Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I’m learning so much about life by watching and admiring the daily sunsets here at the ranch.
Sometimes they are fiery red, all passionately ablaze.
Sometimes they are spectacular, knock your socks off, oranges and pinks, painted wildly across the sky, like the Universe’s personal canvas.
Sometimes they are soft, light, comforting hues of pinks, gracefully caressing the horizon.
Sometimes day just fades to dusk in gentle shades of yellow, peach, or grey.
And sometimes, a sunset that seems as if it will go off without a bang, surprises you with burning fireworks of glory, right at the end.
Each is so different, and it’s quite easy to grow a fondness for the most striking ones, and feel a tad disappointed when the sky fails to live up to yesterday’s amazement.
Yet all are beautiful when you approach them with gratitude in your heart, with appreciation for the opportunity to watch the process unfold once again.
And a willingness to accept them as they are, rather than as you would want them to be.
Even the subtle ones, are naturally stunning in their own right, if you’re not expecting them to be something they are not.
There seems to be a striking lesson in life and love here for the taking:
You can extract every possible moment of pleasure from life, from your relationship when you accept life, when you accept your partner, exactly as they are. Not needing them to be other than they are, right this moment.
Just approaching them with appreciation, soaking up whatever beauty stands before you, in whatever form it has manifested.
I realized that this gift of unconditional acceptance is perhaps Greg’s biggest gift to me. He gives it daily.
No matter how I show up, he finds a way to see the beauty in it and by doing so, I’m encouraged to raise myself up to be a more beautiful person.
To match the beauty he sees. Then suddenly, I get to see it in myself too.
Dear Readers: Not that you should never request change, but just for today, I invite you to practice radical appreciation & acceptance of What Is.
Maintain a child-like curiosity: “I wonder how it will go down today?!” Find beauty in all of it’s facets.
Notice the difference it makes in your heart.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
In my mind, it's not so much a color as a tragic lack of color.
It's so boring, so blah, so depressing.
Too bad Greg had painted his entire house Taupe.
The house I moved into and lived in with him for 3
years before we were blessed with this ranch.
Greg likes Taupe- it's a fine, solid, soothing, no ruffles in your feather kind of color. I mean how could taupe offend anyone!
It was only during the last 8 months when I realized the effect floor-to-ceiling Taupe was having on me: it was actually depressing me, stifling, snuffing out my joy!
Essentially, it just wasn't ME- it was the opposite of me.
I love color- bold, bright, beautiful color. It makes me feel alive.
Surrounded by taupe in every single room, I felt dead inside!
Once I realized that, finally put a name on it, I became excited about having a fresh canvas at our future new home.
Finally, free at last to paint however I choose!
I ran to the library to get books on color, lots of books filled with crazy bold color combinations.
Soon I started envisioning a home with a different color splashed across every room! I wanted red rooms, green rooms, blue rooms.
Heck, I even planned a vibrant orange and pink room and I wanted my office to be purple and yellow!
Then I took my enthusiastic plans to Greg, after all, he had to live in this house too!
What if he hated the idea of color all over the home? He, who was happy having a light shade of brown all over his last home.
What he said was music to my ears!
"Sure, whatever you want, you should do it. I'll help you paint!"
What a gift he was giving me, allowing myself to be surrounded by colors that make my heart sing!
We talked some more, and it turns out that he was even grateful for my nudge out of the blah zone. Maybe he wouldn't LOVE every color I chose, but he was up for an adventure- even a yellow and purple one!
Lest I think he was just caving to please me, recently while we were watching a home decorating show, the host said "You never want to paint the walls something too personal, too out of the ordinary (read- paint it taupe). When you go to sell, other people have to be able to envision living there."
And Greg spontaneously said, "To hell with that! It's your home and you are living in it- you might as well do what makes you the happiest!"
Such sweet sweet words, from a man who wants me to be happy. Who's ready to help me be happy. Who's even willing to stretch himself out of his comfort zone in support of my happiness.
A man who supports all of my visions, because he loves me.
