Archive | August 2012

my balanced life (or bring on the joy)


Do you remember what joy feels like?

little blonde girl in a grass skirt running in the surf

I spent the weekend at the beach in a one-bedroom condo across the street from a perfect stretch of beach.  My sister and her husband came down for the weekend, with my three-year-old niece.

If you ever forget what joy feels like, spend the weekend with a three year old.  Dress her in a grass skirt and watch her run along the shoreline, kicking up water, laughing and giggling with the glee of the ages.

Three year olds are as tickled by the dead fiddler crab as she is the live hermit crabs.  That kind of exuberance is contagious.

Three year olds don’t worry about how they look in their bathing suit.

little blonde girl buried in sand

They don’t worry about getting covered in sand.  Although if you bury them in it, they may exclaim, “Daddy, that’s gwoss,” before shaking themselves free and galloping down the beach again.

If you’re lucky, they are as happy to take a long nap after a morning on the beach as you are.  And you might find, if you wake up with a little hand holding yours, a little bit of their natural joy seeped from their hand to yours while you slept.

Question:  What brings you joy? 

my balanced life (or finding my margin)


keep calm and go to the beach

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the need to find margin, that slice of space needed to prevent overload in a busy life.  Michael Hyatt writes about it here.

Margin is not something that comes easily in a busy life. I’ve been feeling the crush of deadlines and responsibilities the last six months.  I’ve talked a lot about needing to get away.  To create a little margin away from my day-to-day responsibilities.  But being able to actually make that margin in my life just wasn’t happening.

Right now, my business schedule doesn’t allow me to be away from my office for more than a day here and there.  That is a reality that won’t change in the near future.

Which means the most margin I can carve out right now is a little weekend trip.

When I do get away, I need to find somewhere close.

It also helps to know which setting is most relaxing to me.

For some people, it’s the mountains.

For others, it’s a big, bustling city.

But I find peace at the beach.

sunrise on Hilton Head Island

I am blessed enough to live fifteen minutes from the beach.  But even that entails packing a day bag, towel and chair, snacks and water bottles, and then sitting in traffic.

This weekend, my friends were sweet enough to lend me their one-bedroom beach condo on Hilton Head Island.  The commute to the beach was grabbing the beach chair and my beach bag and walking across the street, over the boardwalk and across the sand.

I was there to watch the sun set behind the beautiful condos dotting the beach, watching the sky change from blue to pink to black.

I was there to watch the sun rise above the pine trees and sea grass.

The most strenuous responsibility I had was holding my book up high enough to avoid the waves and moving my chair in and out, following the tide.

A nice long walk at end the day.  An early morning jog to start the next.

Short walks back to the condo for naps as needed.

Paradise.

Margin.

Peace.

Whatever you want to call it, I found it this weekend.

I have a few hours left before I have to make that big fifteen-minute commute back home.  My teenager awaits my return.  As do my four dogs.  And my fifty pound backpack of responsibilities.

But for now, I’m going to grab my beach chair, beach bag and beach read and head back to enjoy the last of my time away.  My margin.

Question:  Do you schedule margin in your life?  That break from your responsibilities that gives you the chance to recharge and rejuvenate? 

live your dreams or live your fears


In this small Southern town I live in, everyone knows everyone.  Everywhere I go, chances are good I’ll see someone I know.

beautiful Southern sunset over the May River

Darryl is a server at two of my favorite restaurants.  We also run into each other in the evening at other restaurants and at the Farmer’s Market.

(Farmer’s Market is a pretty big deal around here.  We do it Southern style, which means that in addition to fresh fruits and vegetables there’s also live music, fried shrimp, and the crepe lady who is really and truly French.)

Darryl always asks how I’m doing.  I always tell him I’m doing great.  For two reasons, really.  Great is my standard answer to how I’m doing.  And I usually am doing great.

One day at The Cottage, after I told him I was doing great, his response was, “Living the dream?”

I assured him I was.  And I am living the dream.  I have an incredible life.  Counting my blessings could take all week!

I asked him if he was living the dream, and he responded that he was dreaming the life.

I wonder how many of us dream the life instead of live the dream.  What holds us back from living the dream?

A few days ago I was reading something by Joyce Meyers that talked about living your fears.  It made me think of Darryl, who’s dreaming the life instead of living the dream.

What’s your dream?  Are you living it yet?  Or just dreaming about it?

