Finally! I moved my site!

My site has taken a little longer to move than I anticipated…isn’t that usually the way?!  Still working out a few things but I am ready to move forward.  This will be my last post here.

Please come check it out and follow me HERE on my new site!

Thanks so much for hanging out with me so far.  I can’t wait to see where it takes us!

Moving Weekend

This is moving weekend for my site!  Taking the advice of fellow bloggers I met recently at the Blog Elevated conference in Dallas and moving it over to a self hosted site.  Anxious to see how many ways I can screw this up!  I will be holding off posting anything else until Monday though.  Will send out the address as soon as its complete!

Have a great weekend!

31 Days of Romance – Day 8

What if you aren’t what one might call traditional?  Even the word “romance” makes you want to gag.  Well if you have read to this point, you have learned that romance is not bells and whistles, but instead, at it’s core, simple and sweet kindness.  Doesn’t matter your style, we all will be happy to accept sweet kindness!

white daisies

I worked with a woman named Karen.  She is super tall and fair skinned, lovely like my daughter Emma.  Beautiful short red hair usually styled in a very angular, modern, totally cool way.   Smart.  Talented.  Quirky.  Dry wit.  She has serious indie rock tendencies, mixed with sick knitting skills and is the queen of all French bull dogs.

Here is her take on this whole romance deal:

“OK, so I have never been that girl dreaming of a fairytale complete with a Prince Charming. I’ll take a good old B horror flick over a romantic movie any day!

The Notebook?  Never saw it.  The traditional romantic vices such as flowers, chocolates, etc. never impressed me.  This is probably 95% the reason I have received so many dogs for Birthday gifts.

So now that’s out of the way, romance?  Finding that person that gets you.  Hanging out with them, even if it’s just watching a favorite TV show, or sitting on the porch watching the super blood moon! Someone who laughs at your stupid jokes and will grab you a bucket to throw up in when you’re sick.

Someone who has your back whether it’s to help clean the house before family arrives or protect you in a Zombie Apocalypse.

But maybe there has been that fairy tale romance along the way…Unexpected trips to Paris, him ending his golf game early to take me antiquing in Giddings. I did not wear a tiara, there was no white horse, just us enjoying each others company along this journey, together.”

So an unexpected trip to Paris…thats pretty high on the romance scale.  Big points for him pulling that off.

What really gets me though is his cutting his golf game short.  The man is a possessed golf fanatic.  For him to cut one of his passions short in order to take his wife antiquing??  Magic!

So many people I talked to didn’t think romance existed for them.  When you wipe away the Hallmark or “Every kiss begins with Kay” version of what the world tells us romance is, you can see it buried in everyday life if you look close enough, just don’t forget to look!

31 Days of Romance – Day 6

As I have written these posts my own husband has been out of town on a fishing boat somewhere in Mexico.  He came home night before last, exhausted, happy and still swaying back and forth with the motion of the boat he was no longer on.

flower - day 6

He read through all that I posted and was pleasantly surprised about my topic.  Having written about romance all week, I am ready to get this show on the road, work out our plan!  So we have dinner, he drinks a beer and immediately passes out not he couch.  I drag him off to bed finally and of course, he snores all night.  He is not usually a snorer, but exhaustion has overtaken him.

Next day, he pulls out his clothes and gear from the week; a pile of fishy, sweaty, bloody clothes piled high in my bedroom floor, a sure sign of his fishing mastery!  And before you know it, my week of quiet contemplation on romantic sweetness is caught up in the whirlwind that is my husband and family life.

Reality often has a way of hijacking our romantic notions.  My husband is an awesome guy in so many ways, and so infuriating in others.  I’m sure he would have the same kind of thing to say about me.  But then, that is human nature…we are all human with our own funkiness that can spoil even the best of romantic intentions.

So how do we navigate without getting frustrated with one another and spoiling the mood?  Romance is a simple sweetness, nothing more, nothing less.  Yes, there can be more in terms of lusty amazingness as an end result, but I am leaving that up to ya’ll.  I am talking at a core level, the simple sweetness has to be there.  If you and your partner are able to demonstrate simple sweetness on a regular basis, it has a side effect of giving you both the grace needed to be human and still accepted. #relationshipgoals

I find that any relationship you are struggling with, a dose of simple kindness can do wonders.  Could be with other family members, friends, coworkers.  It may seem counterintuitive in some cases, because Lord only knows they may not deserve it, but often times it is the gesture that breaks down a wall that needed to go, to allow progress to be made.

