Tag Archives: Relationships

Hold that Thought! (It Becomes Your Vision)

My brain can be like Grand Central Station; a steady flow of traffic with each thought vying to gain some traction.

I’ve entertained far too many thoughts that never deserved my attention. 

Entertain is a good word choice.  Thoughts knock at our door and the majority should be treated like unwanted  solicitors.  Would you invite a stranger in for coffee and to set up housekeeping in the spare room?

Of course not.

So why did that pretty mist-colored laptop on HSN end up in my house?

Well, I kept LISTENING, and the more I entertained the thoughts surrounding the laptop and imagined using it, the less the $500 price tag troubled me.

Even though I already have a perfectly good laptop.

(Yes, I returned it.)

But the point is, what thoughts we entertain give us imaginations or VISIONS that can actually become reality.

I’ve learned to approach my thoughts like a buffet.  I used to try to get my money’s worth and took advantage of “all you can eat.”  Indigestion and regret usually followed.

I’ve learned to be more choosy at the buffet, only selecting what I’m in the mood for at the moment.  (This can lead to a focused attack on the desserts, but that’s another story.)

When it comes to our thought lives, it’s wise to understand that not everything that flies into our brains merits consideration.

But some things DO.

I bet some of the most brilliant entrepreneurial ideas started with just a thread of a thought.

This very blog started with a “Hmmmmm” moment in a float tank.

How many relationships ended in happily ever afters because someone thought, “I’ll give online dating a try!”

My sister took a calligraphy class decades ago, and she has been gainfully employed doing what she loves ever since.

Does it make your heart leap?  Does it bring hope?  Then by all means HOLD THAT THOUGHT!

Nurture it and let it breathe.  Water it and fertilize it and who knows – it can end up being a full-blown vision.

Were you as captivated as I was by Prince Harry’s engagement announcement this week?  I didn’t know much about Meghan Markle until I saw this video, which is an example of holding a THOUGHT and taking action based on that thought to effect change:

I think Diana is smiling, don’t you?

So let’s not get caught up in VISIONS of grandeur that overwhelm us.  Let’s start with a thought, and then play with it a little.

I did that this week and it turned me a bit upside down!

https://youtu.be/la8hY9xh9-U

Oooooh…sisters and brothers.  We ARE a resilient bunch!  I feel like this is a week where our mantra should come from Dirty Dancing:  “No one puts baby in a corner.”

Let’s go out, rise up and seize the week!

xoxoxox

Brenda

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Expectations, Marriage (and the New WOW)

Duane and I celebrated our 14th anniversary this past week and it was a perfect time to consider expectations…or the lack thereof.

See, when I met this dimpled, Italian man, I didn’t know WHAT to expect.

One thing was undeniable:  My world was rocked.  He gave me heart palpitations and goosebumps.  I found myself singing Carpenters songs with gusto and living for the next phone call or e-mail.

Actually, at first, I truly expected him to be a flash in the pan; just another of the many guys who’d take my number and never call.  Friends, who had not seen a man have this effect on me in years also tried to reign in my expectations; after all, they didn’t want their friend to get hurt.

When you’re 38 and haven’t been on a real date in years, YOU don’t want to get hurt again. You resist getting  your hopes up, only to have them dashed again.  Yet the feelings were so intoxicating…I couldn’t protect myself from them.

Swept up in emotion, I made a decision to risk being hurt…because the thought of NOT loving him was more painful.

Duane exceeded my expectations. He was in it for the long haul (see my recent video on INTENTION) and no matter what I asked of him, he jumped through every hoop (and there were MANY of them) to seal the deal and put a ring on it.

The next chapter, however, is where the rubber met the road: Marriage.

Because of the whirlwind of our courtship, I never stopped to consider my expectations when it came to marriage.

I mean, wouldn’t it just be more of the same?  Romantic, long talks on the patio; flowers “just because” and handyman tasks miraculously handled by my own, personal Magnum PI…

Yep, cue the rude awakening.

Not to say there haven’t been some very sweet and romantic times…but, as my friends ALSO tried to tell me, it’s mostly about negotiating a pleasant balance between laundry, bills, professional obligations, social calendars, broken dishes (I’m a bit clutzy) AND reruns of Hogans Heroes (Duane’s favorite show.)

