Posted by: mylovingheart | June 7, 2015

You Can Say “Yes” to Love!

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As I navigated through the grief process my heart just ached.  It ached to hold on to all the love that I had for my husband.  To keep it locked inside because I thought that was it.  There could not possibly be any greater love than what I had during our time together.  The family that we had made together was made from that love.  How could I possibly be able to love again in that way.  That is where I got it all wrong.  I didn’t have to love like that again.  I would now let love teach me what love was all about.  Love was learning how to truly accept people for who they are.  To be able to see them they way God saw them.   No judgment.  No criticism.  No wanting your own way.  Sometimes to even love without getting a reply.  Wow that is not easy!  Often I found myself wanting to mold someone to the image I had for them.  When I stopped and realized how much I would hate someone doing that to me, I thought let’s embrace who they are and not who I think they should be.  Again God was doing some pruning in me so that He could get me ready for what He had planned for me.  It is extremely hard to let God prune those broken pieces.  To be able to later sit in absolute amazement of how he took those broken pieces and formed a new beautiful you.

Last year in the Spring I could feel that God had brought me through more healing and had me at a place where I was at total peace of who I had become.  Had learned to let go and embrace life and all that it had to offer.  Little did I realize that as He was preparing me, He was also preparing the man that He wanted me to be with.  In April that man got up the courage to ask me to dinner.  He was a widower and had gone through much of the same things to make room to love again.  We both had come to a place where we were both ready to let love in again.  We both knew that we would always have a special place in our heart for the spouse that had died, but that we could create a new love that could be beautiful and unique in its own way.   We both had absolutely loved Plan A to have our spouse live healthy happy lives with us into our old age, but unfortunately we had to go to Plan B.  Plan B takes courage!  Courage to be vulnerable with another person.  Both of us wanted to let love be open and untrammeled and just go wherever it lead us.  I knew that God loved both of us enough to give us the desires of our heart.  We just had to have faith in God and each other.

So I ask this question of you– What if you let love all the way in?  What would that look like for you?  What do you think you need to do in order to get to a place that you are letting love all the way in?

Posted by: mylovingheart | August 6, 2014

Would You Like to Dance?

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Recently I signed up for dance lessons.  Something I had been wanting to do for a long time.  Talk about get me out of my comfort zone.  It was quite clear that I wanted to lead instead of follow.  Throughout my life and especially the last few years, I have been leading my path and taking care of charting my own course.  In addition to group classes, I decided I needed private lessons.  My teacher told me that he knew what he was doing and I just needed to follow.  I was only to have the tips of my fingers be the receptors to know what was the lead he was giving me and to continue until you get the next lead.  My first reaction was to clasp his fingers and hold on tight.  When that happened he would stop and tell me that I cannot give you another lead if you are clasping my fingers.  He would keep emphasizing that when I clasped my fingers then I was dancing with myself because he could not lead.  He then told me that I had to get out of my head and just let my body respond to the lead.  That I did not have to figure out what he was doing, think about what was going to happen next, or why he was doing what he was doing in the dance.  You can imagine there was complete frustration on my part to get used to just letting go.  Then one day after many lessons I started noticing that it was becoming more comfortable.  That I was getting better at following that I could relax and enjoy the steps to this dance.

Because it is in my nature to always look for the lesson in each part of my life, I realized one day that my desire to learn how to dance was an opportunity to grow in my relationship with God.  It hit me one day that God had been trying to teach me that exact same thing.  He was wanting me to realize that He is God and He knows what He is doing.  He wants to lead me down a path and I only just need to follow.  All I had to do was gently place my hand open and receive.  There is no way God can give you anything in your hand if you have it clasp tightly onto something else.  All I had to do was get out of my head and not try to figure out where He was taking me or what He was doing, but just trust that once I relaxed and enjoyed the journey it would be so much better.  Sure I am still trying to figure out the steps to this dance called “Life” and it is still in my nature to think that I have to control and lead.  As I learned in the dance lessons, every time I start to clasp the hand and lead it would mess up my foot work.  Again I learned that when I tell God “I got this” usually within a short period of time I stumble.  He is always going to be there to put His hand out for us to hold on to as He gets us back on our feet.

