Tag: life lessons

Marriage

Swirl, Sniff, and Sip Your Way to Setting Expectations

In marriage and relationships, in general, we have expectations of one another. We expect certain behaviors and actions of our husbands or partners and when they do not deliver, we become disappointed. Among co-workers, we expect the same and when the outcome is derailed, we become frustrated. So what to do? Grab a glass of Merlot, swirl, sniff, sip and come back to some senses.

Fortunately, in friendships we somehow understand each other. There’s a sisterhood that we are connected to, a bond that is unbreakable and therefore, unconditional love exudes. Often times, we can have a conversation and we know what the other will say. At times, we don’t want to hear the criticism, but we accept it because we know they have our best interest in mind.

So why is marriage or intimate relationships so different?

Eve, expectations are great opportunities to set your relationships and yourself up for failure or great success. This depends on whether it is:  1) a reasonable expectation based on the situation and relationship; 2) clearly communicated and concerns are voiced, heard and addressed; and finally 3) mutually understood and agreed upon by all involved. Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it?  

In Pearls of Grace, I’ve described each step
to set expectations.

Wow, Grace, that’s a lot to take in, but definitely useful information. I wonder how I will be in my next relationship. I will certainly set expectations to pave a successful companionship.

Well, Eve, the more intimate the relationship the more important it is to work on expectations. Your friends, no matter how close you are, will not have the same level of intimacy, commitment, passion and complexity that a life partner will have in your life. These are all different roles and as I mentioned in number three, stepping into someone’s shoes can actually help you walk together on the same path. This may prevent you and your partner from going your separate ways.  



I think it’s time to role play and eat cake!!! Are you ready?  Take 2.

I think you’re right, but not about baking a cake. It’s time for swirl, sniff, snip.

Marriage

Seeing with the Eyes of Your Heart and Soul

“Pray, Parlez and Play” resonated with me. I agree, Grace, that following your motto would definitely keep adults connected with God, our lovers and ourselves. Straying from God is something I know well, which I am embarrassed to say. But you know me, and you this to be true. Often, I have placed others first and neglected the spirit that lingers within me. During times of trouble, I tap into this spirit and it welcomes me home.

I need to be true to myself. Speak to myself from the heart and believe in myself as God believes in me to fulfill what he has planned. He has given me something great to believe in and I have been running away from it. No longer will I escape, neglect or sabotage what I know is meant for me.

A playground is awaiting…Grace. I am dressed to play, get dirty and have fun. Guess what, it’s also very colorful in my world now.

Guiding Lesson
Jeremiah 29: 11-14

“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope.  When you call me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me with you, says the LORD, and I will change your lot.”

Eve, remember these words.  Etch them into your heart.  Do not let the world try to seduce you into forgetting this.  This is a struggle within you that is constantly happening.  It’s time to wake up and see with the eyes of your heart and soul.  This may require making some changes so that your vision stays in focus.  Here’s something to think about:

What if you began to wake up and fall asleep giving thanks to God for where you are right now?  This means to be grateful for “WHAT IS,” whether healthy or sick, prospering or struggling, relating or alone, full or empty, succeeding or failing, etc.  Can you look beyond the good and bad moment and see the true blessings?

Now, there will be days that you may be at a very low point and this is when you will know if you truly live in gratitude or only reach for it when you get what you want. In tough times, you need to take a deeper dive, removing all the clutter and see with the eyes of a child.  These eyes are in awe that the sky is blue. The sun gives warmth.  The birds sing for the world every morning whether you notice them or not.  God decides to give you another breath, again and again, and again…even though you didn’t ask or pray about it.  The earth generously produces another meal for your table.  The rain once again refreshes the world around you.  The seasons, without your invitation, revisit and bring their gifts again and again.

What don’t you notice that your heart and soul desire to give thanks if only you would step into life and see with a wider lens?  What about everything that is happening in your body that you don’t see, yet keeps you alive and well? And then can you magnify your soul to see your internal gifts that are waiting for you and become a living expression of gratitude? You know, like gifts of peace, of love, of joy.  I know I’ve shared this before that your situation (good or bad) should not dictate your ability to live life with or without these gifts.  It is so important to unlearn that life events have greater power than your free will to choose and cultivate these unseen gifts.  For peace, love and joy, though invisible have greater impact than anything visible.  That is why it is important to even look beyond the blessing you see to experience greater gifts you can’t see. For what appears to be a blessing may not be and what appears to be a misfortune is really a great fortune that you chose not to miss.  

