Monday, September 1, 2014

The Divergent Divorcee - September 1, 2014 - Happy Labor Day!

Welcome September. It is amazing that the summer has since been gone with fall is on its way. How that can be in 110 degrees of heat with tons of humidity, I’m not sure. Today, is a go stopping point for me to reflect on the past few weeks that again has been a huge transition.

In true form, I like to focus on the 9 Life Areas. Today, I will stick with just one, marriage.  

Marriage. Encompassing the marriage bucket is relationships. I’m venturing into this area. It’s much different this time around. Not only do I date a man and he dates me, we also have to plan on dating each other’s children. Although I have known my GC (“gentleman caller”) for quite some time, this kiddo thing puts deep complexity into a once simplistic phenomenon of dating.

My older son has only met GC once for a brief moment, but is aware that I am in a relationship. My younger son has spent quite a bit of time getting to know him. Upon initial meetings, I asked both how they felt about GC being a part of our lives, on a scale of 1 to 10. The older one said, “a 3”. Knowing his personality, anything greater than a negative is pretty good. The younger one said, “a 100”! I gotta love his genuine optimism.

To make matters even more tangled, when GC told his two children about the possibility of me, one was fine and the other started crying. Then as siblings often do, the other cried tears of empathy as well.

If this was anyone else’s life, I may only laugh or cry. Since it’s mine, I do both.

Navigating this with the changes that each of our children are dealing with their other parents, only makes me and GC want to protect them even more. It’s as though we are the calm, the steady, the dependable ones that the kids need. Making any additional transitions for the kids need to be very intentional and in a way that everyone feels included and aware of the process. Basically, this will be a testament of our dedication and time to this process. Luckily, GC is a thought-provoked conservative that is able to think very long-term and pull me back to the balance that I need. I in turn research every best practice for blended families. I seek out counselors and therapeutic strategies for success. We really are a good team.

The next piece of the puzzle is ensuring that my grief process is complete regarding my 1st marriage; the 5 stages being: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. By the way, anyone who believes that this process is linear and not iterative is a fool. Each step of divorce is a roller coaster of the stages. I have come to a realization of all of the items that I can forgiven myself and my was-band for, which also leads me to understand those that still exist. There are actually two things left. #1 – I still haven’t forgiven myself for not ending the marriage sooner. I believe in fairy tales. I am a romantic (yes, a romantic-hearted CPAJ). I had hope for the future. This forgiveness is difficult. #2 – I still haven’t forgiven my was-band for how he treats me through this process. I have invested more of everything in him than anyone ever in his life to date, and likely in his lifetime. That’s hard to understand why someone can’t move on with their life of happiness but be grateful for all that took them to that place. I know I am. I have learned and grown. I am grateful for that. I always thought of divorce for me as a change for the future that each of us both needs and wants, but that family is forever. That again makes this one difficult. The good news is that my prayers and faith will get me to forgiveness, I just have to stay the path.

So now that I know where I am with all of that, back to the GC. How do you know when it can work round 2? When’s a good time to even try? How does anyone sign on a dotted line once you actually realize the level of commitment that marriage truly encompasses? My understanding at 22 is vastly different than it is at 37. The more I know, the scarier it becomes. This forces me to take the concept back to its basics.

What is love? A strong affection for another arising out of kinship; Attraction based on sexual desire; Affection and tenderness felt by lovers

A saying that I have in my bedroom wall describes love as… where your thoughts go often throughout your every day.

I suppose that I should also share my personal checklist of requirements for any guy that even stands a chance with me. (Please note this is a Christian approach to marriage, but I will include my interpretations in red.)

1.     Spiritual Leader the man of the home is a Christ believer and leads a Christian life that is an example for me and our children.
2.     Financial Leader the man of the home works hard in a profession that is respected and he has passion for. It enables him to provide to us and give to others.
3.     Emotional Leader the man has as a shoulder for me to cry on, arms to embrace me with and a smile to lighten my world everyday.
4.     Physical Leader the man considers my body and his as sacred and treats them both as such.

If you think this is a wanted ad or a fictional character, it isn’t. Every women should have this as a minimum standard. It is also a good point of reflection…how many does your current GC have? Is it enough? Share the list and work on them together. Remember that I am the eternal optimist. I believe in LOVE, even at this stage of the game.

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu

So I will focus on the fact that if I continue to have the strength to prevail through the process, I must be receiving love. At the same time, if I feel the courage to venture forward towards this new relationship, I must actually be in love.


Warm Wishes, Carli

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Divergent Divorcee - August 15, 2014

Good evening 4 Seasons of Change followers. I started out blogging monthly, then quarterly and now believe that ad hoc or as needed may make the most sense. For those of you out there that journal, blogging is similar to that. You do it when you feel a need. Due to my openness with all of you, I shall begin to do the same.

