Welcome to Write Your Vision!

Deep down, most people have dreams - they may be forgotten, unspoken, or unrealized - but they are there. I want to help you remember and believe in them again...

Monday, March 24, 2014

Recalibration: I want a GREAT life!

I have had an incredible amount of change in the past few months.  This is definitely the year of the horse... my year of Jubilee! and simply my recalibration year.

I like that word.

I had known for a while that my life was getting away from me.  Somewhere amidst the weekly travel to parts unknown on a mission to regurgitate to all who would listen how great my employer was, I lost "me."  I got so busy putting the 'health of my organization' before my own seeking approval from potential clients that I couldn't see my own jeopardy.  I kept reassigning an 'end date' in my mind, invoking my favorite catch-phrase of "AS SOON AS..." to keep me going.  Constantly pushing, influencing, teaching, catching, organizing, talking, testing:  Plane to rental car to hotel to meeting to car to hotel to airport.  Rinse, repeat.

I was so zoned into my pattern that even when I was walking to get a sandwich before a flight and was hit by car (teenager texting and driving in a parking lot)... I didn't stop.  I kept going.  I slowed down for a day or two, but didn't stop.  I couldn't see the warning signs of system shut-down that were inevitably coming.

But God, with His infinite wisdom and humor, was determined to not only get my attention but to point me in a new direction.  Time to recalibrate.

Funny thing about God is that, He will knock.  He will absolutely speak in that still small voice.  However for those of us with thick heads and impaired vision, He may just invoke the use of a rather large wall to block your path on all sides and down... to force you to look up.  Blink.  And see the light...


Then His voice goes something like this:  "Child, I want you to devote that talent and endless energy for MY purposes.  So, I've stopped you.  Picked you up and pointed you in the direction of the path I have for you.  It's your choice, however, to WALK down it or not."

My Response:  "Ohhhhhh, hi Lord.  Wait.  What?!?  What new path?  I was on the wrong path?  Uh, ok.  Well, what do You want me to do then?"

His Response:  "Rest now."

My Response:  "Rest?  I don't have time to do that..."  LOL - tip:  Don't ever tell the Almighty that you don't have time for something because He will open up Heaven and clear a path for you to have exactly that.

He gave me time to rest.  Time to recalibrate.  Time to listen.

It's definitely NOT how I would've done it but His way was certainly quicker and He took what was a bad situation and turned it around for His and my greater good.  Taaaaa Daaaaa!  Next, He sold my house in less than 48 hours and moved my brother's heart to invite me in to stay for a while.  My job and I have divorced one another... and now I've spent the last month or so going to doctor, dentist, and other wellness appointments to gain my health back.

He's preparing me for something GREAT!   I can feel it...

Interestingly enough though, I have no idea what IT is.  I have an inkling on the tip of my brain but it's not yet in focus.  At this point, I've learned enough to know that He will show me when He's good and ready to show me... so no point squinting to try to see it.  I'm better off just working through NOW and waiting on Him.  (Lesson Learned).

Right now, He's parted my Red Sea and I'm walking.  I'm outside of Egypt, not yet to the Promised Land.  I can look all around me and see the wonders of the sea life surrounding me, awestruck by the incredible journey I'm on and awesome Power of God.

Through all this, I've been reminded of my past and my present as I look toward my future.  In that, I reaffirmed that I WANT A GREAT LIFE!  Not just a mediocre one in ANY area of my life.  I want GREAT Health.  I want a GREAT Marriage.  I want a GREAT career that is mission-driven by Him.  I want a GREAT Home... and GREAT relationships with those I love.

I want it ALL.  And that means shedding anyone or anything that does not value me for me... because we all know that to grab onto a new life, you have to release the old one!

Today, I am richly blessed and so humbled to see God moving in my life in such a profound way.  He really is AWESOME!  His grace is definitely sufficient for me.

Whatever you are facing, ask yourself:  Is this wall I'm trying to scale or knock down really an obstacle to be overcome?  OR was it deliberately put there to force you to LOOK UP?  A tool to make you stop so you can recalibrate. 

You tell me.    ;)


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Traditions Matter… pass them on!

