Journey to Faith

Journey to Faith
Follow your own path

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

5 Tips for Surviving as a Single

Some questions should never be asked. "Why are you still single?" is one of them.

Hint: if you are married, NEVER ask this question of a single friend unless you no longer want to have them as a friend.

Let's face it - we live in a couples' world. Everything is set up based on two people. This fact came home pretty hard this past week.

I received an offer in the mail for a free vacation, airfare and hotel, for two. Excitement started to percolate as I thought about the possibilities of where I would like to travel. I called the number on the letter, got all the information and decided I was willing to endure the 90 minute spiel to get the free tickets. It was about then that the marketer asks the question:

"Are you married or cohabitating?"

"No, I am not married or cohabitating," I replied.

"Well then, I apologize, but we cannot extend this offer to you. It's only for couples."

Bummer.

Now I know many married folks would love to be single again. However, as glamorous and exciting as it may seem, being single is not all that easy or glamorous. The full load of all life's responsibilities falls squarely on one person's shoulders and that is quite a hefty burden to bear.  Take heart, friends.You are not alone and, as a long-time single, I am here to tell you it is possible to survive and thrive as a single while you are waiting for Mr. or Ms. Wonderful to come along.

Below are 5 tips I've learned over the years that help me focus on the positives when my mind wants to focus on the negatives of the single life.

1. Be thankful for our singleness.
    Yes, I know it is difficult at times, but as a happily divorced lady, I can tell you being single is a heck of a lot better than being in a bad marriage - by far! As the apostle Paul stated in Phil 4:11 "I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am in." Paul went through some pretty tough situations and he was single. If we think our lives are tough, imagine being in his shoes.

2.  Remember that God has a plan for each of us.
     Sometimes it takes years for God's plan to be revealed. Honestly, I think it has a lot to do with the lessons we each need to learn. In the meantime, discover your gifts and begin using them for the glory of God to serve other people. We each have gifts and when we get out of our self-centered selves to focus on other people's needs, we will be filled with joy, purpose, and less time to have a pity party.

3. Make space.
     Clean out your house, your garage, your closets. Get counseling to get rid of your old baggage. In other words, get rid of all the material and emotional clutter.  Many singles I know are out every night of the week or working so much they have no time or room for a significant other. If you want God to bring you a partner, you best have the time and energy to devote to him or her.

4. Don't settle.
    Now I know many of you, gals in particular, feel like the clock is ticking. Every time some guy asks me how old my kids are I think "Here we go again...". I tell them straight up. I don't believe in hiding important facts. The truth is going to come out sooner or later and better to deal with issues up front than after you become emotionally attached. Mr. Right will love you for who YOU are and if he doesn't then he is not your Mr. Right. Next!

5. Trust God's timing.
    It's easy to take things into your own hands and make things happen on your own timetable. But resist that urge. God sees the big picture. He is working behind the scenes preparing people. Focus on healing yourself and making yourself the best you can be. The more issues you clear out of the way beforehand the smoother your relationship with Mr/Ms Right will be when the time comes.

Ok, I hope these tips are helpful. Love to hear your thoughts so please post a comment. No matter what our status is, each day is a gift.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to join our community, enter your email address in the box provided. You'll receive my free e-guide entitled "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path". 

Stay tuned for more on relationships, dating, and being single.

Until next time, keep looking up!

Ariel 











Thursday, October 12, 2017

10 Signs You're in the Wrong Relationship

Relationships can be a dream or a nightmare and it can be very difficult to navigate the dating waters. This may explain why the number of single Americans continues to grow. Did you know that singles comprise over half of the United States population?

Some 124.6 million Americans were single in August, 2014. Now that is quite an impressive statistic. As a long-time divorced lady, I have some experience with what can possibly go wrong in a relationship. Sometimes, we miss the obvious "red flags" because we are a) lonely b)already smitten or c)clueless. As they say, love is blind. So in an attempt to remove the blindfold, and keep my fellow single friends from going through unnecessary pain and angst, today I am going to share 10 signs  you may be in the wrong relationship. I am writing from a woman's point of view, but many of these signs can just as well apply to women for my male readers.

1. The guy never has money to pay your way.
You are a treasure, a gift, and your presence deserves to be honored. If a guy always asks you to pay your own way, he may not be able to afford his rent much less you. Time to move on.