And he knows that living in my technicolor world, brightens up his monochromatic world, every single day.
What greater gift than the gift of free self expression is there?
My gift to him? The first room we painted was his office- a lovely forest green, he selected!
How does your partner help you live out loud? How do they support your own self expression?
Friday, November 28, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Unfortunately, I have to travel on occasion. And when I do, I always miss Jenn. We talk on the phone but it still isn't the same as being with her.
Before we started this blog, we would write "love notes" to each other every weekday morning, without fail. However, when I would have to leave for a business trip we couldn't maintain our ritual.
One day, however, when I was unpacking my clothes at my hotel, I noticed a bright yellow-green recipe card. On the card was a quick note from Jenn. Nothing long, just a quick note saying that she loved and missed me.
But that wasn't all. The more I unpacked, the more notes I found. It turns out that Jenn had snuck into my luggage and hid a bunch of short notes telling me what she loved about me, what she was missing about me and how she couldn't wait until I came home.
Jenn had found a way to continue our ritual, even when I wasn't home. She went out of her way to make sure I felt loved and adored and not so lonely. And it worked.
What does your sweetie do for you when you go out of town? Please share.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
What was that? Oh no, not Ice again.
For some strange reason, our Greyhound Ice Man
(and no I don't have some unhealthy infatuation with Top Gun, that's the name he came with from the rescue) has been getting up at two or three o'clock in the morning recently.
He doesn't necessarily need to go to the bathroom. It's almost like he's bored or something. What ever the reason, he's up, which means one of us has to get up too.
Now luckily for me, Ice has formed a strong bond with Jenn. Stronger, in fact, then his bond with me.
So when he wakes up, he always goes to Jenn's side of the bed first. This means that Jenn gets to take him out, right?
Not really. Ice is my dog and my responsibility.
And Jenn would have every right to wake me up to tell me to take him out, especially since Jenn loves sleep more than life itself. But you know what?
Jenn usually takes him out, especially during the week when I have to go to work in the morning. And I really appreciate that because sleep seems to be in short supply in our house.
In reality, Jenn takes Ice out to help me out.
It allows me to either stay asleep or fall back to sleep quickly, which makes my mornings much more tolerable. If I had to get up and let him out, it would cut my five or six hours down to just four or five.
I really appreciate Jenn getting up with Ice and taking such good care of him and me.
What does your sweetie do to help you out? Please share.
Monday, November 10, 2008
So he always tells me to look when Joie's being especially cute.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
And the little kid leaves beaming. Feeling confident that indeed he is a wonderful artist, even though he colors mostly outside the lines.
In fact, done over time, that’s how all of us build our self-esteem and learn to feel worthy inside.
Just now, I realized that is what Greg does for me all the time!
I just finished drawing and coloring a garish rendition of the new barn I hope we’ll be building next spring. See pic above.
Putting colored pencil to paper is one way I work on manifesting my heart’s desire. I put my goal in vivid color. Then I post the colorful drawing where we see it every day.
I’m not quite sure how I was a better artist when I was 12 then I am today, but let me tell you, these drawings are never pretty.
Somehow, it never comes out looking like it did in my mind.
Frankly, it disappoints me.
But then along comes Greg, and he’ll always exclaim, “What a nice picture. You’re such an artist.”
And I know it’s not true. I mean, I have eyes. They work.
But even though I know this praise isn’t objectively earned, in the same way the 5 year old’s “outside the lines” isn’t truly well done, it still feels good.
Maybe the words speak to my inner 5 year old and tell her, “Hey, whatever your natural skills, you’re still perfect to me, just the way you are.”
And knowing that makes me feel loved, and safe, and it builds my strength to go out and do things, try things, even if I’m not so good at them.
Maybe that’s part of what makes a great relationship.
You build each other up, and knowing that just one other person thinks you are great, makes you reach for your own greatness.
Because even if you fail, you know it won’t make a difference in their eyes.
And even more, knowing your partner will stand up with you, proud of your efforts, even if they aren’t the most successful.