This time of year many of us are nostalgic for family, traditions and that lovely Christmas feeling that would typically bring out the best in people - the spirit of the season:  Love, Charity, Humility…

I always loved being home (Clarksburg, WV) for Christmas because for as long as I can remember, it always snowed that magical Christmas snow on Christmas Eve and the sky would be that incredible midnight blue highlighted by white, clear stars.  Visiting longtime family friends and then walking to midnight Mass was the late evening plan that allowed us to savor all that was good and smell that clean air.  Beautiful.  Magical.  Holy.

The family would spend the day on Christmas Eve preparing foods (seven fishes - thanks Uncle Denny) as well as pastas, ham, mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans… you name it and it was on the table.  We would eat around 4pm and then open gifts from each other before heading out to visit friends.

Lovely memories.
Treasured traditions.
It was so fun to open the presents to see what my grandparents had gotten us because they started shopping the day after Christmas the year before and long since forgotten what was wrapped and put away.

Cookie and pie baking.
Taking food to the elderly or less fortunate.

All activity designed to remind us of what truly mattered - family, health, loving one another, blessings, faith and more.

If you watch TV or listen to how many talk about the season, you hear a lot of negativity:  Commercialism, Greed, Spoiled children who have no understanding of the real meaning of the season, traffic jams, rude drivers/shoppers… the list goes on.  And yes, there is some of that.  We've all experienced it or maybe even suffered moments of it ourselves but I don't believe that is the majority of the time.  I think those bad behaviors are the exception not the rule.

I see so much love everywhere I look - when I look.

It's that love that recalls the tradition and stirs the emotion of childhood.  I find now that it's my generation who is reviving the old school traditions… It is after all, up to us to teach and reminisce with the children in our lives so they can experience what we did.  How can they treasure those small things that mean so much to us if we've not taken the time to be with them as our parents and grandparents did with us:  their family stories, their little idiosyncrasies that you now appreciate as Truth… the right way to do anything, etc.  How can we all pass on those moments - creating new ones - while preserving former ones and thus maintaining the tradition, the love, the faith?

Christmas traditions matter.
All traditions matter really.

They have meaning to us.  So as we take down the trees and put away the ornaments, spend the same amount of time carefully wrapping things up as you did putting everything up with your kids.  Do it all together.  Christmas tradition becomes more meaningful when all throughout the year we take time to make moments matter.

As we prepare for yet another NEW YEAR with all the would-be resolutions pending with promise of change… add in one Christmas-like tradition that you can carry forward through the year that demonstrates the depth of love you feel at this time of year.  Pick one thing to teach a child in your life - by example not just by telling.  ;)  Children reflect back what we value.  So let's choose wisely.

Thanks for listening - the children in our lives are (to every word and action).  I hope to hear back from all of you what your beloved tradition is… and what you may carry forward!


Sunday, November 3, 2013

No Affect

Well, it's been a while since I've written... sorry about that.  Been a tough few months.  Pretty stressful. A lot going on with family, the house, the dogs, friends, and of course work.

Everyone suffers from stress.
Everyone has issues of some sort.
And everyone has a limit to what they can absorb.
Even me.

I tend to hold myself to a reallllllly high standard, almost intolerant of my own frailties in an effort to not make excuses...or mistakes.  I juggle and juggle, reprioritizing constantly, managing incessantly, trying to keep up with the perceived and perhaps real demands of everyone and everything in my life.  I do it nearly 24/7 driving myself to find solutions to so many things - the majority of which I have very little control over.

My goal is to influence.  My hope is to make a difference.  Preferably, a positive one for my effort.

I've been trained to respond.  To react, re-evaluate, and solve... then suggest or direct.
I'm good at it actually.

That innate gift makes me relatively successful - depending on how one chooses to define the term.  My relationships rely on it, as do I because I've built them all around it.

There's just one problem.


Well, maybe more than one; but let's roll with this one first.

Have you noticed the sheer volume of demands on your life, mind and time have increased exponentially?  We are all bombarded with INPUTS telling us to DO more, BE more, ACQUIRE more, SPEND more, EAT more, EXERCISE more.... MORE MORE MORE.  The 24/7 news cycle has invaded all areas of our lives.

Volume drowns out BALANCE.

The deluge of activity and demands can bring anyone to a breaking point.

