But Don’t Let That Burn You Down

Ben Rector is one of my favorite artists. The first time I heard his song “Wildfire”, I was jumping head first into a relationship I knew was a major risk. It was one of those songs that put into words what  I couldn’t.

“I am learned that you’re not perfect,
And that sometimes the one you love can burn you…

When you love someone
They’re gonna hurt you,
When you love someone
They’re gonna burn you,
But don’t let that burn you down.”

-Ben Rector

Recently that relationship ended, and the lyrics above have stood to be true. I’ve learned a lot, I’ve felt a lot of pain and anger, and I’ve come out a stronger person  – because it won’t burn me down. The hard part about any relationship, especially dating, is that we have to learn we are the only part of the relationship we truly have a say in. We cannot control what another person says, does, or feels. We cannot force someone to live up to their potential. We can’t instill strength where someone doesn’t want strength to be instilled. I’ve learned that I cannot carry a relationship all on my own, especially if the other person doesn’t want to be carried.

I’ve also learned that a relationship that actually wasn’t a bad relationship at all, tough – yes, bad – no, can end terribly. I’ve learned that someone who actually has a really good heart, can make decisions that can rip your heart out. I’ve learned that you can stare in the eyes of someone and see just how much they care about you, and learn that they do not have the strength or capacity to carry out the actions to prove it. I’ve learned a lot, and for that I am thankful.

As the details started to come out and all the sudden things I couldn’t make sense of before, now started to make sense. As the realization that the whole truth had not been told to me settled in, and my heart began to break, I chose to walk through the pain. I got mad, I got angry, and for someone who doesn’t cuss, I cussed up a storm. As yet another downpour started in this, what feels like never ending, stormy season of my life, I sat there in the pain. I let the reality and truth of what happened settle in. I don’t know all the details, but I don’t want to, I know enough.

And as I sit here on the other side of {most of} the pain, I can reflect back. I’m thankful for the good times, because there were a lot of them. I will cherish the memories. The pain lessens each day. I don’t regret the relationship, because any relationship is a risk, and every relationship will hurt at some point or another if it is real. I choose grace and forgiveness. And I choose to hope and pray for his future. My prayers are that he some day lives up to the man I know he can be. That he heals from his past. And that he forgives himself. I pray for happiness, joy, strength, and wisdom to abound in  his life.

And as I step into life stronger and with more wisdom as a result of this relationship, I choose hope. I choose grace. I choose to believe that letting go of the anger and bitterness will be better for everyone involved.  And I cling to the promise that my God is with me, and for me, and that He has a plan in all of this for each of His children. He doesn’t waste the pain or hurt. I will cling to the fact that “Sometimes God does not change the circumstance but instead changes us in the circumstances.” (Meredith Andrews) That pain is part of my purpose on this earth and that I need to be “more brave tomorrow than I am today”. (Shauna Niequiest) Because as Brene Brown says in the image below, “The broken-hearted are the bravest among us. They had the courage to love.” I choose to continue to risk my heart for love of all kinds. I choose to not let the hurt and pain define me.

I choose HOPE.

I choose JOY.

I choose FAITH.

I choose FORGIVENESS.

I forgive you.

The Year of 30 – Fear Facing

This morning I was sitting at my desk going through the stacks of cards I received for my birthday.

I hate my birthday, bad things happen, and this year was no different. As I reflected on this stack of cards, but more importantly who they came from and the words inside, I’m thankful. Often, when things are imploding around us, we tend to forget that we matter to people.

I had a really, really hard time turning 30. It felt like I was no longer “young”. I felt like I had accomplished so much between 20-25 and not so much between 26-30. I mean when you graduate 3 times in a 3 year span, it is kind of hard to beat such accomplishments again. 

So as I was turning 30, I reflected on the goals/aspirations I had that had not yet been obtained. My dream of being a nurse practitioner (yes, more school), has not yet been obtained. My dream of being a wife and mother has not yet come to fruition. I hadn’t traveled as much as I had planned. In many ways I still felt unsettled, a lack of stability. I also reflected on what the last half of my 20’s was, and what it was surprised me. It was a lot of healing from damaging relationship of all kinds in my early 20’s. It was also a lot of making a career for myself, which included surviving the night shift and the endless hours of anxiety a new nurse goes through. They were years of self discovery and self reflection. They were years that have brought me to where I am today, and for that I am thankful.

