Sunday, November 16, 2014

Our New Baby!

We weren't planning on a second child, but sometimes life throws you a curve ball so we'd like to introduce you to Lucy, our 12-week old new addition :)

Our sweet almost 8-year-old first child, Peanut, was out on patrol with her daddy when she noticed Lucy who ran into the laundry room. Of course, my wonderful husband could not leave her there so he brought her home and texted me at work to tell me that he had found her. I got home and we both felt that Lucy was meant to be ours. She had clearly been out there for awhile, she had fleas and little patches of fur missing, infectious pus pockets on her stomach, plus her tail was broken. Someone had tried to dock it by tying a rubber band around it most likely. She was emaciated and scared. She cowered when anyone tried to pick her up. 

We took her to the vet, got her examined and started on some meds for hookworms and fleas. She was bathed and now, three weeks into being in her new home and family, she's doing great! She gained two pounds, her skin cleared up, the fleas are gone and she doesn't cower anymore. She knows she's safe and loved!

Friday, September 26, 2014

20 years

20 years ago today, I started classes at the University of Oregon. I was 18. I didn't know then that I would earn four degrees at three universities across 11 years. It was the beginning of a long journey that I didn't know I was on. Just a few days before classes started, I met the woman who would become my best friend, my kindred spirit. Britt had the dorm room down the hall from mine. We lived in the International Dorm and it turned out we were the only two there who were from Oregon. We bonded over cereal and our mutual love of talking about everything and nothing at all. Britt has been by my side for over half my life now, seeing me through marriage, divorce, law school, grad school, moving from Oregon to Houston, and everything in-between. There is nothing that can replace the sound of her voice when I need a pick-me-up, her great advice for all life's troubles, and her shared joy when life goes my way. Thank you for sharing the journey Britt. I love you more than I can say. Here's to 20 years of friendship. I have truly been blessed with you.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Licenses, Firsts, and some life advice

I can't believe it's already September. The summer seems to have flown by. It was a busy one around here. I got a new job, continued with a writing job I already had, celebrated my husband's birthday, and celebrated our first wedding anniversary. All good stuff, but it has kept me busy.

I also decided this summer to place my law license in inactive status. I am a member of two licensed professions (law and therapy) and it makes no sense to keep my law license active since it costs $500 a year to do so and I'm not using it. Should I ever decide to use it again, I can always place it on active status, but I don't see that happening in the near future or probably ever. You never know though.

In June, I started working as a full-time therapist at a psychiatric hospital. It is a very, very busy job. I am on the go from morning until quitting time. It's the kind of job where you look up and see it's 3 p.m. already and you have no idea how the time has passed so quickly. I average about 45 hours a week there plus I work, on average, two weekend days a month. Feels good to be working in my field and amassing the required hours for my full license. As a therapist, I'm required to work 3000 hours and see a supervisor (this is a person who has a special license designation for supervising interns) once a week until my hours are completed. It's like having a mentor who assists you and helps you grow in the profession. I adore my supervisor!

I made a decision this summer to clear my schedule a bit. In addition to working 45 hours a week, plus at least two weekends, I was seeing my supervisor one night a week and facilitating two DBSA groups on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The Thursday group required that I drive 60 miles round-trip. It was exhausting. I decided to let go of the Thursday evening group and that has made a huge difference in how I feel. I'm not as exhausted during the week and I feel like I'm more centered mentally. I have always been a person with a packed schedule, but I'm learning how much I not only value, but really need down time. It's helped me a lot to have that free time during the week. I gave notice to the organization in August that I could no longer do the Thursday night group and I facilitated my last one at the end of that month.

In August, we also celebrated my husband's 38th birthday with a professional massage for him and a trip to the water park. We enjoyed the weekend immensely. That same month, we celebrated our first wedding anniversary.

Our first year together has been filled with ups and downs in life, but never with each other. We are rock solid and steady, helping each other through the storms. It's absolutely amazing to me that I have someone like my husband in my life. I've certainly had my share of relationship mishaps, but I'd do it all again 10 times over to have the amazing, incredible man I have in my life now. A true partnership, a person who cares for my happiness as much or more than he does his own, a man who strives every single day to make my life as easy as possible...this is worth waiting for. 