Believe it or not, I'm an introvert.  I crave QUIET.  I need time to myself to calm my mind which in turn allows me to rebalance.   If I don't create the space to allow myself to care for ME, I eventually shut down.  It's like watching your cell phone or tablet send you warnings about battery life until it's at 10% then 5% = RED LIGHT.  Then nothing.  Powering down.  The device no longer works.  As I am nearing the end of my mental battery life however I shut down peripherals - beginning with my emotions.  I control them so tightly while I'm in MANAGE MODE that they begin to erupt intermittently before disappearing in NO AFFECT-land.

No Affect is a danger zone for me.  It's when I've by-passed all healthy parameters and run full speed into the minefield of overload.  I can no longer effectively decipher the necessary difference needed to prioritize activities like picking up coffee creamer vs handling a loved one's medical care coordination.  ALL are priorities which means NONE are.  I respond in monotone.  My eyes darken.  My mind dulls.

"Danger Will Robinson!  Danger!"

Life Support on back up power only.
Uh oh............

Do you ever reach NO AFFECT-land?

Well, IF or when you do, there's a couple of options.  Once you begin to power back up, you'll no doubt realize where you are and want to leave the minefield... (or at least I hope so)!  At that point, there's hope for you/me!

Change is good in this instance.

As is GRACE.

Allow yourself a measure of grace.
Forgive yourself and everyone/thing around you for failing to live in harmonious balance! ;) lol
Recognize self judgment and choose to refuse to accept the negative statements that may bombard you.

Instead, take a moment to breathe.
Give yourself a break by allowing yourself to TAKE A BREAK.
Get off the hook of "must do" or "need to" or "should..."

DO something to relieve and expel your stress.

R E L A X.......... do whatever you need to do so you can!

The sun will still rise.  The earth will still spin.  Amazingly, those that love you will support your reprieve.

At the end of the day, simply do your best.
It may not be enough for some, but make it enough for you.

Release the trigger rather than pulling it.
Let go.

Let go.

Let go...

Deeeeep breath.  Exhalllllllllle.

If you do that, the fog will clear.
It doesn't mean the cascading TO DO list will disappear.  No.  Unfortunately, that's just life.  But it does mean, you'll be in a much better place to deal with it all again.  And maybe, just maybe, the next time you begin to reach your own version of NO AFFECT-land, you'll regroup and rebalance a little sooner.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Going Home...

Ever have those moments when a MEMORY is so vivid, you're reliving it?  It's a wonderful experience when it's a beautiful reminder... not so much when it's not.  ;)

Lately I've been experiencing the beautiful.

I remember...
  • swinging through the poles of my grandmother's clotheslines barefoot in the summer's green grass, smelling the freshly clean sheets on the line 
  • standing in a mountain stream in Colorado feeling the water rush past 
  • catching a line drive and feeling it sting my hand (playing minor league at North View park)
  • the first time I held the clutch and brake correctly releasing it on a hill without my car rolling backward (thanks Uncle Denny)
  • the smell of clean mountain air during a snowfall at night, cross-country skiing to a yurt
  • walking across campus freshman year on my way to class, smelling the Fall air, feeling amazing because I was exactly where I was supposed to be
  • enjoying chateaubriand at the Signature Room at the 95th for the best first date ever
  • jumping off a short cliff at the lake in WV, flying through the air before hitting the water (thanks Uncle Bobby for taking the fab 5 out on your boat)
  • walking the streets of Venice marveling at the sights, sounds, and pure joy of being there
...and the list goes on and on.
It's a Wonderful Life!  Truly...

I'm having a wonderful life.  Incredibly blessed.  That said, the older I get, the more I realize how fun life is IN THE MOMENT and how valuable HOME is.  Home may be where you grew up, may be a person, may be where you are now.  Home should be where you feel most like your true self and where you're the happiest.  Home matters.

Take a moment today to savor your home... make a memory.  And if you're not home, make a plan to go home.  I am.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Why this verdict bothers me so much...

I've heard this quoted and misquoted many times over the years:  (12th Century) legal theorist Maimonides said "It is better and more satisfactory to acquit a thousand guilty persons than to put a single innocent one to death" in reference to our legal system in the United States.

