Recognizing a Good Thing

I have found in my dating process that often things are not what they seem to be at first. Of course we all put our best foot forward in the the beginning and only after time do we start to see the reality of what things might be like longterm. However, the older we get in the dating game the more quickly we can see through to the real deal and determine if this is a person with potential. It is also good to have boundaries, and know your deal makers and deal breakers. I find my list of deal breakers interesting at times because I may waiver on one only to see another revealed that seals the deal of a big no thank you! Each person we meet brings something new to the table and it isn’t just a process of checking off boxes on a list but taking in the whole package of the person.

As we get older and grow in our lives our desires in a partner will change. One of the qualities I find important now that never occurred to me when I was younger is consistency…a man who is constant and steady in his morals, values, beliefs, behavior, and words, no matter what the situation might be. If I engage in a conversation through text and I can look back on previous conversations and see inconsistencies it leads me to believe that he may be grasping at straws to connect and only telling me what he thinks I want to hear in the moment and not truly expressing himself. By our forties most people should know where they stand on certain things in life and have the ability to state it clearly. I also think being a man of your word is important, if you say you are going to call at a certain time, then call and if you don’t, be aware and apologize. I also find it important to understand all five love languages when dating someone. It can quickly clue you in if this person is capable of expressing their love in all areas and help you narrow down which one may be their primary love language because usually what they show to others most is how they feel most loved in return.

When dating, it is also good to remember that men and women are different and often men can go through their busy work day fully focused on the task in front of them and nothing else. While women are natural multi-taskers who can do work, make a grocery list, and analyze the last words said to her by the man of interest with a girlfriend! Knowing the differences can save yourself a lot of confusion and misunderstandings in the dating process. I highly recommend the late and great, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus to get a clearer idea on how our thoughts and feelings translate into a relationships from a male and female perspective.

In the end it is important to stick to your own wants and needs in a relationship but also understand the difference between a want and a need. I have higher standards than I did 10 years ago and I am much more clear on the type of man I see myself with. Sometimes it is hard to admit when you really get down to it, the things you want in a relationship are going to require you to make changes in how you live as well. I had this recent revelation with someone I am newly dating. It is rare for a man to state upfront that he has an end game and states that goal is marriage. He isn’t dating to just be dating, he is looking for a partner. When that is stated before the first date it puts a whole new spin on things, but it is also refreshing. After many wishy-washy men, it is so attractive to meet a man who has a game plan and states it confidently and is taking steps to actively reach the goals, not just all talk. When you find a person who matches you on many levels and has similar goals in mind, along with the chemistry factor it can be very exciting. Forcing yourself to take things slow and steady is smart because you still have to give the dating process time to develop and remember reality has not fully been revealed yet. Choose to give the person adequate time and space to reveal who they are in many aspects, not just always seeing them in the dating realm. Learn how they interact with their children, at work, with their ex, family and the types of friends they have, and even around pets. Take time to evaluate and not rushing is the best way to recognize a good thing.

With love, health, and happiness,


Lesson’s Learned


Sometimes I find myself making decisions on people and then after some time passes I reconsider and let them back in my world only to be reminded why I let them go the first time.  There are people who bring us lessons and people who bring us blessings in life and there are some that may do both.  Those that bring a bit of a lesson and a blessing can be the most frustrating and confusing, forcing you to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.  What is the end-game?  Is this a person who brings much joy to your life or more negativity? Law of attraction will sometimes bring people into our lives when we are not in a great place. Water seeks its own level.  We feel a connection to another person that fits the whole “misery loves company” mantra but then, if we are smart, we work our way out of the misery.  Then what happens when the other person does not leave the misery?

This may leave you feeling obligated to help pull that other person out of their situation, because , well…they helped you in your hard time.  However, this is not how it is meant to be.  The truth is, if you were able to make the choices to pull yourself out of the low point and move forward, then so can they.  Do the counseling, make the hard choices, work on yourself, but don’t latch on to another for validation or completion, not in friendships or romantic relationships.  Asking another individual “what do you want me to be” is the wrong question to be asking.  The real question is what do you want to be, or better yet, who do you want to be? Laying that kind of pressure on another person is not only wrong but it leaves yourself looking insecure and needy.  Many confuse this kind of complete vulnerability with love and it is not.  Illusions of that kind of love often leads to a never-ending rotation of unfulfilling relationships with people who are looking to be completed by another individual.  I don’t know about you but I want someone who is already complete and happy in life on their own!

