30 November 2019

How to Deal with Difficult Family Members During the Holidays

The holiday season is my favorite time of year.

I remember childhood memories of our favorite family traditions - everything from camping out watching holiday movies in the living room to baking our favorite desserts and treats in time for family gatherings or parties with friends. To me, life generally feels a little happier, a bit more joyful and magical, around this tie of year.

However, for many, the holidays can be a difficult, perhaps even painful time.

Some of you have endured the loss of a loved one, spouse, or child. Perhaps you have estranged relationships with people in your family and you're not sure how to deal with them, especially as we head into what performer Andy Williams calls, "the most wonderful time of the year."

One of the best tools my counselor has helped teach me over the years is how to deal with difficult - even unhealthy or unsafe - people.

It is a tool I think we all need in our emotional toolbox, especially if dealing with certain family members around the holiday season is messy or difficult for you.

Read more on the five helpful tips over at Blessed is She  . . .

What else would you add to the list?

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23 November 2019

The Whirlwind of Fall

Today was a rainy, cold day in SE Michigan. It seemed to set the tone for the cozy setting of meeting with my spiritual director in her office.

After we prayed, she asked me to describe what the last month has been like.

My response? Full, rich, and beautiful.

The last month or two this Fall have been so busy, but in the best possible ways.

The first weekend of October, a dear friend Hope and I went up north for a writing retreat together. It like an old fashioned girls slumber party and we had the best heart chats on all the things of life: dating, marriage, babies, sex, politics, religion, and spirituality. I have known Hope professionally for awhile but we have developed a friendship over the last year or so, and she is such a gift to me.

The weekend before Halloween one of my favorite human beings Christina came to visit for the weekend. This beautiful soul is proof real, authentic friendships can be formed over Instagram. Her encouragement, laughter, sass, and friendship have been one of the best surprises of 2019.

We spent the weekend eating good food, wandering downtown Detroit, hitting up a used bookstore, dinner + dessert with my sister Annie, and equal doses of snort laughing with heart chats. 
We ended the weekend with a walk in the rain in Detroit and matching avocado friendship tattoos.
I legit cried when she drove away.

I decided to open up and share on allll the "interesting" experiences of online dating and even created some funky hash tags...because why not? Thanks Patrick for the inspiration and feedback! ;)
The quality of my dates and men has shifted, and there is one very good man I am enjoying getting to spend more time with these days. Hopefully more on that in the future. ;)

My sweet nephew/godson Xavier turned two on November 1. How is he already two!? When I got out of my car to bring him his birthday present, he came running out of the house in his footie jammies yelling my name. Seriously, I can think of few things that make my heart so happy.

The second week of November we got our first snowstorm of the season. I was less than thrilled but having a snow day to babysit X-Man was a-okay in my book.

I have new speaking opportunities that have opened up and are on my schedule for 2020. I have started writing at Grotto Network as a regular contributor and will begin writing at Endow in the New Year.
I am grateful how doors continue to open for me to grow and use my creative skills.

It is crazy to think Thanksgiving is one week away and Advent starting shortly after.
I am looking forward to an RCIA team dinner tomorrow after work, cleaning my apartment, reading, and dinner with a priest friend this weekend.

God continues to show me in little ways even there are spaces of life I wish were different, joy and beauty can be found right now in my current reality

Did Fall feel like a whirlwind for you?

What is new & exciting in your life?

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21 November 2019

The Practice of Daily Gratefuls

I was driving home from Mass one Sunday this summer. 

A friend suddenly was unable to attend our plans for a concert at a local church. She had double booked herself on her calendar. While I understood, I drove home feeling a little disappointed. 

My disappointment led me to thinking about other parts of my life I feel less than thrilled about at times: being single, navigating online dating (oh ladies, it is special!), or coming home to a silent apartment.

Begrudgingly,  I knew what I needed to start doing to acknowledge how I was feeling in the present moment: counting my daily gratefuls.

I coined this term several years ago when my counselor gave me a homework assignment to practice for several months. Each day I had to write in a gratitude journal for 5-10 minutes all the things in my life I was grateful for, all the ways God loves and blesses me in the present moment.

Some days I sat down and wrote in the journal and other days I counted my gratefuls as I drove to work or was out running errands. After several months, my counselor asked me to report back what I had learned.