If you’re still just dreaming about it, what’s holding you back?

I have a friend who wants to be an author.  Every year, the goal of writing a book is on the resolution list.  He’s a successful attorney with two beautiful children, but he still has a dream.

I don’t know Darryl well enough to ask him what his dream is, but I know from his answer that he isn’t living it yet.

No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to live the dream.

Salsa dancing at 84 like abuelita, my friend’s mother.

Kayaking at 55 like my friend Denise.

Starting a blog and writing my first book.

Riding a zip line and whitewater rafting.

This year has been my year of living the dream!

I wish I could take everyone by the hand and drag them into the dream with me.  But it’s a step you have to take for yourself.

Question:  Are you living your dream?  Or living your fear?  Living the dream?  Or dreaming the life?

adventures in dating (or there is none like you)


I struggle with the desire to find the perfect mate.  The perfect person to understand me, touch me, love me.

Dance with God and He will let the perfect man cut in.

A soul mate, if you will.  The one.

That perfect person to be by my side, through life’s ups and downs.

This is a struggle I share with many of my single friends.

As I was getting ready for church last Sunday morning, I turned Pandora on to the Praise and Worship Radio.  Before the music started playing, a song popped into my head.

“There is none like you.  No one else can touch my heart like you do.  I could search for all eternity Lord, and find there is none like you.”

A scant second later, Michael W. Smith sang the echoing refrain to my heart’s song.

“There is none like you.  No one else can touch my heart like you do.  I could search for all eternity Lord, and find there is none like you.”

They say the Holy Spirit speaks to you if you’re listening.  I haven’t had many of those moments in my life.  As soon as I heard those words surrounding me in perfect harmony, I felt God’s presence, heard God’s message.

I can search for all eternity, and there’s only one man who can touch my heart the way I need it to be touched.

Only one man who understands me.

Loves me unconditionally.

I stood in my shower that morning and sobbed.  Tears of grief for all the years I tried to make my husband that soul mate.  Tears of frustration for all the men I’ve cried for because they weren’t who I needed or wanted.

Sobbed with the realization that God is my soul mate.  Or at least, He wants to be.  If I’ll only let him.

Question:  Has God ever spoken to you?  How did His words come through to your heart?

adventures in dating (or be careful who you text)


Ah the joys of texting!  Instant communication.  No rewind button!  I’m sure all of us have texted the wrong person at least once.  I know I have!

woman texting on blackberry

One Saturday morning after yoga, I was multi-tasking.  Making a fried egg and hash brown breakfast and texting my best friend in Colorado on my Blackberry.  Because the Blackberry limits the number of characters each text could contain, and I am very wordy, I had to keep going back to her text and replying to continue my story.

Her husband is a very focused guy Monday through Thursday night.  Come Friday, his focus shifts from work to his sweet, sexy wife.

My text to my friend start out by saying I thought my new guy might be a lot like her husband.  Last weekend, he was very attentive.  Lots of texting while he was out of town on a business trip.  A couple of phone calls, too.

When it was time to send the second half of the text, I scrolled down, hit reply and typed, “I thought he was losing interest this week, but he sure seemed interested enough last night!”

I finished up my breakfast as I waited for her reply.  As I was sitting down at the breakfast table, I checked my phone to make sure the message had sent.

It sent alright.  Much to my everlasting chagrin, it didn’t go to my girlfriend. I sent it to the new guy as a reply to the last text he’d sent to me.

My immediate response was to delete the text from my phone.  As if that would make it disappear from his phone, too.  If only life were that easy!

After banging my head on the table for a minute or two, I grabbed the bull by the horn. (Like any good Texas girl will do.)

“Hey, Coach.  Talking about you again.”

His immediate response confirmed that he had indeed read my text, and was probably trying to figure out how to respond to me.

“You’re busted, counselor.”

“I am indeed.  Gonna go slap myself silly now.”

After a little more witty banter, we ended up going for our second date that night.  Thank goodness I’d already confessed my penchant for talking about him to my girlfriends, and he has a great sense of humor.

Question:  What’s the worst texting mistake you’ve ever made?

adventures in dating (or one frog at a time)


Frog with a crown

I am still looking for my Prince Charming, one frog at a time.  My sweet friend, Lisa, gave me this little toad to keep me company until I find him.  Toad kept her company until she found her sweet, handsome, sexy husband.  She passed Toad on to me in hopes that he will bring me the same luck he brought her.