So many people stay in relationships for years that just don't work in one way or another. With my husband, I now realize how much time I wasted with people who didn't deserve it. In this relationship, I feel valued and genuinely cherished every single moment of every day. Nearing 40 years old now, I just want to tell my younger self and anyone else who will listen - DO NOT SETTLE.

If you find yourself chasing someone who keeps you at arm's length or uses you when it's convenient for them, if you find yourself hoping they will call and you switch your life around to do everything you can to be in their life...just stop. Stop and move on. There truly are better people out there. Don't waste the effort on those who don't deserve it.

I realize this is hard to do. Eternal hope keeps us running back to the things we think we want. But one thing I've learned is that, in the end, it's just not that difficult. If someone wants to be with you, they will do so. It's really that simple. Years of pining and wondering and worrying and hoping is just wasted energy. Find the one who doesn't play games, doesn't make you feel like you're a burden on their time and energy, understands that love is about being a team and traversing the path together. It's worth it. Truly. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tube Theft and Other Water Park Adventures

We had a fantastic day at Wet 'n Wild Splash Town Houston yesterday! It was part of my wonderful husband's birthday celebration. We arrived early in the morning about 30 minutes after the park opened and we stayed a good six hours. I thought I'd write a blog about our experience at the park and what might make it easier for people who are planning to go.

Obviously swim wear is a must, but what a lot of people don't think about is shoes. Many people think they can go barefoot. And you can, but it is HOT in Texas (I know, shocking) and the ground can burn your feet. We learned from our trip to the park last year that water shoes are the way to go. We stopped at Wal-Mart and bought a pair for each of us for the grand total of $14 since my shoes were on sale for $3. Totally worth it. Way easier to walk around the park with the shoes and there was only one ride (Wala Wala Falls) where we had to take them off. No problem though because it's a short ride and you can easily hold them.

Our shoes:

This site offered an excellent discount on tickets. It's a credit union site. We're not members of the credit union, but were still able to use the site. We got tickets for $30 each and that included the taxes and processing fee. That is an absolute steal and hard to beat anywhere.

Parking costs $10, but there is a pick-up/drop-off area so if you want to save on parking, you can have a friend drop you off. We planned to go ahead and pay for the parking ourselves.

We arrived about 30 minutes after the park opened. That was not bad since it wasn't as crowded as it got later in the day, but it is still crowded. Definitely buy your tickets online before you go (see discount site above). You can save yourself time standing in the ticket line.

Your bags will be inspected and any and all food/drink items will be removed. You will be asked to return them to the car or to eat them right there or whatever, but you cannot bring them into the park with you. Be prepared for that.

Food and drinks are ridiculously expensive in the park. The best thing to do is eat before you go. We stopped by Dunkin' Doughnuts before we went to the park and that filled us up. The one thing we did do was purchase a drink in the park. It was horrifically expensive, but worth it at the time since I was so thirsty. I understand you can bring water so next time I will do that. But, I did not see any water fountains in the park to refill a bottle so I'd suggest bringing a large bottle.

For food, the best thing to do is leave the park (you can re-enter for no fee) and walk to Wendy's or Rudy's BBQ, both of which are nearby. It's not a bad walk and is significantly cheaper than eating in the park.

There is really no way around a locker rental since everyone brings something with them to the park if only car keys. The small locker was $9 plus a $5 fee that gets refunded when you bring the key back. Just plan to pay that. The small locker accommodated our tote bag with sunscreen, extra clothes and towel.

Tubes are $6 plus a $2 fee that gets refunded when you return them. We rented two tubes. This is not the best idea honestly. Live and learn. We ended up carrying them around with us and on the second ride we went on, we had to use the provided tubes for the ride. So we set our rented tubes next to the ride thinking they would be fine there.

