Life is a Highway, I Wanna Ride it all Night Long

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving weekend has given me: Food for thought, A new leaf to turnover, and Sky is the limit opportunities, It's time to make my Dreams Come True.


It's been 4 weeks since I ended my 4 day juice fast and detox. At the end of that detox phase, I celebrated the fact that I stuck to it and made it happen.  I really didn't have a goal past that for myself.  Well I did commit to a goal at the gym for the last quarter of 2010, but I realize I wasn't in the right mindset to be passionate about it.  It was so obvious that even Gabe, our trainer, knew I wasn't committed.  At my last training session he slid down on the mat while I was streching and said  "So Val, what's it gonna take to get serious *or something similar*"  I was moved by the reality that I had truly been wasting my time and his over the last few weeks.  Shortly after that reality hit me, I missed a day of training and finally showed up and suspended training all together due to accepting that major stress levels in various aspects of my life were skewing my focus on ME, and I felt the best choice was to take a break from training until resolution was reached in those areas.  

Don't we always think...
"Oh I'll keep up the training, I can do this, I just need a break"  Well not always as easy to execute.

My stress levels and the decision I made to deal with them, have resulted in the return of bad eating habits, less working out, and a stalemate in positive forward movement towards any resolution. 

When stress bears it's ugly face at me I immediately go into paralysis mode on everything other than the area that is causing stress.  I focus and work to resolve, relieve, or in other words, bring closure to the area that is pressing on me.  I live in the moment of stress completely,  I combine working through it with prayer, and dealing with the reality of it.  Truth is, without letting go and realizing I can't control this on my own, it is an exercise in futility for me.  

While 'stress' is not healthy, this mode I go into seems to give me this false confidence in thinking that I am doing my best to gain control and resolve in the most expeditious manner possible.  It truly is a form of worry, even though I am praying through it.  It's an unhealthy level of worry and stress. Biblically I know we are told not to worry, and look at me!

In the end, does worrying change anything?  No but tell my heart that!

An interesting part of this journey for me is that the adventure down this new highway in my life also takes my thoughts and converts them into holigrams in my mind.  Those holigram thoughts continue to validate that I want to keep going down the highway that will take me to where I can be the best ME there is.  I call it the "It's All about Me" journey of health.  

This crossroad I am at today comes with Choicepoints!  
Choices - Choices, it's so hard, can't the choice just be easy?

Choicepoints in life are good if we take on a healthy approach at making the right choice of course.  

I am on the brink of a choicepoint...
Turning over a new leaf must come with passion, honesty, and focus, a truly "All about Me" choice that compliments the journey down this new life highway. In order to get to the point of making a choice I have to consider this:  I am paralyzed in stress, do I want to stay here,  OR do I choose to face the reality that this may not be the healthiest path for me.  I naturally go into my self analysis mode in considering how successful I've been at my current approach.  I'm reminded of something a friend  of ours shares at moments like this.  His question resonates deep within me right about now, it goes something like this...

"How's that workin for ya, Val?"   
And I must fess up: (considering where I'm at), 

MY Choicepoints

The choices I have are clear...
Continue down this Highway to Hell, and let stress rule my life, debilitating me, which it is already in certain ways.
Choose to turn over a new leaf, flip a switch, refocus, and fight back?

I actually preach "just flip a switch" to my own family at times like this, so this is my moment to prove it works, right?

Flipping a switch is obviously best done, (for me), by first, trusting that God's path as my life's highway is a better choice, and believe that all will work out for the best, that there is a greater purpose and it will result in something far greater than I could ever make happen on my own, or imagine.  Speaking of trusting God, trusting Him is biblical wisdom, no? 

Romans 8:28 tells me that all things work together for good to those who love God, who; or that in all things God works together with those who love him to bring about what is good...(I am not always good with this verse btw :)


“There are times that we need to sit back and stop trying to be in control. It can be a futile, frustrating battle. Inner peace comes when we accept that it is God who is in control and understand that the... best course of action for us to take is to just relax and go with His flow.” (someone said this, but I can't remember who)

"Be True to Your Heart And Your Dreams Will Come True
Stay true to all your beliefs and goals. 
Stand tall..Through all life's setbacks and disappointments, 
and your dreams will come true."

