The Walking Dead

How do we shift from ambition to meaning? So many of us wake up each day, drink our coffee, sit in rediculous traffic, work at jobs that leave us feeling empty and at times angry. We then get back in our cars, do all the things that are expected of us, go to bed and start all over the next day. The next thing you know, you’re on your death bed wondering what the hell you did with your life. You wonder, am I going to die with my purpose still inside of me? Why did I not face my fears of the unknown when it could have led me to a life of true joy and meaning?

Are we living out what we know we are supposed to be doing or are we continually shoving that feeling back down inside of us like an over stuffed suitcase? I believe that feeling is the Holy Spirit continually prodding at us. It’s that small quiet voice in the depth of our knowing. Yet, we keep on marching the death walk never stopping to notice the beauty around us. We never notice how the robin turns it’s ear towards the grass to hear it’s next meal just below the surface,or the sunrise with it’s cotton candy hues. We miss the way the spring breeze carries the flower petals from the plum tree softly across our feet.

It’s like looking out of a tall building and seeing all the tiny little cars moving about like ant colonies. Everyone going this way and that. I can just hear the sound of the marching rhythm and it’s hypnotic trance. When will we wake up and see with our souls instead of our clouded visions of anger, ambition , accumulation and sense of entitlement?

Have we become a land of the walking dead giving no thought to what we may truly desire outside of material things? The walking dead can’t serve others. Nor can they hear God’s small soft voice directing their paths. We’ve become consumed with cell phones, gaming systems and noise. Restaurants are filled with people face down into their phones instead of talking to each other. It’s seems that people have forgotten the art of conversation.

The walking dead seem to be easily offended over every little thing other people say and do. Why not focus on what we are for verses what we are against?

Take a look at the prayer of St Francis:

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.

Watch the news and notice how we are so out of line with this prayer. Then again, perhaps we should shut our televisions OFF. Take time to be in silence. Take a walk early in the morning. Talk to your friends about things that really matter.

Schedule down-time with the energy you put into work, meetings and deadlines as though it was the most important thing in the world, because it is. Make time to be kind. Stop spending your days like the living dead and wake up.

Wake up.

This entry was posted on March 29, 2018. 1 Comment

What’s Your Story?

Several years ago when I was single, a friend of mine wanted me to meet her at one of the little sports bars in town. I figured that wouldn’t be too bad since it was close by and I could grab a bite to eat. It would be good to catch up with her as well because we hadn’t seen each other in quite some time.

It felt uncomfortable waiting alone in such a crowded place. It was noisy and jam packed with people talking. When she arrived I was surprised to see that she was with several of her friends. There would clearly be no catching up.

She introduced me to everyone before we were all able to get a seat. While waiting for our table I noticed how involved everyone was in their conversations, the clothes they wore, the jewelry. I wondered to myself why it was so hard for me to jump in and converse with strangers. I thought that perhaps I wasn’t dressed as nice as I should have been either.

I also felt slightly amused that one of the guys in the group had a white T-shirt on that looked about three sizes too small for his muscular upper half. We were all finally seated and he leaned in real close to me and said: “So what’s your story? You see so and so over there? She’s been divorced twice. I’ve been divorced once and my buddy here, he’s been divorced three times.”

Embarrassed, I looked down at my watch and responded that my story was that I would be leaving as soon as dinner was over. He was not amused.

Being divorced wasn’t a badge of honor for me. It was a sign of failure in my mind and not something I wanted to discuss with a group of strangers, especially not Mr. Tight-v-neck t-shirt guy.

What’s the story you tell yourself? Are you too shy to talk to strangers or to make new friends? Maybe you feel you don’t deserve to be happy or to have the things or experiences you want. Maybe people in your childhood convinced you that you were less- than.

Over the years I started catching myself when I would tell myself these stories. I realized that what I spent time thinking about determined the quality of the life I was living. I became less afraid to try new things and in the process I started to feel alive. I felt joy for the first time. Talking to strangers does not even phase me now. If I want something and I can afford it, I get it.