Once this all started coming together in my heart and in my head, it was amazing the path that God took me down.  It was filled with love, friendship, joy and peace.  Along the way His grace was overflowing.  It has been so much fun learning how to dance.  It has opened up a whole new world to me, and I have definitely learned how to laugh at myself and not take myself quite so seriously.  Come with me and let’s learn how to dance together.  It will be fun and most of all it will be filled with LOVE!

Posted by: mylovingheart | May 18, 2014

Love Will Always Be There!

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The last couple of months seem to have gone by so fast.  During that time I found myself looking at what I had in my life and what were things that no longer were necessary.  Recently I read a book, Love in the Time of Cholera and there was this quote that just jumped off the page at me “…human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”  I thought of all of the times that life has allowed me an opportunity to give birth to my purpose, but most of all to love.  To allow myself to just find what makes me happy and also to give back in some way.  To allow the people in my life to just be who they are and to love them in every way possible.

Recently my son and son-in-law graduated from college.  Plans are being made for my son-in-law to take a position with a company in another state and for him and my daughter to move away.  My son is making plans to relocate to another state also.  I find myself being so happy for them and excited to have them take the life lessons I have given them and now chart their own course.  At the same time not having my children in the same city will feel quite different.  The intelligent side of me knows that this is a natural order of things that your children would grow up and move on.  You have been preparing them for this moment to go find their wings and fly.  As a mother who has already lost her husband/their Dad, I feel as if my heart can’t let go.  I feel (as the quote above says) that life is obliging me to give birth to myself again.  Whenever you have to go through this process it can be exciting and scary at the same time.  To be comfortable with the unknown of the future and for now just be “present”.  I cannot hold on too tight because now is the time when I need to open up my hands and let go.

What I have learned is that when God is closing one chapter He always has a new chapter that is even sweeter coming down the road.  I have watched it happen so many times.  He continues to bring sweet sweet friendships and experiences, so that I never feel alone and unloved.  Every time I give it over to Him and allow him to birth in me what He wants in my life, it is always much better than anything I could have dreamed for myself.  For now, I am going to kiss my children goodbye and love them from a distance.  No matter what, I know that God will hold them close for me.  I just need to have faith in his promises and trust in his timing for this new chapter in my life.  One thing for sure, love will always be there!

Posted by: mylovingheart | March 10, 2014

Love is a Sacrifice!

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Often I have wondered what is more painful—watching the love of your life have his health slowly decline and then die OR the aftermath of picking up the pieces and starting a new chapter of your life.  Each day you have this constant struggle of wanting that love back, but also at the same time opening your heart for a new love to come into your life.  Believe me, after someone dies or even when a relationship ends, there is this huge void that the person left.  The void of broken dreams, past memories, the absolute love that came out of the relationship, and so much more.  I am a firm believer that what you do with that “void” can be both rewarding and detrimental depending on how you handle it.  Often times I would cry out to God please heal these broken pieces that are within me.  Each time He did.  That process is neither an easy one nor a quick one, but it is absolutely vital so you can get to the other side of healing.

I am also a believer that God made us for relationships.  The most painful part of losing a loved one is also accepting the friendships and family that were associated with that loved one no longer choosing to be a part of your life.  I had to realize that everyone grieves in their own way and often times they just can’t be with you, because you are too much of a reminder that the loved one is gone.  You try not to be selfish, but when it happens, it almost like you not only lost a loved one, but you also lost some of the other love that was associated with them.  I have learned that love is a sacrifice.  That even though you still love the people and even though you want to be a part of their life, you must sacrifice your desires and allow them to go their separate ways.