They weren't. We got off the ride and found our tubes gone. Luckily, we saw a kid with one of them so we got that one back. We returned to the tube rental place and they were nice enough to just give us a second tube. Still though, it's just a hassle because you only need the tube for three of the rides in the park. While it is nice not to have to wait in the tube line (which can get very, very long), the best thing to do is either not rent the tube or, if you decide to, go immediately to the attractions for which you need it and do those first, then return the tube.

Attractions for which you can use the rental tubes are:
1. Runaway Rapids
2. Zoom Flumes
3. RipQurl

You can also use them on Paradise River, which is the lazy river where you just casually float around the park.

So, if you rent the tubes, go immediately to the attractions where they are useful, ride those as much as you want and then return the tubes so you aren't carrying them around all day.

Park Map:
Hope that helps some of you who may be thinking about visiting the park this summer. All in all, we had a great time and will definitely be back next year!

Sunday, August 3, 2014


Some things I saw around the net this week that I thought were funny. Humor will get you through a lot!

Friday, May 23, 2014


Sometimes it's just about staying strong through the things that make you fall to your knees with despair. Sometimes that strength looks like tears. Sometimes it looks like laughter. It's about knowing you can get through the difficult things and that joy will come. It's about finding whatever port you can in the storm, seeking whatever shelter is available and riding it out. Then, it's about having compassion for those who are still in the middle of their own storms. It's about providing that shelter for them if you can and if you can't, it's about giving what you can and standing beside them as their storm rages reminding them that it will not always hurt this bad, it will not always be this painful, but while it is, you are there. Always.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The ugly side of weight loss

In my newest article, I explore the ugly side of weight loss. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, especially if you've experienced it yourself. Even if you haven't, I always enjoy hearing what people think. Click the link below to read the article.

The Ugly Side of Weight Loss

Sunday, May 18, 2014


Something I’ve been thinking about – I have friends who are stay-at-home moms and a common theme among them is people who dismiss them as though they have nothing interesting to say because they stay at home with their kids. At any given gathering, people will always ask you what you do for a living and the conversation generally flows from that. For some of my SAHM friends, once they say they stay at home, people dismiss them with “Oh” and move on to someone else. 

Obviously, the fault here lies with the person who is dismissive because if you honestly cannot think of something to talk about other than work, something is wrong with you. People are multi-faceted and interesting in many different ways. You can ask what someone does for a living, there’s nothing wrong with that, but you should also be able to talk about them as a PERSON, not them as a job. So, if you encounter someone who is a SAHM, you can ask what challenges they find with that, what do they enjoy about it, what are their hobbies, what books have they recently read, do they have pets, and on and on it goes. You may be surprised to learn that the SAHM you just dismissed volunteers her time reading to the blind or that she was once a statistician and now uses those skills at home, that she likes to watch professional wrestling after the kids are in bed. 

I have had interesting conversations with everyone from stay-at-home parents to lawyers to the garbage man to the lifeguard at the pool. Any number of “Really, I never would have thought that” moments can come out of a conversation if you’re willing to listen and not be dismissive based simply on what someone does for a living. Just saying.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Lawfrog's Bookshelf - May 2014

I finally finished the book I've been reading for about three years now. It was Defending Angels by Mary Stanton, the first in a series of books about a lawyer who defends other worldly clients. Sounds like a good premise, but this book was horribly boring and I read it in fits and starts hence it taking me literally three years to read it. I was glad to finish it, but I can't say I enjoyed it at all. It moved too slowly and the ending didn't really wrap it up well in my view. 

What I am reading right now:

Knit Two by Kate Jacobs. This is the second in The Friday Night Knitting Club series. I loved the first book which was titled The Friday Night Knitting Club and this book is equally as good.

The Art of Love by Elizabeth Edmondson. I absolutely loved Edmondson's A Villa in Italy. This book is good too. It's another one I'm reading slowly as I have others I've been interested in finishing, but I am enjoying it. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Captain Awkward

I love Captain Awkward! She has one of the best advice blogs on the Internet and I encourage everyone to read her posts. No, I am not being paid to say that. It's just the truth. 