So last week as I faced turning 31 and parts of my life were in shambles around me, I actually didn’t struggle. Because if I’m honest, my 30’s have been off to a great start with loads of adventure. Also, I trust that my dreams will come to be when the time is ready, and with the right people and the right school programs. I have a peace about trusting in the timing to be right, and less of a need to get everything accomplished NOW.

Over the past year I went to Costa Rica and faced my fear of heights by jumping of the side of mountains to go zip-lining  and I would do it again in a heart beat.

I dated guys that are completely out of my normal and learned a great deal and have great memories as a result.

“Leadership isn’t a skill you have, it is a skill you learn”

After a great deal of wrestling over the decision and praying, I took on a management position at work. It hasn’t been easy, actually far from it, but as my wise little brother told me “Leadership isn’t a skill you have, it is a skill you learn”. And everyday, I am learning this more and more. But, I have to say, when someone says “my boss” in reference toe me, my immediate response is “that’s not me!”… and then I realize, actually technically, yes it is.

I faced a lot of fears this past year both personally and professionally. I feel like my word(s) for the year of 30 was fear facing and as I enter 31, grace is what resonates. Grace for others. Grace for myself. Grace for where I’ve been and where I’m going. But most importantly sitting in the beauty of the grace from my Heavenly Father – knowing that I will never be enough but through His grace, He is enough for me. There is a freedom in knowing I can’t reach the state of perfection I’ve longed to reach for so long, but in Him I am fulfilled. My job is simply to walk in His grace and be the best me I can be. So 31, let’s do this.

 

 

Letting Go When it Wasn’t Bad

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on dating or singleness, but I feel like I want to share my current struggle just in case there is someone else out there wondering if they’re alone in this struggle. Online dating is hard. Really hard. For every 1000 messages you get, maybe 1 of those is good. There is a lot of comic relief in there and plenty ones you read one or two words and you delete it and need to wash out your eyes. Dating is hard. Singleness is hard. Life is hard.

For every 1000 messages you get, maybe one of those is good.

There are plenty of people out there that date for the one night stands or are okay with little to no substance in the relationship. I’m not one of those. I’m also one of those people that can get an idea pretty quickly of whether or not the guy I’m on a date with is a good match or not. I’ve been told I don’t give guys enough of a chance, and maybe I don’t, but I think I’m just able to read people pretty quickly.

Timing is everything

Last May I told God I would message every guy on Bumble (it was my first week on this app) that I matched with and if nothing worked out with any of them I was done with online dating for a while. During this week I met the guy who I’ve been dating for the last 3 months. Pretty much instantly I liked the guy. There was something about him and still is something that I was just attracted to. A lot of somethings actually. And let me tell you, the three months were really good. I was pretty scared, because I actually liked the guy and he seemed to like me back – which isn’t always the case when I finally think a guy is worth my time.

Pretty much instantly I liked the guy. There was something about him and still is something that I was just attracted to. A lot of somethings actually.

So for 3 months we dated, we talked, we had great discussions, we had fun, he pursued me (what a concept), and he was part of a season of extreme healing. It’s been a season of walking through past hurts and pains and truly digging deep and healing. A lot of this healing I couldn’t have done without this really good dating relationship showing me something different form the past.

Then a few weeks ago I could feel the distance growing. Then late Saturday night it ended. Some differences he couldn’t get past. He wants to be friends and I’m not certain I can be. The main reason? Because he really is a good match for me. It really was a good relationship. I still really like him. And the differences he couldn’t get past do not make him a bad guy. The struggles he’s walking through do not make him a bad guy. The core of who he really is is a really good guy.

Then a few weeks ago I could feel the distance growing.

So I’m faced with the question of how do you get over a guy when it was all really good? When even the bad parts of the relationship weren’t actually bad? How do you find a reason to let go when all you keep thinking about is the stupid ways that they match you?

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure. But I’m going to try and focus on the fact that there will be a guy out there who matches me just as well,  and maybe even better. A guy who the differences will be able to be worked past. A guy who is ready to date. And until then I’ll cherish the memories and try my best to be thankful that I got to experience something that is hard to figure out how to let go.

And let’s be honest, timing is everything.

So my single ladies, there are good guys out there. We just have to find the good guys who also match us and are in the same stages of life as us. And let’s be honest, timing is everything. So I’ll cling to the promise that I serve a God who loves me and hears the deepest desires of my heart. And I hope you have something to cling to as well. Because when life doesn’t make sense, we all need something to cling to.

