Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I'll be feeling fine in 2009!!!

Chorus Lines

Do you have songs that really inspire you? Do they make you want to be better? Kelly Clarkson and Christina Aguilera have those types of songs. I love the chorus lines from their respective hits "Breakaway" and "Fighter". Kelly Clarkson talks about moving on to better things, while Christina Aguilera talks about becoming stronger after a relationship.

Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" Chorus:

I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly.
I'll do what it takes till I touch the sky.
Make a wish, take a chance,
Make a change, and break away.
Out of the darkness and into the sun.
But I won't forget all the ones that I love.
I'll take a risk, take a chance,
Make a change, and break away.

Last "Breakaway" Chorus:

I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly.
Though it's not easy to tell you goodbye.
Take a risk, take a chance,
Make a change, and break away.
Out of the darkness and into the sun.
But I won't forget the place I come from
I gotta take a risk, take a chance,
Make a change, and break away
Break away

Christina Aguilera's "Fighter" Chorus:

'Cause it makes me that much stronger.
Makes me work a little bit harder.
It makes me that much wiser.
So thanks for making me a fighter.
Made me learn a little bit faster.
Made my skin a little bit thicker.
Makes me that much smarter.
So thanks for making me a fighter.

A few years ago, my mom told me that a Martina McBride song reminded her of me. The song, "I Hope You Dance", has a positive, inspiring message, too. I was very touched when I heard the words.

Do you have lines from a song that inspire you? What's the song? What's the chorus? Do they make you want to breakaway or dance?

Meet Me in the Middle

A friend of mine has a good way of summing up how to interact in relationships. She calls it 'meeting in the middle'. She always gives me good advice and insight regarding relationships and life. Meeting in the middle is where relationships are formed.

Let's say that you have two fields, and there's a fence between them. All of my issues are in my field, and all of my neighbor's issues are in their field. I'm not over in their yard trying to convince them to come over to the fence; they're not in my yard trying to do the same. I'm also not pitching a tent in their field, following their ways. That leaves my field unattended. They aren't pitching tents in my field either. We each come to the fence (the middle) because it's what we want to do. We each take care of our respective fields and have a place to meet.

The fence is our common ground. That's where we build something together. This relationship middle is based upon a mutual understanding of love, honesty, and respect. It is not built upon giving in to someone else's demands or wishes (their field). It's not built on fear, lies, and deception. You can't meet in the middle and build a good, solid relationship with those undesirable traits in the way. It just doesn't work. Have you tried? Let me know how that went.

So I thank my friend for her witty way of describing good relationships. You can't go wrong when you're on even ground. Happy Trails!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines catalyst as:

1. A substance that enables a chemical reaction to proceed at a usually faster rate or under different conditions (at a lower temperature) than otherwise possible.

2. An agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action.

I love the second definition. I think that we've all had catalysts in our lives.

One of my good friends is a true catalyst. Everytime that I hang out with her, I learn something new. It speeds my need to learn and do things differently.

A few days ago, we were hanging out and she mentioned her old love interest. Because he had more free time, she thought that they would spend more time together. The opposite was true. For some reason, he was traveling around the country and calling her sporadically. He didn't mention that he was taking trips beforehand. He would just call her from wherever he was. She had already addressed their spending time together. I guess he didn't hear her.

So when he called her from his latest destination, she didn't fuss. She didn't argue. She calmly told him that he could hang up the phone. When I asked her if she had broken up with him, she told me that there was no need to do all that. She had addressed the issue a time or two, and wasn't going to repeat herself again. There was no need to have a 'let's go our separate ways' talk. She told him her feelings, he didn't hear her, and that was it.

Before this world traveler incident, he'd said something very inappropriate to her. Again, she didn't fuss and argue. She got up and walked away. She refused to be disrespected. She refused to be treated poorly. Later, they discussed the incident and resolved the issue. DANGGGGGG! As I listened to her, I thought about how I could incorporate these things into my life. I thought about how I could walk away from situations instead of to them.

Her reaction to him triggered a significant change/reaction in me. It made me not want to keep talking to fix something. 'You hear what I say the first or second time or you don't. You meet me halfway or you don't. You treat me with the respect that I deserve or you don't. There's no need for me to beg and plead for it. It's what I deserve and the only thing that I will accept.' There's a jazz album titled I Heard You Twice the First Time. That speaks volumes.


With 2009 right around the corner, I'd like to address teachers, lessons, and resolutions. I normally don't make New Year's resolutions. When I used to make them, I'd forget about them by February. What I do now is make themes for the year.

My theme for 2008 was 'Stop Accepting Unacceptable Things/Let Go of Unnecessary People'. I wrote about that in an earlier blog entry (see Access Denied).

