Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Love = Upholding Vows In Sickness & In Health

early 2010 
names have been omitted in this post 


I waited for my Internist to come in the exam room… why did you always seemingly have to wait so long once you were back in those tiny examining rooms? As usual I had forgotten to bring a magazine with me and was forced to wait without anything to look at. Sitting perched on the end of the exam table my eyes glazed over from boredom. Yawn… I could seriously fall asleep right now… and I felt bad enough to. I was about ready for a hospital bed.

Soon he entered the room and after discussing what was going on with my health he spoke…

"I will be straightforward with you." he said, his facial expression serious on his older, wiser face. He ran his hand through his white hair and spoke with a frustrated sigh… "I really don't know what is going on. I have no idea what you have. I fail to understand how a thirty something female who is otherwise healthy could suddenly be diagnosed with not just severe acid reflux but now asthma. It doesn't add up."

My shoulders slumped and I watched him as he seemed to be thinking about what to do next.

"The first course of business is to get you a chest x-ray. Immediately. That will hopefully rule out anything going on with your lungs." He told me, now pacing the small room in thought. "I want to get you an appointment with a specialist for testing… and get you in to see someone I know at Southwestern Medical. If after all that we still don't know what is going on… the next place will be Mayo Clinic." He paused and turned to me… "I don't know what's wrong. But I will find out." He promised me with conviction.

Hope began to well within me and my eyes sparkled with half tears, half hope "Thank you." I told him softly with infinite gratitude.

He was literally my last hope. 

I was so worried… I was losing weight faster than you could boil water on the stove… I was having more and more difficulty breathing as each day passed. Meanwhile I could barely eat anything because it was comparable to having a really stuffed up nose during a cold… that symptom makes it nearly impossible to eat and breathe at the same time. You can usually do either  or…. but not both. I couldn't eat much not just due to the acid reflux but because for whatever reason I couldn't breath when I ate… and not much easier the rest of the time. It was beyond puzzling and had come out of nowhere…. progressively getting worse as the weeks then few months passed.

Initially I had gone to see my allergy doctor since I was having difficulty breathing and he also treated asthma. His natural course of action had been to load me up on prednisone… which left me with potentially ugly side effects and I was worried as the meds seemed to be merely masking the issue temporarily due to the moment the medication wore off... I was gasping for air again. This clearly wasn't the solution, I was realizing… as my breathing issue appeared to be coming from my throat… not my chest as with asthma.

I was at the end of my rope. I had dropped more than twenty pounds in just a few short months, was too weak to cross a parking lot or work any longer… I was basically bedridden and my friends had no idea how truly ill I was. The computer screen behind my doctor flashed the words "underweight" in red and I barely recognized myself any longer. He told me if I didn't begin gaining weight immediately he was admitting me to the hospital. This appointment with him had occurred after a hard realization I was on my own. Just the day before I had sat in my kitchen begging my husband to take me to the doctor. He merely yelled for me to take more medication… more prednisone and do what my doctor had told me to do.

"But I'm not getting better!" I cried to him "It's not helping! I don't even think this is asthma! My gut instinct tells me it's not! If it's not treating the right thing I'm just getting pumped up with lots of steroids and albuterol I don't even need!" I exclaimed. "I need you to take me to the doctor!" I told him, practically begging, each word costing me precious amounts of energy.

"No! I'm not taking you! Just do what he says!" He yelled at me grouchily.

I literally felt like I was dying… and he was useless. "Take me to the hospital..." I told him pleadingly. "Right now. Please... take me to the hospital." I repeated looking up at him.

He stared down at me "Do you know how much that will cost??!!!" He yelled at me.

I stared at him with empty hollowed eyes too exhausted to reply. I had never felt this weak in my life… I'd felt slightly stronger with the flu or a severe stomach bug.

"That will cost me two thousand dollars!!! That's how much it will cost!!!!" He screamed.

I closed my eyes.

And I wept. 

He stormed off slamming the door behind him.

It would be later the chest x-ray showed my lungs were thankfully clear. After a battery of tests called the Methacholine Challenge showed definite breathing issues but ruled out asthma… I was referred to a Specialist who listened carefully to my symptoms and upon hearing the restrictive breathing was coming from my throat… not chest he nodded… "You have something called Vocal Chord Dysfunction. It's when we see severe acid reflux washing up over the vocal chords and damaging them. They become inflamed and won't open properly like they should upon inhalation and speaking. So you feel out of breath. " He affirmed with a nod and looked at me understandingly "This is why you're having so many problems… but this is nothing that can't be helped. We need to do several things… first, treat your acid reflux with a proton pump inhibitor. The over-the-counter stuff doesn't do enough in these severe cases. The other thing we need to do is get you on some Singulair… that will help. I want you to do voice therapy… I'll give you a referral. This will help you in getting your breathing and voice back on track… the acid is causing your voice to become strained and raspy as well." He added. He told me it would take time and for now I needed to focus on rest and eating to gain my weight and strength back… but that with time… likely two to three months I should begin to get back to a normal functioning life. He also gave me one other suggestion… to lose any stress in my life. I nodded… he had no idea that would require removing a near six foot person.

