Waking Up to Love

Part of what makes me who I am, is that I am a story teller. I thoroughly enjoy hearing and telling stories of events that happen in life. I also know full well when I am being “watched from afar”, so I am mindful about how much I share and when. I may not say much at times, but I’m no one’s fool. People give lip service to loving and caring when, even if they aren’t aware of it, they just don’t. I have always noticed this, but I just hoped for the best and kept quiet. Now, I am more mindful than ever of how I conduct myself as I face what simply is, in life with various people.

I never realized how cynical I can be until now. I thought I was overly trusting but I am finding that’s just not true. One area that I am waking up to true love in, is with my husband. Although we have our fair share of issues and disagreements, I believe I have held him at arms length to a degree, expecting him to change up on me at any given moment and display the toxic behaviors I grew up with and am still very much accustomed to.

The fact that he has not ever done those things, has done nothing to dissuade me from that expectation, even after 24 years together. I expect him to be selfish, heartless and mean and when he doesn’t, I’m confused.

When he does behave selfishly, I think, “See? I knew it!” Recently, I messed up royally and fell asleep when I was supposed to be letting him in the house. He stood outside calling me and our daughters, getting no reply until he tried our oldest, who let him in. I’d literally just gotten off the phone with him, fell asleep and had my phone on silent. Needless to say, he wasn’t pleased to be stuck outside after midnight when we just got off the phone.

When he came in, he woke me up and told me what happened. I apologized as he went to brush his teeth. I stayed up, worried, and on alert. I was waiting for the cold shoulder. I expected him to ignore me for a while whether that be hours, days, weeks, or more. It didn’t matter that he’s never done this before in our lives together. I waited. When he came back into our room, he looked at me, gave me the prettiest and most genuine smile, and said, “Happy Anniversary.” I was stunned and said, “You aren’t mad at me?” He said, “Not anymore. That’s over.” I was shocked.

I mentioned in my last blog post that part of an anniversary gift was his bringing home my dear cousin Tami and her 4 daughters for 3 days. He said he wanted to make me happy. As they were leaving, Tami told me there was more to come. I felt so happy with her and the girls’ visit, I couldn’t really imagine what more he could do to top or come close to that. I am very sentimental. Details count with me. He drove over 200 miles to get them and take them back home. That’s a lot, especially when he is not a fan of road trips. Anyway, he declared this anniversary was his year to plan for us and really went all out in celebration of our 20th year of marriage.

He told me to block out specific dates and pretty much demanded that I not mess up this one rule. One year, he surprised me and took me to Hawaii which I almost messed up. Ten years ago, I completely botched a trip to Paris for our 10th anniversary. I’ve grown in wisdom since then, lol.

This time, he told me not to even pack clothes, as he wanted to buy them at our destination. I complied this year, thankfully. He had a harder time keeping where we were headed a secret this time, and I just smiled when I saw Las Vegas on the screen, printing our boarding passes at the airport’s kiosk. I didn’t really care where we went, as long as we were together. He’d been away a lot and I miss him. We spent our first day in Vegas, taking walks and seeing some of the sights. The next day, we rented a car, drove to San Diego, and spent a day and night there. On the way back to Vegas, he messed up. While shopping at an outlet, he asked about one daughter’s shoe size. I told him and then said I’d call her to check to be sure. I couldn’t reach any of my 3 girls. I began to freak out. Long story short, I called, left voice messages, text messages, emailed each, sent messages through What’s app, Marco Polo, Google Duo, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. I was soon convinced that my 5 children had been trafficked and began freaking out- all the way.

Eventually, my oldest sent me a text message, asking about some soap I made. Still not convinced they were OK, I demanded they call me. Another daughter text me saying sorry and giving some lame excuse for not being reachable. After an hour, one finally called. As we spoke, there was suddenly a weird echo. A moment later, I heard the door to our suite open and saw all 5 of my children and my niece Jeteya walk in! It was all so surreal. They laughed, saying they’d planned everything out except how to account for going missing for about 6-7 hours. Again, Jermaine said that he wanted to do what he knew would make me happy.