My theme for 2009 is 'Remember the Lessons, and Not the Teachers'. I'm sure that you're wondering what I mean by 'teachers'. I think an email from my aunt sums it up best.

The email stated that 'God doesn't give you the people you want. He gives you the people you NEED. To help you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you, and to make you into the person you were meant to be.'

I really agree with the idea that people come into your life for a reason. I consider them to be life lesson teachers that help you become who you were always meant to be. They can be anyone you know or have known. The lessons are what you learn from them. The challenges that you have with them are the test. The final result is your grade.

For a long time after a 'test', I would think about the teacher. I'd think about what they did, how they were doing, how could I get them to notice me, blah, blah, blah. If their 'test' was being not so kind, I really didn't learn my lesson of being more confident or stating how I feel. My final grade was hurt and sadness. And, of course, I'd have to take the test again with another teacher/situation until I could pass.

How did I pass? By looking at repeat situations, looking at what I've done before, and doing something different the next time. That 'something different' is what I really want to do. It's what I feel is right. It's what I feel deep down and with conviction. Like I don't tell someone that something is okay when it isn't.

So I want to go into 2009 paying more attention to what I learned, not who taught me what. The teachers have been great, but the lessons have been greater. I've learned to see teachers/situations for what they are. They are ways for me to be a better woman today than I was yesterday. They are ways for me to be a better woman tomorrow than I am now. They are ways for me to be the best that I can be. That certainly is unforgettable.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

So Applicable

To thine own self be true.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

From "Invictus" by William Earnest Henley

I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Greatest Gift

What's the greatest gift you've ever received? Was it a toy when you were a child? Was it a pair of jeans when you were a teen? Was it an electronic device when you were an adult? How long did that gift make you happy? Did you tire of it after a while?

With today being Christmas, I'd like to address the greatest gift. One that keeps on giving. One that you can treasure. One that you can show others.

A few years ago, I watched a documentary on PBS. A group of people wanted to overcome their stuttering problems, and the documentary followed each individual's story. One woman's story stood out from the others.

I don't remember her name, but I'll call her Sally. Sally was an African-American woman in her early 40s. She was pursuing her doctorate degree in Sociology and wanted to work on her stuttering issues before presenting her oral dissertation.

She and the other participants in this course practiced ways to overcome their stuttering. They did things like ask people on the street for directions, call and order food for delivery, and have conversations with the program staff. Everyone minimized their stuttering at the end of the training program and went back to their regular lives.

They showed Sally a few weeks after the training program. She was in a university hallway awaiting the results of her oral dissertation. She had just presented before a panel and was really nervous. She kept looking at the decision makers' door as she paced the hallway. Finally, the door opens and balloons come out into the hallway as one of the decision makers says, "Come on in, Dr. Sally."

She was so happy. Everyone congratulated her as they ate cake and talked about how well she did during her dissertation. Her receiving her doctorate was certainly rewarding. But it seemed like she was a little more comfortable and confident. It seemed like she regained something that she had lost through years of stuttering. It seemed like she regained a part of herself.

So the greatest gift was her. As your greatest gift is you, and my greatest gift is me. I think that you regain a little more of yourself with every obstacle that you overcome. You get the gift of you after each challenge. You can treasure this gift by treating yourself well and not letting others treat you with anything less than you deserve.

So what do you think? Have you been your greatest gift ever? I know I've been mine. I hope that you've been yours. I wouldn't take back my challenges for all the world because it's made me who I am today. Plus, I don't think you ever get tired of this gift, for it lasts a lifetime.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Themes and Patterns

Let me start by saying, I've been having issues with Gmail's blog format. I've been putting spaces between paragraphs, but for some reason, the spaces disappear and my paragraphs look squished together. Hopefully, this entry will include my spacing. Please excuse it if they don't appear.

Ok. On to the blog entry.

Have you ever noticed themes and patterns in your life? The situation or people involved may be different, but the underlying feel of it is familiar? It seems as if you keep having the same problem over and over again, like a real-life Groundhog Day (the movie with Bill Murray).

I can tell you my themes: speaking up and being myself. And my pattern has been to avoid both, though I didn't realize that that was what I was doing. It took a long time for me to finally see the theme and recognize the pattern.

Remember those dotted paintings from the 1980s that really hid a picture underneath? You were supposed to look at those dotted pictures and eventually be able to see the real picture. The dots didn't make up the picture like a Monet painting. The dots covered the picture.

I could never see the pictures. I would stare at them for the longest time and only see the dots. Everyone around me was able to see the picture. They told me that they saw dolphins, whales, and everything that was underneath the dots. It was like I was blind, and someone had to describe a scene for me.