While I understand the sentiment, it feels like many innocents are found guilty and that the thousand guilty persons keep adding up.

I also get the reality that the Prosecution in Sanford, FL did not "prove their case beyond a doubt" but my problem is with the REASONABLENESS of it.  Reasonable Doubt?  Reasonable...  Reasonable... that word echoes in my mind.

I've heard those who support the NRA talk about the 2nd Amendment...
I've heard the arguments about race and profiling...

But here's what keeps replaying in my mind:
Most pre-drivers (meaning 15 year olds or younger) tend to take the shortest route home - even if that means cutting through others yards.  I did it when I was a kid.  I now live in a gated community and more than once I've seen kids "cutting through" my neighborhood.  It's what they do.
I am a responsible gun owner and a member of the NRA.  I support the 2nd Amendment.  However EVERY single gun class, seminar, etc. ALWAYS talks about protecting yourself, your home or property.  It's about defending... not being aggressive.  I've been the victim of violence so I've taken self defense classes off and on for years from basic self defense to Krav Maga -- again, it's always about protecting yourself and about creating space to GET AWAY.  The objective is to survive and get away.
I've been stalked before.  I've been followed.  I can tell you from personal experience AND based on most statistics, when someone is following you, their INTENT is to intimidate.  Most human reaction to being followed is FEAR in some form.
So here's what bugs me...
Mr. Zimmerman called police multiple times prior to this incident to report 'suspicious looking black men' in the neighborhood.
This night, he decided to "follow the suspicious black man."  
WHY do that?  It's aggressive by the action alone.
Common sense says that Mr. Zimmerman was aggravated by the boy's presence.

Most 15 year old boys I know have some hormone issues.  They tend to think they're invincible, can be rebellious and even a little mouthy.  Even in the best of circumstances, teenagers don't always REACT well to stress - particularly fear.
Mr. Zimmerman had defense classes - whether or not he was good at them - he had to take a class to legally obtain a fire arm.  So he'd been told and taught what to do in a confrontation.  The basic principles remind us to "Get Away."
But clearly, FEAR won.
A child died.

In Jacksonville, a dispute over music, another white man claims he "stood his ground"- FEAR won... and
A child died.

We, as a society, have never been able to eradicate bias.  But sadly,  I have to admit that if Trayvon was the white son of a local councilman, or favored (white) teacher, cop, or fireman... despite the incredible limitations imposed on the jury by FL law... I believe Mr. Zimmerman and potentially Mr. Dunn would be serving a jail sentence.

This is one of the many reasons why this verdict bothers me so much.

The whole thing bothers me.

I do pray to God that He helps us as a nation heal this and so many other injustices - because only He can.

...and I do pray that anyone / everyone living in Florida will consider all this and VOTE to change your representatives and others so that your laws may better protect all children. 


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Our Better Angels

Writing is one of my favorite things to do (in case you couldn't tell).  It's my primary mechanism of expression and clearing for the clutter that generally lurks in my mind.  Today is my birthday, so I hope you'll indulge me a little, because this is what's in my head:

This past week has been a week of tragedy and triumph with bombings in Boston at the beloved Marathon and an explosion of a plant in West, Texas... and finally, this weekend is EARTH DAY.

I witnessed a car accident this week while driving to dinner... and while the driver that ran a red light that caused the accident stopped, he then sped away.  Who knows why?  Fortunately I was right behind him and got the make/model of his car, his license plate, and a good description of him because before he left, he got out to survey the damage to his vehicle - never mind that he hit a truck that then flipped twice in an intersection.

Still despite these individual acts of fear or hatred or whatever evil intent, there were COUNTLESS acts of LOVE, Courage, Heroism, Selflessness, Compassion and so many more words that can be used to describe what is best about being human:
...witnesses (ordinary people) as well as first responders and medical professionals rushing TOWARD the fire to aid the injured in Boston.
...citizens abiding by the law, trusting in law enforcement, notifying them of any/all information that eventually resulted in the capture of suspects.
...more than 15 people at a crash site who pulled over, jumped from their cars to aid a man who had just been hit at an intersection and his truck flipped twice.
While a single, individual act caused harm - that same negative was met and overwhelmingly overtaken by multiple acts of LOVE.  For me, it was those acts of the human spirit, those selfless collective responses and the outpouring of love and our need to HELP - however we could, whether it was simply sending thoughts and prayers or something more - that made me cry this week.  It's usually those stories that bring tears to my eyes.  More so even than my emotions from loss...

and for that, I am grateful.

