Be Happy, Coping, Family, Happiness, Home Sweet Home, Love, Relationships, Togetherness, travel, Uncategorized

Togetherness

Well, the holidays are officially here, and I am now ready to celebrate with the decorations, food, and Christmas music…..not a bit too early!

This Christmas is one I am looking forward to.  I always do, but this year, Al and I are hoping to make a trip to Kansas City to see my three children, my grandson, at least one of my sisters, and maybe a few other family members.  My son will be home from the Navy, so I am anxious to see him, and spend time with my girls.  I am one of five daughters, and my parents were each one of five children, so we have a pretty big family.  But I haven’t seen any of them since July, 2015, and it was for less than 48 hours, since we were there for my nephew’s wedding, and then went to spend a week in New York.  It has been over five years since I have seen all three of my children together at once.  Think about that for a minute…..going years without seeing your family…….as different as my sisters and I are, I still love and miss them every day.  I haven’t seen my best friends (and won’t on this trip either) for 2 1/2-5 years or longer.  I love and miss them terribly too.  I do have a couple of uncles, aunts, and cousins who live about an hour from here, but we don’t see them very often.  It’s nice to have some family a little bit close though.

Since Al moved here in 2014, we have been to New York to see his mother and sister three times, and he has gone twice by himself.  He has been to Miami with his friends from Sweden three times.  We’ve been to Orlando to see his father three times.  We’ve been to Sweden.  We’ve also taken a couple of trips to New Orleans, and a short honeymoon cruise, but the focus the last 3 1/2 years has been to make sure he gets to see his family (especially his parents) and friends, after spending so long living out of the country.  Now we have an opportunity to go to Kansas City, between Christmas and New Year’s, and it’s all I can think about.  Kansas City is beautiful during the holidays, and I will get to see my “babies!”

I have friends living all over the country.  But, as women, most of us don’t take the time to take many getaways on our own.  At least, that’s been the case with me and most of my friends.  We have our jobs and responsibilities with our homes, children or pets, and don’t feel like we can take a break from it all.  I’m usually the one making sure everyone has what they need, and I forget to think about what I need.  I’m trying to do better with that.  It’s hard for me to do without feeling selfish.  Since funds are tight, and now with my health conditions, I can’t exactly justify taking off for a week or weekend to hang out with my friends by myself.  Traveling alone wouldn’t be a good idea because of everything going on physically with me.  I’ve been working very hard at school and also trying to get started in the real estate business, to try to get us a little bit ahead.  Frankly, between that, and all of the medical crap I deal with, I’m worn out, and need a change of scenery.  Maybe someday, I can travel alone again, but not now.

While I love living in a warm climate (even though they are predicting snow this Friday!), and it’s much easier on my arthritis, sometimes I need a break too.  Hopefully, I can get a much needed break to see some of the people I love and miss.  And what better time to do it than at Christmas in Kansas City?

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Acceptance, Anxiety, Bad Attitudes, Be Happy, Be Kind, Being Strong, Don't Judge, Doormat, Happiness, Kindness, Manners, Rejection, Relationships, Respect, Self respect, Support, Uncategorized

Acceptance vs. Rejection

Acceptance.  We all want/need/crave it throughout our lives.  We first need it from our parents, siblings, and extended family.  Some people aren’t fortunate enough to ever feel that.  Then we need acceptance from friends, teachers, and coaches, employers, co-workers, our adult peers, and even our spouses and own children.

Why do we need acceptance?  Why is it so important for us to feel loved?  Besides the basic needs of life…..food/water, shelter, and warmth, we also NEED love and acceptance. Humans are socially wired, and need each other.  I know there are some people who really don’t care if they are accepted or liked, and I will admit, that I don’t care if I am liked by certain people.  Life is too short to waste our time on negativity or hate. However, if you’ve done your best to be kind, considerate, honest, generous, helpful, and truly nice to someone, why wouldn’t they like or accept you?  Why would they reject your sincere efforts to be a good person?  Rejection is painful.

As a child, I was fairly well liked by my teachers.  I was quiet and did my work, so that helped.  I did have a teacher or two in high school who just really didn’t like me though. It was a miserable experience!  I hated jumping through hoops for them, only to always be shot down, or criticized, no matter what I did.  It was a hard lesson to learn about the human spirit, and how mean people can be.  My husband had the same experiences with a few coaches along the way.  No matter what type of effort he put in at practices, games, etc. the coach was never satisfied. I think everyone can relate to similar experiences.