No longer am I embarrassed of my story because it’s made me who I am today. Mistakes or certain experiences have a way of refining us.

Never EVER tell yourself a story that disempowers you. No one can make us feel unimportant, useless, or stupid unless we allow them to.

This entry was posted on March 14, 2018. 4 Comments

The Sound of the Train

The other day as I was walking outside, I could hear a train off in the distance. The sound instantly brought me back to our time together in your little apartment house. I remembered how warm you were and how calm I felt as we listened in the dark to the sound of it going down the tracks. The darkness didn’t feel scary with you there and the sound of the train as it hummed down the track seemed to represent my life. Going by me so fast, yet still on track, maybe not the way I had envisioned it but none the less, somehow in perfect synchronicity .

I was right where I was supposed to be at that moment in time. Memories of my sweet Italian grandparents and the safety they symbolized to me, came flooding back. Being back home after so many years seemed good for the first time. All those years your face would come into my mind out of the blue and I would ask God “why?” with no answer, then I would just brush off the memory and continue whatever task I was doing.

Perhaps He was giving me a glimpse into our future, but we didn’t know it as we were going through our individual trials. The book of Psalms talks about God planning every day of our lives out before we are even born. I believe that very much.

Listening to the train, I felt the warmth of the sun and a breeze was blowing the leaves off the trees. I admired the way they swirled and swayed softly to the ground. It was almost like they were falling in slow motion. I compared my life to that scene and how certain things must be cut off from us or shed before we can become new. Like the leaves falling from the tree’s, everything changes so that new leaves, and sometimes flower buds can be born. The old must leave so that the new can begin.

So it is with us. We have been given a chance to shed our old lives and start completely fresh. We hold close to our hearts those that came to us from our previous lives and intertwine them into the new, never regretting that part. We shed jealousy, pettiness and the trivial to live in the present moment and realize the great blessing each moment holds as long as we stop long enough to drink it in.

The train stopped to pick us up at the right moment. It is taking us to the place that we’ve longed for for so long. Had we been younger, we wouldn’t have been the same people we are today in many ways. There are still struggles but I know that the power of two is always better than one, so thank you for the ticket to get on board. Love you.

This entry was posted on March 4, 2018. 2 Comments

If I Had Only Known

I lost my mom at the end of 2016. Those that knew me growing up, knew that the relationship had always been strained even with my many attempts over the years to be close to her. I had invited her to my wedding, new home, my children’s births, all to be met with either a phrase that she could not make it, or just no response at all. After one particular Christmas I remember deciding that I would no longer reach out as much as I had up to that point. It was too much for me any more. I had to focus on my own family and not take it so personal any more. I always loved my mother and because she was my mom I was always respectful, but it was decided that I needed to distance myself as some sort of self preservation.

There was a time when my family moved away to another state and I really dove into learning more about gardening. It helped me to work out some internal struggles inside of myself. The physical labor was an outlet and the anger in me about a lot of things, slowly melted, like the water melted into the soil. As I looked through the seed catalogues, deciding what I wanted to plant, a pretty picture of a flowering bush called “four-o-clocks” was on the page. My mind flashed back to the few moments she did make for me in her garden. She had taught me how to harvest the hundreds of tiny black seeds that came out of those flowers that grew along the side of our house. She taught me the same with marigolds. I wondered why those were the only times I could remember actually being “together.”

I picked up the phone to tell her all of the things she said or did that hurt me and that I forgave her. I thought it was such a relief. I thought we could start fresh. She politely said she didn’t remember any of those things and ended our call. I was so angry: “What does she mean she didn’t remember any of those things?” ” I guess that the drinking made her forget.” My cousin called me shortly after to tell me that mom had told her that I had called to say I was sorry. I clearly did not call to say I was sorry. My heart hardened even more. I share this not to blemish her in any way. She was my mother and I loved her. I still love her.