I'll never understand evil motivation, it confounds my mind whenever I attempt to make sense of senseless things.  But rather than dwell there for long, thankfully I am blessed to be able to shift into another gear that allows me to focus forward.

We all have our opinions.  God knows.

There's ANY number of issues being debated on any given day.  I work in behavioral health so I pay close attention to things like health care reform, questions regarding mental illness, bullying behaviors in children and adults.  I'm a Christian so I listen to the opinions of so many who wax poetic on 'issues' they deem to be moral imperatives.  I'm from West Virginia so of course, I notice any and all things from my beloved state.  I'm a dog lover, motorcycle rider, gun owner, historian, sports lover, outdoor enthusiast, and a blogger.  I'm a neat freak, lover of art and philosophy, of Italian-Irish, etc. decent who loves family,  "good" food and small towns.  I love people though they sometimes irritate me!  I'm an American.

That's who I am.

My beliefs are relatively simple too.  I believe in God wholly and completely.  I do not believe I know or can comprehend all that He is or does... therefore I do not presume that I do or could.  I believe in the power of forgiveness and Love, always Love.  I believe in family - and that includes those who may not share my same heritage or bloodlines.  I believe in democracy, freedom, and the United States government which means I believe in service also.

Now why say all that?

I say it because I am absolutely certain that no matter who you are, there are any number of things that we will have in common AND any number of things we would likely fundamentally disagree on with our last breaths.  My challenge to you and myself is that when judging, we both listen to our better angels and ACT from Love rather than any number of negative feelings or viewpoints.

I have been blessed to be on this good Earth now for 44 years today.  I've traveled abroad and in our country.  I've lived in many states - both big and small cities - in apartments, townhouses, and single family homes.  I have had my share of illness and tragedy and suffered loss as well as joys... and in all my collective wisdom and experience, the basics of the two greatest commandments still hold universal truth for me:
  1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, with all your mind; and
  2. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Both begin with the LOVE.  If we operate first from love - not fear, not distrust, not separation, not hatred - then we have a chance at understanding, forgiveness, and peace.  If we each judged, when we judge, out of the principles of love FIRST, rather than ego or some other selfish viewpoint then our commonalities can help move us past our differences.

Life is full of contradictions, challenges, tragedies and triumphs.  I'm not asking for world peace (yet)... but I am asking for you (and me) - one person at a time - to challenge yourself to operate within your world from a place of love first because I DO believe Love Never Fails.  And with that, I believe love will open your mind and heart to incredible possibility and blessing in this life.

Thanks for listening.

Now it's time for me to get myself together so I can celebrate my birthday at an amusement park!

Happy Earth Day!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Time to Renew

I do love Easter Sunday... it represents everything good.  It's about REBIRTH and RENEWAL in the most basic sense and yet it's so much more.  For the spiritual or religious, it is the celebration of all we believe and hold to be true.  For others, it still means much the same - rebirth.

What is it about renewal and rebirth that is so essentially human?

We crave it.

We all long for some way to begin again.  Some way to revive, renew, resurrect.  It may be a hope to fall in love again with a spouse; to start life over with a career or purposeful work vs. a current job; or simply finding a lost love like playing the guitar, rebuilding an engine, planting a garden, sailing a boat...or it may be as simple as choosing to eat healthier and exercise.  We look forward to retirement so we can do just that!  ;)

The wonderfully beautiful thing about being human is that we actually possess the capacity to accomplish this.  We CAN choose to begin again.  To shed the old and find renewal and rebirth.  In the process, we experience freedom, joy, forgiveness, peace and so much more.

The good news is that we don't have to wait for retirement or an annual Easter celebration to ignite this process.  But since it IS Easter, why not start now?

What is it that needs to renewed in your life? or is it simply that YOU need to be renewed and reborn?

Take a few moments today to THINK about that question and then WRITE down what you want to renew.  Choose your words.  Just start there...

It's time to renew.