Are you showing kindness to yourself, to your partner, to people you come across throughout your day?  So much to think about before we even get a date night out of this deal!  Being able to combine reality and romance is the best though.  That is where connection and commitment take root, setting the stage for amazing things down the road.

So take a look at yourself…you know what you need to do today.

“Life doesn’t get better by chance,

it gets better by change.”  Jim Rohn

My very happy yahoo with a wahoo on the right.
My very happy yahoo with a wahoo on the right.

31 Days of Romance – Day 5

We have covered the following steps so far in your efforts to attract more romance into your life:

  • Talk to you partner about what romance means to you both
  • Understand who you are and how you feel about yourself at this point in time, why do you want/need romance in your life right now?
  • Understand who your partner truly is
  • Put a plan into place that you agree upon and can look forward to

People…thats all their is to it.  Treat each of those four bullet points with gentle sweetness.  Be intentional in your actions.  Thats it.  Are you disappointed there aren’t 31 detailed steps to get you there?  Reality is this is all you need.  It simple!  Don’t overthink it!

fall leaves

I did want to share something with you though.  The constant theme I heard from almost every woman I spoke with; romance is found in the simple things.  My dear friend Pat, in the 60 something realm, had these thoughts on the topic:

“I know I have changed, for in my youth my thoughts of romance were very typical in that I thought if he bought me flowers for my birthday it was romantic. It’s nice and I would always be thankful, but now I think that is easy or typical. Plus its only once a year!

Through Facebook or reading about successful couples (long lasting relationships), what I see and like are those couples who truly care for each other and show it in small ways everyday. It’s simple things.  I saw one couple where the gentleman had dinner waiting for his lady when she got home at 10PM after she worked a 12-hour shift.  He made her a dinner from scratch!  This guy is a plumber, no chef.  So sweet and just shows how much he cares. In turn I’ve seen her, pack a lunch and had his coffee ready when he had to go to work at 5:00 in morning.

I think its romantic when that person just wants to make your day better in some small way. They are truly listening and and it brings them true joy to ensure your happiness, as you do for them.

Have I experienced this, sadly no. I have not dated at all since being divorced, I guess I just really wanted the time for ME.  Plus I really wanted to figure out what I wanted and not make the same mistakes.

Sometimes I think about sharing my life again with someone, however if I do I will not settle just to have a companion.  I know I will want that simple romance.”

Did you all hear what she said there?  Oprah would call this a tweetable moment, #willnotsettle!

She has intuitively followed the steps outlined above.  If a partner does come along, she knows who she is, she knows what she needs in order to be happy and will not settle for the sake of companionship!  Such a powerful place to be.

I have to say, not settling doesn’t apply just to romantic partners, but people in general in our lives.  With age comes the wisdom to know the difference between the ones that fill us up and the ones we can do without.

Thanks for the wisdom Miss Pat!

31 Days of Romance – Day 4

In order to make any new goal come to fruition, you must take action, you can’t simply sit back and wait for it.  Romance is no different, you have to make a plan and work it.

Romance Day 4

There have been many times in my life where hope and a prayer was the best I had in me….I couldn’t have formulated an actual plan to save my life.  Those cycles in life happen to everyone and we do the best we can to get through them.  I am thankful we have made it together long enough to come out the other side of many of those cycles and that we still care enough to actually come up with any kind of plan at all.

So, the plan – you can do this on your own or along with your partner.  There have been times in my married life where I wasn’t necessarily as nice as I could be, hard to imagine, I know. But the realities of life took their toll at certain points in our marriage.  Easy to pull back from romantic gestures and even simple kindnesses.  Sometimes it was me, sometimes him, sometimes both of us stubbornly refusing to give anything, because truth be told, we didn’t have any thing to give.

I am in a place now where I am 100% willing to own my part in the situation if there is lack.  I don’t mind stepping it up and taking that responsibility.  My experience has been, anytime I have put a focus on more romantic gestures, he always notices and reciprocates.  Please note, I am making an assumption that your partner is not a total jerk.  There is no simple kindness ever going to cure a total jerk of his jerkiness.  It goes back to knowing your partner.  If its on you, step up and do your part.  If you think they would be receptive to making a plan with you towards this common goal, do it together.

Here is an example of why planning is so critical to get the ball rolling.  When I was in the midst for my craziest work schedule, I had Friday nights off.  My kids were always engaged heavily in extracurricular school activities and seldom around on Fridays.  My husband would let me sleep as long as I wanted, after working all night.  Then as soon as I was up, we would head out for Date Day!  It was official, written in stone, rain or shine.  People were always surprised at our commitment and consistency to it.  We would turn other invites down for date day, we protected it.