Learning that the ups and downs we are experiencing in life can attract these lessons or blessings people can help us be more aware of why and be rational about our expectations.  I truly believe people, places, and things are attracted to us at certain times and give us feedback on what path we may need to take.  Personally, my eyes were opened to a deep need for communication and conversation and I quickly found that connection.  However, as I became more aware of what I was missing it helped me move out of my unhappy situation and grow to realize there were even more things I had been missing and I began to find those things in others along my path as well.  If you keep going and growing eventually you reach a person who is on a similar path. Your friends want to do things that excite you, letting you know that they are on the same path.  If you find certain people boring, annoying, or overly negative, then those are probably people you attracted at a low point and are now outgrowing.  Life is a constant cycle and some things and people are for a season and some for a much bigger reason.  It is good to recognize and accept this fact.

I have found conversations that connect with me and draw me in with questions about myself with a desire to not assume they know me but want to learn about me from my own words.  There is nothing worse than hearing from a person who definitely doesn’t know your soul telling you they already know you, maybe better than you know yourself.  One of the biggest lessons in life is understanding that you will never fully know anyone so well that asking for clarity would be a mistake.  If you don’t ask questions then you are just making assumptions based on your own desires and feelings.  That leads to expectations, confusion, and heartache.  Stop and take a breath to evaluate, listen, and observe.  When you put your desires out into the universe and keep a positive outlook you will attract those that are right for you and others that are not will naturally fade away.  If they see the value in you they will try to find the lesson and grow as well but often many people remain stuck looking for their saving grace not knowing that they should be their own saving grace before they can find a fulfilling life of friendships and a romantic partner. So ask yourself, are you repeating a cycle or learning new things?  Are you allowing yourself to move away from relationships that are no longer serving you or staying in the dead end?  Are you learning the lessons in order to find more of the blessings?

With love, health and happiness,





Betrayal and Trauma


She went out for girls night and made eye contact with a particular guy across the way.  He was with a group of his work buddies and later they joined the table of girls and bought drinks.  Numbers were exchanged and stories told and at the end of the night a connection was made.  He was only in town for a short time with work and had no great expectations.  They met for drinks again over the next few days and a third meeting before he was soon to leave out of town. The third meeting started out great and the connection was instant like the previous meetings.  They ended up going back to his place and it was passionate and intense until something strange happened.  In the middle of sex she realized he had propped up his phone to record her without her consent.  When she realized what was happening she quickly grabbed and looked at him horrified asking the obvious…were you recording me?!  She slammed the phone down and ran to the bathroom.  Tears and panic and heartache gripped her her.  In a course of 3 weeks a connection was made, many texts shared as they flirted and got to know each other and in one moment everything that seemed fun, new and exciting went to a nightmare.

He apologized from outside the bathroom door and swore he deleted it and it was mistake and something he had never done before.  She knew this was not only a betrayal of trust between to consenting adults but could be a legal matter.  She stood and looked at herself in the mirror the tears wanting to come but she wouldn’t let them.  She was in such shock that she came out of the bathroom and laid on the bed next to him unsure of what to do, then she said I am sorry (yes she apologized to him) but I have to go.  He said he wanted her to stay and he offered the phone to show it was deleted but she didn’t care she just wanted to run.  He dressed and walked her to her car and kissed her on the forehead apologizing again and she got in her car and drove home.  Still in shock she sat in the bottom of the shower trying to wash away how dirty she felt, ashamed and embarrassed for letting someone take advantage.  Shaming herself as if she had control over this mans actions in that moment.  Angry at herself more than him.  She allowed him to kiss her and drove home numb.

The texts came next of apologies and him stating how embarrassed and ashamed of himself he was for the whole situation.  She wasn’t sure how to feel.  She said she wasn’t mad, just hurt.  She forgave him. She just wanted to be sure he deleted it and didn’t share it with anyone but how would she ever know for sure. She wanted to forget it happened but knew she never would.