I will continue to focus on my nine life areas but give you insights into being someone who truly tries to live in the right. Believe me that I am far from perfect, learn from my mistakes daily, and breathe deeply when I make them. Most importantly, I make decisions with the right intentions for today, tomorrow and years from now; these decisions aren't for myself but for everyone involved. I tend to learn faster than others, plan more strategically, and simply have to realize part of my mission here is to bring others along to become their better selves, even when I don't totally want to. I do it as my God given gift. I owe it to others to take these things on.

Live is full of highs and lows, peaks and valleys... That is something I've always been ok with. It is the volcano pre-explosion, post-explosion and the foresight for the next one that is truly the worst. Right now my life is a volcano. Everyone is getting burned as they don't trust that I am the best scientist in this project. The crazy part is that all involved actually deep down know that I am. Talk about frustrating.

Now for my 9 Life Area Updates.

Wealth - the money thing is going fine from a 4SoC revenue perspective. I have a good book of business with the growth I had hoped from in 2014. I am able to provide for my two boys with a lifestyle that I can be proud of. They know that if they need anything to come to me. That's a good feeling. I have our house going through some minor renovations to update it and make it ours. That is something that also brings me joy. I am creating our space. Taking the place of my and my boys' security and moving it to our next phase of that. Although it is a bit big for me and two little guys, it makes sense for us right now. One less change...

Reputation - my professional reputation is going strong. I am in the midst of large change programs so the highs and lows that I spoke of earlier are in full force. I keep my eye on the end goals when clients or sub-sets of them get frustrated. I know that the right thing will come about over time so long as I persevere and stay the path. My personal reputation is good as well. Those that believe in me are seeing me be more than they thought I could be. I will admit, some would love to see me fail. Fortunately, I never have. I may screw it up, but I always fix it:) If I can just get everyone to remember who I truly am, life would be better here.

Marriage - divorce was final on June 10, 2014. It has been a painful journey of transition. This takes courage; I now understand everyone who was every a starter wife or husband. I seriously applaud all of you for surviving it. Sometimes two people don't share the same values in the everyday or vision for the future. It doesn't mean anything else. Accepting that is quite difficult but essential. Luckily, I do change for a living so I'm quicker than most. I think that just means more intense now but less for later. I think that's lucky???

Good news is that I am dating someone. We have shared values. We envision a similar future for us and our children. Kids and work are our life. I'm still fuzzy on how that can or will translate to something in the future but values and vision keep me believing. Based on this situation, I spend a lot of time with the kiddos solo or a lot of time alone. This alone time is so critical to my growth and ability to be a good partner in the future. It's hard a lot but I remember my path and keep on trucking.

Health - based on the fact things are a volcano, so is my body. I continue to see the trainer a few times a week. I have to before school starts for the kids or it simply won't happen. We are working on restorative and strength exercises. It's crazy how exhausted my body is even after warm up. Chronic fatigue is some pretty fun stuff. The fibromyalgia causes my insides to burn...thank-you volcano. To boost, the stress is making my eczema breakout. Basically that means I get sores in spots and my whole body itches including the hair on my head. Talk about annoying. To try to help the head stuff, I have my hair super dark brown. The bleached highlights are history. It feels kind of good to look different while I have all of this going on. One godsend are the weekly massages I get. Helps the pain and sleep stuff. Additionally, I do yoga weekly and some basic walking. My appetite has slowed. I cry nearly everyday. I think that's a positive sign that my body, mind and spirit want to heal but just aren't sure how yet. My diet is still vegetarian or fish only and gluten free. This helps a lot. I'm trying to keep sugar and crapola to a minimum. Got acupuncture yesterday...normally works like a charm but my stress is just too high. Dammit!

The biggest focus is on my spirituality or inner self. I don't want to lose it during all of this. I have my life coach that reminds me of who I am and what I am about when self-doubt fades in. She is amazing and I wish she lived with me. If I can ever open my life dream of a 4 Seasons of Change Studio & Loft, she will be the spiritual advisor.

Gratitude - my gratefulness is highest during hard times. I am thankful for my boys who are both "beautiful disasters" (you can ask anyone), my family that is so supportive and frankly awesome, my friends for just being there, and my clients who are amazing to me everyday. I am thankful that my health always me to care for myself and the kids. I am thankful for my handful of BFFs...you know who you are. I am also thankful for the mystery man that makes me smile. I am most grateful for the life of opportunities that I have that so many women don't. I am beyond words that I can make it day to day.

Children - this is the highlight of the blog. If I had been blogging you for the last month daily, you would be laughing so hard you would have fallen off your chair.

Marcus started Junior High, 7th grade. Jaxon started 2nd grade. Marcus has been my challenge since the day he was born. I always worry about his epilepsy and depression, so I put him at a school 20 minutes from my house. He made football and is in honors math. His self-esteem is my priority. I think we made the right decision. Unfortunately, I just checked grades and he has an A in honors math and F in social studies. Seriously...who does that? Marcus does. He isn't one to waste his time on things that don't interest him. So now we are in make-up mode. It is stressful and sucks, for me at least. We lost his football cleats and gloves (approximate value of $150) two times in a week; both ended up in a stressful recovery. He forgets things more times than a 100 year old man...and remember I have to drive 20 minutes one way when he does, as do all the other adults in his life. Awesome! He is struggling with his new life as well. This is the first school year that the divorce is official. As he is in puberty, it is hitting him and his hormones hard. I feel like a failure at least half of the time. But again, I just keep trying my best. I think he knows that I will always take care of him, but it's still hard. I want him to be safe, happy and most importantly well-adjusted. I try to give him security and a routine. Any recommendations here would be fabulous!!! Marcus and I have this weird intellectual connection and the usual mother one, but he is killing me!