(To Debra's poem below, I would only add that my faith is huge in achieving my goals and dreams. I have a Father who cares more than anyone can, it's HE that is with me every step of the way: I have claimed Jeremiah 29:11 as my verse!)  BUT, we do have make the choice, and in doing so we set our destiny in motion...

~ Debra Ruegg-Jenkins ~  
"When no one else is with you,
and no one seems to care,
just whisper to yourself,
"I am the controller of my destiny.
It's up to me what comes to pass,
and if I keep my thoughts positive and strong.
my dreams will come true."

When what seems to be impossible obstacles
stand in your way, just think of all the times
you got through yesterday.
There is a place for you in this world.
Stay on your chosen path.
All the power is within you;
be true to what is in your heart.
Be honest within yourself;
if you are, then you cannot fail.  Your dreams will come true."

And My Choice Is?...
Turn over a new leaf!  I choose to get back on course.  Let go of stress and trust that all will work out the way it's meant to and I can do nothing better than to get back on God's path by taking care of ME.  I am ready to move forward and continue on this Ride down Life's Highway.  I know this is my time, I feel it and I will only succeed!

So it's time to regroup, set goals, dream it, write it, commit to it, believe in it, work at it, and achieve it!
My turning over a new leaf moment, starts today, juice fasting this week, combined with reasonable workouts, and return to clean eating and training following that, I am in 'sky is the limit' mode and my choice is to take the path to accept nothing less. 

In my life I have had many dreams, several of them have come true. 
Now it's time for the rest of the dreams to come true!  The Sky is the Limit!!!  

Watch out world, I have a DREAM! 

A Chritmas Leaves When Dreams Come True 
by William S. Phillips

 It's just me, Val!  Ciao

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Before you read my blog for today:  
 I promised myself that I would keep this blog neutral in sharing life, ideas and
information. Today is an exception maybe someone out there really is hurting and feeling empty, maybe this is for you.

So here we go...


GPS was the best invention aside from the satellites that feed them, 
since I came onto Planet Earth!  

I am a sun lover and not just for my tan...
I depend on the sun in my directional dyslexic driving frenzies!  
And at nightfall?  Forget it! If I didn't have my GPS, 
I would be at a dead end, going the wrong way

I am directionally challenged in my car, without the sun.


I wish our brains came with a GPS, our hearts too, but they don't.  How many times in life could I have used that to stay on course and make it to my destination?  Life choices are challenging, actually more challenging for me than travel direction.  I don't jump into anything too fast but I do jump.  HUH?

My life has changed course so much in my short 56 years.  If I look back I am amazed at what the different courses I've taken include, and went through.  Honestly, I feel like a person in a fog sometimes thinking back and asking "WOW!, How did I come through it all?"  My life hasn't been as hard as many but it has been hard.  Let me share just a short (pretty revealing) summary of course changes for you:

  • 8 years old and my parents marriage ended badly, without any notice and my dad leaves not to be heard from again for quite awhile, only to return 2 more times and my hopes dashed as he disappears yet again, no notice.
  • 9 years old am caught in as the new stepdaughter of a man who doesn't like daughters and while treating my brother with love, treats me with hatred. He would later commit bigomy and the marriage was dissolved.
  • 10 years old I am trapped in my mom's dysfunctional life, left to fence for myself for many years  (by the way, I have no doubt of my mom's love for me through all this, in case you're wondering)   Life is not fun for me while I spend hours and hours keeping myself occupied playing ball by myself against the wall of our gangway.  Self esteem hit me hard and low as a child and I distanced myself from friends.  At one point I was left alone for 3 days without being told anything, worried about what happened to my mom, was she even alive?
  • 15 years old and I'm finally succeeding at finding myself, feeling good about life and through hard work at school making the grade, when suddenly, with 3 days notice my mom whisks me off to California from Chicago and I lose all my familiarity and confidence in myself once again. 
OK enough!
I'm sure you get the picture without my revealing any further details...I did have dark moments and loneliness in my life at a time when many children in the wonder years, my peers, were being nurtured and cared for in a way I can never say I had.  (many may have had it worse that I did)  Though I cried so many tears and felt so alone with no way out, I had a GPS and didn't even know it yet.  I would find out later in life.