It would take about three months to get back to almost normal… more improvements were made each day… and it would take going to voice therapy for a whole year… but it was worth it… I truly felt my voice therapist was my angel in disguise… and both my doctors as well… I believe God places certain people in our lives for a reason.


"I was furious with him… " My mother told me…  "I was worried sick."

"He was seemingly more worried about what it would cost." I observed. "I just know I can't do that again. I won't do that again. When you love somebody you jump through hoops, you run through fire, you do anything you have to… to help them. The thing is… I would have done it for him. If he'd been that weak and begging to go to the hospital I would have bundled him up and gotten him there. Heck, he'd have been there way before it got that bad. I would have demanded answers. That's the vow you take… in sickness and in health… when you make it you stand by it. You can't sway on it when someone gets sick… if things fall apart… in health and sickness you have to be there for the other person. They are truly counting on their spouse to step up for them when they can't. Then doing just that.

That to me… is true love."

© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014 

For more information on Vocal Cord Dysfunction click here

                                                 To My Readers: 

                                          Thank you for reading, 

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Marriage: 5 Lessons Learned

names have been omitted from this post 



I checked my email and looked for new alerts to the single site I had signed up for… okay, technically, sites. I did a huffy breath like the character Junie B Jones does in the books my daughter likes me to read to her at bedtime as I scrolled through the alerts I had in my inbox.

"Humph…" I huffed and slipped my iPhone into the inside pocket of my purse.

My mother glanced over at me.

"You ready to go?" she asked me.

"Yep" I replied and we left, slipping into her car. As we backed down the drive onto the street she spoke "So? You didn't say anything. Did you get anybody new?" She asked.

"Oh, yeah!"
I said with a laugh, leaning down to rummage through my bag for my chapstick. I slicked on some cherry flavored Chapstick and checked it in the visor mirror then flipping it upward. Tucking the chapstick back in my purse I spoke, "Now I'm getting twenty-two year olds. Their either sixty year olds or now twenty something's. Nothing in between. What am I? Mrs. Robinson? This is insane." I rolled my eyes and watched out the window as she made a right turn pulling onto the main thoroughfare. "Seriously, I want my money back. There should be a guarantee on those sites that you'll meet someone. The only guy my age I've interacted with behaved like a wierdo."

"What was up with him?" she asked, frowning as she switched lanes.

I reached down and picked up the small bottle of lotion resting in the cup holder nearby and began dispensing cool creamy lotion into the palm of my left hand "We were messaging, right? He asks me what I did that day. I tell him I worked then went on a walk at the park… you know, exercise?" I nod at her and she affirms that that sounds normal enough. "Well, then… he replies with 'Ugh! Yuck! I don't go outside!'… yeah, that was it. The whole conversation. So I moved on. I mean, who doesn't go outside?! His profile picture? Get this!… He was outside!!! Oh my Lord, seriously. I guess he went out that one time and it nearly did him in. Holy cow, I needed a compress on my head after that interaction." I quipped and she laughed.

"I think you need a refund. I don't see you finding anyone on those sites…" she murmured and smiled "I mean, you're better off just meeting someone."

"Yeah, probably so…" I admitted and paused in thought watching the traffic slow to a stop beside us at the next red light. Nearby were trendy lofts, hair salons and a gelato shop with hot neon lights in the window beckoning customers with it's open sign. I spoke "How do you find someone who likes Bogie movies, is athletic, drives a truck and opens the door like a gentleman but believes a woman should have equal rights and appreciates her spunk mixed with a pursuit of being a Proverbs 31 woman? A man who pursues Jesus, adores your softness and femininity and kind heart, your beauty within, but can also in the same sentence say with a smile 'You're ballsy' because he knows your spunk, fire, your spirit… and he genuinely loves it. Where do you find that man?" I asked thoughtfully aloud.

There was no reply.

We didn't have the answer.

But I hope one day I do.

You may be in the same position as I… wondering how you will meet that special someone. And then… after the fact, after you've "clicked" with them… wondering how you will do better this time around in a relationship… a marriage even. If you've been married before, perhaps your mis-steps of where you coulda, shoulda done better are glaringly obvious… as we all have something we can learn from… we all have the chance to learn from our past mistakes and apply learned lessons to our next relationship… as well with growth and maturity know what works and what obviously does not.

