Tag Archives: respect

The MFEO Chronicles: Jess & Scott

I am so excited to start sharing some of my guest posts for the MFEO Chronicles. I purposely left the definition of the MFEO Chronicles vague, as I wanted those that I asked to submit, to share their story, whatever that may mean, and define what MFEO means to them, and their partnership. I present to you my first entry, from my sister Jess, on her decade-strong marriage (coming right up in June). Without a doubt, their marriage is one I have respected and admired for many years, and they inspire me, as M and I just begin our journey in marriage (7 months!), and partnership (3+ years).

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loveMade for each other.

I am 100% certain that Scott was put on this earth for me. I say this with such confidence because just weeks into our relationship, we gave our hearts to each other. As literally as we possibly could. I distinctly remember the night that we talked about the love that was blooming between us. I told him I’d always take care of his heart, if he promised to take care of mine. I held my hand over his heart and said “this is my heart, please keep it safe” as I pat his chest, feeling it rise and fall beneath my palm. He promised…well, he pinky swore (a promise we take very seriously), that he always would.

And ever since that day, I’ve trusted him with my heart without a shadow of a doubt.  And he’s done the very same. To me? This isn’t something to take lightly or to just assume is present in every relationship: that unrelenting trust and faith that your heart, your most precious possession will be forever safe, forever loved, forever cherished.

But I’ve never ever doubted that with us. Since that day, with my hand pressed against his chest, I’ve trusted Scott with all that I have and all that I am.

As I talked to Scott about the MFEO Chronicles the other day, I described it to him as a blog post talking about why he’s my other half. To which he responded: but you’re not my other half, you’re my three-quarters. Without you, I’m only a quarter of me. Not a half. A quarter.

…and he’s right. He’s my three-quarters. I adore him, I cherish him, I love him so fully, so passionately, so endlessly. It sometimes scares me how much. That is, until I remember that thing called faith, and that fear subsides.

So to me, being made for each other isn’t just about being compatible, or learning how to make each other laugh, it’s about trust, adoration, respect and total and utter commitment – to each other, to ourselves, to the relationship, to the marriage. We’re not afraid to put our relationship first when it’s needed. Or to step aside to let each other chase a dream, it might be me chasing a dream one moment, and Scott chasing a dream the next.  Ultimately, we’ve learned how to give 100% to our relationship without losing ourselves in the process. It was even in our vows – to support each other’s hopes and dreams, never losing sight of “Scott” or “Jess” along the way.

It’s funny, I actually struggled to write this post for my sister at first. I think, after almost 10 years of marriage and 14 years together, it’s pretty impossible to remember what life was like without Scott in my life, and in my heart. And maybe that’s why this MFEO Chronicle is so simple: Scott and I are made for each other. It’s as simple as that. And I feel very blessed to have found such an enduring faith-filled and faithful lover, best friend, and companion for life. He is my three-quarters. ❤

On humbleness, respect, and reality checks.

Lately, I’ve felt like I’ve gotten hints, reminders, little lessons in humbleness and it’s really made me stop and think, stop and change, stop and shift.

It reminds me that I’m not perfect. That my journey is not over, it’s lifelong.

For example, my fitness journey? Of the barre n9ne variety? It continues. Practicing mindfulness in eating. It takes committment. It’s not a sprint. Ever.  Practicing ‘smarter not harder’ is also ongoing. I can’t cram it all in, but what I do know is whatever ‘me’ workouts I get a week, go big or go home.

Don’t half ass a run.

Don’t take a class but zone out…zone IN.

Focus. Drink it all in. Learn more (because there is always, always, ALWAYS more to learn, even after almost two years instructing). I feel invigorated in this new season – literally and figuratively – as I set my own mini goals, to continue growing, refining and challenging myself, my body. As an instructor  at barre n9ne, to continue bettering my abilities, and being humbled by the knowledge that I can always always always improve. And that I want to always improve. Strive for better. Strive for stronger. Not only a passion but a committment. 

It reminds me that respect, trust and honor are three traits never to be taken lightly, or for granted.

These things take time to build, and an instant to be crushed instantly. This weekend, I mourn that this was taken from me, in a friendship I very much respected, trusted and honored, and as much as it saddens, shocks and upsets me very deeply, I know that sometimes, its irreparable…once the damage has been done, there’s truly no going back. And I realize how much I value those traits and how much I value the friends that do respect, trust and honor. That commit to a friendship 10000%, and it is making me reach out to those friends most right now. That I value more than maybe they even know.