Some of our biggest fights have been because I imposed upon him my EXPECTATIONS of what he (i.e., the perfect husband) should be.  Meanwhile, I sometimes forget that I am in NO way the model of the traditional wife.

I do not cook.  And I’d rather pay other people to do tasks that bore me, including detail cleaning, mending and ironing.

Oh, plus I stink at all of the above.

Yet Duane has never complained about how I fall short in these areas (at least, to my face!) Perhaps his restraint in this regard has shown up in OTHER ways.  Exhibit #1:  Notice his hair color in this photo on our wedding day:

And after fourteen years of swallowing judgment:

85% gray.  (But he still looks happy, right?)

Getting back to expectations, no one wants to be required to live up to an unattainable standard and then be judged and found lacking.

It’s not a recipe for a happy marriage.

However, standards of mutual respect, honoring individual preferences, healthy amounts of compromise and good doses of unselfishness SHOULD be expected.

Lowering our expectations in these areas reduces our marriage to “less than.” It ensures that we don’t fulfill our potential as a couple. It says, “I give up” on believing the best for us.

Thus, we fight.  And this was NOT something I expected in marriage.  

I had lived with roommates for all of my adult life and can only remember one real argument!  Certainly we, as a loving, married couple, could rationally discuss matters and achieve mutual understanding?

HA!  When hormones and tempers are flared, we Viola’s can get LOUD.  This may not be the norm for 95% of couples out there, but it’s the case here on Ridge Road in Sarasota.

Admittedly, the intense arguments of our early married years are now much fewer and far between.  Why?  Because we understand each others’ expectations much more than we used to.  Now I KNOW what drives him crazy, and I try to avoid it at all costs.

He knows the same about me.

Sometimes there are unknown alligators in the water that crop up and make for less than smooth sailing.

But there’s one thing we both expect:  We’re staying in the boat.  Neither of us is jumping ship. Oh, there are times when we both WANT to, but we wait until that wave passes…which it always does…and set sail again for another year of equal parts marital angst and bliss.

If I had any gem of wisdom to offer to those of you embarking on this journey called marriage, it would be this: COMMUNICATE your expectations.

You can’t get mad at someone for something you never said mattered to you.

Meanwhile, we’re heading into a new week.  So here’s what our new word is!:

I’m going to emphasize NOT complicating things this week by over-thinking.

How will YOU simplify?

xoxoxoxox

Love,
Brenda

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Acts of Kindness (and the New WOW)

What I’ve marveled at this past week is how bright light shines when it enters a dark place. How people come out of the woodwork with acts of kindness when they sense you need it most.

Like this meme said so clearly (thank you notsalmon.com:

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The new of hurricane Hermine was EVERYWHERE, and the location of Sarasota was front and center. Sure, we had our generator ready to go and the pantry and fridge stocked; candles ready to light and our phones and iPads fully charged.

But what really lit me up were the messages that flooded us (far more than the storm did.)

The big galoot I used to work with five years ago who private messaged to make sure I was OK. He’s not the warm, fuzzy type – so his concern touched me especially. The Facebook posts from family asking for updates and reminding us to “batten down the hatches.”

Not to make light of what was a damaging storm to many in our area, I do thank Hermine for passing through simply for the kind connections that made us feel so cared for this past week.

I observed from afar a dear friend undergo surgery for that “C” word this past week, and firmly believe that the love he was bombed with expedited what his doctors are calling an amazing recovery.

Darkness brings out the best light in us.

There’s something particularly fierce and vocal about our expressions of love and kindness when someone we care about is going through a tough time.  We become demonstrative and lavish…and it’s a beautiful thing that, having NOT gone through that dark tunnel we might not know otherwise.

I am reminded that we need to be that way with ourselves – whether it’s the big “C” or a little hormonal uprising.  Kindness is the special sauce that makes anything we face in life not only palatable but sometimes, remarkably wonderful.

Here’s a little bit more about how KINDNESS touched my path this week:

Feel free to choose your own word, but like I said, I’m sticking with HUMOR.

(And feel free to tell me a joke!)

xoxoxox

Brenda

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