Sharing from my heart...
Truth is that during it all, I had the Biggest Arms of all wrapped around me and while I didn't know at the time, these arms would be my life source of comfort and assurance of love.  In 1974 I came to know who's arms those were and I have been so thankful ever since.

Life didn't get better overnight, in fact hiccups came and went and still do, mountains to climb, but I know that I will get through it.  I am blessed to say I have a great marriage, loving husband, and kids.  And as you can see from my profile, my life has only gotten better along the way.  I am blessed!

My life GPS is my directional source and navigator.  For me (not trying to push this on anyone else by the way) that happens to be my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He has been with me through the darkest of times assuring me that I would come through and if you're reading this blog, I want you to know He has NEVER let me down, NEVER.  

When life handed me some very hard curve balls and I thought I couldn't stand it anymore, He was there and brought me through it.  I have no doubt, I may not have liked the outcomes at the time, the trials, but it is true, what doesn't kill you does make you stronger.  I learned quickly in life that there is an enemy lurking here and it is a HUGE Spiritual Battle far beyond which I can comprehend or fix...

(most of you know by now I am a fixer, or at least have a strong desire with my people pleasing dysfunction to be a fixer so this was hard for me to -'GET HOLD OF' and accept) 

That enemy is here to kill, steal, and destroy!  Oh you don't have to agree or believe it, but I do and have experienced the difference of coming against this force with prayer and the word/truth and winning, well I didn't win it alone, I give the glory to the Lord.

OK I felt compelled today to share what I know to be true, proven over and over to me throughout my 56 youthful years.

If you are feeling down and depressed, worried, lonely, and feeling like a darkness is in your midst that you want to shake off, or you're at the end of your rope I hope today's blog gives you reason to hope again.  If it's meant for you, you will know. 

I just felt a need to share for someone who needs to know and believe that HE does care for you and is here for you.  It's yours to grab hold of, believe it and make HIS direction your GPS, like I do.  Let go of the wheel and let Him take you down His path which I can promise you will  bring you to a place of comfort, joy, peace and satisfaction and remind you how important you are in this life.  If you embrace it, you will find it I promise!  

A Promise that I love is found in Jeremiah 29:11...
(Your GPS comes with promises too :)

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

And here is something to ponder and consider...
' When God takes something from your grasp, He's not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to  receive something better.'

'The will of  God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.'

If only one reader today is needed to hear this, I know I have shared what I was meant to.

You maybe going through the fire now but He will bring you out of it.  
Trust Him and see.

I love this song by Carrie Underwood...

It's Just Me, Val...Ciao!

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Gift ...Overcoming Fear - A Fresh Start


Saturday I joined my mother-in-law at a lady's event held by her church.  What a great time we had.  Vendors were setup throughout this enormous facility and thankfully I managed not to spend too much, though very tempting.  I did get some unique Christmas and Birthday gifts for family checked off my list.
Lunch was the next item on the venue and it was DE-LICIOUS!  The Women's Committee catered in from a great Italian Cuccina, wonderful salad covered with artichoke, black olives and parmesano, baked mostoccioli,  Italian bread, and for dessert a great chocolate cake cut into brownie size slices with in fact, a brownie consistency.  
Yummy all the way down!

The highlight and the best gift of the event, if I may say, was listening to Ms. Valorie (*my name, it has to be good :) Burton, a published author, just completing her 6th book, and a personal life coach. 