Then a funny thing happened when I quit my crazy job, freeing up my time…we could make date day, any day, but did we?!  No!  It is so easy to let one day run into the next knocking out the chores of life and before you know it months have passed.  We are just now getting back to the official schedule.

So you need a plan.  Don’t go crazy though.  No need to fill it with tons of things.  Just get started with something you will stick to.  Put at least one or two things on your calendar and do them.

To make the best of this new plan, make sure you talk about it in a way that builds anticipation in your upcoming time together.  When its over, talk about it the next day.  How’d it go?  Are you both desperately out of practice or did you actually have a great time?  What can be done to make the next two things you put into the plan better than the first?

I also can’t stress enough, the benefits of letting your kids in on your schedule.  While the kids may be somewhat disgusted at the thought of mom and dad having any kind of romantic adventures together, it is an awesome example to set for them.  It will imprint on their minds in a positive way.

So what’s your plan?

31 Days of Romance – Day 3

Next step in the search for more romance in your life: know your partner.  Are they adventurous, laid back, over the top?

Listen to this romantic memory from Miss Aimee:

“He set up one of those pop up canopy tent things on the deck in the backyard and hung blankets and had throw pillows; made it all nice like a little luxury getaway in India.  Had candles everywhere and gave me a nice massage and foot rub and we slept out there…all this to tell me he loved me for the first time.”

Wow…can’t you picture it?  He bought freakin’ throw pillows for this woman!  A+ for him and his creativity and dedication to her!  Now if I was reading this and thought, “Oooh!  I want that too” and then looked at my partner, expecting the same kind of treatment, I might find myself in for a rude awakening if this is totally outside the reality of who he is.

Early on when my husband and I were first dating, he surprised me at the beach one day.  Showed up unannounced, where he knew I would be, with a bottle of cheap champagne in a brown paper bag, plastic cups and roses picked from his yard.  It makes me smile to this day thinking about it. We were broker than broke at the time, both of us, so I took no offense to cheap champagne.  I appreciated his gesture.

couple on beach

We spent the rest of the afternoon sneaking swigs of champagne under a beach towel and giggling conspiratorially.  We were the only ones in the world that day, much like Miss Aimee must have felt in that backyard canopy.  Did I get any throw pillows out of the day?  That would be making the assumption my husband even knew what the heck a throw pillow was back then!  Ha!  No, no throw pillows for me.

So while the details of Aimee’s Indian inspired getaway may have been outside the realm of possibility for my husband, he was still able to create a getaway that was representative of who he was at that point in time.  Neither one is right, neither one is wrong.  For me to have a level of expectation beyond what would be comfortable or natural for him would be silly.

So know your partner.  Be gracious and appreciative for the gestures they do make.  Recognize their attempts.  Don’t compare what others are doing to your own experience.

More than 28 years later, he still likes to surprise me with random treats (and the wine has definitely gotten better!).  This is his “style” and I love it!

31 Days of Romance – Day 2

So in terms of romance, you’ve decided you want to attract more of it into your life.  On Day 1 your first assignment was to start the conversation with your partner; what is romance to each of you, test the waters as to your partner’s receptiveness to the whole idea.

Flowers

Before we go any further though – we need to know one thing…how do you feel about yourself?  Let me set the stage for where I want to go with this.

Years ago we would go to Texas to visit my husband’s family.  My mother in law, in her late 70’s at the time, bless her heart, as the Texans say, would corner me anytime we went to go out some where and pepper me with beauty suggestions.  “You sure you don’t want to put some lipstick on before we go out?” or “We can wait for you hon until you fix your hair and put your face on.”  I was in my 20’s, from southern California, with a new baby and to be honest, didn’t give a rat’s ass what I looked like.  If I had pants and shoes on, I was good to go.  Her well meaning questioning only led me to rebel more!

Over the years I came to understand that being appealing for her man was an important objective each day for her.  She took it seriously, as many women of her era did.  I’m sure I appalled her a time or two with my no frills regimen!

Truth is though, my husband could have cared less.  He would have been oblivious to any primping of any kind that I might have done.

I was truly missing the point though…how did being plain Jane everyday make me feel inside?  Did I feel desirable or sexy?  Did I feel strong in our relationship?  Did I feel strong as a woman in this world?