Why?  What gives someone the satisfaction of rejecting people?  Is it a power play? Is it fun having control over someone’s future or feelings?  Or does it make them feel good to hurt someone? Are they miserable people who only feel good when they are hating and disrespecting someone else?  Does it make them happy to criticize everything someone does, even when that person is doing their best?  Is it jealousy?  Are they rejecting you for the way you look?  The way you talk?  The way you dress?  The career you chose?  Your social status?  Where you come from?  Who you marry?  Misunderstandings, miscommunication, and grudges can also be a source of contention for us…..and it’s very unhealthy spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.  As a wife, mother, and educator, I can’t imagine ever treating someone so unfairly.  I want to be an example of how to treat people.

A friend recently told me about her 2 year old granddaughter getting scratched by another child. Not only was her granddaughter physically hurt, but she was confused as to why this other child would intentionally hurt her.  We do what we can to protect our loved ones, but sometimes we can’t protect them from everything and everyone. Teaching kindness, acceptance, forgiveness, and love is far better than teaching them to be jealous, spiteful, or resentful.  Teaching them to stand up for themselves and walking away from negativity and meanness is much harder.  They still need love and acceptance.

I guess this is all a part of life, and learning how to deal with difficult people. I have learned that there are people in this world who I can never make happy.  I can’t control their thoughts, their actions, or what is influencing them.  I can only continue to be myself……trying to be the best version of myself, and how my parents raised me.  I can never be cold to someone who has done nothing to hurt me.  In fact, sometimes, I find myself being nice to people who have been unkind or unfair to me, and really don’t deserve my niceness!  I get annoyed with myself for doing that at times, but I just can’t help it!  I don’t want to go through life making anyone feel rejected or hurt.  I can’t.  I have to keep telling myself though, that when I encounter rejection, especially when I have only been kind….it is not my problem.  When a person intentionally rejects you in order to hurt you, you are not the problem.  As hard and hurtful and mean as it is….as long as you continue to be the bigger person, it is not you.

Choose kindness, not hate.  Choose acceptance, not rejection.  Wouldn’t you rather be known for your kindness and acceptance instead of someone who intentionally hurt another by rejecting them?  Don’t be so caught up in yourself that you hurt someone else with rejection.  Remember…..acceptance is a human need.  Be kind.

 

Attitude Adjustments, Be Happy, Be Kind, Happiness, Kindness, Loyalty, Married to My Best Friend, Negativity, Relationships, Respect, Self respect, Support, Uncategorized

Protecting and Defending Your Relationship

I have written about the struggle I’ve had standing up for myself….being a doormat.  I’ve carried a lot of hurt through life because of it.  I’m very sensitive, and I have felt that it is my biggest weakness.  However, I’ve also discovered that being sensitive is a strength!  I have compassion and empathy for others because I can understand the feelings of pain and of being disrespected, that someone can feel at the hands of mean people.  I am not afraid to stand up for those I love and care about.  Number one in this situation would be with my marriage.

Recently, an acquaintance of mine confided to me that her husband’s friends were coming between them, and they didn’t like the amount of time he was spending with her.  They felt that she had changed him, and they were trying to discredit her to him.  I felt sad for her, and wondered why her husband didn’t stand up for her.  Not that his friends aren’t important to him, but how much do they really care about him if they are disrespecting his wife and their marriage this way?  It’s petty and selfish.

A few years ago, I worked at a really horrible place, and dealt with some co-workers who disrespected Al, and my relationship with him.  While they may have just been trying to “protect” me, or explain to me what they might see as logic, my relationship with him was not their business. One person told me it would be over and done with in 6 months, without even having met him. Another questioned whether I knew him well enough to know what he likes to eat…..seems a bit trivial to me, but I did know what he liked to eat, among a lot of other things!  I really saw their “advice” and “concern” as nothing more than petty jealousy, because I would have less time to socialize with them.  But I would not allow them, or anyone else, to disrespect him, or our relationship.  I didn’t understand why they just couldn’t be happy for us. I made sure to let them know that I would not tolerate anyone disrespecting him. If they really cared for me, they would not do that.  Not only did they disrespect Al and our relationship, but they also disrespected me, by questioning my decisions, and my feelings for him.  Thank goodness I no longer work there, or with those horrible people! Once Al did get here, they weren’t very nice to him at all.  Glad I moved on! Since then, Al and I have both been told that we look and act happier and more at ease than they’ve seen us in a long time.  I knew that those people were jealous of our happiness, and couldn’t believe that anyone could be that happy.  Why should we have to prove it to them?  Why was our happiness a threat to them or anyone else? Why did we have to defend our happiness?