This is trauma…we never know how we will respond in a situation like this and it may be easy to say I would have done A, B, or C when you hear another persons story, but in the moment we react in a way that may seem passive, almost too calm and understanding.  Then the emotions come in waves over the next few hours, days, maybe even weeks and months depending on the trauma and the person.  These moments, interactions with people in life can change us forever, how we relate to men in the future.  It can break you in some ways and not just your heart but your spirit and then you have to work like hell to trust again….to want to believe there are good men still out there that won’t do things like this.  Sexual trauma or trauma in general doesn’t have to be an event that leaves a mark on you physically or even anything done physically, they were consenting in the sex but the betrayal of trust in that act is still trauma.  Acknowledge it and allow yourself to process these moments and understand that it is not your fault and you are not a bad person for being in the situation.  You are not alone.

With love, health, happiness and healing




Define Love…


What is love to you?  When you think love what images come in to your mind?  When you smell it is there a certain perfume, cologne or food that conjures in your memory?  When you see love whose face or what places do you want to look at?  When you feel it is there a certain blanket, petting your puppy, or the way you are touched or kissed that brings that overwhelming loved feeling?  Taste of love….ooooo yes this could be erotic but isn’t that part of it?  The taste of a kiss, the taste of a person, the taste of sweet strawberries, salty fresh raw oysters…or maybe just the love of grandma’s fresh baked cookies?

When I meditated recently I chose this as my prompt to focus on.  I thought of all the sensations in life that make me feel really loved and in love….memories, hopes, dreams of feeling each level of love in my soul.  We are creatures who love to be loved and give love.  To connect with another human on any level is wonderful, to have a deep conversation, to laugh with someone, to make eye contact and smile, to hold hands and kiss….these are all levels of love.  We should be sharing loving moments with those we connect with daily.  Often love is confused with being something deep and singled out for only a few important people in our lives, but love should be boundless and shared as often as possible.  Respect is also love, don’t use to love in a negative way, it can be shared without disrespecting, losing trust, or hurting someone….if that happens then it really isn’t love to begin with.

Take time in this week to stop and ask what defines love for you and then focus on it.  Love is a word and action often misused and abused….define what it really means to you and then express it daily in the world around you.  If you show love through your work, art, cooking, or you just want to smile more or make deeper connections with friends and family by reaching out to talk or listen more…these are all acts of love that feed our souls and I think right now we could all use a little more soul food.

With health, happiness, and love,



Trauma Response


As a student and provider of mental health counseling I am constantly learning more about myself and the world around me.  One of the things I know without a doubt is the vast difference in symptoms of how humans respond to trauma.  As a mental health provider it is my job to remove my personal values, beliefs, bias and opinions when counseling a client, unless of course there is harm being done in some way.  It is not a counselors job to give advice but instead to help guide a client to find the path that works best for them.  What I would choose for myself may not always be best for the client.  I understand with cultural and environmental differences, differing religious beliefs, morals and values in the world that not everyone may see the world the way I do.    Instead I choose to love and accept each individual that walks through my door and as I take their intake and do my assessments I want to learn their story and understand.  This human desire in my heart is why I chose the helping profession.

I am a big believer in the power of positive thinking and the power of the mind-body connection.  I counsel my clients through many methods that may seem a bit outside the box for some.  I love yoga, meditation, mindful breathing exercises, assessing a persons diet and physical state through practices like Ayurveda combined with my knowledge of biofeedback and neuroscience.  My years of practicing yoga, doing massage therapy, and working in Chiropractic give me a unique perspective as I have continued my education in counseling and therapy.  I combine it all with the understanding that there never is just one answer and at the end of the day we all have our own healing process.  We all respond to trauma and everyday life differently and that can be both scary and beautiful.  I am learning and growing everyday in my practice but I see how my very beginning efforts are already helping others.