Just the way Greg says “No, leave the picture up.” Even when we are having company over.
He’s not embarrassed by my childish drawing because it represents a dream. Our dream. That together, we’ll bring to reality.
In what way does your partner build you up so you’ll reach for your greatness?
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
When I was a kid, one thing me and my friends always looked forward to was breakfast at my house. Often, two or three of my buddies would spend the night on Friday just so they could partake in the feast on Saturday Morning.
My Dad would get up early (as he did every day) and make a huge bowl of batter from scratch and before long there would be stacks of pancakes and piles of waffles for us to devour with bacon and sausage.
My Father was never very good at showing emotion but the one way he was comfortable showing love was by cooking and so he did it every weekend without fail.
Now I follow in my Dad's footsteps (although I hope I'm better at sharing my emotions and showing my love) by making breakfast for Jenn every weekend morning.
I don't get up early and I don't make it from scratch, but I do make it with love and I know Jenn appreciates it.
Now if I could only figure out a way to make a pancake that looks like a heart rather than misshapen blob, breakfast would be perfect!
What rituals do you have to show your love?
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Actually, Jenn has created 64,542 kisses, at last count. And best of all, they were inspired by me!
Whether it's coming up with a new kiss or a new song or some other new way of showing me her love, I am always amazed (and impressed) with how she makes me feel adored and cherished.
I just wish my lips weren't so chapped!
This past weekend I hosted my first equine assisted singles workshop at our new home, The Happily Ever After Healing Horse Ranch.
This represented the culmination of a year-long vision to begin creating a healing retreat for singles and couples. What a difference a year makes!
But more than that, it’s a huge step toward combining
my two life long passions: horses and relationships.
And guess who was right by my side?
Greg of course!
Greg gave up his whole day to be my assistant, our photographer, and our group’s lunchtime chef.
No, he gave up more than that. He helped shop and clean in preparation too!
And I was so grateful to have him be there, his simple presence a profound support.
And his actions, so helpful for the smooth success of our workshop.
The success was so much more sweet and meaningful with him along side.
But more than that.
I KNOW that there were things he’d like to be doing more, like riding his bike.
But I also knew, deep in my bones, that there was NO other place he’d have chosen to be, but by my side, witnessing the first chapter of a dream come true.
Do you know what it’s like to have a partner believe in your dream 100% and to support you in every way possible, as you strive to make your vision a reality?
It’s the most amazing feeling in the world.
We have a saying, that “Together, we can do anything.”
And this weekend was the perfect example that when two hearts and two minds come together in support of each other’s vision, dreams really can become reality.
I was so touched by the realization of the momentousness of the occasion, that my simple introduction to the workshop, left not a dry eye in the room.
Greg included. And Greg never tears up.
Thank you Greg for giving all of who you are in support of helping me make my dreams come true.
I couldn’t ask for more.
After all, finding you has been the biggest dream come true of all!
What does your partner do to support your vision?
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
First there's trash, then there's no trash.
Like there is a trash fairy or something.
And now he has to do it before 7 am, drive it to the road, and do it even when it's cold or raining.
And he never yells at me when I forget to bring the cans back in!
(I'm sorry Greg- I'll try to remember to bring them in!!)
A man truly willing to split the work, 50-50.
What a dream he is!
That means I never have to be a nag!
What don't you have to nag about?
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Know how it ended?
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Between putting the house on the market (and keeping it clean enough to show), looking at countless horse properties (and finding our dream home), packing, painting and unpacking, Jenn has had an extra full-time job.
Add to that all the work she's been doing on her business and Jenn has been burning the candle at both ends.
And I couldn't be more proud of her.
I can see the passion in her come out when she tells me about her day and the progress she made on what she was working on. She shares with me her triumphs and her challenges.
She asks me my opinion on different things (even though she knows way more about what she is doing than I do) and values what I have to say. And through all of this, even when she is working into the wee hours of the night (or morning), she always makes sure that she spends time and pays attention to me.