2. Your partner tells "little white lies".
I'm sorry, but a lie is a lie. If someone is withholding information or distorting the facts, they are lying. If the person is compelled to not tell the whole truth about small situations, what is going to happen when something big comes up?

3. The person only talks about himself. 
Nothing is more boring than to spend an evening listening to a guy go on and on about himself, his accolades, his children, his wealth, ya da ya da ya da. If your date doesn't show an equal amount of interest in you, my dear girl, right from the get go, he is not going to later on. This behavior indicates a possible narcissistic personality and is unhealthy, so run!

4. The guy wants to get you in bed early on.
Ok, I admit I am a bit old school and I know times are changing. However! I still live by my mother's old adage "Why should he buy the cow if he can get the milk for free?" Sleeping with a guy is no guarantee he is going to stay with you. In fact, if he is pestering you early on for sex, that is a clear indicator of his true motives. Move on.

5. The guy drinks a lot, smokes a lot, eats a lot, uses drugs or gambles a lot.
These are all addictive behaviors and you are not going to be the one to "fix him". If your beau displays any of these behaviors to excess, again - move on!

6. He can't seem to hold a steady job.
 I once dated a guy who had a four-page resume. There was always some excuse why the job didn't work out. You have to ask yourself "What is the common denominator?" Now I don't mean if a poor guy loses his job, you should dump him. What I mean is if the guy has a string of jobs that only last a short time and then he is out looking again, tell him to look in the mirror. You move on!

7. He has a lot of female "friends".
Typically when a guy tells you "She's just a friend," that usually means she is an ex-girlfriend. And if she is still hanging around, she is still interested in him. You want a guy who only has eyes for you, a guy who has long-term relationships. You do not want a playboy, a player, or a Casanova romeo. Unless, of course, you want your heart broken.

8. The guy offers to buy you.
 I once was told "If we get together, you'll never have to worry about money again,". It was all I could do not to gag. This is a manipulative ploy wealthy men use to get a woman. Any self-respecting female can support herself and does not need to be "taken care of" by a man. Times have changed, and no longer do women look to men to provide for them. Women today are looking for deeper values such as commitment, communication, intimacy and such.

9. Your friend has a critical spirit. 
He makes cutting or sarcastic remarks at your expense and then brushes it off by saying "I was only joking with you," or "Can't you take a joke?" Sorry, buddy. No dice. Sarcasm is a sign of insecurity. A secure man will never undermine his lady in any way. It is not funny. It is petty and unacceptable. Again, gals, move on. It will only get worse as time goes by.

10. Your man is already in another relationship.
 Last but not least, do not attempt to attract a man who is already dating someone or who is separated. I consider being separated still being married. I do not want to be the reason someone's marriage dissolves. If a guy is seeing another woman "on the side", you don't want him. Love triangles only bring heartache and pain. Find someone who is unattached and available. The last thing you need in a budding romance is drama. If a guy is making eyes at you while he's with another woman, he will be doing the same thing when he's with you. Move on!

Ok, so there you have it. Ten signs you are in the wrong relationship. I'm speaking from personal experience on a lot of these and hope this post has opened your eyes to see if any of these could be true in your relationship. The sooner you spot these signs and get out, the quicker you will be able to move on to find Mr. Wonderful.

When we find the inner power we all possess, we will be more confident in our choices and find the courage to say no to unhealthy situations. Love to hear your thoughts on this post.

Enter your email address in the box provided if you'd like to receive my bi-weekly posts and a copy of my free e-guide.

Until next time, keep looking up and do click on the +1 google icon so I know you liked this post.

Ariel

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

4 Practical Ways to Enjoy Better Relationships

Great relationships don't just happen. Like your golf game, they take a lot of time and effort to improve. Life seems to be rolling along just fine, and suddenly you hit a bump in the road. People mess up. We say hurtful things, betray a trust, overreact, and manipulate to get our needs met. We turn to passive-aggressive behaviors instead of dealing with issues up front. Often, we are clueless how deeply our words and actions affect others. So why do we act like this?

Our ego and insecurities get in the way of healthy and respectful communication which prevents us from enjoying the close relationships we so desire.  It is tough to be on the receiving end of mistreatment but we are called to love another while setting appropriate boundaries.