In this big, crazy, yet beautiful world the healing response to trauma has always been there.  We all have our own way of processing the world around us.  The things we are seeing in the news now is a cycle we have seen for years.  My parents are in their late seventies and speak of a time not so very different from now and yet very different.  The truth is, the world and human species at its very core will always have negatives and positives, and as morbid as it may sound, we need both in order to fully appreciate life and grow.  When trauma occurs in my world I have a tendency to withdraw and reflect, but others may act out in a bigger way, and neither way is wrong or right.  Grief and trauma are two of the hardest, most heartbreaking, and emotionally draining experiences in life.   Sometimes it can sneak up on us with things that we may not even realize are affecting us on a deeper level.  Be easy on yourself and others when navigating this process.  I highly recommend counseling for everyone but find one that is the best fit for you…its an important relationship between client and counselor that cannot be forced.

With love, health, and happiness


Allowing & Accepting Yourself to Just Be


Allowing and accepting yourself to just be is probably something we all struggle with.  Just allowing yourself to be the imperfect being and accepting that there will always be something to improve upon or learn is just part of life.  I struggle with the need to constantly be productive and push through the hard moments.  No time to be weak or lazy! I feel guilty if I am not doing something from cleaning and organizing in my home, to education and career related, or personal growth.  If I just choose to watch a movie or scroll through social media I feel guilty.

If I were super organized and scheduled I could be maximizing my time and constantly being productive in some way.  Yes this is ideal but is it really necessary?  At what point to we actually stop to smell the roses and just be?  Do I need to schedule time to just be into my day as well?  This last week I had the weirdest experience in my life and being a student of mental health I was able to pinpoint the symptoms that occurred afterwards.  Overall, since mid-July of last year I have had a roller-coaster of emotions.  A very hard break-up, starting grad-school, my daughter starting college and moving out, a scary dating experience, the virus changing my school and work routine, and then last week things really got weird.

I woke at 4am Thursday morning and it was still dark outside.  My home is on the edge of town and backs up trees and then an open field so I had my blinds open and as I woke that morning and looked outside I see a weird orange glow.  I walk down the hall from my bedroom towards the other end of the house and see out the kitchen door that the house next door is engulfed in flames!  I run back to my bedroom to grab my cell phone and dial 911 and as soon as I connect a huge explosion comes from the house and the tree next to my home begins to catch on fire.  During this time there is thunder and lightning also in the distance and I begin to pray that the rain starts because the fire is moving fast and fire department has still not arrived!  I live alone and I am in tears at the thought of watching my home burn and no-one there with me and concerned about the man who lives next door.  Then I turn to see that there is a pet carrier on my porch with a cat inside …the neighbors cat!  This man had set his house on fire on purpose!  Is he crazy? Where is he? Should I be worried for my safety and not just my home?  As the rain starts to poor down the fire department finally arrived and was able to get the fire under control before any significant damage was done to my property.  The sister arrived to take the cat and after speaking to the investigators they determined no one was in the house and the fire had been set intentionally.

Late the next day the man was taken into custody and now I am reminded of that weird morning and the level of shock, panic, and fear each time I look at the damage next door.  Multiple explosions came from the house during the fire causing pictures to be knocked off my wall.  Realizing later that my neighbor of 6 years had previously done time in a juvenile detention center for shooting his dad I am left with thoughts of what-if?  Even though nothing of mine was hurt and I am okay and he is now in custody I still feel this feeling of unease.  I have not slept well and my appetite has been off.  Is this how it feels coming down from a high adrenaline moment? Am I still in shock?  I cannot explain the feelings because I have never quite felt anything like it before and I almost feel like I am being ridiculous for being so messed up over it.

Here I am about 4 days later and I am still unsure how to feel.  This past 12 months has been such a rollercoaster ride and here I am still pushing forward.  Trying to start my summer classes for grad school and get back to work at my office instead of working from home, getting used to my daughter being gone… it all feels like a lot coming at me right now.  Not to mention being single and trying to navigate the dating process!  At the end of the day I have to accept where I am in life and allow myself to feel and be without feeling guilty, ashamed, or ridiculous.  It is okay to take time for yourself and do absolutely nothing.  It is okay to just numb out and let yourself escape for some time before really trying to process things in life.  As I go to bed this evening I remind myself of how far I have come and how strong I am.  I count my blessings and tonight I am thankful.  I am also learning to accept and allow myself the time I need to just be okay again.

With love, health, and happiness