I don’t know why people feel the need to be mean, rude, or disrespectful, or why they would try to sow seeds of division in your relationship or marriage.  I try to respect the decisions of my loved ones.  I’ve learned that I won’t agree with everything my family, friends, or co-workers do, but I am still able to have compassion, respect, and understanding for them.  Their life is theirs, and not for me to interfere (as long as they are safe…..abuse would be a different story).  I still support them, and their quest for happiness and acceptance.  Isn’t that what we all want?  Don’t we all deserve that?

In our marriage vows, we promised to love, honor, cherish, and protect each other. Actually I remember saying we would be each other’s “biggest protector.”  That did not just mean physical protection.  It also meant that we would defend each other’s character, honor, and dignity.  My husband and the support I get from him in our marriage make me strong….strong enough to stand up and defend it (and him).

If you are married, or in a committed relationship, protect it!  Protect each other.  Don’t allow anyone to disrespect you, your significant other, or your commitment to each other.  Like I’ve said in other posts, there are so many mean people and unhappy things in this world.  Lean on each other because then you’ll know that at least you will always have one person who has your back!  If you don’t, your partner will feel it, and know that your commitment isn’t genuine.  And if you are one of those individuals who feel the need to try to place doubt or uncertainty, or are just simply unkind……stop.  It’s not your place.  It’s not your business.  It’s incredibly selfish.  Let others be happy.  Let others live their lives.  Be happy for them.  And if you can’t be happy for them, leave them alone.

 

 

Be Kind, Happiness, Kindness, Loyalty, Relationships, Respect, Support, Uncategorized

What Kind of Friend Are You?

Sincere.  True.  Real.  Faithful.  Loyal.  Genuine.  Unpretentious.  Righteous…..

Fake.  Phony.  Insincere. Bogus.  Artificial.  Fraudulent.  Bitter.  Jealous…….

Which character traits sound the most appealing?  Those which show true concern, love, friendship, and compassion, or those that show cruelty, anger, resentment, and hatred? We have all known people on both sides of this.  I have dealt with many people who pretended to be my “friends,” or pretended to care, only to feel used or tossed aside when I could do nothing more for them, or if they saw me as some sort of threat.  I’ve also been blessed to have people in my life who have shown true compassion and care toward me. Whether it is the recent weather emergency here in Florida, an illness, the loss of a family member or friend, or a difficult job situation, I know exactly who I can or can’t count on for kind words, a helping hand, a hug, or just a shoulder to lean on.  I also know who just doesn’t give a damn.  Let’s avoid those schmucks!

Recently, I have been very fortunate to see the good in a lot of people.  Stepping up to be my friend, offer support, and showing true concern to someone who is struggling speaks volumes about that person’s character.  To know that I have people in my life who truly care about me (and Al) is extremely comforting, and we would do the same for them. Family, friends, friends who become family…….I am loyal, and I don’t forget when someone is good to me.  I also don’t forget when someone treats me badly.  I’m not vindictive or petty, but I remember how people have made me feel, and it isn’t very easy to open that door again once it has been shut.  There’s a pretty good chance that I will keep someone at arm’s length if they hurt me or someone I love.  I will not be rude or unkind, but it’s hard to forget feeling hurt, especially if you have been there for them in times of need.

What kind of person do you want to be?  A true friend who is loving, kind, and supportive?  Or one who is insincere, artificial, and selfish? I know who I strive to be (not always successful!) and I’m glad I have some very real and loyal people in my life.

Be real.  Be kind.  Be sincere.  Be supportive.  Be a friend.