Are you beginning to see the abundance of the gifts that God gives?  And there is even more…so much more to receive?

Yes, Eve, God does have wonderful plans for you.  They begin by receiving “What Is” in front of you so you can experience Divine Abundance around you.  Living in this state opens your eyes to the plans and path God has for you. Why don’t we go for a drive?  Let’s put the roof down and open our eyes to the wonder all around us and within us so God can work through us.

Love always,
Grace

Divorce

Finding Peace in Financial Matters

Adam is giving me a hard time about leaving the house since I pay for the utilities, car payments, life insurance and other household bills. Since we are not divorced and made these housing arrangements, I am not getting any temporary child support and alimony. Our finances have remained status quo. I just know I can’t continue like this and I certainly don’t think it’s fair when Adam has also not paid the mortgage for two months. These non-payments will be reflected on my credit report and I need to get into an apartment soon.

I am praying that God will help me through this dilemma. I need an apartment quickly. Selling the house is the best decision we can make unless Adam wants to keep it, but I don’t know if that will be possible. I hear a red velvet cupcake calling me…coming!

Guiding Lesson:

Eve, financial matters can really eat away at your very existence. What makes it difficult is that everyone has different views on this topic. Some link this to freedom to help them live a certain lifestyle. Others see it as something you must constantly work towards.  It can also be tied to your responsibilities that some don’t want to acknowledge since their lives are fine whether they are financially responsible or not.  You also may have known some people who hold on so tight while others spend before they even have it.  And of course, many see it as a way to define how much power they have, who they are and what they can possess.  So you can have a healthy outlook or a negative one that imprisons you from living life to the fullest. 

What is a single mother to do to remain healthy in all aspects of her life especially when someone else’s actions or non-actions impact your existence?  Financial matters can be very complicated and become more so when going through a separation.  Some parties see this area as an opportunity to get even or hurt the other.  The good news is that no matter what your external situation is, you can remain at peace.  Check out this interesting article I found that might get you started. Enjoy it and remember you can bank on the pearls of grace.  While finances evaporate, pearls of grace accumulate and you can take them with you into forever…You have my word!

Love, Grace

Career

Patterns Can Cause Relapse

Patterns make it easy to repeat and create something familiar. Even children learn patterns in preschool. Patterns, good or bad, guide us through recurring events or experiences. I once heard that our past (patterns) is our predictable future. This statement really resonated with me; and when I relapse into old patterns, I have to remind myself of this statement. After an evening talk with Merlot (and sometimes two cupcakes…shhhh), I begin my recovery and re-evaluate what the pattern is, how and why I relapsed. I ask what I need to do to change it so I can have a different outcome when raising Jonathan and David. Sometimes I think this process would’ve helped me out with Adam.

I think today is one of those days. With Merlot by my side, I re-evaluate the step and repeat of the past few months. I realize the separation in my marriage, the raising of two boys every other week, and the sole responsibility of a household truly places a heavy toll on me. My patience wears out, my stress is heightened, and my energy is misplaced.

It’s time for a mindshift so I can create a pattern that works for all of us—a pattern that is productive, collaborative and rewarding. My wheels are turning!

Guiding Lesson:

Eve, you are at a good place to create new patterns.  Your willingness to be real and honest with yourself is the first step. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.  So let’s begin. 



Once you evaluate your current patterns, it will be tempting to want to tackle several areas. From my experience, it will be more worthwhile to choose one or two things. If you choose the right one, it will have impact in other parts of your life. So keep it simple. You will be more successful, less stressed and hopefully have more patience with your children, which will make them happy. 


Once you identify the one area you want to focus on, find an accountability partner(s) with whom you interact frequently.  The chances of you making a shift will increase dramatically. In Pearls of Grace, I’ve listed a few things to keep in mind when working out the process with your accountability partner.

Another great thing about having an accountability partner(s) is that they will benefit from your journey.  They may even be surprised that your area of focus is also what they need to work on. It’s crazy how this works. You might call it the work of Grace. :)



Finally, make sure you celebrate along the way. Be careful what you choose because you don’t want to reach the end of the journey needing to change a pattern that you adopted during your celebration. It defeats the purpose, but it happens very often. 



Regardless of your success, approach this with a grateful heart for where you are, the ability to take the journey and the openness to receive gifts along the way whether you achieve your goal or not. I am very excited for you. Know that I am here and will reach out to help in anyway I can while allowing you to embrace a new way of life. 



Love,
Grace