After enduring many painful experiences, I realized I can't just give up on people. We all have our flaws so I dug into the subject and today I am sharing 4 ways to help us enjoy better relationships.

1. Learn to confront
Confrontation has gotten a bad rap, but when we use the term in regards to relationships, to confront simply means to come face to face. According to psychologists and relationship experts, John Townsend and Henry Cloud, confrontation is a skill we can all learn to preserve relationships by addressing issues with one another. For more on this, check out their book "Boundaries: Face to Face".

Rather than dumping people because our anger or frustration has reached the max, a better way is to confront the issue at hand and give the other person a chance to change their ways.

I once had a very close friend who called me up one day in a tizzy of frustration over something in our friendship. We had hit a bump in the road. I was trying to understand her concerns but she would have none of it. Then she blurts out this hurtful statement: "From now on, we are just acquaintances." I was stunned, shocked, and very hurt. Where was my chance to change? Why hadn't she said anything to me before? People are not mind-readers: not husbands, not boyfriends, and certainly not girlfriends. Unless we take the time to confront the issue, the other person is probably going on about their business clueless. One thing to remember in confronting, is to do it before you blow your stack or sever the relationship. This takes courage, skill, and maturity but it is a skill worth learning.

2. Learn to apologize
When someone confronts us with a problem, we need to be able to offer a sincere apology and offer to make amends. Some people think if they utter a perfunctory "I'm sorry", everything is hunky dory and they are ready to move on. Not quite so fast! The offender must take the time to understand and take responsibility for the pain he or she has caused the other person. They also need to make amends in some way. An apology is only the first step in reconciling the relationship and people receive apologies in different ways. For more on how to apologize, check out this insightful book, "The 5 Languages of Apology" by Gary Chapman.

3. Be willing to change our behavior
When we are confronted with an issue, the ball is our court so to speak. It is up to us to decide:

a) do we want to maintain the relationship and if we do,
b) understand what we have done that has hurt the other person.

This takes putting ourselves in their shoes. It also takes swallowing our pride and admitting our behavior needs to change. Personal story.

I once dated this guy, who was a strong Christian, went to church, read the Bible, the whole nine yards. But he had a jealousy problem. We would argue until the wee hours of the night about situations.

During these heated discussions he would resort to unfair and hurtful tactics such as demanding gifts be returned, name-calling, etc. When I expressed how hurtful his actions were, he would invariably apologize, but it wouldn't be long before we'd be at it again. Finally I had had enough of this behavior and told him so. His response was "What ever happened to forgiveness?"

Talk about the guilt trip. I had forgiven him umpteen times so my response to him was "What ever happened to repentance?" Repentance is the biblical term for changing one's behavior. In order to achieve harmonious and enduring relationships, we need to be willing to deal with our fears and insecurities, so we can clearly see how our behavior is impacting the other party and make the necessary changes. When we truly care about the relationship, we will put loving the other person above our ego and pride.

4. Learn to forgive
Forgiveness is a process that seems to be misunderstood by many. True forgiveness is really a two part process: forgiveness and restoration or reconciliation. Forgiveness means letting go of the need to get back at the other person. It means surrendering our hurt and pain to God, and giving the relationship another chance. Forgiveness is for both our well-being and the well-being of the other person. It frees the offender from the toxicity of shame. The words "I forgive you" can do wonders for the healing.

Restoration or reconciliation cannot occur until the offender has demonstrated changes in his or her behavior. It is folly to continue to allow someone back into our lives, when they have given us no indication that they have changed. This process applies to people with addiction or anger issues as well. Repeated patterns indicate an unwillingness to change for whatever reason. Forgiveness gives the offender a chance to redeem himself and we demonstrate our faith in them to do so.

To summarize, harmonious relationships don't just happen. There will always be bumps in the relationship road, but I hope that these 4 tips have given you some tools to navigate the potholes we inevitably encounter. When we have the courage to confront and the willingness to change and to forgive, we can enjoy the relationships we all desire.

If this post has helped you, please leave a comment. If you'd like to join our community enter your email address in the box provided. In addition to my bi-weekly emails, you'll also receive a copy of my free guide "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path",

Stay tuned for more on how to enjoy better relationships and until next time,

Keep looking up!