A note before I tell her story...on my way there Saturday, I actually asked God to speak to me through the speaker, I didn't know who, as I have been pretty stressed and down lately.  He came through, as He only can do!  He not only spoke to me through her but He knew the very point I needed to hear from Him, the very point that would get my undivided attention.  "Finding Your Purpose, In Life"   

Valorie shared practical coaching advice with great examples from her life that led to her zoning in and finding "God's Purpose for Her Life".  Some of the stories she shared were humorous of course, but very pointed and telling.  For instance, did you know FEAR is one of the biggest reasons we miss God's purpose for our lives?  

She led us into a story that shared how fear can hold us back.  I'll paraphrase her story here, (Valorie if for some reason you ever read this, forgive me if I miss something here.) 
Overcoming Fear the Portapotty - "GO-oN Now, Get!"

The story goes that when she was small her family went on a trip with her grandmother.  They came to a point where Valorie felt an overwhelming need to find a restroom.  So her dad stopped at what ended up being a portapotty...(I forget what state this was in but certainly as I share the rest, it wasn't a state you would find this next encounter normal at all.)  

Valorie got out of the car and went to the front of the portapotty which was facing the other way.  As she rounded the corner, right in front of the doors of the portapotty, she encountered none other than a MOOSE!  A HUGE MOOSE...she said it was much larger than a horse.  So she slowly backed up, turned and ran back to the car. 
At the car, she shared with her family that she didn't need to go as badly as she thought she did.  

Her family asked her what happened and she told them of the encounter with this MOOSE, at which point her 'southern', North Carolina bred Grandmother exclaimed 
"A Moose?"  Then directed her to come with her and headed right back to the portapotty with Valorie in hand.  

When they rounded the corner there stood that MOOSE right in the same place in front of the doors and her grandmother walked right up to it, looked in it's eyes, pointed outward and said "GO-oN, Now GET!" and that Big HUGE MOOSE humbly put it's head down, turned and slowly retreated, at which point Valorie rushed into the portapotty as did her mom before that MOOSE returned!  LOL  too funny...a lil grandma can tell a big ole MOOSE what to do and it listens to her as 'authority'.

Her point with this story is that too often we let fear, just like that Big Ole MOOSE, hold us back and takeover, instead of facing it we run.  Only problem is we don't have a fearless grandma to take over and pave the way for us as Valorie did that day.  
Or do we?  

...In Storms of Life
In his book 'Fearless,' Max Lucado shares that "Fear may fill our world, but it doesn't have to fill our hearts."

You don't have to be well versed in the bible to know about the incident of the Storm that hit while the disciples were out in the boat with Jesus:

The disciples were over wrought with fear while Jesus just slept in the back of the boat.  Instead of realizing His authority, they questioned his character..."don't you care?"  Of course we know that Jesus stood up and commanded for the storm to cease and it did.

Max shares that Jesus commands us "Don't be afraid" 21 x's, He commands us to Love God and our neighbor 8 x's...thus Max suggests,  "if quantity has anything to do with it", Fear is an issue He wants US to address and make sure we know the authority we have over it.  

Fear can hold us back, squash the joy right out of our lives, cause health issues and many other debilitating things for us.   

Max goes onto share: "Fear sucks the life out of the soul, curls us into an embryonic state and drains us dry of contentment."  "When life spins wildly, we grab for a component of life we can manage: our diet, the tidiness of a house, the armrest of a plane, or in many cases, people.  The more insecure we feel, the meaner we become.  We growl and bare our fangs.  Why?  Because we feel cornered"  "Fear turns us into Control Freaks."

Max shares this story: "Martin Niemoller documents an extreme example of this.  He was a German pastor who took a heroic stand against Adolf Hitler.  When he first met the dictator in 1933, Niemoller stood at the back of the room and listened.  Later, when his wife asked him what he'd learned, he said, "I discovered that Herr Hitler is a terribly frightened man."  "Fear releases the tyrant within."

Did you know that Faith is the opposite of Fear?  I didn't either!  Never thought of it that way before.  Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.

We do have authority over fear!  
As Valorie shared, we need to inherit her grandma's faith and confidence, an authority over fear!  Just look that fear right in the eye (just like grandma!) and say...
"GO-oN, Now GET!"  