I've learned many lessons about marriage… and although I could write a book alone on what I've learned, I've come up with a short condensed list of the top five lessons. Some may prove to leave you nodding in agreement and some may have you pondering your own past experience in retrospect.

5 Lessons Learned From Marriage:

1. Spunk Is Fine… 
But Not Unhealthy Communication

When you're angry… slamming doors and stomping (or yelling) off like a three year old does zero good for anyone. In the very early years of my marriage I was guilty of this and had to consciously work on actually communicating...articulating how I felt and not expecting my mind to be read. Thank God for overcoming! My strength has always been writing but learning to communicate in a healthy manner (versus negative actions we may have had for examples as children) is incredibly vital to a successful relationship. Yes, sometimes we do need a mini break, absolutely and that's okay. But we can also do that in love… we can say "I need a time out. Be right back." and softly retreat, giving ourselves some time… taking a deep breath and then going back to our spouse ready to communicate in a constructive, loving manner. 

2. If It's Really Important To You… Make Sure You Get It

 I married someone who was not romantic, whose perceptive and insightful friend suggested multiple times over the years for him to shower me with moments of romance… candles, bubble baths, home cooked meals made together… but those dreams never came to fruition. Was I disappointed? Yes, terribly… it's still something I yearn for. Many times I tried to broach the subject and tell him how I felt but change for the better never happened. Instead, I was met with grabbing and crass words of "Get your hot $%* over here!" I never want to go through that again. The alternative of being alone is preferable to that. As women we want someone who is tenderhearted toward us… who desires us, who is insightful, who sees us as their best friend, equal and lover. We need to be sure we are completely certain who we are marrying and not sway on what we deem as must haves. 

3. He's Crazy + She's Co-Dependent 
= Unhealthy

Being too dependent. This is a known trait of women who attract men who are manipulative… these men prey knowing their target's kind nature and their tendency to put the relationship's importance/success ahead of their own self importance/worth... and these men use it to their own advantage. I had not spent enough time figuring out who I was before marrying. I also didn't create a niche of my own during my married years as I couldn't stand on my own two feet. To my own detriment and later in the wake of my divorce trying to quickly put my life together was enough to send anyone into near panic mode. It's imperative women don't allow themselves to "be home" all the time in the event he maybe decides to stroll in the door and make his presence. What are you doing with your time? With your life? Yes, if you're pursuing being a good wife and mother you naturally want to make a loving home the center of your focus. Being at home full time today is often viewed with disdain by society when at one time it was for privileged women. But it's so important for women to also have a balance… to not lose themselves and then find themselves in a precarious position later in their marriage… where they have no life of their own, especially in the possible demise of their marriage. What peaks your interest? Volunteering? Working part-time? Full time? Grow and develop yourself. Don't get yourself backed into a corner where you find yourself trying to save your partner's downfall or the relationship as a whole… be aware of these unhealthy patterns. Instead, find what gives you purpose outside the home so your husband does not become a crutch… dependency isn't love in the free sense but actually love cloaked in fear and invisible handcuffs.  

4. A Partnership = A Marriage

Marriage is about having a partnership. It's about coming together in the good, challenging and even hard times. It's not about one person winning, having the upper hand, being fully in control. You will find times when you disagree… and maybe finally you agree to disagree on the subject at hand. In that case perhaps the subject should be dropped and re-approached later on… it's not right for one person to go ahead and make a choice. If a decision must be made… see if there is a middle road that can be reached… both parties should walk away from the conversation feeling good… not bullied into something they feel vehemently opposed to. 

5. Appreciation: 
We Can Tailor It To Our Spouse

We may voice appreciation for our husbands and we know they love these words of love… but could we be a bit more specific? Instead of emitting a general statement of "You're such a great provider!"… maybe a better way would be specifically saying "Thank you for dealing with difficult clients at work and being our provider! I know everyday is not a picnic!" This tells him that you intimately understand the frustrations and workings in his world he encounters each day… whether it's disgruntled clients, customers who don't show up, a boss who behaves like a tyrant or even trying office politics amongst co-workers. When we give our husband concrete examples of what we observe him going through it reassures him that we truly know the hoops and hurdles he must navigate to be our shining hero out in the world each day. And that, ladies… brings a genuine smile to his face. 

© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014 

To My Readers;

Thank you for reading, 

commenting and sharing! 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

5 Signs You're Losing Your Child

names have been omitted in this post 

December 2013


It had been another one of "those nights"… one where I had asked or "told" my son one too many times to go brush his teeth. Unfortunately by about the third or fourth time he'd had enough and stormed off to his bedroom. Moments later I heard the predictable bang! bang! bang! against his bedroom door. In the kitchen I stood at the counter gripping the edges with white fingers. Ugh… when does it ever stop?! I thought to myself. He'd had "fits" since he was about two and although when he was younger they initially appeared out of his control due to a lack of coping skills they had progressively changed to calculated, premeditated... purposeful.

