually look forward to my time alone!  I am too social to spend the entirety of a weekend alone but I do relish the times where I have the house to myself—especially if it is clean!  J

8.       Boundaries have saved my bacon.  If you haven’t read Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend, go do it now.  Seriously.  The idea of boundaries finally clicked for me last summer.  I realized that I did not feel capable or competent to run my life and it seriously undermined my confidence.  Once I realized that I could set a boundary around myself and my kids, life got much easier.  I am enjoying my independence and my confidence in my ability to run my life is growing!

9.       I fell in love with my kids.  This sounds strange, I know.  When I was married, life was tense and hard.  I was so disconnected from myself that I didn’t even know how bad things really were.  Parenting was a burden and I resented doing it alone even when I had a partner there.  I loved my kids but I didn’t love being a mom.  Not so anymore!  Once I got my boundaries figured out, I realized how much I love my kids and how thankful I am to be their mom!  They are super awesome.  They are getting a much better mom now than they had before, because now I am into parenting and I am into them.  Once I set my top 3 priorities for my family (love them, provide a safe place, encourage them to share their feelings), life got so much easier.  I could ignore all the voices and the “should’s” and just focus on what I can do best for them.

10.   I crave genuine relationships.  When I was married, I didn’t want to get too deep with people.  I knew that if I gave voice to the issues, the whole thing would fall apart.  So I kept my relationships surface deep.  Now that I am living a more real, honest life, I crave relationships that go deep.  My single parents group at Grace is full of people that I have deep relationships with.  I love spending time with them because they get me, they get where I’m at (because they are too!) and they encourage and support me when I need it.  I never would’ve met these wonderful people if I was still married and then I would be missing out on some amazing friendships.