Remember how that MOOSE responded to her grandma.  
Fear will respond to your authority over it, as well.

I'm all about a "Fresh Start"...
I want to put my faith in action and let loose a "GIANT" within me.   
I have always depended on my faith and have even experienced the awesomeness of a "Great Faith."  It never has failed me.

Join Me, if you care to, On this Ride Down Life's Highway

Just sayin...
It's Just Val, Ciao!

Sunday, November 7, 2010



Hopefully you did and on time to not be late or miss important dates and events today.

Last week a friend of ours turned back her clock, only one week early.  She ended up being late for work, whoops!

But I am talking about something else today.  

I'm talking about...Turning Back the Hands of Time

If you're like me, you have many types of relationships: husband, kids, parents, grandparents, inlaws, then there are great friends, best friends, good friends, acquaintances, business relationships and of course neighbors. Oh I'm sure we could come up with many more like classmates, friends of friends, etc...

I'm one to speak out, mostly share my deepest feelings or opinions, hopefully it is received as being open and honest but if it seems bias, it's important to understand that I think out loud.  I tend to make statements that are thoughtful ones, not "oh how sweet" type of thoughtful ones but rather 'thinking as I am speaking and contemplating' thoughtful ones.  I hope I end all my thoughts in a manner that is respectful of everyone's feelings.  But I know for a fact that as I am 'thinking out loud' some listeners get defensive for their own feelings and opinions, as they think I am trying to force my opinion on them.  Not so...but I do understand.

I love debate and other's ideas. Often you have an exchange of ideas in a conversation, it can turn into a debate without trying.  But in the end it's important for me to share that I am an 'open thinker'.  Hopefully just saying that will help you understand I'm not forcefully projecting views that the listener better get or else, but rather sharing views of interest and  always hoping to have a "glass is half full" outcome accepted by others. I do get that sometimes you have to agree to disagree, but what I'm talking about today doesn't relate to that way of thinking...just sayin all this up front to set the stage of this blog.

I see the world through an 'Alice in Wonderland' view which can be thought of as quite naive by others, however I know better, it's just that I always 'hope' for more.  I want to believe the best, learn through experience that getting to the best isn't always pretty and many times comes with grieving, resentment, or other types of feelings associated with some of the realities that hit me from being this type of person.

Ok that was a MOUTHFUL!  My point?  I am sharing from my heart here, thinking out loud, my view, opinion, and otherwise that remain open and changeable, however I hope you as the reader and in this case listener will think, even out loud, and not with a 'glass is half empty, 'oh is she naive' mentality'.

My subject today?   
Friendship:Turning Back The Hands Of Time

You know our personal life cycles are not endless. We're not immortal. 
Life expentancy these days has increased due to medical and health breakthroughs, as well as lifestyle and life changing mindsets that we may embrace.  Our lives extend out much further than our former generations and I suspect it will only continue to improve.  BUT... 

Why is it, that we don't learn to appreciate some people,  I mean fully appreciate them, accepting them no matter what.

Why is it that we take others for granted or worse write the friendship off due to some hurt or discomfort, only to revisit the friendship if they have a life threatening experience, or are in the last season of life? 

Are we seeking to have friends that prove to not only have commonalities but can make us feel something we're missing, or validate what we want to believe about ourselves? 

I call this  selfishly demanding friendships.


Whether we will admit this or not, friends, close or not,  hurt us, or bug us, or rub us the wrong way.  Most of the time they don't realize they do it, they don't do it intentionally, and possibly some baggage in their own lives may be a factor as to why they act out the way they do.  So why are we more tolerant for some and not for others?
No matter what friend category a friend falls into, if they happen to offend us in life we react in one of two ways: we give them a 'by'  for the incident, or we write them off.  Right?  
Am I a Conditional OR Unconditional Friend?

Think about it, some of us have friends that have been there in dark times and offend us and we forgive them for it.  And still other friends, that haven't been there for us through dark times when we felt they should of, offends us and we write them off immediately.  Yet they didn't do anything worse than the other friend BUT because they didn't come through for us when we felt they should of, they don't get the same 'by' or another words, forgiveness, if you'll have it.

