We Can Only Change Ourselves

I have a little ritual when I plant flowers. I   plant in the ground and push the dirt around it and then I say to myself or out loud (depends if they neighbors are outside), “grow plants grow!” I somehow believe even plants need a little encouragement! 

I feel so hopeful every spring when I plant flowers. My ego wants to believe that those 3 encouraging words inspire growth. I have been gardening for a long time and I am not naive to believe my words have anything to do with creating strong, sturdy plants. Plants need the right conditions to grow.

People, not unlike plants, also need the right conditions to grow. Perhaps, you have been gently nudging someone like your husband, child, or co-worker to grow. Fill in the blank, “grow,____, grow”! How is it working for you? 

I have learned the hard way through my relationship challenges that I can’t change anyone, I can only change myself. Just like I can’t force a plant to grow, I can’t force growth in others. I can encourage growth but I can’t make it happen. Fortunately, I can trust in the Divine’s perfect timing to create the perfect conditions for plants and people growth.  Season after season, I utter the same 3 words but this year I became aware maybe these words are meant to seep into my own soul, “Grow Trina, Grow!” Because like I said, we can’t change anyone we can only change ourselves. 

Are you willing to grow as a result of the hard things you are experiencing? What is life trying to teach you?

"Anna Duggars" of the World Unite

Josh Duggar is away at sex rehab but what about his wife Anna? I can't stop thinking about her.  I can’t stop thinking about how blindsided she must have felt when it became public her husband, Josh Duggar (from the reality TV show 19 kids and Counting), was leading a double life. In August, hackers broke into the Ashley Madison website that encourages extramarital affairs because life is short! As a result of the hack, 30 million men's names, including Josh's, became public knowledge.

After the Ashley Madison hack story broke, I hated that I had to approach my husband and ask if he was on the site. I had to because I have experienced betrayal in my marriage.  Over 9 years ago, I was blindsided by my husband’s secret life.  Perhaps that is why I sat in a parking lot and cried for Anna Duggar when the media broke the news about her husband’s deeds. I remembered the shame and loneliness I felt dealing with the secret war in my marriage which eventually became public and cost my husband his job. 

I don’t know Anna but my heart breaks for her because she represents to me, the reported 30 million spouses who may be walking around with shattered hearts from their husband’s betrayal. I walk among some of these women because it became public that 20,000 Ashley Madison users are from Bucks County, PA where I live. 

Being blindsided by betrayal, shatters the image we create of our marriage and family. I imagine, many of the 30 million men are respected people in their communities, workplaces and families.  It is difficult for a women to know who to turn to when their reputable husband and also maybe the father to their children is living a secret life.

Someone told me after our story broke, that she noticed a sadness in my eyes. Do you have a sadness in your eyes? Or do you know someone who is struggling with this private pain? Keeping and holding this pain is like trying to hold a beach ball under water, it takes energy and strength to keep this secret from popping up and out.  Men and their spouses suffer in silence. Life is too short to hold this pain, secret and shame. 

I describe this pain like a slow growing tumor that sucks the life out of a marriage. If this was a physical tumor we would seek medical treatment, right? But where do you go when you have a wounded, betrayed, and broken heart? 

Because life is short, I have decided it’s time to find a way to connect individuals who may be suffering alone in silence and shame. There are many forms of treatment for this “tumor” but I know I would have benefitted from a community of women led by someone who understood the sadness in my eyes. I want the “Anna Duggars” of the world to connect so I have created small communities of women  called I.C.U for Women. The purpose of the groups is to connect women via phone or in-person who desire care, coaching and healing in a safe space.   Like an ICU (Intensive Care Unit) at a hospital, the group is an ICU for the spirit. C.S Lewis says, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” 

Don’t suffer in silence. You are not alone. Join I.C.U for Women, a community where you can be seen, encouraged and supported to heal and grow.  Your spouse doesn't have to be a Ashley Madison user to join the group but if your life and/or marriage has been affected by the devastating effects of pornography, sexual addiction, extramarital affairs, etc. and you are looking for a place to be supported then join I.C.U for Women! 

Sad eyes are welcome.

For more details, visit our Services page




Telling Our Truth

It is hard asking for what I want. As a recovering people pleaser, I used to believe it was my life’s calling to make everyone else happy.  On May 8, 2010, I decided it was a good day  to tell my family what a perfect day would look like to me.  After all, it was Mother’s Day!  The following day I wrote in my soul book (aka journal): “Yesterday I had the best day! I found the courage to write my best day on the dry erase board and it all happened and more. It went something like this:

  • walk
  • breakfast on the deck 
  • a bubble bath 
  • church
  • lunch at a park 
  • smoothies 
  • read in the hammock
  • dinner on the deck
  • game of ultimate frisbee with the kids
  • milkshakes 

I am grateful my family honored my ideas for an ideal day, but then again it was Mother’s Day! A bigger challenge for me is to have the courage to speak my truth on a daily basis. Speaking my truth does not mean I will always get what I want, like I did on Mother’s Day, but it is important I add my voice to the mix. When everyone's voice is in the mix then it is an opportunity to practice the skill of negotiating.  Negotiating is a great skill to learn.  Our marriage counselor used to point out that marriage is all about negotiating! 

The following symptoms flare up when I do not  have the courage to speak my truth: I become resentful, passive-aggressive, play the martyr and let emotion build up and a poor soul gets my misdirected anger.  It’s been  said that the hardest part of being a woman is telling our truth, all of it. Do you agree?

In what situations is it hard for you to speak your truth?

Who are the persons in your life that honor your truth?