For years I had prayed for change. I had cried for intervention, for help from above. For years I had spearheaded his advocacy and like a force to be reckoned with had determinedly sought help for him… therapies had abounded… tests had run the gamut, help had been had with speech, applied behavior analysis, sensory therapy, role-playing, educational aides, you name it… he'd done it. There had been medication after medication tried and yet nothing seemed to be the answer needed. There had been profound changes of improvement and reason to celebrate…  and yet this issue of physical rage and defiance still remained… and not small issues at that. The issues had grown to monstrous proportions as he'd grown in strength and willpower and although his behavior had tamed at school for the most part thankfully… home still proved to be challenging.

Soon would come objects thrown against the door and walls. His die cast Thomas The Trains he'd clutched in his tiny hand at two and once upon a time happily carried in his pockets along with treasured rocks, Starburst and marbles were thrown against his door. Soon would come bigger objects like lamps, chairs and storage bins being hurled down the hallway toward the kitchen. You had two choices: ignore it or go confront it. Ignoring it meant having your home destroyed. Confronting it meant going into battle and physically trying to restrain him (or risk getting annihilated)… something that if you have lived this life yourself… you know it's not what you exactly pictured doing one day… it's the furthest thing you pictured dealing with when you had a mental picturesque snapshot of your family life.

Instead you're met with fists in your face, your son spitting at you, your arms being bitten, your foot stomped on, your stomach punched, your legs kicked and bruised... all because someone didn't want to comply with a simple task such as teeth brushing, taking a shower or going to bed at 8:30 p.m.

You try to stay strong… you keep trying to push forward, you keep telling yourself "It will get better"… but for whatever reason it only appears to get worse. You wonder why God is allowing this to happen. You sometimes wonder why this is your life… having a temporary pity party for one. You wonder why he is behaving this way… what is needed to change it… to help it and to conquer it. You're left baffled and wondering why it had to happen to your child, to your family… because it affects each of you. You see your daughter running frightened to her room to hide. You have to have talks with her of "If he goes into fit mode run to your room and lock the door." You wonder why on earth it's right for her to have to grow up like this. She tells you "I don't know why he acts like this. I didn't want a brother like this." You nod and hug her… because who could scold her for being honest? It's affected her life and you worry who she will choose one day because of it… because this is what she has always known… and it's not normal, you tell her. This is not healthy. Healthy families don't have this… you stress… because you don't want her to believe for a minute this is okay or acceptable.

The doorbell rings… it's dark, night has arrived and against my better judgment I had called him, my ex to come help. He stands on the porch in running shorts, a black Northface jacket and I let him in. He's accosted by the twinkle lights on the Christmas tree in the otherwise black room and stands awkwardly by it.

"Where is he?" He asks me and I nod toward our son's bedroom. He makes his way in there and I follow close on his heels. I take a seat on the mini cream papasan chair across the room from our son's twin sized bed draped in a navy comforter. His father sits on the bed beside him and pulls him into a bear hug… something so out of character for him. He plants kisses atop his brown head and speaks to him a low soothing tone dripping with manipulation… it could have been a scene straight from the Godfather… and I watched as it eerily played out... wondering who this newest impostor was… because before when we were married he would have gone into an unhinged blind rage at our son's behavior.

"Now… You are so very, very lucky to have everything you could want at my house… but Mommy has rules at her house… and you need to follow them." as he spoke he planted more kisses on his brown haired head… "Now… do you think you can do that for me?" he asked softly.

I sat across from him perched on the papasan with crossed brows and an outraged expression.

"Excuse me? Can we talk?" I spoke… meaning it more of a statement versus a question.

"Sure!" He chirped at me cheerily rising from the bed…  "I''ll be right back…" He promised our son.

Walking into the next room our inky silhouettes were framed against the dark gray painted wall from the Christmas tree lights beside us.

"What was that?" I hissed at him "Are you saying you don't have any rules at your house? Are you saying you don't make him brush his teeth?" I asked him.

"What? What did you want me to say to him?" He asked me expectantly, playing the innocent face.

I stood there staring at him in disbelief. Surely no one was that stupid. No one was that inept. This was like we were married again. It was happening all over again. Him gas lighting me… acting like he was in the right and I was just off my rocker imagining his behavior. But I knew now from enough therapy, enough insight into his manipulation, most importantly enough distance from him and enough coaching of how to handle him that this was not a time for me to doubt my instincts. I knew the truth. This was all calculated manipulation on his part to send a message to our son that I had zero authority, my rules were stupid and that yes, indeed his home was Disneyland and mine was comparable to living with Cruella De Ville.