Learning to count my daily gratfeuls each day has taught me some important lessons about myself and life, regardless of whether I felt hopeful or messy about life, or a little bit of both.


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14 November 2019

How I'm Becoming My Best Dating Self (at 34)

I sometimes wish the lessons I know in my mid-thirties were things I knew in my twenties.

I have wondered if I was more emotionally aware and healthy in my twenties, could I have avoided an unhealthy marriage and divorce? How much different would my life look if I learned all these lessons before ever getting married?

My counselor often reminds me that "You know what you know, when you know it. And now, you know differently, so you act differently."

After my divorce, I dated in a much more healthy way than before I had gotten married. I went on a handful of dates before meeting someone and deciding to seriously date each other. While that was the healthiest relationship I ever had with a man, it did not last and I lost my peace about moving forward.

There is not much I would have changed from that relationship. 

As time passed, I began to see things I would want to do differently moving ahead. I saw we became exclusive very quickly and almost as quickly, began talking about marriage and a future life together. I saw some spiritual differences that I realized were more important to me than I initially thought. Very early on, I became emotionally attached to the outcome and automatically assumed this was the man I would marry.

Fast forward to the present.

I am almost a year outside of that relationship I ended last January.

I have been dating again since April.

I recently realized how at 34 years old, I am finally becoming the best version of my dating self.
I feel more free to be my authentic self and am finding more joy (and yes enjoyment!) in the dating process.

So what am I learning?!
How have I become the best dating version of me?!

  1. Dating takes time, practice, and skills. It is okay to go on lots of dates before choosing to be exclusive with someone. We only learn how to become a good dater and trust ourselves with practice. So go on dates, be open, and have fun!
  2. I am learning to not become emotionally attached to a man too soon. 
  3. I am learning the difference between feminine and masculine energy; what it looks like, means, and how it plays out in dating and romantic relationships.
  4. It takes time getting to know someone. The end goal is not to rush or jump into a romantic relationship. Lay the foundation for strong connection and friendship first. Take time in dating to really get to know someone before becoming exclusive with each other.
  5. Know what you are looking for. I have two lists to guide me as I have met and went out with different men. I call this my "5 Must-Haves" and "5 Can't-Stands." I know what are the most important traits I am looking for in a partner and what are the things I will not tolerate in a relationship.
  6. I am still learning and growing! A dear friend (Mave!)who is a life coach has shared with me a lot she has learned from coaching groups she has attended. I have watched a lot of dating coach videos on YouTube (my favorites are Helena Hart and Anya Grace!) and they have rocked my world in the best possible way. I am learning a lot of practical tools. As I implement them in my life I see how powerful they are. Dating in healthy ways is a continual learning and growing process.
  7. I am showing up as my authentic, radiant, feminine self! No games or expectations. My perspective on dating has shifted from a scarcity to abundance mentality. When I am confident and fully alive, I will attract the right kind of man into my life. 
  8. I cannot make anything happen with a man. If I am trying to control the situation or "forcing" things to develop, that never works out. My job is to not convince a man he should date me, but just be Patty! Eventually, being my authentic self will attract the right man for me into my life. 
  9. While I do want to be married and have a family, my main focus is not to "find the perfect guy." I am living a rich, full life as a single woman and now I know having a man is not what completes me. The focus is no longer the end result of marriage + babies. Instead, the focus is on the beauty and goodness of my current reality. 
  10. I am realizing while I have more knowledge and self-awareness, I will (and still do!) make mistakes from time to time. When I encounter this, I try my best to be honest and own my part. Dating is messy and its okay if you make mistakes.
  11. Lean back deeply into my own life. Stop obsessing or over-thinking about the guy I went on a few dates with or am starting to like. Lean back into living my rich life and focus on myself. If a man is interested in me I will know, and he will pursue me. My job is not make him want to be with me. That is called manipulation.

I have no idea how long I will be single. 
Perhaps the man I will end up with is already in my life or maybe I have yet to meet him.

This much I do know.

I am dating very differently at 34. 
I feel it in my bones, there is a shift inside of me.

Yes - there are rough days that feel lonely and scary from time to time. 

Overall I feel happy, content, joyful, and excited where this new attitude of dating and relationships is taking me.

I am no expert in this department, but I think at this stage in life I am finally living my best, healthiest life as a single woman.

No matter how long I am single, that truth is one of the best gifts I can give myself.

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