We rented a van the next day and visited the beach, Hollywood’s Walk of Fame and more, in LA. We had an amazing time.

My prayer is that I would continue to be open to true love and accept what I have in and with my husband. This man very obviously adores me as I do, him. I don’t want to miss out on a thing. I want to soak it all up and enjoy our life together. I feel so grateful and fulfilled.

Our Tami (Really mine, though)

I recently experienced a loss. It was the kind of loss that feels very alienating. At the same time, my husband has been away quite a bit, helping his dad, so, the temptation to feel alone has been great at times. Thankfully, I hear God well and often enough that it hasn’t been very difficult.

My husband and I will be celebrating our 20th anniversary on July 21st and I am looking forward to the intentional time with just the two of us. I need it. I have been missing him a lot.

Sometimes, our loved ones know what we need before we do. As one who has felt that I needed to anticipate and meet the needs of others without them saying a word, that foresight being turned towards me is absolutely… humbling.

My husband was to return home on Wednesday. When he came in the door, I was thrilled to see him and then was stunned to see my cousin Tami and her 4 daughters come in soon after.

Tami and I grew up together. When she was 8 and I was 13, she came to live with my mother and I. Tami and I have always been very close. We are more like sisters and best friends. Our lives are beautifully and traumatically interwoven. We love and seek to protect one another fiercely. She was the first person who I felt truly knew me. She can even taste food and know if I would like it. She has always been nothing but loving and accepting of me, no matter what, even when we don’t agree. She was the first to feel like home to me. She was the first person who I felt really saw me, understood me, and still genuinely liked me. I didn’t have to do anything to earn her love. It was a free gift. I have always and still feel extremely protective of her and our relationship.

From the moment she and her girls walked through the door, we enjoyed each other. We cooked, baked, laughed, shared memories, danced, skated, walked, shopped, did fireworks and more. At some point, she smiled and said wistfully, “I really needed this.” I did too. The three days went by too quickly.

We embraced and cried a little as she left. I told her and our girls that my husband said to me that bringing her here was a part of his anniversary gift to me. He said he wanted to make me happy. He knew that for me, Tami is happiness. She told me that he has more amazing things planned for me. If he did nothing else, this would be more than enough. He sought to bring me happiness and he did. Anything else he does will just be icing on the cake. I am so grateful.

New Things

Although I don’t currently write as much as I would like, I am keeping pretty busy with wonderful things. I recently went to NY to do a trailer shoot for a webisode I am a part of that has to do with narcissism. I will post the trailer and more info about it when it is available. For now, you can see the cast and learn about the story line here. I am very excited to be a part of such an important work.

Anyone who knows me, knows I love to cook and bake. I’ve been doing a lot more of that lately for my family and others. It’s so much fun! And I can’t get enough of my newly discovered passion of hiking! My goodness, I had no idea how much I love it! I have even started to sing in the woods, with abandon, which is something I would have once shied away from, fearing being thought of as a show off. I am shedding so much of the foolishness I once believed and it feels amazing!

I am also starting a new ministry! Learning about how to care for myself, coupled with conversations with women I am in regular contact with through ministry and life in general, I decided to do a trial meeting in November teaching some of what I am learning. The response still has me shocked. After talking it over with my Dad Gary Fishman, I now have a ministry called Love Perfected. You can learn more about it here.

I’m so excited to see what God will do with all that I am involved in. I feel very grateful and am eager to help others.

The Singer Who Rarely Listens to Music

You know how music makes you feel things? I rarely listen to music because I don’t like to feel things. Most songs from my childhood end up having me in a state of grief. I know this isn’t a bad thing. I need to grieve what I once thought I had but never did and likely, never will. There are times that I feel led to play music that I know will lead me to grieve a bit. When I feel that nudge, I do it. Otherwise, I avoid music altogether.

The other day, someone in the house played El DeBarge’s “Love Me In A Special Way”. I sat in the kitchen and just cried uncontrollably. I remembered myself as a very little girl, singing that, not knowing what I was singing but doing so with all my heart because singing is one of my gifts and I used to love to sing.