I know she is stressed about getting done all the things she has to get done before her various deadlines come to fruition so the fact that she takes time to focus on me really makes me feel loved and appreciated.
Jenn is one in a million and not a day goes bye that I don't feel thankful to have her in my life and by my side. Jenn is an amazing woman and my best friend!
When you are stressed and really busy, what do you do to make sure your partner feels loved and appreciated?
Without being asked.
I HATE ironing. I really suck at it.
Thanks Greg, I promise to perfectly fold your pants and hang your shirts as soon as they come out of the dryer!!
What do you do better as a team?
Monday, October 13, 2008
Okay, I'll admit it.
Jenn doesn't have the best singing voice in the world. But that isn't what really matters.
She sings because she's happy, in love, and because she feels comfortable enough to sing. And I want her to sing because I know, in turn, singing makes her happy because it's a way for her to express her love for me.
Therefore, whenever I hear her sing, I feel loved.
The Angel Song
Over the past three and a half years Jenn has made up several of her own songs. The most recent one being the "Angel" song.
She tells me that I inspired the song because I'm her angel (and no it doesn't sound anything like "Angel" by Aerosmith). That makes me feel loved because I know she understands how much I love and care for her and appreciates everything I do for her.
Jenn sings this song to me all the time.
Sometimes she sings it to me on the phone when she first gets up in the morning, sometimes when I get home from work but most of the time it's spontaneous. And every time she sings it to me I feel her love and love her that much more.
I love it when Jenn sings to me, no matter what the song. But when it's a song inspired by our love it's that much more special.
What special little things do you do to show your love for your partner? What does your partner do?
Saturday, October 11, 2008
But, even more than that, it was him that showed me how to slow down and love each one just for who they are.
I can't tell you how meaningful it is to me to have a husband who rides with me. I never dreamed I'd end up married to a man who not only knows which end kicks, but also knows how to get a stubborn horse in a trailer,
Thursday, October 9, 2008
But those are the kind of delusions that every woman should be lucky to live with!!
But speaking of singing.
I suck. I have zero musical talent- and he went to college as a music major.
BUT- for the first and only time in my life- I feel comfortable singing in front of someone.
So comfortable that I have made up 2 or 3 songs in honor of him and our love. Stupid songs. But songs I do proudly sing out loud so he knows just how special he is!
And I don't care how awful I am, because I know he loves me, no matter what.
Because of love, any singing I do, no matter how truly awful, is still music to his ears.
That's such a gift he gives to me- the gift of feeling free to be yourself with someone.
What is more important that that!?
What do you feel comfortable doing with your partner that you would have been embarrassed to do before?
And in her reply, she said that I wasn't objective.
But, the more I think of it, the more I think she is wrong.
For instance, when I have to go away on a business trip she'll sing "Please Don't Go" (by KWS) while holding me close so I can't go.
Other times she'll turn on the stereo and dance around the house while singing the songs loud and proud.
There are just so many things she does that warm my heart I could go on for ever.
So, you see she really is cute and I really am an objective observer. You could plop anyone at random into our house and they'd have the same response I have.
Jenn is the cutest thing in the world, period.
What things does your S/O do that warm your heart? We'd love to hear.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Later Greg tells me, "Oh yeah, I started showering up there so I wouldn't bother you in the morning."
Awwww, how sweet.
How thoughtful is that?
I sleep later than Greg. And he knows how precious my sleep is to me and makes every effort to be super quiet so as to disturb my rest as little as possible.
That's already sweet enough, but for him to start showering upstairs without me even asking, or him even telling me...that just shows what an amazingly caring and empathic guy he is!
Thank you Greg!
What do you do for your partner, even though they never asked, just to make life easier for them?
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
But soon after we started dating I began to appreciate all the little things that make Jenn, well, Jenn.
For instance, Jenn loves to add "ers" to the ends of words like "shrimp-ers, "toasters," "strokers". I don't know why, but I think that is the cutest thing in the world.