She recently wrote about a guy who simply could not let go after a four-month relationship with a woman. Two years after the breakup, the guy is still hanging on to what happened, over analyzing, and wanting closure. This got me to thinking about closure. Closure is something people seek from others, but when it comes down to it, it's something you have to give yourself. It's very rare that you receive closure from others in the way you want to receive it. In fact, seeking closure can often be more hurtful than letting something lie. A lot of people will try to spare the feelings of another person by telling them "It's not you, it's me" or "I just need space right now." The person then pushes and pushes for an answer until finally they hear things they may not have wanted or needed to hear. Sometimes the kindest thing you can do for yourself is leave it alone. 

Also, when someone specifically asks that you not contact them, DO NOT CONTACT THEM. Captain Awkward talks about this in the column about the guy with the four-month relationship. The woman requested he not contact her and he continued to do so and then wondered why she wouldn't give him closure. Well, perhaps because she asked you to leave her alone and you continued to cross that boundary repeatedly? 

Sometimes we just have to understand that other people are not the solution to our emotions. The only one who can help you is you. Give yourself closure in the form of letting go of the situation, person, or relationship and moving on. It may take therapy, meditation, or any number of other things to make that happen, but harassing the person who has asked that you stay away is not a viable option and can get you in more trouble than it's worth. 

Letting go and moving on is some of the hardest work we do as human beings. But it is also the most worthwhile work. Move on. Make room in your life for the things and the people who want to be there. Chasing after someone who doesn't want to be there is pathetic and you end up missing out on the people who are interested in being a part of your journey. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Lawfrog's Bookshelf - April 2014

I'm a big reader and I generally have several books going at once. Currently, I'm reading:

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I'm listening to the unabridged version on my Kindle Fire during my commutes. I'm about 1/3 of the way through it and I'm enjoying it. 

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. I'm only a few chapters into this and I can already tell I'm going to like it. 

Defending Angels by Mary Stanton. This is one of those books that I thought would be interesting because it's the first in a series about a lawyer (one of my former professions) whose clients are other worldly. It just didn't keep my interest so I put it down and picked it up quite a bit. I've been "reading" this for two years now. I'm only 30-something pages from the end and it's picked up a bit so I'm eager to see who the killer is now, but I don't think I'll read any more of the series. 

What are you reading?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The corpse has it easy

Although death has been with us since the beginning of time, people still aren't sure how to handle the grief stricken. The corpse has it easy, someone else dresses them, they show up in a comfortable casket and all is good. But for the living, death can really suck. How to help the grief-stricken handle it? Read my latest article and find out!

Embracing the Inevitable: The Reality of Dealing with Death and Grief

Sunday, March 16, 2014

38 Years, 38 Lessons

I turned 38 on February 4th. I am not a woman who is saddened by aging. I celebrate each year. In honor of my 38 years on this earth, I am posting 38 things I've learned so far:

1. This is YOUR journey. People will try to tell you what you need to be, say, do, feel, think. But this is your journey. People can walk alongside you, but they cannot walk in your shoes. You must do what you need to do for yourself. Live the life you want.

2. Time heals. Do not act in haste. Give yourself time to process the things that happen to you from the breakup of a relationship to the death of a parent. The first 24 hours are always hard. Always. Depending on the loss, the next year may be hard. But time does soften the hard edges if you let it. If you give time some room, it will help you heal. You must do things in that time to really heal, but time itself is a great gift to bestow upon yourself while you decide what you need to do to move forward.

3. When in doubt, do nothing. If you are unsure of which path to take in life, of what action to take, do nothing. Clarity comes, but only if you allow it to do so. Don't do hasty things because you think you must make a choice right now. It's OK to just let things sit for awhile until you figure it out.

4. Quit. Quitting gets a bad rap a lot of the time. It's helpful to know when to quit and move on. As I said in this article, the word quit tends to have a negative connotation. We more readily accept the concepts of letting go and moving on and we see those things as being healthy and wise, but really letting go and moving on are just quitting's formal clothes. It's OK to stop doing things that aren't working for you anymore. 

5. Some friendships don't last forever. There are people you think will forever be in your life, but sometimes friendships end. Sometimes it's a spectacular demise and other times it's a quiet drifting. Some people are not meant to be in your life forever. Knowing how to let go of a friend is important and I've addressed that in this article.