I just felt led by the Lord to look at the lyrics because I woke up this morning with that song playing in my head. I didn’t really know the words, but part of the lyrics struck me as I read them this morning…

“Love me in a special way
What more can I say 
Love me now
Love me in a special way
What more can I say 
Love me now (love me now)

‘Cause I’m special
Not the average kind 
Who’d accept any line
That sounds good
So reach into your chain of thoughts
Try to find something new
Because what worked for you so well before
For me it just won’t do.

Love me in a special way
What more can I say 
Love me now
Love me in a special way
What more can I say 
Love me now (love me now)”

I am beginning to feel differently now, more authentic, more un-apologetically me. Manipulation tactics that worked on me before, just don’t any longer. Not because I didn’t catch them before, I caught them, I just ignored them and pushed through because I thought I was here to make others happy and comfortable. I thought I was here to take care of people and leave my own needs for some other loving soul to hopefully, prayerfully see, take pity on me, and take care of them for me. Now that I know I am responsible for taking care of my needs, not others’, I refuse to continue to let myself down.

There’s still a little girl inside of me. She is incredibly wounded and afraid. I have carried her with me all my life, yet, I have ignored her needs and wishes, in order to favor others. She couldn’t depend on anyone to meet her emotional needs. Sure, she was dressed nicely. She was fed, but she was also starving for real and unconditional love.

She needed care that just wasn’t offered. She was psychologically and emotionally beat down behind closed doors. She was lonely, and lived in survival mode, because back then, she had to. Not anymore. Now I get to care for this gem of a girl. I get to love her unconditionally. I get to accept her tears, her fears, her grief, her anger, and not just her love, her generosity and care because it feels better and suits me.

I accept her wholly. Little by little, I am gaining her trust, and whatever she does in my chest that makes it feel so uncomfortably tight, whatever she is doing that makes me feel like I am struggling to breathe at times, is lessening as I remember how to care for her.

That little girl will no longer need to sing those lyrics from a state of grief and desperation. If she sings it at all, she will sing it for the love of singing, because she has a beautiful voice. You should just hear her.

No More Cryptic Messages

So, we don’t do church traditionally, but for clarity, I will refer to a certain group as my church family, even though it sounds stupid, lol. I just love them and I know more than ever, they love me right back, unconditionally so.

Throughout this entire journey of healing from past wounds, they have supported me, every step of the way, in just the manner I needed. There are far too many to name so I won’t go there, but it amazes me that they have so graciously allowed me whatever I needed, as I needed, even when it wasn’t comfortable for them. This kind of love isn’t what I was accustomed to.

I now see, with greater clarity that love isn’t a thing of diametrical opposition. Words and deeds line up. They match. There’s no conflict between the two. There’s no pressure to do what someone else thinks is best. Love is freeing. It’s letting go. It’s allowing people to be where they are, and accepting them fully, as they are, right now. It is not trying to mold them into what or who we think they should be or trying to control them through tactics that are simply mean spirited and divisive.

Love connects, redeems, forgives, apologizes sincerely. Love is when one changes awful, unacceptable behavior when confronted with it. Love is honest and other centered, not self centered.

I am convinced that freedom here on Earth grows as our minds are renewed to the Truth. The truth is, we are free. Jesus paid it all. I have pressed through fears that felt insurmountable but after moving forward, even in fear, those fears vanished.

One such fear came about in doing what God was asking of me several months ago. He has kept me up many nights, giving me ideas on exactly how to go about openly sharing my recovery journey through my YouTube channel. I was afraid to do it and doubted I was hearing from Him correctly. Of course, He was patient with me and sent confirmation after confirmation so, I uploaded my first video a week ago.

The fear was almost paralyzing, but I did it. I thought for sure, I would not be sleeping at night for quite a while. I thought my blood pressure would land me into the hospital, but as God would have it, I have slept better than before and when I went to the doctor last week, my blood pressure was 118/80. It was previously 153/94. I was stressed.

If you want to go along this journey with me, I invite you to visit my YouTube Channel, there, you can see the videos I have uploaded so far, and if you care to keep up, you can subscribe and hit the notification bell to be notified when I upload new videos. As always, I send you so much love, Dear Reader.

