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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Women are the most powerful and influential people on Earth

I had the great good fortune of welcoming 23 women and an incredible teacher, Valerie Dimick, into my home for a full day of learning what she has gleaned throughout her practice, study and life.

The message is simple, women are the most powerful and influential people on earth. Then using scripture and the words of leaders she shared with us how to access that, because we certainly don't get that message from the world. The teachings of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are the way I steer my ship.  Having said that, I don't expect friends or family to believe exactly the way I do, but this works for me. I respect everyones beliefs and I have found there can be common ground without diluting convictions. In fact others opinions and beliefs  strengthens mine because I find His teachings everywhere and His light in everyone. That knowledge gives me peace. Christians today certainly have their critics, and I have the added bonus of not even being accepted by other Christians because of the religion I belong to. But in order to be true to myself I follow what my North star points to, without the need to be right or have validation. Just Peace. Peace is the one emotion or feeling that cannot be counterfeited because it only comes from God. By whatever God you worship by whatever name - the feeling is the same.


One of the exercises at the seminar was to finally once and for all give up "mock humility". We have all been given gifts and talents...all of us. But when complimented on a talent or gift women notoriusly act small. We take compliments and store them away rarely looking at them or appreciating them. Valerie emphasizes being grateful for what compliments are, an acknowledgment of a gift from God. Marianne Williamson wrote my favorite quote. It is a long quote and can be found in its entirety in "Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "a Course in Miracles"  But for
brevity I am using only a bit of it. "There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as Children we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same." Notice this part, we are all meant to shine. Think of a world where our gifts and talents are used to the fullest extent. Think about that....Now consider what keeps us from shining. What keeps us from sharing all of our gifts with the world.

Consider this.....


Fear seemed to be all I knew. I lived a life of "what ifs". What if we don't get the job, what if we run out of money, what if we get sick, the list is endless and very negative. When I started learning from Valerie I had to deal with my fears first which were I'm not good enough and who do I think I am?
Most people allow one of these fears or both to run their lives. Another part of Marianne Williamson's quote is

"Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?"

Think about that, "who are you not to be?"

I never believed I was "good enough". It was a message I received regularly from my parents, followed by the equally unsettling, "who do you think you are". I don't know where those messages started because I come from "better stuff" as my Uncle would remind me. My ancestors settled Texas in the 1800's never stopping to think if they were good enough or not. Why would they think about if they were good enough? Because if they weren't good enough they would die, it was survive or die. Where did that fearlessness get lost? When did my parents become so afraid that they thought by keeping me small they were protecting me? Maybe it was living through the depression and 3 different wars. My mother lost her father while he was trying to save their ranch during the depression. War was very real to them as they all lost family members in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. With that history is wasn't unreasonable for my parents to try and keep me safe by not wanting me to take chances. Not unreasonable but fear promoting. They didn't support my decision to go to college or the religion I chose. (who do you think you are?) They were happy I got married but did not support our decision to have more than 2 children. (too expensive) They loved our first very small home, but never approved of the home we chose to build. (too big, huge taxes, who do you think you are?). It was a constant message of living small as they passed their fears to me. We learn as children that our parents are never wrong and we spend our lives trying to please them. So no matter what opportunity would come my way I waved it off. When I had an opportunity to write a column for the Houston Chronicle on a trial bases I was over the moon. My parents reaction was, "how much money will they pay you?" If you know anything about writing you know the answer to that. I acquiesced to their disapproval went into my room and threw my purse through the window. I didn't write again for 20 years and I still have problems giving myself permission to write. I could have gone on living small, but life had a different plan for me. I married someone who enjoys leaping off cliffs. With only a few exceptions I reacted to our lives out of fear. Before we got married I went to look for apartments, I looked for sensible places at affordable prices. He hated every one of them and wouldn't stop looking until he found a place with style that wasn't warehouse living but within our budget. He did the same with our first house and then the house we built. I lived in fear and tried to convince him to aim lower, to live safer...he helped me have the faith I needed to live a bigger life. So universe, could I have married anyone better to help me see my fears? It has been painful as I was most comfortable picking the low hanging fruit. My fears would wake me up at night while ideas would wake him up. I was living small, always worried about what could go wrong. He lives by the principle the Lord is in charge, knows what we need and will provide. He works very hard and uses all of his talents, but he does it in a less worried way than I did. He knows he is enough, and all will be well. Valerie gave me the tools to overcome my fears, to get out of my comfort zone which kept me from being happy.  Change has not been easy. But when my feelings of fear got so bad, when it saturated my life so completely and I couldn't function I went after help. I read scriptures, I read stories of other fearful people, I pondered, I prayed, I fasted. And then I found help in therapy with Valerie. Now I replace the negative thoughts with positive ones as quickly as they come. I now know that God does not work in the negative....and I know it is not Him that sends trials to me like a mean and vengeful life does that but He is there to help guide me through it. I am good enough, I am enough, I am enough. And who do I think I am? I am a daughter of offspring of deity....I can do anything with Him. It doesn't matter what I can do, it only matters what He can do. When I hear myself say things like, how am I going to fix this? I stop...fixing things is not my department. I now can wait with a less worried attitude because I know God will fix it, and I can depend on a God like solution rather than my very human solution. I now know that all events are neutral, money is neutral, trials are neutral....and I have a choice of how to deal with things. When difficult things occur, and they do, I have a choice of how to face it. Being negative, expecting the worst, is a choice as is being positive and expecting God's hand in everything. It is such a better way to live. Being positive and living in truth is a choice.