Often I have told God, “I don’t understand why you would have someone like me who has love oozing out of every pore of her body be alone.”  He would so gently remind me, “I know you have that love within you, because I made you that way and you are not alone”.  I have amazing friends, colleagues, family, and clients all around me.  Dating was not something I was a fan of in my twenties.  You can’t imagine what it is like to date in your mid-fifties.  There is now 30 more years of failed relationships, marriages, kid problems, and overall insecurities and brokenness in each and every one of us.  How is it possible to weed through all of that in order to find a place where you just are meant for each other?  There have been a few men that I thought, “wow this is amazing and you just enjoy spending time with them.”  Then poof they are gone.  Each time I would have a great conversation with God and ask “why”.  Every single time he would tell me, “You have planted My seeds of love and you have done everything I needed you to do.”  Then I would say, “Why God don’t I get to love them and let them be a part of my life?”  Then I would remember that Love is a Sacrifice.  That often times God just needs you to plant His seeds of love and then allow God to nurture those seeds because He knows what He wants to grow in that person.  The other thing God continues to remind me that even though I am stomping my foot and screaming “when will it be my turn to have love in return.”  He reminds me that it will be in His timing and He is preparing me and that man for when He is ready, not when I think I am ready.

There have been times when my heart was broken I would cry out to God and tell Him I just can’t do this anymore.  Then I think about what my physical trainer would tell me.  You have to sometimes break down a muscle to build it back up stronger and better than before.  Just when you are about to quit, because you think you can’t do another exercise, that  is when you need to push through the discomfort and do one or two more reps in order for the muscle to get stronger and better.   I believe that is what God is telling me about my heart.  He is telling me that He is making my heart stronger and better, and that I need to keep pushing through the pain of what I think my heart can stand in order for my heart to be stronger and better to LOVE.  To never stop loving no matter what happens, because God knows the desires of my heart and He absolutely wants me to have it.  What is important for now is to remove what I think is my selfish desires and look to His love for me.  Recently I heard a quote that just resonates with what I think God is telling me to do.

Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get; it’s what you are expected to give, which is everything.” –Author Unknown

I will gladly give everything and know that I will continue to LOVE in every way I know how.  I just don’t know any other way!

GOD LOVES YOU AND I LOVE YOU TOO!

Posted by: mylovingheart | January 23, 2014

I Am So Happy!

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Recently I came back from an adventure trip in Peru.  Before leaving for the trip I realized that some commissions I had planned on did not take place and my finances were getting low.  Upon returning from the trip I was trying to recover from being very sick.  The man I had been dating for a couple of months quit communicating while on the trip and is no longer a part of my life.  Here I was just thinking that it just was this perfect situation where I could so easily feel sorry for myself.  As I was going through my mail after being gone for 17 days there was this big red envelope that had been put in my mailbox with no mailing address that was clearly a Christmas card.  The card says “There’s no better time than Christmas to open our eyes to the goodness around us …to appreciate the people in our lives as the gifts they are, and to feel joy more deeply than ever.  There’s no better time than Christmas to think of the good and gracious people who are truly gifts to know …people like you.”  Inside the card were two money orders that were in an amount that was just what I needed to be able to pay my house note and help with my expenses.  I immediately put my face in my hands and started crying.  The reason that it was so amazing is because the person did not sign the card and wanted to be completely anonymous.  All I could think was that only God knew exactly what my situation was and He provided what I needed for today.  I have to say that I am absolutely clueless to the effect that I have on people.  It really was a surprise that someone wanted to give back to me because I had been special in their life.

I don’t know about you, but I used to be pretty hard on myself.  Then over time I started realizing that I didn’t have to be so hard on myself.  That I could let go of the insecurities and find peace and contentment with right now where I was in life.  That God had been doing a mighty work in me over the last few years and it was time to stop worrying and just BE HAPPY.