Patrice

My Birthday Gift From You!

I really should have done this post sooner but, well, here it is now 🙂 !

At the time of me typing this, it is March 4, my birthday! I am 42 today and feeling very excited and new, even at 42.

This year (and forever more), I am all about self love. I didn’t realize I was behaving in a codependent manner all my life and (low-key) hating myself. That is changing though, and because I genuinely love people, I want you to get in on this self love.

So today (even if you see this and my birthday has passed), I want a gift from you. I want you to join me in celebrating, and I want you to celebrate you! Do at least one thing today that you enjoy and make sure it is truly something for you! If you care to, share with me what you did or plan to do.

One thing I will do today is sit and spend time with my Abba. I will have my pen and journal handy and will write whatever He says to me.

I think I’ll do a painting tutorial too! I love to paint. I find it so relaxing.

That’s it for now, but please, love yourself today and always. And, don’t forget about my birthday gift mentioned above. You owe me, lol! Just kidding, but you do owe yourself plenty of love, so get to it!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I just wanted to share some love notes from a class led by Francois Du Toit, author of The Mirror Bible translation. I hope you take the following thoughts to heart and know you are, have always been and will always be, deeply and immeasurably loved.

No one looks for something they’ve never lost possession of in the first place. You were always His. You can’t be lost if you did not belong to begin with.

My prayer for you today is that you would agree with God about you.

I pray that more than pleading with God to know His plan for your life, that you realize that your life is His plan.

I pray that you would rest beside the still waters and see yourself as He does. Your spirit remembers who you truly are.

I pray that you remember that whatever is true of Jesus is true of you too. As he is, so are we, in this world. (1 John 4:17)

Enjoy your day!

Love, Patrice

Thoughts on Mothering

I was a part of a class yesterday that served as a wonderful confirmation of things I have felt most of my life, even when my experience and what I was taught was vastly different.

The class was taught by a woman who is also a mother. She said two things that made me pause and smile. One was that just after each of her children were born, she knew something about them that had to do with their character.

I perked up upon hearing that because I remember very well, feeling I knew things about my children while in utero. I knew who was mild mannered but couldn’t keep still, who was feisty and opinionated, who was mild mannered, who was wild and free and so on. I don’t think it’s unreasonable as each baby and I shared my body for months and months on end. To my way of thinking, you can easily learn something in the amount of time it takes to gestate and be birthed into the world outside a woman’s body.

The other thing the teacher stated that I loved was that while her husband belongs to her, her children do not. I have felt that instinctively at least since I gave birth to my firstborn, 20 years ago. She was and is a gift, as are all of my children. They are not mine. They belong to God first and, when/if they marry, they will belong to their spouses.

My job is to love and respect them. I listen to them and help them to learn and grow in as loving an environment as possible. They are not extensions of me. They are not a reflection of me, representing me everywhere they go. They aren’t my arm, foot, or anything like that. They aren’t me. We are not entangled. They are entirely whole, separate beings, on their own, in and of themselves, and I have the honor and privilege of raising them. I am here to help them, not try to control them. I find so much bliss, freedom and peace in that.

Hearing another mother echo these sentiments, mean it and show the fruit of it, was so refreshing and affirming. For many years, I thought I was weird because I am not like anyone I knew growing up. I used to say I didn’t know where I came from with all the ideas and things I have done and do regarding birth, child rearing and more. As I think about it now, the answer is super simple. I follow God’s leading. He has been speaking to me for as long as I can remember. I am grateful for that and that He is always guiding me and helping me to be a better me, and in this case, a better mother. I so love being a mother.

Early Perceptions of God

A dear group of friends and I are having a discussion today (as we do most days) and my friend Juli said the following: “I remember that before I was a ‘born again Christian’, I used to believe that by default God loved me, no matter what.”  She went on to say that at different churches, she learned things that she is now needing to unlearn. We all began to chime in saying we have felt the same way.