But now I see the picture of my themes. I see the 'speaking up' dolphin, and the 'being myself' whale. The dots of unfulfilling relationships hid the picture of my themes. And the people that could describe the paintings to me were mostly my exes, and sometimes my family and friends. Through their actions of telling me what to do, they described my need to speak up. Through their actions of wanting me to be a certain way, they described my need to be myself. For I was blind and could not see.

Now I see clearly. And I broke that pattern. I don't run or avoid situations. I look at and address them. Maybe not all at once, but with baby steps that will eventually lead to an adult walk.

So what about you? Do you recognize themes and patterns? What are they? Do they keep repeating with different people and circumstances? Can you see them or do you need someone to describe them to you? Do tell.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Said This, Too

Why accept so little
when you deserve so much more...

I Said It

I've been who I'm not,
so I'll be who I am.
I decided not to italicize this since I said it.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Love-- a virus for which there is no cure.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Quote of the Day

The cave you fear to enter
Holds the treasure that you seek.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Love Supreme

What is your idea of a good/great relationship? Is it one in which both partners contribute to the entity of the relationship? Is it one in which one partner makes the majority of decisions? Tell me your ideas for a good/great relationship.

A few years ago, I heard the title of a jazz album that stirred my curiosity. The album was called A Love Supreme. It's by John Coltrane, a saxophonist from the 1960s. Now I've never heard any songs from the album. It was the album title itself that got me. I was curious as to what a Love Supreme would be.

There's no official description of it. It's an album title made up by a jazz artist. But I have my interpretation of what it could mean. The few people that heard my interpretation balked at me as if that was the most ridiculous thing they'd ever heard. Regardless of what other people say, I think a Love Supreme is possible. Here's my interpretation.

A Love Supreme would be a relationship in which you can:

See and be seen,
Hear and be heard,
Know and be known,
Love and be loved.
This aspect of the relationship allows you to see the other person for who they really are. They are also able to see you for who you really are. You can see their inner beauty, kindness, and heart, and they'll see yours.
This aspect of the relationship allows you to hear what the other person is really saying. They are also able to hear what you say. For example, if you're arguing about one partner spending too much time away, you'll know that maybe what they're really saying is that they feel neglected.
This aspect of the relationship allows you to know the other person. You'll know their likes and dislikes and possible reactions to given situations. They'll know the same about you. You'll know these things about each other because you've communicated and stated your boundaries.
This aspect of the relationship allows you to love the person with all their faults. Nobody is perfect, so you accept their shortcomings, and they do the same for you. And you both love each other anyway, in spite of it all.
Please know that I'm not talking about the physical sense of seeing with eyes or hearing with ears. I'm talking beyond that. For example, one of my friends was told that she was beautiful on the outside as well as the inside. She was seen.
Now we know that relationships aren't easy, and that they take a lot of work from both partners. There will be disagreements, and you may not get along everyday. But I think that when you have these see, hear, know, and love ingredients, the relationship recipe will come out right. And that's when you have your Love Supreme...
Please know that I don't like these paragraphs squished together like this! The blog is doing this.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Santa Didn't Come To Town

I'm back from my New York birthday trip. I had a great time overall with a little bit of disappointment. That was because Santa Claus did not come to town. Let me tell you what happened.

On Sunday morning, I got up at 3 am. My train from DC to NY was leaving at 5:25 am, and I needed to make sure that I got to DC on time. I got to DC around 4:30 am, checked in, got on the train, and made it to NY by 8:45 am. Great! I stopped at Starbuck's for some hazelnut flavored hot chocolate and made my way to the photography studio. The photography workshop didn't begin until 10:30 am, so I had plenty of time to walk and take in the sights.

After about a 15-20 minute walk, I was at the studio. It was really nice inside, and my energy soared as I imagined all of the photo shoots taking place. A young lady came to the front desk to assist me. After a few minutes of checking the schedule for the workshop classroom, she stated that it had been cancelled. I thought that I was dreaming for a minute - thinking that I couldn't have possibly come from VA for a cancelled workshop in NY. But then I realized that was awake and that this was real. I was so disappointed. It truly was if Santa hadn't come to town (I referenced the photographer as Santa three blog entries ago).

She told me that she was very sorry. After I told her that it was my birthday, she tried to cheer me up by saying that there was a barbecue place nearby. I know that she was trying to be helpful, but I wanted to say that 'I'm from Texas, and that I wouldn't come to New York for some barbecue.' I didn't say that, though. I felt the tears well up in my eyes as I had to walk away from the studio. I felt like Rudolph when they wouldn't let him play any reindeer games.

I walked out to the street and called a friend of mine to tell her what had happened. I felt much better after the conversation. Then I called my friend who was riding up from MD to meet me in NY. She was on her way, and we were still going to have a good day.