Receiving the anonymous gift helped to put into perspective how rich life is.  That it showed me that I have amazing friends and family who love and support me, that God is faithful to pour out His love, grace, mercy and provision every single day, and you just need to love who you are as a woman.  Most of all it has shown me that you can remove the chains that bind you, throw your arms open to the universe and just allow yourself to go out and just LOVE.  Be that light for others and just let love flow in its own way.   You are FREE and HAPPY,  but most of all YOU ARE LOVED!

Posted by: mylovingheart | January 11, 2014

Chasing Those Mountaintop Experiences!

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I just returned from doing an adventure trip with my son in Peru.  In the first few days of our trip we were to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.  Often I commit to adventures without fully doing the research of what will be involved.  I have this thought process that I can do anything that I set my mind to.  Knowing that we would be in high elevations, I did work out with a trainer to do strength training for a few months before we left.  I thought that altitude would be an issue, but again figured it was something I could work through. 

The first day of the Inca Trail was good and I could see the beautiful Andes mountains and was glad to take in the experience.  The second day of the hike where we had to go over Dead Woman;’s Pass (we would climb over 3,000 feet that day) and go down was the true test of my mind, body and spirit.  Never did I think quitting was an option.  That I must keep putting one foot in front of the other.  That if I had to go slow that was okay because I was going forward.  Every now and then I would stop looking at my feet and look around and also look at where I had been.  How often do we just focus on one thing and forget to look around at the beauty and good that is all around us.  The climb was quite steep at times and I wanted so much to be over the pass and done, but I realized there was more to this journey that I had to endure before I would be at the top.  Once I got to the top it was raining and the temperatures had dropped.  The rest of the group was long gone.  I really did not spend any time on the top basking in what I had accomplished because it was time to go down.  You had to be so careful because the rocks were slippery and you could take a wrong step and hurt yourself.  I knew I didn’t want to suffer an injury this far from medical attention. 

My guide, Joel, was always so encouraging telling me “Let’s go Janet”.  How often we just need someone to cheer us on and to climb that mountain with us.  To go through all of the peaks and valleys, but I found that no one could do it for me.  I would have to go through the peaks and valleys with me digging in to what was inside me that was determined to finish.  I could always hear God’s voice telling me I could do it and also knowing that He was giving me the strength to find who I was on that trail.  There have been times in my life when I didn’t like it being hard and would find myself giving up or losing interest.  I knew that God was with me on that Inca Trail to show me that I can overcome what seems like an impossible task.  That I am strong in mind, body and spirit.  That you may at times have to dig in and watch yourself put one more foot in front of the other, but you will get to the other side.  I had to tell myself that there is absolutely nothing I cannot do as long as I stayed focused on where I have to go.  It is all within your control.  No excuses.  It was absolutely amazing on the fourth day to get to Machu Picchu.  To be able to bask in the beauty and say “yes this was worth it”.  To enjoy the journey!

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After returning to Cusco I started feeling bad physically.  It was necessary for me to seek medical attention.  I discovered that my oxygen levels were dangerously low and that I had altitude sickness.  After receiving oxygen and medications my health returned and I was able to complete the rest of the adventure trip.  It was pretty amazing to me that at 55 years old I hiked the Inca Trail with altitude sickness.
What I learned over those four days was that I just wanted the mountaintop experience, but God had to take me through the peaks and valleys to build me up mentally and physically for where He was taking me.  That you just have to surrender and know that He will never leave you on the Trail alone.  The journey will be at times quite hard, but at the end what He wants to reveal to you will be amazing!

Posted by: mylovingheart | December 10, 2013

Thank You!

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As the year is winding down I always find myself looking back to the events of the year.  What were the high points?  What were even the low points?  Who are the people that are still a part of my life?  Who have I had to say goodbye to?  What have I learned along the way?  Each and every time that I go through these questions in my head I find myself just saying “Thank You”.

Thank you to those people for–

(1) being a part of my life whether it has been all my life or even the briefest of moments;

(2) giving me the experience that helped form another part of who I was meant to be; and

(3) sharing your life so that I could learn how to love and be loved.