It’s felt like I have gotten a few of these lessons in humbleness, respect, and reality checks this week, and I sit here, readying myself for the week ahead, I feel renewed. Clear-minded. Ready. Leave it all behind, and move forward, embrace the journey, the good and the not so good, because it all shapes you, it makes you better, and it gives you perspective.

As I read Jeff Goins’ latest newsletter (the genius behind the Slow Down Challenge), my jumble of thoughts here came together…he writes:

A thought came to mind. In the pursuit of our dreams, maybe we need to remember two things:

How far we’ve come.

How far we still have to go.

One makes us grateful, and the other makes us humble. And I think we need both those things in order to do great work without going crazy.

Without humility, we’ll become arrogant or settle for less than our best. And without gratitude, we’ll never be content and make those around us miserable.

The best art comes from a place of both contentment and unrest. It’s a paradox. We need to always be striving for better and at the same time resting in who we are, not just what we do.

As you attempt greatness today (whatever that looks like for you), I hope you’ll consider this. I hope you’ll take note of how far you’ve come and still how far you’ve yet to go.

I don’t think I could have put it any better if I tried. Attempt greatness today, practice gratitude, embrace humility.

On true love, and the a-ha realization of self-worth.

A good friend of mine – who shall remain nameless (by intent) – has gone through a bit of a rollercoaster in her life, realizing that she is worth more than her many years long relationship with her (now) ex, and in hearing her gush about just how happy she is, and how glad she is that she made the decision to let go of a relationship she invested so much in, to take a chance on what she hoped would be true love, I just had to share her story.

It truly couldn’t have hit my inbox at a better time – Valentine’s Day (I know, cheesy, but you know I’m puppies and rainbows!) and it couldn’t be a more inspiring story that love *is* out there, even for those that have little (or lost) hope, that question if they’ve already used up that ‘love’ chit in life and never will find someone that will make them feel whole again, and so I asked her to share her story with us, to hopefully give those of you that fit this description hope that it *is* there, it *will* happen, and more often than not? It’ll hit you upside the head when you least expect it. But you’ll look back and realize that the tears, sadness, frustration and anger were all worth it. For true, validating, self-worthy love….the only love we are all worth having. 

Enjoy…and thank you friend, for sharing your beautiful story. It gives me chills every time I read this.

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I’ve been lucky enough to know Jo for a number of years, which means I got to see her relationship with M. progress from their first date to today, being totally in love and planning their vows.

I can remember many times watching them together, or reading about their relationship here, and being insanely happy for Jo, but also wishing that I could have that. And I remember being ashamed for those feelings, because I was dating someone (and had been for years!) who I thought I wanted to spend my life with. But I was never insanely happy with him like Jo is with M, and for a long time I thought that maybe my life just wasn’t supposed to be that way.

It took a few more years (and many insanely happy couples surrounding me!) to realize that I didn’t have everything I wanted, or deserved, in my relationship, and I finally left. At that time I booked my first trip to Europe for two weeks – one week in Paris and one week in Munich – to “find myself.” I was traveling alone during my Munich leg, and while I was really nervous, I was so excited about the opportunity to stretch myself (Jo always talks about stepping outside your comfort zone, and this was definitely it for me.)

During my travels through Munich, I met W; we randomly met through some women I met at Oktoberfest (one of them had met W’s friend the night before and were meeting up with them again – I was invited to tag along). W was funny, charming, and incredibly handsome, and I felt a natural easiness with him. Our conversation flowed easily and I did not want the conversation to end (I later learned that he felt the exact same way). We ended up leaving the restaurant we were at (it was closing), walking around Munich to find another place, and went dancing at a club. Finally, at 6 am, I had to say good night, but we agreed to meet up the next day, and when we did, I had this urge to be as close to him as possible. We spent the entire afternoon walking around Munich together, until it was time for him to catch his plane back to Paris. I don’t know what possessed me, but I invited him to fly to London in a few days to meet me for my overnight layover back to the States, and he agreed he would try to look into it. I honestly thought I would never see him again, but the next day I had an email from him saying he found a ticket and would meet me in London!

Truly.
Truly.