We've gotten into the habit of adding an -er to half the words we use! It's part of what makes us, feel like us.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Since moving into our dream home it seems our together time has decreased somewhat. The house was a bank-owned property which means there's a lot of work to be done and we're quickly running out of time to do it before the snow starts to fly. Add to that a longer commute and you end up with less time to spend with each other. And what time you do have is spent working - not the ideal for a newlywed couple
Now, Jenn would have every right to ask me not to go to the game, but she doesn't because she understands how important it is to me that I go
Well, ok, maybe she pouts just a little!
But I grew up going to Broncos games with my Dad, so it is somewhat of a tradition for me.
In fact, Jenn has tried hard to keep me involved in activities that I have a passion for.
I'm the type of person who readily sacrifices things to either avoid conflict, hurt feelings or make the other person happy so it is easy for me to put my life on hold while I become engrossed in someone else's.
But, we understand that we fell in love with the two individuals that we are and to keep that, we must each keep a portion of our lives from before we met.
To stay in love for the long term, you've just got to encourage each other to do what you love, even if it sometimes means being apart.
Jenn does just that. She encourages me to do all the things I love. Not just the Broncos games but also cycling, skiing and playing the drums. And I encourage her to do the same.
I'm grateful to have such an understanding and loving wife who values me as I am. I am indeed the luckiest man in the whole world!
What activity do you love that your partner encourages you to do, even if they don't want to do it with you?
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
So, last night, I had a BRAND new thing to appreciate about Greg.
I'm in the shower, with my eyes closed. I open them up and there is a hand sticking through the curtain holding a cookie, then, "Want an Oreo?"
IN THE SHOWER!
I was so touched. How sweet!
This is a man who deeply KNOWS my chocolate addiction.
And knows when it's prudent to say, "I can tell you are having a bad day. Do you want me to pick up some chocolate on the way home from work?"
Later he told me, "Well I was having a cookie, and I know you like cookies, so I had to come offer you one."
How thoughtful is that!?
It's the small things that count!
BTW- I didn't even eat the Oreo!!
What small thing did your partner do that made you warm and fuzzy? Please comment.
Where to begin? Life before Jenn. . .
Before meeting Jenn, I wouldn’t say I was an unhappy person but I did manage to find my way into an unhappy marriage. I married a woman who I had dated for nine (yes, you heard that right, nine) years. That should've been a hint, but it wasn't!
Unfortunately, neither of us was good at expressing ourselves so I don’t think we really knew what we needed from a wife/husband. Looking back, we would have been better friends than life partners. We enjoyed the same activities and were a good match intellectually.
Unfortunately we were horribly matched in the areas that really mattered, like the level of affection each of us needed, how we showed our love, and sex drive. Eventually all of these differences, which we couldn’t really see at the time, drove us apart until we divorced. When the end finally came, we were both miserable and it showed in every aspect of my life.
Live begins anew
I met Jenn on Match.com about a year after I was divorced. And to be honest, the only reason she was initially interested in me was the fact I lived close to her! You see, my online profile was nothing special. I talked a lot about what I did and very little about who I was.
Good thing she was new to the area and looking for someone to show her around or this blog might not be here at all!
When we first started dating I could tell right away she was someone special. She asked me questions no one had ever asked me before about who I was and what I felt. And my heart lit up around her.
We soon learned that we were a good match in almost every area. But most of all, we were a good match in affection. We loved each other and weren’t afraid to show it.
And for the first time in my life I could say I was truly happy. Jenn brought joy to my life and the little Greg inside of me responded by frolicking whenever we were together, wherever we were. Loving Jenn is easy and I am GRATEFUL for her every minute of every day and I try to make sure she knows how grateful I am for her.
A word on gratitude
Frankly, I was amazed when Jenn was so surprised about my level of appreciation! I just assumed everyone did it!
I was raised in a family where common courtesy was common place. Although I don’t remember ever being “schooled” in good manners, I do always remember saying “please” and “thank you” as a small child and being offended when the same behavior wasn’t returned by others.
Thanking someone for doing something for you is a little gift you can give that really makes a difference because it spreads like wild fire.