Ariel




Thursday, October 5, 2017

4 Stages of Attraction: What Makes a Man Attractive to a Woman

Frustrated with the dating scene? Tired of not being able to connect with someone? The problem is the same for both sexes so a bit of education might be helpful. Last week, we talked about the four stages of attraction for men. This week I'm going to share the four stages of attraction that women go through when they meet a man. They are indeed very different from the order in which men are attracted to women so let's go ahead and find out what they are.

Level #1:Romantic and Emotional Level

Whereas men are first attracted visually to a woman, women are usually attracted to some aspect of who a man is or something about his demeanor. It could be his smile, the way he says her name, the level of success he has achieved. Just as physical chemistry is the first and lowest level of attraction for men, romantic/emotional chemistry is the first and lowest level for a woman. This is why men often go the cards and flowers route early on in the relationship. They know women are emotional beings, but speaking from personal experience, these gestures however lovely and romantic they may be, often disguise a less than desirable character and low-self-esteem. Many times women mistake romance for true chemistry when in fact, this is only the first level.

Level #2: Mental Attraction

Yes, women are attracted to a man's mind, his intelligence and his intellect. The more intelligent and intellectual a woman is, if a man is not on the same level as she, this will not be a good match in the long run. What kinds of subjects does he like to talk about? Education comes into play here. A highly-educated woman will not be happy with a man with a high school education. They will be unable to communicate on the same level and it will be frustrating for both. They will also not be able to resolve conflicts and misunderstandings easily.

Level #3: Physical Attraction


Some women are attracted at the physical level first. These are usually the younger women, those on the rebound, and those who have not matured emotionally. Strong physical attraction is actually a red flag. This can blind a woman to a man's real character and she can wind up being very hurt. The wise woman will enjoy the romantic gestures and the physical attraction but will not be swept up by it. She will guard her heart until she gets to know a man's personality and character. A woman who keeps herself in shape usually is attracted to men who are in good physical shape as well, but there are exceptions sometimes.

Level #4:Soul Attraction

When a woman feels attraction and chemistry at the three previous levels, she is then ready to fall in love and move into soul attraction. When she likes who a man is, can interact with him at the same level, and finds him physically attractive, she is then open to falling in love with this man. If she accepts him as he is and can love him unconditionally, she will feel that this is the man she is meant to be with. There will be a deep connection at the soul level.

Everyone I've asked agrees there must be chemistry for a relationship to work. It's either there or it's not. Don't try to make it happen. What about the concept of a soul mate? Do you believe there is such a thing and if so, do you believe there is only one person right for you? If so, how do you know? For more on dating and attraction, check out John Gray's book, "Venus and Mars on a Date."

Love to hear your thoughts on this topic so please post a comment.  If you'd like to join our community and receive my bi-weekly posts, enter your email in the box to the right. You'll also receive a copy of my free e-guide entitled "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path".

Stay tuned for more on igniting the power within and discovering YOUR DESTINY!
Until next time, keep looking up!

Ariel

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

When Bad Things Happen to Good People: 5 Keys to Processing Tragedy

It has happened again. Another shooting.  They've been at theatres, schools, college campuses and entertainment venues. Innocent people lost their lives. Families are devastated. Futures will never be realized. It is heart-breaking.

For many, these are times to question God. Where was God in all this? Why did this happen? Doesn't anyone care? Some answers we won't know this side of Heaven, but we do know this. God does care and He does see. Psalm 56:8 says this: "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book." This verse is somewhat comforting to me in times of sorrow. Yet, what to do in the aftermath? How to move on? Having been through many losses myself, I can share some insight that perhaps will help soothe the pain and lend some sort of healing balm to the hurting heart.

1. Take all the time you need to grieve.
Grief is a deep and difficult emotion. I think it may be one of the most difficult to process. Get support. A counselor or a support group will understand and help you through this time. Be gentle with yourself. Don't medicate, ignore, or repress your feelings. We need to move through the pain so it will move through and out of us in time. Give yourself permission to cry. Crying is healing.