Have we ever taken the time to think that maybe, just maybe, those people or friends, may have their own issues in life that keep them for being what we need them to be in order to be 'worthy' of our continued unconditional friendship?  No, not usually, more than usual, we look out for ourselves and likely that is just human nature.  Still this has been on my mind.  

Do we really try to understand the other person before letting that friendship go, or do we only see it through our own eyes and what we need in life, or don't need at this point, and is that wrong?

Remember, I am a people pleaser so I am always trying to keep everyone happy, thus when I have a friendship that changes course, or I see someone else with a friendship that changes course I start my analysis 'thingy' and mull it over forever....why, why, why?   (Someone once shared an invite to the "I hate people group", and we laughed but deep inside me I cringed and thought, I can't "hate" people, I just can't, I won't)

We have seasons throughout our life and in every season,  things, people, and places, come and go for a reason but we have to be OH SO CAREFUL not to fallback on this and use this as an excuse for letting go, just because. 

Hurt is a very damaging experience and it turns good people towards ugliness.  Believe me I catch that spirit in me from time to time and have to nip it in the bud right there or it will turn to bitterness and resentment, ultimately hardening my heart.  

Ugliness comes in many forms, but the foundation is all the same, unresolved hurt turned to bitterness and resentment.  You may be saying or thinking, 

"no Val, you are being too naive, and I don't agree"..."I have let go of friendships and it's not due to hurt but more just sick of the way the person acts"  

Well I challenge you to look introspectively and I'll bet in your core you'll find that the real issue is a hurt that is causing you to give up on that person, and unaddressed hurt driving a lack of tolerance.

I happen to have many very forgiving friends.  How do I know?  Because they forgive me over and over again for my pitfalls, my blemishes, and they see the value in that for themselves.  Maybe they are even selfish in a good way because they get it!  They get how healing forgiveness is for themselves, more than for the one you're forgiving.  And I gotta tell you that for this type of friend, they don't require a condition of the offender to ask for forgiveness or say "I'm sorry", they just plain forgive.  This is so key to our own health!  No I'm not crazy, OR am I?
Is this a season change in my life...

It maybe just that, but it also may be a catalyst to a hardened heart grown from bitterness and resentment, a result of unresolved hurt and pain.

Unresolved hurt and pain can take on a form of bitterness and resentment, finally hardening your heart to the point of no return.  If we find ourselves saying
"I don't really care anymore" than likely we have the symptoms that a hardened heart is starting to grow or already exists.

We may think that tossing that friendship aside is the answer and cure all BUT actually it is the first step to heartsickness, a troubled heart, and that in the end will only hurt one person, ourselves.  We may think,  'that's not true, no it won't', "it's much better this way", "I don't have to deal with it anymore", "all the nonsense" etc...but truly at times all that nonsense gets to you because of deeper hurt and pain that has been left undealt with and doesn't necessarily have to have been caused by the friend you're tossing aside, or giving up on.

Heartsickness runs deep inside US and if we don't deal with feelings from hurt and pain, it can and will change our character in the end.  It can make a very empathetic and loving person, cold and callous, as they naturally use it as a form of protective defense, or better known as a 'wall'. 
  "...don't let your heart be troubled."  Maybe this statement has more is so clear to me now that I have experienced this... a 'heart' can become sick, or 'hardened' and one of the ways this can happen is by tossing hurt and pain aside and moving on without resolve.  

We hate confrontation or worse yet, feel it will go nowhere and would be an exercise in futility because the other person won't listen or change.  Yet the very person that needs the resolve and to change more than anyone sometimes is US!  

Why?  So we don't get heartsick or grow hardened hearts out of bitterness and resentment that festers inside us.  It starts with as little as an  "I don't care anymore" mentality.

So turn back the hands of time, remember the person in your best of times and forgive for YOU, not for them!   Don't ever settle for less than the best YOU can be!

Just sayin...
It's Just Val, Ciao!