The last couple of weeks have been interesting.  Well, the entire year has been interesting!  But the newest participant in the Find Regina Mae a Beau sweepstakes has raised the bar.

I signed up for eHarmony.  Again.  The matches have been pouring in. Keeping up with them would be a full time job!

I spend most of my time deleting the completely inappropriate matches.  Lives eight or more hours away?  Delete.  No picture?  Delete.  Old enough to be my daddy?  Delete.

(Strangely, I never have to delete anyone who’s young enough to be my son.  But eHarmony has no problem matching men to women who are young enough to be their daughters.  File that under things that make you go hmmmmm.)

About a week and a half ago, I got a notice that someone sent me a message.  I checked out his profile and he seemed cute, somewhat local, semi-age appropriate, and potentially interesting.  On the last page of his profile, I found his phone number in code!

Nancy Drew has nothing on me.  I cracked that code like the geeky girl I am, took a chance and sent him a text.  Bingo! He said I’m the first girl to figure out his little code. (Finally, all those years of reading Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys and Trixie Belden paid off!)

He’s texted me daily.  He finally asked when we were going to meet in person the day my friend came to visit from Colorado.

I assured him I’d love to meet him in person after she leaves town.

He texted again Saturday morning while I was at brunch.

text message

text message

Wait. Wait. What?

We haven’t even met in person and he’s already inviting me to St. Thomas?

Tempting as that is, because nobody loves a sandy beach more than this girl, why would any man think I’d say yes to an invitation to leave the country and share a hotel room with a man I’ve never met in person?  Haven’t even spoken to on the phone??

And how much fun would I be responsible for?  I mean, seriously now, I am the Queen of Fun.  But, eHarmony Dude doesn’t know that!  We haven’t even met yet!!

It’s a mad, mad world!  Do women really agree to go on trips out of the country with men they don’t even know?

Could he really not wait until we’d at least met in person before asking me to go to St. Thomas?

Looks like Toad will be keeping me company a little longer.

adventures in dating (or am I ready yet)


hot pink daisy

I keep receiving the same piece of dating advice.  It comes in a few different forms.

  • Are you ready yet?

 

  • Maybe you’re just not ready.

 

  • Don’t focus on finding the right one – focus on being the right one.

 

I appreciate the advice.  I really do.  But sometimes I wonder if my advisors really mean:

  • You’re not ready.

 

  • If you were better, you’d find someone.

 

  • There’s something wrong with you.

 

The people giving me this advice are friends who love me.  Because I know that’s true, I try to interpret their advice in the best light.

  • You aren’t strong enough yet to withstand the rejection inherent in dating.

 

  • You can’t control when the “Right One” will find you, but you can control yourself – spending time in ways that prepare yourself to be a great partner.

 

But honestly, even those interpretations sting a little.

For over twenty years, I read every self-help, marriage-saving book I could put my hands on.  The ones recommended by friends and the ones I found meandering through Barnes & Nobles.

The recurring theme in all these books was, “You can’t change anyone but yourself.  So quit trying to change your spouse.  Change yourself and save your marriage!”

I admit that is a simplification.  I agree that you can’t make anyone else change.

I took the message from these books to heart.  Did my best to be a better wife.  But none of it was enough to save my marriage.  That knowledge haunts me, even three years later.  Because whatever I did, it wasn’t enough.  I wasn’t enough.

After more than twenty years, I’m single.  Happily single, truthfully.  I have a good life filled with love, children of my flesh and of my heart, family who are friends and friends who are family.  A seemingly unending supply of Team A boys to date.

Just because he broke my heart doesn’t mean I’m broken.  I am whole and happy.  Funny and sweet.  I walk through life with my mind and my heart open, ready to love the people God and life sends to me.

Is it wrong to wish that one of those people would be a man who would love me beyond measure?  Someone to stand by me during life’s crises?  Someone to wake up next to at 3:00 a.m.?

Am I ready?  Do my friends see something in me I don’t?  I wish there were a test to take to see if you’re “ready” or not.  I’m an excellent test taker!  I wish there were a course to take to get “ready”.  I love courses!

When I am ready, will I stop feeling like a giant love failure?  When I am ready, will I open up like a daisy in full bloom?  My heart as wide open as the daisy’s petals?

Question:  If you’ve found The One, did you have an epiphany of readiness before you met them?