2. Cherish the memories. We can't bring the person back, but we can keep them alive in our minds. When something tragic happens, we gain a new perspective of life. We don't take things or people for granted any more. We cherish the times together with our loved ones. No one really knows how long we have on this earth. Each day is a precious gift, but all too often we take for granted the time we have been graciously given. Slow down. Smell the roses. Reprioritize.

3. Don't waste the pain.
There is always a message or a lesson in the tragic and painful circumstances of life. Yes, events may appear random, but if we take the time to investigate, we may see a pattern. Patterns lead to the awareness of a problem. Awareness leads to solutions. As President Obama stated, these shootings have become routine. Routine! Ask the victims families about routine! But he is right. No one is taking action. No one is asking the tough questions like: Where has the respect for the sanctity of life gone? Why is there no limit to the number of guns in any one household? Why do we keep electing officials who allow these senseless killings to continue?

4. Remember there is evil in the world. How anyone can deny the duality of good and evil in light of tragedy is beyond me. Yes, people do evil things. It can't always be blamed or excused by mental illness. People are responsible for their actions and their choices. Where was the dad or the mom who allowed the purchase of these weapons into the household? Evil is a part of life on this earth. Take a look around. It's not all roses and sunshine.

5. Keep your faith in God. We don't always understand why bad things happen, but as Job once said "Shall we only receive good things from the hand of God?" (Job 2:10) Trust that He will get you through this pain. You will heal in time and you will see your loved one again in Heaven someday. There will be no more pain and no more tears then. Know that God does care and He cries with you. His heart breaks when ours does. He, too, lost a child so he knows how we feel. I sometimes think He must be shaking his head, asking "When will they do something?"

The question is when will WE do something? Will we hold to our stubborn principles? Will we open our eyes to see the bigger picture? Will we feel the pain these families feel instead of turning our backs? Next time you go out to vote, will you make gun laws a major issue in your decision?

If anything, I hope this post has made you pause and think. Your family may not have been affected, but it could have been. Will you step up to the plate and be a voice for those who have already lost?

Until next time, keep the faith and keep looking up!

Ariel


The 4 Stages of Attraction: What Makes a Woman Attractive to a Man

Single? Divorced? Widowed? Searching for your soulmate? You're not alone. According to recent reports, there are more than 100 million single Americans. Yet, it's not so easy to find someone you're attracted to, much less compatible with. If you're single, male or female, this post is dedicated to helping the sexes understand what makes us attractive in the eyes of the beholder.

The dating scene can be intimidating but the good news is we can educate ourselves on how we are attracted to the opposite sex so we make more informed choices as to whom we decide to date. Did you know that there are different stages we go through when we are first attracted to someone? What's more, men are attracted at different stages than women. Today's post is dedicated to helping singles understand the four levels of attraction for men. Next time we'll take a look at the four stages for women and be assured, they are not in the same order.


Stage #1: Physical Attraction

We all know that men are visual creatures so it comes as no surprise to learn that guys are attracted at the physical level. This is the first and lowest level of attraction. Young men and even a more mature man on the rebound are attracted at this level. This is stage 1 for a man.

Stage 2: Emotional Attraction

This has to do with a woman's personality; how she relates to the world and others. Some men like a woman with a bubbly personality, others prefer the more quiet type. Some experts say opposites attract when it comes to personality, and from my experience, this could be true in many cases. The question a man asks himself is "Can I be friends with this woman?"

Stage 3: Mental Attraction

When a man takes the time to learn how a woman thinks, feels, and conducts her life, he has reached the third stage of attraction. He is attracted by her character and not just by her body. He will be attracted to the way she thinks, and how she handles the situations of life.

Stage 4: Soul Attraction

You realize this person has what you need to grow. After all, growth is what relationships are ultimately about - the growth of the two individuals and the pair as a unit. The man feels this person is the "One" he is meant to be with for his soul to grow. At this level, a man's heart must be open and he must be willing to fall in love. The ultimate goal of a healthy relationship is to help the other person grow.

Has this post resonated with you? What are your thoughts about these four stages? Are they true for you? It is important for both sexes to understand how men come to fall in love. Next time, we'll talk about the four stages women go through to fall in love which is very different from the order for men.

Stay tuned for more on relationships, dating, and singleness this month.