I told him… "I want you to tell him that this behavior is not acceptable! I want you to tell him that you're not going to put up with him hitting me! Kicking me and destroying everything! That he can't behave this way! That's what I want!" I strongly told him. Inside though I seethed with exasperation. I knew it. I knew I shouldn't have called him. My therapist was right, of course. And  yet this one time incident would show time and time again how he did not act like the father he needed to be but instead continually used our son as a pawn in his own agenda.


I would like to say things have improved since then… but unfortunately they haven't. I miss my son's laugh, silliness, and spirit of always wanting to help. Who he's become is someone nearly unrecognizable to me. The fact is, unless parental alienation is counteracted early on it's extremely difficult to turn around. Not impossible, just very challenging and the process takes time. The last day my son was in my home was March 30th and it's been extremely trying… ninety percent of my calls have gone unanswered, my texts have been ignored, my attempts rebuffed. Parental alienation can begin as benign but grow to monstrous proportions… especially if a parent is relentlessly using his (or her) children as pawns. I pray that with counseling and prayer that my son along with all the other children who have been successfully alienated from a warm, loving parent are helped to see the light… that they see what their parent has done in their own selfish agenda and hopefully reconciliation takes place with the other parent. Below I've listed five signs of parental alienation.

If you or someone you know is dealing with parental alienation 
don't give up! Keep praying for help, for change, for hearts to be transformed. 


5 Signs of Parental Alienation: 

1. The child views the alienating parent as all good and the other parent as all bad. There is zero basis for the child's contempt and blatant hatred toward their targeted parent. The child doesn't have remorse, sadness, disappointment etc toward losing the relationship with their parent.

2. The child denies being coached or talked to privately by the alienating parent but in fact has. This damages the relationship the child has with the targeted parent because it takes away their role model… often the better of the two parents.

3. The child's negative attitude toward the targeted parent extends to all of his or her extended family. This is very much black and white thinking… "I've decided he or she is bad so all of them must be as well".

4. The child doesn't have a concrete reason for the hatred toward the target parent… it's all unjustified.

5. Nearly all parents who have been alienated from their child report a relationship that at one time was very close, warm and loving… only to now be baffled why they are hated. This complete turn around is not normal… and has a source… the alienating parent.

© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014 

To My Readers:

Thank you for reading, 

commenting and sharing! 

Related Posts:

The Non-Sociopathic Child: 3 Ways To Instill Empathy 

A Sociopathic Ex & Preventing Your Child Becoming One

Divorce/Child Custody Trial: Tips For Moms

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Divorced? For The Single Man or Woman: My Hope For You

If you're divorced… or going through the process… you, like myself have hope for all things new… for beautiful things to happen around the next corner… promises for good and for all the sorrows and pain of yesterday to fade away like an old photograph. If you find yourself struggling, here is my hope for you…


I hope so many things for you… some that may happen today, tomorrow, next week or next year. I hope you know the electricity of meeting someone new again… someone that makes you tingle with excitement and yet you feel at ease with… someone with whom you have an unspoken understanding that lets you know you each just "get each other."

I hope you are willing to open your heart to someone and let them in… to let them curl up and know all the nooks and crannies within… the pain, the beauty, the hurts and the joys. I hope you are willing to let them see your love shine outward… that they see how much love you have to give.

I hope you push your doubts away and know what whatever rules or limitations you've set on love… whatever restrictions of this or that you've found yourself setting or maybe not even realized… know that someone above is ready to prove you wrong… to show that yes, love can be yours and that you don't have to subscribe to a life without someone special to share it with.

I hope you wake up one day to someone's heartbeat against your back… beating in sync to yours… whispered breaths on your ear and a delicate warmth on your neck… I hope for joyful mornings and sweet romantic goodnights… I hope for a satisfying connection of genuine selflessness between you and the one you love.

I hope you will go to sleep each night with a smile on your lips, divine favor washing over you and heavenly dreams as your head rests atop your pillow. I hope you can sleep well knowing that who lies beside you loves you with their whole heart…. their entire body and soul. I hope you can rest knowing you have nothing to fear and your battles are already won.

I hope you will be surrounded with those who remind you that you are lovely, you are brave, you are beautiful and they show you each day how truly irreplaceable you are. All those voices within that have beat you down during this process of change will fall away and be replaced with truths… I am worthy. I am His. My hope is you will be transformed.

I hope that whoever you're with one day knows you like the back of their hand in a world that struggles to know anyone… I hope that you are protected and sought after in a way that's best for you… I hope you are known like the tune of a familiar sweet melody and prayed for without hesitation.

I hope you will forgive the past but not ever forget what it's taught you or what has been done. I hope you can take those lessons and use them to make the next chapter better and brighter than the last.