6. Know who you can count on. There are people in your life who will be there for you when the chips are down. Know who those people are and realize that they are not always the ones you think they will be. You also need to know who you can count on for specific activities. If you're hospitalized, you may have friends who don't visit because they can't deal with hospitals, but they take care of your dog and your house and bring you food when you get out. People give in the ways they can do so and those ways may be different than what you would like, but accept what they are able to give. 

7. Work out. You don't have to take a class at the gym every night or run 20 miles before work in the morning, but you should have some kind of work out routine and it should be something you enjoy. Are you into dancing? Dance around the house. Walk around the block as a family every night with the dog. Ride your bike a few times a week. Do something to keep active and keep moving. 

8. No is a complete sentence. Learn to say no. It's hard. Really hard. We are conditioned to be helpful as a society, especially women, but you need to remember that when you say yes to one thing, you're saying no to something else. If you say yes to chairing yet another committee, you're saying no to time with family, quiet time for yourself, etc. And remember that when you say no, do not explain it. "No, I can't help you" is perfectly acceptable. If someone pushes you for a reason, repeat that you cannot help, wish them luck and leave.

9. Educate yourself. Everyone doesn't need to go to college, but everyone should educate themselves. Read about the things that interest you, get as much information as you can about topics that matter in your life. Don't believe everything you hear on the news or from others. Do some research and be open minded to the other side. It helps to know what the arguments are for the side you don't believe in so you can decide where you stand and why.

10. Get therapy. Everyone has things they can work out, things a neutral third party can help them with. Give a few sessions of therapy a try. It doesn't have to be a long-term situation, but it can help to talk things out with people who are trained to listen and to help you. People often believe friends can do this, but friends usually have too much invested in you to be objective and they are not trained in ways to help you change your thinking and change your ways of doing things that may be destructive. 

11. Don't explain. It's generally unhelpful to explain why you do the things you do in the way you do them. You will come across judgmental people in your life who will say things like this "You know, you should do X this way" or "Why are you doing THAT?" It's natural to defend yourself, but you don't have to. Saying "This works for me" is enough. You don't owe a defense of yourself or your way of being to anyone whether they are parents, friends, co-workers, etc.

12. Job interviews are a two-way street. When you're looking for a job, you are sometimes so desperate for the money that you don't take into account whether or not this is the right job for you. Remember that job interviews are a two-way street. You need to assess the people and the place you will be working just as much as they are assessing you. You need to know that the work styles of your manager and co-workers and the culture of the company will be a good fit for you. Ask questions to ascertain that. Read Ask a Manager for help with these issues, it's truly the best work site on the web.   

13. Read Codependent No MoreEven if you think you are not a codependent person, this book is incredibly helpful in understanding those who are. And there are a lot of them out there so if you're not codependent, you probably know at least one (and usually more) person who is. And if you are the codependent one, this book can help you move away from those behaviors.

14. Keep your own counsel. Many people blab about their dreams, goals, life plans, and personal issues to anyone who will listen and then they wonder why they've lost credibility. Keep your own counsel, do not share your personal information with everyone. Share plans when they are concrete and about to be or are already being executed. Otherwise, you set yourself up to be that guy that no one believes when he says, yet again, that he's going to lose weight/start running/go back to school...

15. Join a support group. There are support groups out there for everything from psychiatric issues to divorce to grief. Find one and join it. It's helpful to be around people who understand what you're going through. Find one that works for you, don't be afraid to try different groups. You don't have to go forever, but it can be helpful when you are going through tough times. 

16. Know your limitations. Maybe everyone thinks you'd be a great teacher, doctor, lawyer, mother, wife, farmer, whatever, but you know you don't have the skills for it. Know your limitations so you can put your time and energy into the things you can and want to do.

17. Enjoy quiet time. Everyone needs pockets of silence, time where there is no radio, TV, other people talking, or any other noise. Just time to breathe and quiet your mind. Fit at least one 10-minute pocket of silence into your day somewhere.