Do leave a comment, and click the Google icon if you enjoyed this post. Also, sign up for my bi-weekly posts by entering your email in the box provided. You'll also receive a copy of my latest freebie.

Until next time, keep looking up!

Ariel




Thursday, September 28, 2017

7 Keys to Making Decisions You Can Trust

Are you always looking to someone or something outside of yourself to give you answers? Do you doubt your decisions or prefer someone else make them for you? Do you waffle a lot when making even the smallest decisions? If this is you, perhaps it is time to reclaim your personal power so today we will talk about gaining confidence in ourselves.

No doubt about it, decision-making can be tough, especially when it comes to important decisions. If we don't trust ourselves, decision-making is even more stressful. When we lose trust in ourselves, we lose our personal power.

How do we lose trust in ourselves?
One way we lose trust in ourselves is by making mistakes that have painful consequences. Our inner judge says "How could you have done that?" "Why did this happen to me?" "You should have seen this coming" etc.

We shame and guilt ourselves over things that were out of our control. Stuff happens - good and bad. Yes, many times we had a part to play but other times, things just happen. We need to accept that bad things happen and that we are not flawed or somehow a bad person because such and such happened to us.

It is important to deal with what happened, heal from it, and then dust ourselves off and get back in the game of life. After many unfortunate circumstances, here are some ways I have learned to regain trust in myself and I'm sharing them with you.

1Forgive yourself.
The first and most important thing is to mentally and emotionally let yourself off the hook. Give yourself grace. God does. Forgive yourself for whatever mistakes you might have made in the past. Learn the lesson(s) and then move on knowing you learned how to proceed in life in a better way. There is always a lesson to be learned in every trial.

2. Accept personal responsibility for the consequences.
If we want change in our lives, we have to take personal responsibility for our choices and our actions. Our lives will change when we do. It is too easy to blame other people for our problems but this way of thinking does not serve us. By blaming other people or circumstances, we are blinded from the truth that is is our actions and choices that put us where we are. If we are in debt, it is our spending habits that need to be changed. If we are overweight, it is our eating habits that need to be improved.

3. Trust in your ability.
Realize we make lots of decisions everyday, many of which we barely have to think about.
Decision-making is an on-going learning process that builds character. As a single parent, I had to make a lot of decisions raising my sons. Some decisions are bigger than others, but recognize the rewards of making good small decisions and you will become more confident when it comes to making bigger decisions.

4. Look for the positives.
We won't always make the right choice or decision. For example, for years after my divorce, I beat myself up saying "I married the wrong person," like there was something morally wrong with me. Until one day, one of my sons said "Well, Ma, you wouldn't have me if you didn't marry Dad." That put quite a different spin on the subject. Even when we feel like we have made a mistake, good can always come out of it. Don't beat yourself up. Realize this fact: there is no perfect decision. There will always be pluses and minuses. The key is to decide what is most important to you.

5. Don't pressure yourself into making big decisions quickly.
Some decisions such as who to marry, what career to pursue, have life-changing impact. The bigger the decision, the more time I spend on examining the various factors and possibilities. We make decisions based on the amount of information we have available at the time so don't feel pressured to make a decision if you are not 100% comfortable in your answer.

6. Do what is BEST for you.
For many years I was overly concerned about doing "the right thing." Then one day a counselor asked "How did doing the right thing become confused with doing what is best for you?" I really had to think about that. I had put a strick moral restraint on my decision-making process. The bigger the decision, the more time I spend researching all the different factors and possible outcomes. I know I will be the one to have to live with the consequences but I trust that I am making the best possible decision for me.

7. Trust in the Outcome
 Often people don't want to make decisions because they don't want to be held responsible for the outcome. The key is to be confident that no matter what the outcome, we will be okay. We will be able to handle the situation however it turns out. When we let go of the outcome, we free ourselves of the burden and allow God to step in.

 What do you feel led to do recently? Ask yourself what is the next right thing to do and then "Just do it!" as the Nike ad says. See how you feel. When we make a decision  we release the pressure. We feel relief to have made the decision.

If you enjoyed this post, please click the +1 icon. If you'd like to join our community and receive my bi-weekly posts, enter your email address in the box provided. You'll also receive a copy of my free e-guide entitled "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path".

Until next time, ignite the power within and keep looking up!

Ariel