Also, thank you God for lighting my path so that I would never have darkness along the way.  It is not always easy to be able to say “Thank You” to those people when you think they have hurt you.  We always have a choice in how we look at a situation.  Are you going to let the wounds heal or continue to fester?  I have found that somewhere and somehow I can find the blessing in each person and experience.  I have even been thankful when certain people walked out of my life in order for the right person to walk in.  When I look for the blessing I find peace is always there.  Each day I will continue to look for the blessing and allow peace and love be all around.

May your year be filled with blessings too!

Posted by: mylovingheart | November 17, 2013

I am Just A Girl!

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For the longest time I thought I really knew myself.  Nope.  Not in the least.  It is not easy to go deep within and pull out all the good, bad and the ugly of emotions and feelings and try to make sense of it all.  To look yourself in the mirror and say “Who are You?”  I knew that I had this big soup of emotions of being bold, excited, happy, joyful, frustrated, insecure, worried, nervous, fearful, and then loved.  What I learned is that you can’t control your feelings, but you can control your thoughts.  I have trouble sometimes distinguishing between a “feeling” and what was a “thought”. Sometimes you have to check in with yourself and say “I feel ____________” right now.

Then I decided that I didn’t want to control my emotions, but just allow them to bubble to the surface whenever it felt like it.  I did know one thing and that it was absolutely vital for any relationship I have with my co-workers, friends, family and love interest was to own my own emotions.  I could not put the blame onto someone else for how I was feeling.  They are just being who they are.  I have recently discovered that I have become way too protective of my emotions and feelings.  I found myself not expressing how I felt about someone because I knew they didn’t feel the same way.  I stayed in that place of keeping my feelings to myself in order to be protective of my heart and feelings.  What I discovered was how wrong that was.  I was not doing myself or the other person any favors.  I had to find my voice, because each and every one of us is born to express what we want.  That unless I expressed what I wanted there was no way I was going to get it.

What I have learned along the way is that I AM JUST A GIRL

–who loves life;

–who is going to choose love over fear;

–who can stand on her own two feet and take care of herself, but would rather have someone to share her life with;

–who can be quite passionate about doing the right thing;

–who is quite comfortable with who I am, but loves it when someone special tells me what they love about me;

–who has absolute faith in God’s promises and trust in his timing;

–who wants to give love at every chance I get;

–who has been through tough situations and allowed God to refine her in order to be who I am today; and

–who will never stop growing, loving, making mistakes and learning from it.

Wow it feels so good when you know what life has to offer and know who you are.  I am finding that it requires getting out of your head and letting your heart be open,  Most of all that each and every one of us deserves to be happy.  We all have scars that love can heal.  Listen to your heart.  What is it telling you?

Posted by: mylovingheart | November 6, 2013

Love is All Around!

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The last month has been a time of walking a path of growth and healing.  Along the way, work and just life have kept me quite busy too.  I feel that I blink my eyes and the month has passed.  A couple of weeks ago, I had to go to Austin for a business conference.  I had originally planned to meet a friend the weekend before the conference to spend time together.  The friend’s plans changed and I found myself arriving in Austin to just explore the city on my own.  I had never been to Austin before and was looking forward to listening to some music and exploring new areas.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous.  Blue bird days and nice temperatures.  It was just amazing to experience beautiful Fall days in a new city.  The interesting part is that I have not traveled alone to often and I was not sure exactly what that would feel like.  I have always been so used to traveling with my family or a friend.  I am finally at a point in my life that I am becoming more and more comfortable in my own skin and knowing what feels good to me.