18. Be patient. Perhaps the toughest lesson for all of us is to have patience with ourselves, with others, and with life. Practice patience as often as you can. It's OK if you don't get through the grocery line as quickly as you might have otherwise, it's OK if you have to wait a few extra minutes at the movies. Practice being OK with that extra time.

19. Endure the seasons of life. The earth goes through seasons and so does life. There will be times in your life when you are in a harsh winter, a lovely rebirth spring, a beautiful summer full of sunshine, and an autumn of change. Embrace the seasons and their many lessons. Endure through the difficult seasons and enjoy the good ones. 

20. Don't chase a romantic partner. If someone wants to be with you, they will. It really is that simple. After 38 years and experience with divorce and dating, I can honestly say that it really does come down to a basic concept - if someone is interested, you will know it. There are no games, no angst, no bitterness, no immature behavior. If you find yourself chasing after someone, hoping for their time and attention, stop. Just stop. Move on. When you find the right person for you, those ridiculous games and all that angst are nowhere in sight. 

21. Learn active listening skills. Use them. Click the link for a good explanation of active listening. Really, truly listening to someone and providing helpful feedback is an art and worth learning.

22. Make a will. So many people put this off because they fear facing their own mortality or because they think they don't have anything all that valuable. However, almost everyone owns a car, a laptop, has a few dollars in a bank account, has furniture and so on. Dealing with an estate without a will is a nightmare even if that estate only contains a computer and $5 in a checking account. Make a will and be sure to update it as the years go on. A simple will is not that expensive and is worth the investment.

23. Save some money. Even if all you can save is $1 a month, do that. I've lived paycheck to paycheck so I know how hard it is, but getting in the habit of saving even a small amount is helpful. I have a box where I deposit my loose change. I then take it to one of those coin counting machines at the end of the year or whenever it's full. It's amazing how much money you can save just from loose change. 

24. Let other people solve their own problems. You are not obligated to help people out of their destructive patterns. If you keep giving rent money to people who decide to blow their bill money on gambling or other poor choices, you will find yourself angry and that person will be stuck in a bad pattern of relying on others for assistance. Not a good idea for either of you. And that is only one example. Adults can solve their own problems, it's not your job to do it for them and if they decide not to, accept that. If someone comes to you with a sob story, you can listen and offer emotional support, but you do not need to tell them what to do, how to do it, or give them the means to do it. I am not advocating that you not be charitable. There are times where you can and should help someone, but you need to be able to discern between helping someone in need and trying to solve their problems for them. 

25. Childhood trauma has a shelf life. Stop blaming your childhood for the way things are now. Even horribly abusive childhoods cannot be the reason for everything that happens in life. Maybe your parents really sucked and were clones of Mommy Dearest. Maybe your siblings were favored and you were left out in the cold. All of that is sad and awful, but you cannot use it to shore up your poor decisions currently. Your sucky childhood does not have to become your sucky adulthood. 

26. Don't give power where it's undeserved. Stop acting like certain things in life are horrible. Does getting divorced suck? Sure does, been there. But you know, the more space in your head that you give to the pain, the more power it has. Don't make something bigger and more horrible than it deserves to be. Most things we worry about never come to pass. Do not give power to the anxiety or the situations in life that don't deserve it. This doesn't mean you shouldn't process the pain. Totally OK to do that, but don't allow fear and pain to overtake you. Give it a voice and give it some time, but don't think of it as something that can ruin your life. That is way too much power for something that doesn't deserve it. 

27. People are not psychic. One of the most ridiculous phrases in the world that many have said (especially in romantic relationships) is "They should just know what I need!!" People are not generally psychic. You need to ask for what you want. Stop thinking people should just know. They don't know. Accept that and you'll be a happier person. Continuing on this topic, remember that often Silence implies consent. Don't fume and pout and be bitter when someone does something you dislike. Speak up. Let people know what you need and want and feel. If you stay silent hoping someone will realize you don't like/want/feel something, you are asking to be walked on. SPEAK UP. 