When she said this, it really struck a chord with me and took me back to my own childhood.  I remember very clearly feeling that not only did God love me tremendously, but I was and am somehow, very special to Him too.  I never felt it was to the exclusion of anyone else, in fact, it had nothing to do with others.  It was just me, and Him, and in that context, He absolutely adores me, period.

Some of the ideas I have had throughout my life, I am only now beginning to give voice to, with certain people. I have oftentimes felt that the God I felt drawn to, close to and loved by privately, was an altogether different person from the one I was taught about in church.  The one from church was wishy washy and temperamental.  He might strike me down at any given moment.  He was scary, never laughed, was very far away and too busy to be bothered with my stuff on a daily or even weekly basis.  As my daughter Jaiela says, the god from church needed a certain level and type of prayer, fasting and effort to even hear you, let alone answer your prayers.  In order to get an answer from this god, there’s a certain amount of time one must wait to hear back from him, if they ever heard anything back at all.  It was all so strange.

The God I know and love is the one I met in the innermost parts of my being.  He made me know I was and am special to Him.  He isn’t angry with me at all.  He’s not waiting for me to mess up so that He can strike me down.  He loves me without conditions.  I can’t do anything to diminish or increase His love for me.  He just loves me, and you, plain and simple.

I wonder if my friends and I are alone in our experiences and feelings.  Outside of all the teaching, good or otherwise, what were your feelings about Him?  Have you always seen Him as distant, or close?  If you don’t know, I pray you come to know Him soon, in a real and tangible way.  No one has or will ever love you more.

 

 

 

 

Culture of Honor

Where love languages are concerned, I always tie between two- acts of service and quality time.  I cannot choose one over the other.  Coming alongside me to help and chat with me as I wash dishes screams love.

In Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages, it is noted that most often, people love others based on their own love language(s).  I know this is true for me because I am very often seeking to do something for someone and spend time with loved ones. It fills me to overflowing.

I am naturally a romantic, mushy, sappy type.  I love that too and at times crave that kind of experience to be directed my way, but I don’t always get it.  Rather than complain and constantly feel sorry for myself over it, I seek ways to teach my husband and children how to love me the way that most directly and clearly speaks to my heart.  We are in such a moment in time these days.

Around Valentine’s Day, in 2017, I decided to get sappy and romantic with my family.  From February 1st thru the 14th, I wrote each of them something that I love about them.  I enjoyed doing it and had no problem at all coming up with something for 14 days. This is just one example of the types of things I do to love my family and show them I am thinking of them and care. As much fun as I had doing it, I realized a few days ago, lol, that not one of them thought to reciprocate.

I realized that while it comes easily to me to honor those dear to me, it isn’t so for everyone, and because I want to raise thoughtful children, I brought this to their attention.  In as loving a way as possible, I discussed the importance of honoring others and admitted that there are and have been times when I have felt that I was “for them” and they were for themselves as well, leaving me out of the equation.  I told them that I would like to change that and teach them to be more aware of others, especially those closest to them.  I mean really, don’t cry, slob and snot if something happens to me and tell me how much you love and care for me then, tell me and show me now!

In trying to think of ways to help my family, Abba gave me a wonderful idea that I call, Culture of Honor.  There are seven in my household and seven days in a week, so for now, once a month (for one week), we are honoring each person in various ways.

I am enjoying seeing how they are choosing to show honor to one another. One child took over washing dishes another was doing.  One made another’s bed, bought another their favorite thing from the store, etc., many acts of kindness have taken place this week.  My prayer is that this will teach them to remember others and the important roles they play in our lives, and, honor them for it.

All too often, we get comfortable with those closest to us, so much so, that we completely take them for granted.  I don’t want to do this or be treated like this and I don’t want my children to do it either. So, we are seeking to change this and make some wonderful memories while we’re at it. People are very happy with how others are choosing to honor them and there’s a sense of excitement when thinking of what to do for others as well. We also plan to choose others outside our household to honor.  It will be fun to surprise people and honor them.  I am very grateful that instead of stewing in anger, resentment, and self pity, my Abba gave me a solution- Culture of Honor.  Who could you choose to catch off guard and honor today? Go for it, and tell me about it!