I remember a time when I was very young that people would tell her how beautiful she was and there was a happiness about her, but somewhere along the line, her happy smile had disappeared. Beautiful was always the word they used to describe her. You see it wasn’t her with the problem. It was me. I was so caught up in how she hurt me that I didn’t realize that my pride kept me from truly forgiving her. Maybe if I hadn’t spent so much time judging her, she would have felt safe approaching me. Maybe if I hadn’t always been so fast to point out all of her faults, like she had done to me, that I would have been a safe place for her. I was anything but.

Shortly before she had her stroke, I had come into town and with some convincing, I decided to try one last time to reach out. The visit was short and awkward. As I left I gave her a hug and told her I loved her. Again, no response back. That was it, I told myself. I was done. Why was it my responsibility to make amends? I’m the child here. But I wasn’t a child, I was a grown adult who was working on myself and thought I had my priorities in line.

I lived half way across the country when she was ill and could no longer move or speak due to the severity of the stroke. I refused to come. I ached and I justified to myself. But what I didn’t do was have mercy for the person who birthed me. After she passed I was at work one day when an older gentleman came in with his much younger grandson. The grandson pushed him into the office in his wheelchair roughly without regard to his grandfather’s discomfort.

I had been thinking about my mother that morning, deeply disappointed in myself for my actions, and non actions. The grandson was so very disrespectful towards him any time his grandfather would try to impart nuggets of wisdom to the boy. I sat there in disgust thinking about what I wouldn’t give, to have my grandmother back and how ashamed he should be of himself. I sat there in my judgment and in doing so, overheard something else that pierced me right down to my soul.

Someone had called the man for solace and he was quoting word for word a scripture verse about Gods forgiveness for our sins. Sins that we knew about and sins that were unknown to us when we committed them. Sins that were seen and unseen. At that very moment the word “pride” flashed upon me and I had to get up and go into the bathroom before tears flooded my eyes. Mom, I am so sorry I was so prideful. I didn’t know. I didn’t see my own pride. But I do now, and for that, I am so sorry. Yes, you are right, I am the one saying I am sorry now.

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Love you mom. I pray that whatever I ever I did known, or unknown that you forgive me and I know you are in a better place now.

Dori Jo

This entry was posted on February 25, 2018. 1 Comment

Friendship

wedding with laurel

My best friend, how lucky I am to be able to have her in my life.  I was eight or nine years old when we met. A forty year friendship. Not many people can say that.  No matter the distance or amount of time we have not spoken, she is always there. We pick up right where we left off.  I feel immensely protective over her, almost like a mother is protective over her child. Only it is much more than that. I respect her and I love her because of what she has given me over time that no one else has. She made my past redeemable. She is one of the few people who experienced my ups and downs with me. She is one of the few who actually met my grandparents when they were alive. To me, that is a priceless thing to share.  She gets me. I get her. I love her like a sister, because to me, she is.  This picture is priceless to me because in that single moment when I caught her eye, I could see my whole life up to that point and the amount of gratitude I felt at that moment was unmeasurable.

I used to look back and think about all of the ways I was unhappy growing up.  Who didn’t love me or take care of me the way I thought I should have been. Who didn’t provide the things I thought I needed.  I could only focus on the lack.

How I have changed over the years.  My perspective has evolved tremendously.  There was always something in my spirit, tucked way down inside of me that symbolized hope. I do not remember the moment I chose to change, it seemed to occur ever so slightly with each good thing or experience I chose to acknowledge and be purposely grateful for.

I noticed that each time I focussed on the bad, something else bad would happen, therefore proving my point and allowing me to stay in that realm of existence.  However, when I gave thanks it seemed to perpetuate other good things to come into my life.

There seems to be something magical about looking for the good and being thankful.  The law of attraction is real. I have seen it over and over.

My mom didn’t love me vs my grandmother was always there for me. Not only that, my best friends’ mother was a true blessing as well. Perhaps my mom did love me, she just didn’t know how to show me.