28. Relax. Find ways to relax. Maybe it's a hot bath, a stop at Starbucks in the morning, a run around the block, a long car ride with blaring music. Whatever it is, find it and do it often. 

29. Celebrate your birthday. You made it another year on this planet. Celebrate it. If you're not a fan of parties or the usual celebrations, at least get yourself a cupcake or your favorite ice cream or something. Your entrance into this world and you continuing to be in it are worthy of marking in some way.

30. Don't wait for the other person to act. So often, people say "So and so hasn't called me/visited/written me in awhile." Well, when's the last time you called, visited, or wrote? Why are you waiting for that other person to do it? Pick up the phone, the computer, your car keys and get in touch with them. 

31. Own it. Whatever you've decided to do in your life or not do, own it. It's your choice. Maybe it's a bad choice and maybe it's a good one, but whatever it is, own it. Don't act as though you have no control because you do. If you don't want to put the effort into losing weight, own that. If you decide to become a marathon runner and/or go back to school, own that. Your life, your choices. Own them.

32. Move. Staying in one place forever is a good way to stagnate. In 2002 I decided to move halfway across the country from my small hometown to the 4th largest city in America. I came here to attend law school. I knew no one and it was the best decision I ever made. Starting over somewhere new is invigorating. Everyone should do it at least once in their life. 

33. Travel to another country. One of the most educational and wonderful things I've done is travel to other countries. I've learned so much about other cultures, other people, and I've seen some amazing things. Traveling opens up your world in so many ways. People often think it's too expensive, but it really isn't if you do things on the cheap, which is how I've managed it all these years. You can take a vacation without staying in a five-star hotel and eating out every night.

34. Live alone. Knowing you can handle life on your own is invaluable. Live without your parents or a roommate for at least one year. You will get to know a lot about yourself and what you need and want in life. 

35. Learn to take a compliment. This one is especially important for women, but it applies to everyone. If someone pays you a compliment, say thank you. That's all. You do not need to try to convince them that they are wrong about your good qualities, fashion sense, or whatever else they complimented you on. Just say thank you. 

36. Move on. There comes a time where you need to stop giving time and attention to a person, a situation, an activity. You need to learn to move on. This involves getting to a place where you can do that. There are suggestions on this list for ways to do that (#10 - Get Therapy, #15 - Join a Support Group), but however you do it, make it a goal to move on. Clinging to people, situations and the past long past their expiration date is unhealthy and destructive and stops you from enjoying your life. Don't do that. Move on. 

37. Respect other people's journey. Other people will do things differently than you do. You may not agree with the way they are doing things. That's OK. Resist the urge to tell others how to live. Unless they are five years old and you gave birth to them, you don't get a vote in how they do things. If someone asks your opinion, feel free to give it. If they don't, leave them alone and respect that their journey is not your journey. 

38. Send thank you notes and letters. With the advent of email, Skype, and other electronic communication mediums, we've lost the art of handwriting thank you notes and general letters. Send something handwritten every once in awhile. It's fun to receive those and people will appreciate it much more than an email or text. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Season of Winter

A poem by a high school classmate's mother who passed away 22 years ago. She wrote this in 1977 and I must share it for all of us who are going through a season of winter in so many ways.

A storm came through our garden once;
it shred and broke and tore,
Til all that lay within its path
was shaken o'er and o'er

Then firmly called the sun for quiet;
it shushed the wind and held the rain;
Then gently wrapped the fraught creation
with harm and healing arms again

After days of loving comfort,
timid shoots of green peeked through,
And gentle colors shyly opened,
promise of a deeper hue

When seasons changed, a passerby
beheld a two-faced view ---
Of rain-thrashed trees and battered shrubs,
yet also growth, alive and new

The Husbandman has placed His servants
within a garden, precious, rare
To labor, pray, rejoice, and weep
o'er every branch he's planted there.

Our Father also knew before
that violent, unrelenting rains,
Sweeping o'er his precious vineyard
would bring wreckage, sorrow, pain

But far beyond, the Keeper knew
the storm would more than havoc sow;
For rains that plunder stiffened branches
cause the yielding ones to grow.

~ Barbara Perkins