One of the places that was suggested to me was Mt. Bonnell.  I am preparing to do an adventure trip in another month that is going to be in mountains, so I wanted to do some hill work as conditioning for my trip.  To reach the summit I had to go up a large number of stairs, but found that once I reached the top there was this amazing view.  After taking a few trails, I discovered this rocky ledge that was just perfect to just sit.  From the moment I sat down my whole body and mind became engulfed in peace.  The picture above is the view that was all around me.  One of the things I have discovered is that being in nature is quite calming to me.  It gives me an opportunity to just remove all the checklists in my head and just spend some time with God.  More than ever I could just “BE”.  One thing I don’t allow myself too often is the opportunity to just “BE”.  As I sat there everything that was in my head just went away.  Then I discovered that as I emptied the clutter there became this vast open space within my soul.  Creating an open space to listen to the voice of the one who calls us beloved.  I had to remember that God is passionately in love with each one of us and I was ready to receive that love.

At different times during my stay in Austin, I found myself going back to the ledge on Mt. Bonnell.  My last night the sunset was right before me.  Each time I found myself from the moment I sat down finding that peaceful place to just feel good and be happy within my soul.  Unfortunately every good thing has to come to an end, I had to then travel back home to all the pressure and stresses of everyday life and work.  What I discovered though was that my time on Mt. Bonnell stayed with me.  That peaceful loving feeling that came with me opening up that open space is now deep within.  Also that traveling alone ended up being the best thing that could have happened.  It gave me a chance to spend time to take care of me and to allow God to pour His love into all the little broken pieces that needed healing.

My hope is that you will find a quiet place to just “BE”.  It does not mean that you have to go “commune with nature”, but instead you may feel just as much comfort by being in whatever quiet place you can find.  When you go to those quiet places and feel God’s peace and His presence you will find his grace is overflowing.

Posted by: mylovingheart | October 3, 2013

Do You Have a Saint in Your Life?

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I have a puppy named Saint.  It was interesting how he came into my life.  I had a friend that I think was trying to set me up with her brother, but she told me he is a cat.  I was a little intrigued and asked what she meant.  She says he has been single all his life and that he is like a cat.  When you want to get his attention he sticks his nose up in the air and goes in the opposite direction.  When he decides he wants some attention and to be petted he comes around.  After getting some attention and he is satisfied he  is then off for a while until he is ready to reappear.  I found that analogy hilarious.  I could think of many a man I had met that fit that description.  I knew that I did not want a cat.  I wanted a warm puppy dog.  I love open honest warm communication, full of play and filled with life.  Not too long after that interaction, I met someone who was selling puppies.  After consulting a friend whose last name was Saint Romain and was called Saint in college, I knew I was on the right track.  A week later Saint became a new member of the household.  He is a typical puppy that is curious about everything and has decided that everything needs to go in the mouth.  He has filled my house with laughter and love and made me realize how much I had missed having that in my daily life.  It has definitely given me a reason to go home each day.

Did I mention that he chews on everything!  I am constantly taking things out of his mouth and cleaning up from him shredding something.  One day I found him being unusually quiet, which is never a good sign, and decided to go look for him.  He had discovered the book shelf and was chewing on a book.  After some scolding, I picked up the book he was chewing and discovered that it was a journal that my husband had written in 20 years ago that I did not know existed.  I had looked at the bookshelf so many times and never noticed the journal.  I have to say that I miss his words.  I miss not having him to talk to and often wonder what he would say to me if I asked him what he thought about my new life now.  I open up the journal and it has four entries and they all have titles.   The first one was titled “On Beginnings”.  As I read his words it was exactly what I think he would say to me right now.   He talked about how exciting new beginnings are and that some things must end in order to have a beginning.  That you must walk the path in wonder and treasure the experiences which only you may truly know.  How I have struggled with things that have had to end and not looked at how exciting a new beginning could be.

How perfect it was to have this new puppy named Saint come into my life to fill it again with laughter and love. but also to show me a way to have my husband speak truth to me in a way that only he could.  I just looked at it as this amazing God moment.  I think my new puppy’s name fits him quite well.  He is a loving Saint in my life and is just what I need.  Now if I can keep him from chewing up the rest of the house we will be able to cohabitate quite nicely.

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