I hope the person who will one day walk beside you will also walk in truth, in bare vulnerability and grace. I hope they use their power for good… for lifting up not pushing away or hurting.

I hope for strength on the days you want to give up and patience when you want to hurry. I hope you admit when you're wrong, hold back what could wound and share what you love. I hope you have wisdom and rest when life is challenging you beyond your limits.

I hope you remember that God is directing your steps… He is with you the entire way… guiding your path, taking your arm, carrying you when needed… cupping your chin with love when you forget who you are.

I hope you will never forget that love, sweet love is always worth it. Because with love comes the awesome ability to be yourself… to be you. The you that God knows and loves. May I remind you to always always be yourself… never try to hide who you are. There is someone in store for you that will love you for you.

I hope you always see God for who He is… a beacon. A beacon of hope in a fallen, often dark world… beckoning you to Him. He has wonderful things in store for you… fret not… He's here, He knows… and He's listening to the silent song that plays in your heart… one of hurt, maybe betrayal, rejection and  pain… He hears every note and He's ready to play a new one… of sweet, sweet glorious victory.

© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014 

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commenting and sharing! 

Related Posts: 

Finding Comfort In The Divorce Process

Like Fireflies: Being A Light And Sharing Our Story 

Sin, Forgiveness And Reconciliation 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Bridging The Gap: 30 Questions To Ask Someone

When you go about your day have you ever noticed how many people have poker faces? I would be willing to bet quite a few. It seems as though when I'm out and about during my day that often people are visibly surprised when you smile at them. Then once the fleeting surprise has passed a smile is returned by them. So often it's that we go about our days in a blur, not really noticing the details… the people around us. We go through the motions of saying things like "Hi, how are you today?" and if you live in Texas "Oh, this weather is crazy, huh? One day it's ninety, the next it's raining and seventy degrees." We admittedly go about our days with these standard sayings not really connecting with anyone.

If I met you today… I'd love to connect. To listen. To talk. To understand. I would hope for no superficial conversation… no mere polite chatting… but realness. I'd love to hear what your real, raw and unedited story is. What you've been through. What your hopes are. What you've struggled with. What makes your voice crack with emotion. What you want to see change in the world for the better. It's these conversations that are meaningful… that are real and what helps us all connect… that makes our differences seem not so different and bridges the gap between assumptions and truth.

And yet… it's so often that we hide… we edit ruthlessly… we cringe… hoping people will like what they see… us, the tidy package we may present for the outside world to see.

But it's not just out in the public, in the world that we do this… this edited dialogue may be what is happening at home… with our loved ones, our families, our spouses. Has your spouse or your child become a stranger to you? Do you wish you were connecting better? Maybe you yearn inside for a closer bond and yet the words escape your lips of what on earth to say. Maybe you settle for a hug and the comforting silence between you… and some days that satisfies… just physical closeness, the warmth of someone else. And yet… perhaps there are days you wish for more.

People today are hungry for connection. 

When we open up and share our innermost thoughts, our fears, our, past, our struggles… they no longer hold any power over us… and it enables us to connect to others on a deeper level. 

Learning Something New Even In Our Marriage… 

As time goes by in our marriage we may believe we already know everything about our spouses. We may finish each others sentences, we may know their favorite foods, how they take their coffee and what they prefer in bed. We may certainly know a lot but there is always the chance we could learn more… something new and unexpected. 

Maybe there's something new to learn about our children as well… they are rapidly changing as they graduate from grade schooler to pre-teen and grow through the teenage years… their likes and dislikes are constantly evolving… what they dream of doing one day, their beliefs, their goals, etc. 

Here is a list of thirty questions to ask the person you love, to get to know them better… maybe for someone you just started dating… or even your sister, mom, or bestie. You may already know (or think you do) the answers to some… but maybe some will be a surprise.

1. Describe your perfect day.
2. What makes you cry?
3. What are you most grateful for?
4. What super power would you want to have?
5. What do you value most in friendship?
6. What's the worst thing that's happened to you?
7. What is your favorite memory?
8. Complete this sentence: I really want to ______ with _______.
9. What is your most embarrassing moment?
10. What do you not find funny?
11. What have you not told someone that you know you need to? Why haven't you?
12. What is your definition of success?
13. What was your last prayer?
14. When you blow out the candles on the birthday cake do you make a wish?
15. Describe a happy moment and what song was playing.
16. If you could go anywhere in the world right now where would it be?
17. What worries you?
18. What impact do you want to leave on the world?
19. What behaviors are you unwilling to tolerate?
20. What is your biggest accomplishment?
21. What makes you smile?
22. When did you not speak up and wish you had?
23. What was the last bible verse you read?
24. Would you do anything differently if you knew no one would judge you?
25. What is your biggest fear?
26. What is your biggest hope?
27. What do you thank God for the most often?
29. What is your favorite mental snapshot? 
30. What's the kindest thing you've ever done for someone?

© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014 

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Your Daughter's Bestie: 5 Signs Of A Great One

The Bestie.

The pinky promises.
The friendship bracelets.
The endless photos.

The shared dress up clothes.
The pajama parties.
The inside jokes.

When your little girl announces she has a best friend you are naturally going to be excited for her. Maybe you reminisce about your first best friend… maybe years later she's still your best friend. There are many wonderful things about having a bestie, no doubt. There are endless pluses to your daughter having a close friend to share special experiences and to make memories with she will fondly look back on one day.

As a mother you want the best for your daughter and that includes friendships that are healthy for her. One great thing about your daughter having a bestie is that she will not only learn so much about her friend but also herself.

The Importance Of Sharing… 
It's important that your daughter and her bestie share the spotlight. They should be able to take turns in allowing each other to shine and one not taking over. It's important they encourage turn taking whether it be at playing games, playing dress up (choosing to be a princess versus wicked witch) or even just alternating playing with the only scooter on a playdate.

The Reality Of Rejection… and Conversation Starters
Keeping your communication open with your daughter about her friendship is so important… it's vital she has a soft place to go to (you) with any issues that rise up that are drama related. Perhaps there is a third girl at school that your daughter's bestie is talking to about her… then she gets wind of it. Or maybe she attempts to play hopscotch with her bestie and a third girl on the school playground… only to be shunned suddenly by her best friend. These types of scenarios teach your daughter that exclusion hurts… very much so and that the golden rule do unto others as you would want them to do unto you still very much applies even today. To feel rejected by her peers is devastating… especially at a young age. If your daughter is repeatedly being rejected by her so called bestie… it may be time for her to re-evaluate her friendship. There might be a conversation needed where you encourage her to think on her own… to prompt her evaluation of the situation. You can begin that process by asking her these questions:

1. How does it make you feel when she does that?
2. Would you do that to someone? 
How would it make you feel knowing you did?
3. What does a best friend look like to you? How does she behave?
4. If a best friend does something mean should she say she's sorry?
5. If she says she's sorry how would you expect her behavior to change?

The Ugliness Of Betrayal… and Importance Of Loyalty
A bestie who talks about your daughter behind her back is not behaving as a best friend should. This is an important opportunity to discuss the meaning of betrayal and let your daughter not only express her feelings about the situation but explore what betrayal by a friend means specifically to her. This is a great time to discuss with your daughter the importance of loyalty… not being two-faced and to set healthy boundaries. It may be good for your daughter to realize that confrontation doesn't have to be a bad thing… she can confront her friend regarding her gossiping, listen to her response and state her feelings. It's important that we teach our daughters that to confront is not mean but instead the route we take doing it is what really matters. It also can be a chance to realize we may go about it wrong but in that we can also try to make things right. Ultimately as moms we can teach our daughters that we don't have to take or put up with just anything thrown our way… we always have a choice… we can choose.

Self Esteem... Up Or Down?
If your daughter's self esteem seems to have taken a nose dive during the course of her friendship… it may be time to look at the words her friend uses. Are they uplifting? Are they kind? Are they encouraging? Is her bestie's behavior dismissive? Hurtful? Excluding? Using? Discouraging? If your daughter is feeling left out, if words are making her feel criticized or self conscious and to turn inward… if she's doing the brunt of the school work on a project they are supposed to do jointly… if she's showing anxiety about going to school or withdrawing socially… it may be time to take a long hard look at her friendship.

Encouragement and Love… 
When we encourage our daughters to be brave… to ask for what they need in relationships… to state what they expect… to draw the line at behaviors that should not continue… when we model healthy boundaries ourselves and remind her that God doesn't expect her to be a doormat… He doesn't expect her to roll over and be treated poorly… that it is permissible and even okay(!) for her to learn to stand up for herself in a calm respectful manner… then we know as moms we have reminded her that she is worthy, she is dearly loved for who she is… and most of all by God.

© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014 

5 Signs She's A Great Bestie: 

1. She loves you for you 
2. She believes in you
3. She treats others with kindness 
4. She gives not just takes
5. She is trustworthy

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. 
It has no survival value; 
rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.
-  C. S. Lewis

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Thank you for reading, 

commenting and sharing! 