We spent an incredible evening in London. He brought wine and we stayed up long into the night just talking and enjoying each other’s company. The next morning we headed back to the airport, and said our goodbyes. Again, I thought I would  never hear from him again, but as soon as I touched down, I had an email from him. And that email turned into a conversation that never stopped.

I won’t bore you with the details of the next few months, but we built our relationship with constant online communication, and while it was difficult, W. always made me feel incredible, and importantly, loved. And for the first time, I had someone who wanted to make me as happy as possible. In December, W traveled to Boston to see me, and we extended that to a weekend getaway in NYC. And seeing each other again confirmed that we were absolutely crazy about each other. He ended up flying to Boston again for NYE on a last minute whim. And at the end of January, I took a last-minute trip to Paris to celebrate his 30th birthday with him, and meet his family. Somehow we just find ways to fly to see each other every few weeks.

It’s been a whirlwind relationship, but for the first time in years (maybe ever) I am insanely, ridiculously happy, and madly in love with someone who is just as madly in love with me. And I can honestly say that I now have a love that I have seen from my very good friends and their perfect matches. The key to this, I’ve come to realize, is to find someone who wants to make you as happy as you want to make them. I spent years watching my friends, wishing I had the kind of love that they had, and I spent years trying to tell myself that the compromises I was making was good enough. I realize now that I missed out on so much, but I am also so incredibly lucky to have had the experiences I had, to know and understand what I was missing from a partner, so that when I found W, I knew what I could have with him.

And isn’t that what Jo’s blog is all about? Determined to be. To be happy. To be healthy. To be loved.

THIS.
THIS.

Stories that Define Me: on friendship.

*This is the seventh in my mini-series on stories of my past that define me. I’ll write these periodically, as the ideas flow. Enjoy.*

M remarked to me recently that he feels like I have SO MANY friends. Especially compared to him, as he considers just a few close friends as just that: friends.

I found his statement interesting, because I  too consider myself to have a handful of close friends as well as a circle of all of YOU in this home I’ve cultivated here that truly ‘get’ me. That don’t make me feel compelled to compromise, to censor myself, to walk on eggshells, to feel short-changed. Real, solid, friends. Sister-friends, if you will.

Let’s start at the beginning. 

My very first best friend was a girl I met in Kindergarten. Her name is Tali (and yes, we still keep in touch, though, relatively loosely as she is a missionary in Guatemala and Haiti!) and to this day, I truly believe she is who ‘taught’ me how to have a sense of humor. And to cultivate my own sense of humor, with a dash of wit and sarcasm. She is, to this day, still one of the funniest people I know (and actually, now that I think about it, her humor mirrors M’s quite a bit. I bet they’d get along so well…). But beyond humor, she ‘got’ me, even back when we were 6 or 7 years old. We had each other’s back at the playground, we stood up for each other, and we were always together. She is also one of the first friends I made that I felt was ‘my’ friend and not ‘our’ friend (given my sisters and I shared virtually all of the same friends, often, they were ‘our’ friend, not Jess’s or Jen’s or mine, but Tali? Was my friend first and foremost).

Tali and I stayed close friends all the way through middle school and into high school, even after we were no longer classmates (after fourth grade). But what united us was the ability to pick up where we left off, even if it were one month, one year, or even more. There were never apologies needed. There was never the need to feel like you ‘owed’ each other a reason why it had been awhile since we’d last gotten together. Life simply happens, and when you can keep in touch and get together when you can and really value that time together? That’s friendship. 

And that friendship and what I learned from her over all of those years (reuniting once again after my divorce, and talking all through that, and talking all about her own love and life experiences) really set the tone for what I deem the friendship foundation: mutual respect, love, give-and-take, and simply for it to be effortless. For you both to WANT to make the time for each other, to make each other a priority. To honor each other’s life paths and goals and desires. To listen, and not always immediately advise, or provide an opinion. To laugh. Friendship is happiness, and when it is no longer happy, friendships evolve

It took me a long time to realize that friendships evolve and that it’s okay if you come to a point where you realize that you have outgrown a friendship, or that friendship is no longer enjoyable for you, or for them. Where there is more strife, tension and negativity, than laughs, caring and respect.

The friendships I hold dear to me now are those that I consider sister-friends, that ‘get’ me, that understand why I live my life the way that I do, in every single way. Because that’s exactly how I treat those friends as well. Respect what they do, love them for who they are, and that friendship will thrive for as long as it’s meant to.