Of This I’m Sure

You know when you find that one song that speaks to you for where you are at in life and it is on repeat so much you wonder when the people in your life are going to threaten you if you don’t turn it off? Well, I found that song recently in an unlikely place and it has been the soundtrack through my present season.

the past doesn't own us anymore

I was shopping one night a little over a month ago for family pictures (and I HATE shopping) when I walked into my favorite store Altar’d State in not the best mood. I recently discovered this store with my sister-in-law and it was love at first sight. There is something about the combination of amazingly cute clothes, ridiculously awesome house decorations (with a bunch of inspirational sayings which warm my heart), and the fact that I always find new music when I walk in there.

On this particular night blaring through their speakers were the artists Jenny and Tyler and they’ve been speaking truth and grace into my soul since that first moment I heard their lyrics. I love their whole album “Of this I’m sure”, but most of all I love that song in particular. In these lyrics -“Of this I’m sure, the past don’t own us anymore”, the whole present season of my life is summed up.

This season of my life has been one of working through past mistakes, ghosts, and hurts. Sounds fun doesn’t it? Kidding. It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life, but also one of the most rewarding seasons. A season full of sitting in my pains and anxiety and allowing myself to truly feel it. It has been full of not only letting myself see myself for who I really am, but also letting people in my life both new and old see me for who I am.

The past doesn’t own me anymore.

All the mistakes, ghosts, and hurts of my past, I’m releasing them of their control.

I don’t know about you, but so often I’ve let things from my past hold me back. It has nothing to do with the questioning of the validity of whether or not the wounds hurt or the mistakes were, well, stupid, it has to do with the control they still have over me.  A few months ago I began going to see a counselor – something I should have done a long time ago. There is such a stigma behind counseling, and it needs to be gone.

In these times of seeing this counselor I’ve been walking through things I’ve blocked out. I’ve been sitting in the emotions I’ve been afraid to feel.  And when I’ve said “I haven’t dealt with this” instead of moving on, she’s looked me square in the face and with no where for me to go she’s said “so let’s deal with it now”.

Through this one of the hardest things I’ve been challenged with is to not be afraid to let people see who I really am. It was time I let go of my need for perfection and looking like I always have it together on the outside go. And you want to know the most amazing thing? People are loving me for who I am, faults and all.

So just in case no one has ever told you, who you are  at the core of you is beautiful, wonderful, and perfectly okay – great in fact.

One night in a conversation I was having with one of the people I’ve been making a point to 100% be myself with I said “That’s just who I have always been”. In response they said to me “that’s okay there is nothing the matter with being who you are”. And in that moment a healing took place. A healing of wounds so deep that I didn’t even know were there until truth was spoken into them. So just in case no one has ever told you, who you are  at the core of you is beautiful, wonderful, and perfectly okay – great in fact.

And who you are at this very moment is lovable.

So I guess in all my ramblings I want to get this point across. The past does NOT define you. Allow it to shape you, to guide you, to lead you to better decisions, and develop your character, but not define who you are and where you are headed. Don’t be afraid to feel the emotions, because in feeling the bad emotions, it allows healing, and in the healing it allows for the good emotions to be that much more present and real.

And the most important lesson I’ve learned? Who I am, at this very moment even with all my junk and imperfections is lovable. And who you are at this very moment is lovable. One of the best things we can do is to allow the people who truly love us to see who we really are and love us where we are at. So my friends, with this in mind, I challenge you to be you – all of you. And remember, the past doesn’t own you anymore. 

Hearts, Pink and Roses

Give me a reason to celebrate – and I will! Growing up, it was common for any holiday to serve as an excuse to wear themed shorts(actually boxers)/shirts/face paint/hair bows/tights. Some of those juvenile celebratory tendencies have carried over into adulthood for me and I fear I should have been and El-Ed major, so that I could get away with the expressive clothing choices. 

I have resigned myself to wearing colors that are representative of the holiday as a compromise for my attire choices. The irony is not lost on me that I am a single female who loves Valentine’s Day (actually any holiday, but since we’re talking about V-day, let’s focus on that!). Culturally speaking, Valentine’s Day is all about spending a romantic time with a significant other. I don’t contest that sentiment that many share. However, even if I were in a relationship, I would not appreciate roses (overpriced on this day), chocolate in a heart-shaped box (sub par mass production), or teddy bears (I’m not 5). I dated a guy who bought champagne glasses with hearts on them and I wanted to gag. That part of the holiday I have never liked as it seems manufactured and insincere (even though many want it to communicate sincerity). Therefore, what is a single girl to do on this day?