My life is different now because negative has a red flag attached. I know what negative thinking has done for me - it lies.  And I know what living a positive life is like now, it is truth. I recognize that power in my life, the power to choose truth and happiness and be the influential being I was intended to be.....this is better. Thanks Valerie

Remember it is a Plan of Happiness, right?

Valerie Dimick will be presenting another seminar April 23 at my home. For more information please contact 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

How Does This Keep Happening?

If you have followed me on Facebook you have read about a continuous battle we have had with our dry cleaners. Until last December our relationship was very simple. We brought in a few shirts, a few skirts, a sweater here or there and they cleaned them. Then in December when I needed everyone to be on their game (we are caterers and December is our biggest month) they did a terrible job on the tablecloths I brought in. I usually wash and iron them myself (yuk) but I needed them for an event right away.  I picked them up and went right to the event.When we put them on the tables they were wrinkled, but I had to use them. Afterward I went back and asked them to ask them to redo them, they assured me they would. But when I brought them back they refused to do it because I had used them. I tried to reason with them but they were I refused to go back. I didn't put terrible reviews on Yelp, I didn't print their address on Facebook and complain bitterly...I just didn't go back.

But my husband did go back because they are inexpensive and convenient. One week before my son's wedding he took all our favorite clothes in to be cleaned. They lost our entire order.  My beloved black blazer, my favorite brown skirt and my denim shirt that I use as a jacket and his favorite J.Crew Sweater that Mikey gave him for Chirstmas, his blue dress shirt with the pink lining on the sleeves (don't ask, it looks great) and a white shirt.Raymond stayed for an hour while they looked everywhere for them. The owner said he would reimburse us for the clothes so I went back that afternoon and after a bit of reluctance they paid us $360 for our clothes. Think of this, one week before the wedding and we have to try and replace our favorite clothes. It's not as easy as it sounds. Especially when we were getting ready for a wedding and there are so many other things to do.

Yesterday Raymond went to pick up his order at the dry cleaners and the owners wife tells him in the loudest most shrill manner, that they found our clothes and she insisted we have to give the money back.This is the same woman who refused to redo my tablecloths.....I thought for sure someone would have dropped a house on her by now, but no....she is still there alive and well, and still - charm free. Instead of calling and saying, "Great news we found your clothes..come on in and get them!" It was, "We found your clothes now give us our money back!"  Raymond just stared at her and said, "we used the money to replace our clothes - what you are asking is unreasonable." Because this woman is crazy I contacted our attorney to find out if there is anything we should do to protect ourselves. He told me if they sue we countersue for the tablecloths.....

Isn't that just nuts?