Be Happy, Happiness, Married to My Best Friend, Passion for Living, Relationships, Uncategorized

Happiness is…..Wherever You Find It

What makes us happy?  What are we passionate about?  Recently, my pastor made the statement that you “can’t teach passion.”  He was talking about ministry, but I’ve been thinking a lot about that statement, and how it applies to our happiness, and where we find our happiness.  Is it truly from within?  Without some type of outside influence, we may not find our happiness, whether it’s our jobs, our children or grandchildren, a hobby, or significant other.  Can we be happy just to exist without others, books, art, pets, music, entertainment, or writing? Some people find their happiness in making others miserable, and that’s something I don’t understand.  I’ve spent time being unhappy or unsure of things in my life.  Haven’t we all?  Yet, the last few years I have felt more confident and sure of myself, and my place in the world.  I believe I am much more kind than I used to be.  I would have to attribute that to the love I have for my husband, and strength we draw from each other to be better people.

I had a “friend,” a few years ago, who I will refer to as Olive.  Olive was a very unhappy person, and was in an unhappy marriage.  She and I worked together, and really hadn’t known each other for very long.  Because Al had not yet moved here, and Olive was in a bad marriage, we had time to go to lunch or movies together, or hang out occasionally. If you know me, you know that I keep my circle of friends very small and personal.  I have a lot of friends that have been my friends for most of my life, and I don’t let too many people in my “bubble.”  My friends are spread about throughout the United States from all of the places I’ve lived.  I prefer to keep it that way because I don’t like the cattiness and competition that a lot of women practice.  I don’t like the gossipy, manipulative, controlling ways of a lot of women.  I don’t trust easily because of this, so even going to lunch and movies with Olive was venturing outside of my comfort zone in the friend area.  I witnessed her be rude and catty to other women, and it made me uncomfortable.  She enjoyed telling people what to do in their personal and professional lives, and came across as very bossy.

After Al moved here, he and I were spending our time building our relationship.  We had taken a long time to build a friendship, and then move into a committed relationship. We had both spent time being unsure of ourselves, and our places in the world, and had made the commitment to be together because we made each other happy.  It was time.  Olive did not like this one bit, and was very jealous.  She was still in a very unhappy marriage, and was jealous of Al, and our commitment to each other.  We are now in our 50’s.  We don’t know how much time we will have together in this lifetime. We want to enjoy what time we have.  We had both had failed marriages, and had learned from our mistakes.  Our focus is, and was, on each other, and building our future together.  Our passion and happiness became being together, and just being happy……just BEING.  Our true friends were very happy for us, and several have said that they would love to have what we have…..not petty, or jealous.  They just see and appreciate what we have and what we are building together, and are sincerely happy for us.  We give each other the space and time we each need, when needed, to spend with friends or family.  We respect each other.  It’s very easy to be together because of the respect we have for each other.

I can honestly say that we never meddled in Olive’s personal life, even though she felt compelled to meddle in ours.  We both tried to be there for her when she was struggling with the end of her marriage.  As I spent more time with Al, and less time with Olive, she became very mean and treated me terribly. One day she looked at me with pity, and shook her head, saying, “Ohhhh Lauri! You’ve LOST yourself!” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!  I was happier than I had been in a very long time, and was trying to focus on the man I chose to be my partner in life.  I was hearing this unhappy woman condescendingly tell me that I had LOST myself!?!? But then, maybe she was right…….I lost the negativity and anger I had about men and relationships.  I lost the insecurities, and feelings of low self worth.  But I FOUND a much happier person that I didn’t know existed anymore.  I found that I was much calmer, and less anxious.  I had a partner to lean on.  I found a passion for life, and was happily building a life with my best friend.  I found that my passion is our life together.  Why was she trying to kill that?  That was very near the end of my friendship with Olive.  She just became too hateful and nasty.  Recently, I heard that Olive is getting remarried. I hope she’s marrying her best friend.  I hope she understands now that being committed to someone else, and being married to your best friend is a really beautiful thing, not something to try to kill in someone else’s life.  I hope she loses herself in this relationship, and finds a kinder, nicer person when she looks in the mirror.

Whether your passion is your children, your travels, music, restoring cars, painting, animal rights, fitness, cooking, entertaining, story telling, friends, religion, reading, or your significant other…..be happy……and remember that we all deserve that.  We all want it and deserve it.