The same thing she does every day – but dressed in more pink/red than usual. That’s all. I have never felt the need to “celebrate singleness” with girlfriends on this day, nor do I have children that need to learn about holidays and therefore do not need to decorate my house with hearts and cupids. Let’s be honest. I’ll probably pick up some cheesy valentines to pass out at work because I am a cheesy, celebratory woman who thinks that’s funny. I am not however, a woman who will be upset about my singleness because a day is dedicated to those who are attached. The day doesn’t apply to me in that way, and that’s ok.  

ErinValentines

Continue reading “Hearts, Pink and Roses”

Why Inspiration Matters

Essentially the reason for the post is a lot of friends are frustrated in their current jobs. It’s like they have totally lost sight as to how or why they are where they are. The vision gets cloudy. Then they say…jumping ship to new job! But when I feel that way I have to begin looking for the inspiration that surrounds me. Sometimes it’s grim and other times it’s plenty and I’m just being dumb. I want to encourage others to see inspiration where they reside…I want to scream, “open your eyes! It’s there!” Before they say, “I’m out!”

There’s a reason you’re at where you are at. But don’t just give up so easily, you know? I think people get into a job and they say if this job isn’t what I want, well I can do better. Sometimes you do need new employment, but I think a lot of times it’s us missing open opportunities. I once knew a guy that worked with me at X-games. He was a higher up…but guess what? He started as a janitor! If he had said, “ahh screw this” he would have never been where he is now! (sigh) Hang in there!

Inspire

So I suppose that is really what I’m trying to say is Inspiration helps move the “I’m stuck” notion. It keeps the momentum moving slowly until the momentum starts to pick up again.

I’ve been there too…

“I am Catie Manning and I am going to be a Marketing Guru and a Hair Stylist. I am going to be a motivator and cheerleader!”

When I realized I was under appreciating my job roles – that a lack of acknowledgment of their lessons and values was holding me back – my perspective began to shift. I had to “take myself out of it” for a minute to “get it.” Does that make sense? I needed to remove myself from my situation and look at it critically to see that I was the one causing my pain. When I started assessing what I needed to feel satisfied in a career, I saw one missing piece. It was a big piece – one that led to my lack of fulfillment. Here it is: I was in a creative role without actually being creative in any way! How is that possible? A creative without a canvas is like a chef without food – it simply cannot be. That is what sparked a new take on inspiration. I learned why inspiration matters.

TheEagles

I have to be thankful for experience in cosmetology school and the lessons I learned there. I worked with clients on a daily basis, drudging along doing the same ole task (sort of…) – it can be really hard for someone who wants to be the go-to girl! It was the clients who gave me the inspiration to want to achieve more. The clients who show up regularly with their fires and rush requests – there insistent energy. The clients that kept me employed and keep a roof over my head. They inspired me be the best I could be and never to give up. I am forever thankful for that inspiration, as it has become the momentum behind my professional drive.

Love her or hate her, Taylor Swift is one of the classiest women in the entertainment business today. I heard that she finds inspiration in her fans. Recently, she noticed that one follower in particular, whom she usually finds very inspiring, was not doing well. She was down about her unpaid student loans so Taylor responded in a big way:”she painted her a picture, sent her some gifts, and shocked her with a check for $1,989 (the title of her album, how clever!) for her student loans. In general, she supported her. You see? Inspiration matters.

Inspiration and creating inspiration for others matters!  It affects how you view your job. It affects how you interact with your customers and clients. Inspiration is what gives you a  jump-start and builds momentum when it seems to be moving slowly.

When our career comes to a slow part, when we question every ounce of why we originally chose the direction we did, when we feel puny and small and that we simply Do. Not. Matter. That is when we must open our eyes, dig deep and find the inspiration to keep going. Keep pushing and driving for success. You can do it, I know you can!

When an Ex Ruins a Passion

I love fitness, health, nutrition, and the joys of watching someone transform their lives. I love this just as much as I love working with cancer patients. So why for the last 3 years have a done this minimally and from a distance? Part of it was that I was getting my nursing career underway and I allowed the excuse that it took up all my focus to get away. The real reason I ran away? Because for a year straight I was in an on again off again relationship with a man who shared this passion and interest. So much so that he spoke with me many times of us working together and we spoke of sharing the same dreams I’ve had since I was a teenage girl. That dream incorporates a place where I can both serve and love on people and their families with cancer and those desiring to live a healthier life. But I let that dream disappear. I stopped chasing it because for a long time it was far too painful.