At this point, I really didn't know what to do. My friend wasn't going to be there for another four hours, and I wanted to do something until she arrived. So I walked into a hotel lobby to sit, make a few calls, and think about my next step (and warm up!) After talking to my mom, I noticed a guy walking into the hotel with a bag from a famous photography store in NY/US/worldwide. I had gone to this store earlier this year, but didn't know exactly where it was. I stopped him to ask where this store was located. He said that it was right around the corner. I was so excited! This time I felt like Rudolph guiding the sleigh.

I spent quite a while in the store. Eventually I left to wait at Penn Station for my friend. And we had a great day. I got my 'oh so rich and fattening' sage butter ravioli at the Dream Hotel, I saw Rockefeller Center and the Christmas tree, and I saw a great Cirque Du Soleil performance at Madison Square Garden near Broadway. I was back home in VA by 5:30 am on Dec 8th.

So even though I didn't get to see what I originally intended (the workshop), I had a great time. Turning 40 was great, and hanging out in the Big Apple was fun. It didn't go as planned, but it didn't go to waste. Who could ask for anything more?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

One More To Go

So here it is. One day until the BIG day. I'm feeling pretty calm and at ease. I'm still doing little dances here and there. I'm sure I'll do some dances tomorrow.

I've looked forward to 40 for a long time. In my mind, it's like a magical age where insecurity and fear will disappear from my life like the sand from the upper half of an hourglass. I know that that may not be true, but 40 holds the promise of something better. It holds the promise of being true to myself in every circumstance. It also holds the promise of really embracing life and all that it has to offer - with nothing holding me back. Except for one thing.

Remember a few entries ago how I stated that I had to let people go? The people that served no purpose or were bringing stress to my life? Remember that? Well, there's one more to let go.

This 'friend' has whispered in my ear that I can't do something. This 'friend' has stopped me from trying new things - telling me that I'll fail if I make the attempt. This 'friend' has been by my side, stopping me from taking the next step. This 'friend' has also fueled my indecisiveness. At this point, I'm ready to let it go. This 'friend' has been fear.

Now, I'm sure lots of us know this 'friend'. It's there, whether we need it or not. It's influential. It's seductive. You can take your life to the next level when you overcome it, or you can hold yourself back when you give in to it. But it's there - for better or for worse. Honestly, it's played quite a role in my life.

But I don't want fear to have such an influence anymore. The fact that I'm turning 40 has something to do with it. But the other fact is - I'm tired of it. I'm tired of how such a little word can have such a great impact. I'm tired of it being in my way. I'm tired of it jumping in when it's not wanted. I'm tired of it making guest appearances on the 'Virginia Dreamgirl' show (also known as my life).

I doubt that it will ever totally go away. I think that it's a natural part of life. But I want it subdued/minimalized/trivialized. I don't need a 'friend' like that anymore.

So what about you? Has fear been a good friend to you? Have you given up that friendship? If so, why? If not, why?

Thursday, December 4, 2008


A few years ago, I went skydiving. It was a lot of fun. The best moment was jumping out of the plane. It was scary, yet freeing. I'd like to do that again someday.

Jumping out of the plane reminds me of life. Sometimes you have to hop into the unknown with your parachute of dedication and determination. And let the sky be your limit.

Is there something special that you want to do? Is there something stopping you from your pursuit? Are you gonna jump into the realm of endless possibilities?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Start Spreadin' Tha News

First off, let me say that it pained me to title a post with missing letters. It's the wordsmith/editor in me that usually prevents this. But I had to do it! Why? Because I'm five days away from the big 4-0! Yes, on Dec 7th I will join another age group. I'm overjoyed! And...

I'm going to New York! (Just for the day). One of my good friends is going to ride up from MD and meet me there. I'm going to attend a photography workshop hosted by a celebrity photographer, then said friend and I are going to eat some 'oh so rich and fattening' sage butter ravioli at the Dream Hotel restaurant, and then we're going to see Cirque Du Soleil on Broadway. OOOOOOOHHHHH - I can't contain my excitement! Just to give you an idea of my enthusiasm:
  • I did a 'going to New York' dance in Target last night when I called my mom to tell her where I was going.
  • I did the Rockettes line-kick in my bathroom as I sang 'New York, New York'.
  • I did a 'Hoe Down/Do Si Do You Partner' dance while on the phone with said friend.
  • I'm sure I'll do another dance before I go to sleep. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

So the title of this post is a tribute to Frank Sinatra's song about New York.

Start spreadin' tha news,
I'm leaving today,
I want to be a part of it -
New York, New York.
He sang about it and loved it. I went there to ring in 2008, and now I'm going there again this year to celebrate the Big 4-0. Love it!!!!!!
It's almost like my birthday will be Christmas. The Santa will be the celebrity photographer, the sleigh/reindeer will be the Amtrak train/bus, and the presents will be the workshop, ravioli, and Cirque Du Soleil. Ain't life grand!!