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Sunday, June 8, 2014

"That Was Supposed To Be My Life" She Said

"And you let her go
And you let her go 
well you let her go… "

lyrics ~  let her go


I listened to the lyrics as they played in the background…  slowly making my way around the circular tables of designer shoes displayed… Nine West, Coach and Franco Sarto leather wedges and summer flats dazzled like prized trophies on pedestals. Finding myself at the corner clearance rack I began casually surveying the shoes lining the metal shelves… blue suede pumps, heels that were glittered and glossy lipstick red begged to be bought and worn out… worn to a party, a glittering event or maybe a dinner date and play afterward. As my brown-green flecked eyes fluttered over them my sight caught an older couple just a few feet away… visible to me through the staggered shelves of shoes. They appeared to be in their late sixties or early seventies. He was sitting in a club chair noticeably patiently waiting while she, his wife, tried on several pairs of shoes. There was a comfortableness between them. He nodded at what she was saying as she modeled them in front of a petite knee height mirror nearby. I watched as she took a seat beside him and he gestured to the pair she held in her hands and seemed to speak with his body language from afar that yes, indeed she had chosen the right pair for her… and that he too liked them as well. He spoke to her with undetectable words from my vantage point yet I saw that she smiled, chuckling appreciatively at what he said. I moved away from the clearance section and made my way to the nearby clothing department.

I began skimming through a rack of women's pants for work… and as I skimmed through the slacks in colors of gray, navy and khaki I heard a female voice nearby speak "That was supposed to be my life." she said. I turned to her, startled and met her lined gray eyes staring back at me. Her face looked pained and she affirmed to me what she was referring to… "That couple… being married for so long and obviously happy… that was supposed to be my life." she told me.


I meet people, randomly, not expected, in ways that connect us all in so many ways… past experiences that continue to show up in ways they can be used now in present time to help, to reach out, to do good, to affirm, to heal. With each person's pain comes the current place of who they are now… each and every life moment has led them to who they are today.

We are each a sum of all our experiences. 
We are each molded by the past into who we've become… 
formed by what we've been through, 
each person who has crossed our path in life has touched us in some way, shape or form.

For this woman she stood here today… before me with raw feelings and her words caught in my throat, hinged on my shoulders and pulled at my heartstrings. This woman was brave. Brave enough to say what any woman (or yes, even man) may not utter but feel deep inside… each person who has been through the hell of losing… something that was supposed to be for the long haul, the end of time, for eternity, "what coulda shoulda been" but yet they continue to push those feelings down deep each time they try to rise up again and like waves threaten to engulf them in a flood of tears.

She was brave to speak for us all.

"That was supposed to be my life" she'd said.

I looked her in the eyes and painfully but honestly replied "Me too."

That was supposed to be my life too… 

a marriage where no one took the other for granted

a life where we each encouraged one another to grow, to learn, to push and far exceed what perhaps we narrowly believed we could do

we were to be able to talk about anything and yet at the same time to be happy with discussing nothing

we were to be best friends; me climbing your back like a kid until I was no longer limber enough to do it and your back finally cried uncle

and yet we were supposed to be lovers and we'd tingle with excitement in complete simpatico like a complementing storm of thunder and lightening always on cue

we were supposed to be able to overlook the annoyances and when they'd threaten to divide, one of us would crack a joke to smooth the ripple out like a warm iron on a ruffled shirt

maybe one day there would come a time when we could no longer physically do the things we used to but there would always be hugs…  the long hug-you-and-squeeze-you-tight-at-the-end-of-a-long-day-type-hugs-where-no-one-wants-to-let-go… because those are the best

it was to be a life of sunny flowers in the kitchen, the scent of apple pie, a dog panting and wagging at our feet and kids running happily barefoot through the house

there would be extended family barbecues, cookouts, what have you and smiling sun-kissed faces ready for another photo, ice cream cup or dip in the pool 

years of family road trips filled with impromptu stops for sight seeing, a sno-cone and silly picture taking 

there would be arguments, no doubt… disagreements of this or that… but there would always be open communication… we would each be one another's "safe spot" to go to and respect would reign for one another… because the biblical golden rule would be the first rule applied… do unto others as you'd want them to do unto you

life might sometimes become monotonous but we'd know it was up to us to inject moments of whimsy and fun… and we'd take the time for adventures

we were to be best friends and be able to tell one another everything and not be judged… because being best friends means picking each other up, not pushing the other down

really it was supposed to be the best thing ever meeting you… it was to be a lifetime of inside jokes, a history of meaningful shared moments, of pet names, of "i love you's" that meant something… 

that was supposed to be me.

that was supposed to be her…

that was maybe supposed to be you.

Don't believe for a minute God doesn't see your disappointment.
He knows.
He sees the unspoken pain and hurt…
He is very much aware of it… and yet…
there's another chapter coming around the corner…

for me.

for her.

and yes, for you.

© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014 

worrying will do nothing 
but keep you stagnant… 
don't let anything from the past 
overshadow your now

Like the rain… even pain is temporary… 
healing is for everyone, not just some people 

“The best way out is always through.”
―Robert Frost

Every single step forward you take is one more step of progress

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commenting and sharing! 

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