There are far better thing ahead than

 

Continue reading “When an Ex Ruins a Passion”

Single During the Holidays – It Really is OKAY

Today I had the privilege of taking care of one of my favorite patients. He is an older gentleman and often forgets what he asked me the week before. As a result, some of his questions repeat themselves, including his advice. It is a regular question to ask me if I am married and when I answer no, if I am dating someone, I then say no again. His response is always “and that is okay!”

But today he went on to tell me more. He went on to tell me how he has 2 daughters and that he always talked to them about waiting for the right one, no matter how long it took. He was encouraging me as he told me his one daughter had to wait until she was 30, but for both of his daughters how he couldn’t find a better guy for each one of them even if he had interviewed guys for 100 years straight. He didn’t make me feel sorry for being single, he didn’t tell me I was doing it wrong, he just encouraged me that waiting for the right one is the important fact. He assured me that where I am now as a 28 year-old-single women, is okay, in fact, that there is nothing wrong with it. He didn’t make me feel like less of a person or less interesting because I have no husband or kids at home yet.

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Some day I hope to have more than just my own feet, but I’m beyond thankful for this time of growing and learning as a single woman.

Continue reading “Single During the Holidays – It Really is OKAY”

What Dating Has Taught Me About Commitment

What Dating Has Taught Me About Commitment. Or rather, “What Online Dating has Taught me About LACK of Commitment.”

It’s no secret that I’m single ; I’ve written frequently about it on this blog. I haven’t always been single, but for the majority of my life I have been. To me, being single is comfortable.

That doesn’t mean I don’t desire a relationship, though. No, I have a DEEP desire to find the one I want to spend my life with. Marriage is one of my biggest dreams, and I truly do hope it is in my future.  But the journey to whoever my knight and shining armor may be, has been quite the bumpy road , but I’ve learned a great deal (spoiler: he might not be a knight in shining armor).

Heart in the woods Continue reading “What Dating Has Taught Me About Commitment”

The Year of THIRTY: Update

The response I received to my initial THIRTY post was tremendous (on Facebook and at work). I honestly didn’t think that it was odd to create a list like I did here., but many viewed it as a novelty and were super encouraging!  For the sake of keeping myself accountable and satisfying inquiring minds, here is a fleshed out version of the items I have done or am in the process of doing:

3. Grow my own vegetables – This year I planted Roma, cherry and grape tomatoes in pots on my patio. Planning on jarring up some bruschetta mix to carry me through the winter (and use as hostess gifts!)

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4. Read thirty books in varying genres. . . My list of completed books since May are as follows; “Wicked”, “The Giver Quartet” – “The Giver”, “Gathering Blue”, “Messenger” and “Son”, “BossyPants”

5. Learn to play golf…I have connected with three other people who will be taking me out on a 9-hole course to see where my future with golf lies.

6. Buy a bike and ride it . . . I love my bike! It is pink with big tires and a basket! The tires are flat though and my bike pump is plotting against me. 

8. Go berry picking . . . I picked Blueberries, Raspberries, and Blackberries.  Shoutout to “The Extraordinary Berry” and “Stateline Blueberries“!

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9. Do something once a month by myself that I’ve never done before: May: Took a real vacation. June: Started a job in the finance field July: Organized a baby shower August: Drove to Michigan, went berry picking, and ate at a restaurant by myself.

10. Wake up early on the weekends – this was a cheater one, I normally wake up early…I’m just making a conscious effort to be productive since I’m up!

13. Take my thoughts captive when I get upset that others are engaged, married, having babies, getting promotions, etc. and I’m not. – this one is hard. I’m the last one of a group of ten to be seriously involved with anyone, but I’m trying to be happy for them and content with where I’m at. 

17. Take a painting class – I shouldn’t quit my day job, but this sure was fun! Shout-out to “Pinot’s Palette!” 

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20. Participate in at least one volunteer activity a month – For the past two months, I’ve packed backpacks for kids going back to school!

22. Meet my neighbors -This can be awkward, but I’ve successfully met three of my neighbors this summer! One of them cut me off pulling into the neighborhood though and drives ridiculously, but I still wave when I see him and his wife out and about!

24. Learn French – Yay! People are willing to help me! Currently looking into purchasing Rosetta Stone.

25. Listen to and engage with people I haven’t previously – I had a lovely conversation with my benchmates at a park in Michigan, met new co-workers, mixed and mingled at professional networking events.

26. Take more walks – This normally happens on the weekend, but I am trying to connect with people in my neighborhood to do this.

28. Listen to voicemails – I have visual voicemail on my phone, so I normally just call people back…thus the incredible accumulation of messages. I’m staying on top of these now.

We would love to hear of the things you want to accomplish this year, please share!

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