Shocked by her old fashioned sensibilities, I assumed she put lipstick on an an effort to please her man, for him, for his sake.  Looking back on it now, I know she did it for herself, for her own strength.  It made her feel good and beautiful and powerful; and oh how powerful she was, a true queen in her kingdom.

So my question to you is, how do you feel about you?  Do you feel powerful in your daily walk?  Because I can tell you right now, if you are looking for a little romance to make you feel better about yourself, stronger in your world, stronger in your relationship, you are setting yourself up for some bitter disappointment.

Look at where you are in your life.  Are you happy with who you are?  You have to decide what makes you feel strong in your own skin and then do more of that!  For some it might be make up and a new hair do, for others it might be a new dress like I got, or new comfy sweats so you can relax!  Whatever it is, whatever you define it to be for you, work it out sister!  Add more of it to your life and you will see a shift in how the universe looks at you, after all, you don’t mess with a queen in her kingdom.

31 Days of Romance – Day 1

If you knew me you would probably think that romance would be one of the last things in the world I would be blogging about.  Trust me, I am surprised too.  My blog is about a recent turnaround I made in my life.  My focus here is to explore all the things I missed out on leading up to my turnaround, romance was most certainly collateral damage in the hectic life I was leading.   I am making choices now, however, that allow me to put focus where I need to in my life.

Romance Day 1

Now don’t get me wrong; if I didn’t have my current husband, at my age I would be fine with or without romance in my world, wouldn’t give it much thought.  My goal is definitely not to tell women you have to go get some romance in your life to be fulfilled.  But the fact is, I have a husband who has stuck with me through thick and thin for more than 25 years.  We have survived some hard fought battles in our day and have yet to kill each other.   At this point in our lives, we deserve all the sweetness and goodness that comes from having a long term relationship like we do.

If I am here, if he is here, why not put in the effort to make each other feel special?  I am choosing to intentionally seek a romantic relationship with my partner.

When I think about it though, I am not sure I even know what romance truly means to me.

According to Google, romance, as a noun,  is “a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love”, as a verb, “to court; woo.”  After 25 years of marriage, could I possibly still feel any mystery?  Lord only knows the last time my husband tried to court or woo me!

Merriam Webster defines romance as, “a medieval tale based on legend, chivalric love and adventure, or the supernatural”!  What?!

I am going to ditch the definitions above if you don’t mind.  I prefer Urban Dictionary’s interpretation;

 True romance is doing something special or unexpected for someone you love, even      though you don’t have to. Romance isn’t a greeting card, it isn’t Valentine’s Day, it isn’t a box of chocolates, and it certainly isn’t a dozen roses (unless you like that sort of thing). Real romance is not what modern society has been taught to think it is. Real romance isn’t manufactured. It is completely individual. Romance is for showing the person you love that you’re thinking about them. It shouldn’t feel forced. There are no limits to romance; it can be shown by a handwritten note, by going for a walk, or even by making someone a sandwich. Romance is something simple and sweet that reminds your partner why they fell in love with you in the first place.

A 20 something newlywed I recently spoke with didn’t really think romance was a part of her life at this point in time, saying “We are kind of boring. Our favorite thing to do is go for walks together, looking at houses and dreaming.”

She didn’t necessarily associate these things with romance…certainly no medieval tale of chivalric love in walking around the block!

She wasn’t attributing romantic value to the act of dreaming together.  Looking forward to a shared future and daydreaming about it…its so full of hope, faith and commitment and truly romantic in the scheme of things.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, a 60 something friend had this to say, with no hesitation; “If there isn’t great sex involved, I have no need for a man at all.”  A totally different life experience and view of what romance is for sure!

What is apparent to me in having these ongoing conversations is that everyone has a different idea of what romance is to them.  As my preferred definition says, its completely individual.  I hope that by spending the next 31 days with me you can take some of the thoughts or suggestions you find here and make them your own, infusing your own personality and creativity so that you and your loved one can build on the romance in your lives!

Your first task then, think about what romance is to you and your partner specifically.  Talk about it…share what you think is and isn’t romantic.  Are there things you guys are doing well right now?  Things you could improve on?  Whatever you do, start the conversation.  No more making assumptions and being frustrated.

If you don’t think you have a partner that would be particularly receptive to this conversation, what are the things that are important to them?  Sometimes we just need to take baby steps to identify what kindness and sweetness would look like in our relationship.  These are the first steps of your intentional journey towards a more romance filled life!

Please leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts!  You can read about recent gestures my husband and I have made to one another here and here.  Thanks for stopping by!