I am a failure at life because I’ve been divorced vs I have learned from every mistake I’ve made and I have grown from them.

I do not have everything I want vs. I have everything thing I need. A husband who loves me and shows me every day, a roof over my head, a job, a reliable car, healthy children, an expanded mind to see the world differently than I had before.

The world is essentially a good place if we choose to see it that way, even on the hard days.

This entry was posted on November 19, 2017. 9 Comments

New Journeys

I am finally finished with my first book!  It is called Looking For Redbirds: 40 Days of Encouragement That We are Never Alone.
Loneliness is a struggle that I believe everyone goes through at some point and time in their life.  There are times we feel nobody cares for us when we need them, but is it true?

Details are to come soon as to how you can Pre-order Looking For Redbirds directly from me here on this site.
This is only the beginning, to what is coming.  I have two more books in the works that will be encouragement over worry and stress and another one on overcoming fear.  Life purpose coaching is the ultimate goal.
Stay tuned and thank you for all of your support and encouragement that you all have so graciously shown me over the years.

This entry was posted on October 28, 2017. 4 Comments

She Left Him

 

She kissed him goodbye once she was ready for work, taking care not to wake him too much, aware that he had a long day ahead of him.  As she pulled out of the driveway thoughts of climbing back into bed lingered in her mind. He made her feel safe, like nothing could harm her.

He made life better despite the normal every day worries and struggles. She left him, a better person than she was before.  She used to feel so different, unsettled, worried, and unappreciated.  Many days the weight of the world seemed to press in on her but now when she leaves him she feel like she can conquer the world because he loves her.

He loves her not in grandiose ways, he loves her in all the little ways she needed. Unselfish love is not weak, it takes a strong man to give that kind of himself to a woman. Without knowing it, by treating her this way he has gained what he has been looking for. Without needing to ask for it, she supplies it. Each day, she leaves him, but he is always with her.

There was a different woman in another part of town who chose not to kiss her husband goodbye.  Her thoughts were in stark contrast to the other woman’s as she made her morning commute.  As she drove to work she looked at her tired reflection in the rear view mirror and felt bitter that she felt no sense of happiness.   After all, she had gotten home late the night before, cooked dinner, took the kids to practice just to come home to see him fast asleep on the recliner.  Clothes still needed washing, the sink was still full and toys were strewn about all over the floor.

He never asked how she was feeling or offered her any help.  She wished she had someone to share her dreams with but that would certainly not be him, he didn’t have time to talk to her. Talking about dreams seemed childish to him and a waste of time.  She wondered what it would feel like if he would just walk next to her when they went places, not 20 paces ahead as though she didn’t exist.

He was in that recliner again that evening as she walked in the door.  She stood in front of him physically and did what needed to be done, but she has already left him in her heart.  A diamond in the rough she is, but he hardly notices in his comfy chair.  She is a blessing which has been disregarded and pushed aside. A genuine heart that was done feeling neglected.  What a shame it is that he is missing out on such a beautiful thing that he could be experiencing.  It is much easier for him to drink with his buddies or just come home and pass out.  It is much easier for him to not be involved rather than to try to make things work.  He is the perfect definition of selfish love.  What can she do for him, not what can he do for her.

Yes, she may be there physically, but she is the one who has already left.

This story could easily be switched around.  Maybe it is the woman who disregards her spouse and how he feels. Maybe it is the woman who is self absorbed.  Every story is different, but I do know that life is short.  We do not always know when our number will be called.  Just go through a life threatening diagnosis and you will quickly see what is important in life.  You will change friends, you will work less hours.  You will learn how to be in the moment and the simple things will all of a sudden make you tear up because you have spent so much of your life wrapped up in shallow endeavors that leave you empty.  I pray it wouldn’t take a diagnosis like that to make people wake up to the beauty that is right in front of them. Without love we have nothing.  Without loving we can not receive it back.

 

 

 

This entry was posted on September 28, 2017. 5 Comments