Jaxon is a gem. He has his moments, but generally is easy. He is loving and happy and accepts life as it comes. He tries to be respectful and loving, pretty much all of the time. School is no problem. Tackle football is his thing right now. His life, despite the changes, is pretty good. He's my baby. Guessing he's waiting for his teenage years to get me. I only worry that I will mess something up and change is love of life demeanor. That's the part that scares me most.

Co-parenting has been painful. Being with someone for 20 years and then having communication issues is hard. I recognize that we both have the best of intentions, but we execute those so differently. I simply pray that we figure all of that out quickly and for the long-term for the boys and our own sanity. I've done so much research, surprise right? I know that research isn't the end all be all, but it's there for a reason. I want to learn from others and do the best I possibly can. Time will tell.

Wisdom - seriously does anyone think I'm not learning right now? Between child rearing, PhD program intensity, and complex client issues, I'm like a walking you tube tutorial on a myriad of topics. My brain my explode at any moment. Beware...it's scary! My biggest thing here is getting more expertise on the kiddo thing (I know I can always improve and my best experts are the boys), stick with PhD no matter what, and challenge the clients like they do me.

Career - Work 4SoC with the passion I have every day possible. Live my life mission of - - - Client Service through Servant Leadership - - - ! Help as many people as I can in this lifetime to live their professional and personal lives with intention.

Spirituality - continue to count on God for my plan. Believe that this is meant to be, volcano and all. Have faith that the end plan will all come together so I can serve as I was intended to. Pray nightly with my boys, individually or together, so they can ask God for the things they need to be ok. Our prayer since Marcus was born is, "Thank-you Jesus for all I have, Mom, Dad, Marcus and Jaxon, Family, Friends, Health and Love, Thank-you Jesus so high above. Amen," Simple and to the point.

Travel as much as I have been for personal and include the boys as much as possible with work travel. I want to remember that travel experiences change perspectives. Engaging me and the boys in travel can help all of us remember how blessed we truly are. Also, I seriously need a break, even if a short one. I need to get this on the radar. I need something to regenerate me.

Closing - I recognize that I may have lost most of you, but with frequency, I can merely check-in now that you are up to speed. I will always keep it real!

A quote to close: "A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things, and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path." - Agatha Christi

Warmest Wishes, Carli

Sunday, June 8, 2014

2014 Summer Edition

Welcome to the 4 Seasons of Change, Quarterly Blog, “Thyme for Change”.

It has proved to be a busy springtime. I will go ahead and provide you a status of my 9 Life Areas, as well as share some expectations that I am laying out for myself this summer. Although I feel like we haven’t spoke in a while, my hope is that we are becoming like old friends where we can get up to speed quickly without it being weird or uncomfortable at all.

As you recall, there are 9 Life Areas that I focus my coaching on. Each area is an important piece of our overall world. In order to achieve the balance that each of us seeks which is visible and felt through meaning, satisfaction, happiness and joy, all areas need attention and intentional care. I will not pretend that I do not neglect some areas here and there, but I will promise you that each remains in my roadmap that I navigate daily. As I tell my clients, I’m not perfect nor do I expect perfection; I give and want a deep-hearted try all of the time.

9 Life Areas
Spring Reflection
Personal Scoring, 1-10 (10 is totally fabulous)
Summer Focus
Wealth
I have increased my giving at church, Cornerstone Chandler, & my alumni school, Northern Arizona University
7
Keep all current commitments in this area.
Reputation
I continue to focus here on getting client referrals versus marketing. So far, so good.
7
Get a few new clients via referrals.
Marriage
My marriage has hit closure.
I am transitioning into a new chapter of life here.
5
Transition into a healthy, thriving relationship when honesty and acceptance of self is present.
Health
My health continues to be better than originally experienced early in 4SoC. Due to increase in time commitment with the kids, school and work, which includes travel, this is a constant battle. I have been proactive with acupuncture, new USANA vitamins (highly recommend), massages, resting when possible, training program and general stress management.
7
Don’t slack on progress made thus far in this area. Keep all health activities in check and a priority. Manage pain and stress with a naturopathic approach.
Grateful Heart Center
I am truly grateful each and every day at some point for my life. It’s like blessings are now an ordinary part of my day. I would never wish for anything more.
9
Create a new daily prayer specific to me and my needs; keep prayer that I say with kids.
Children
The kids had a busy and productive spring. Marcus continued with club basketball and worked with a trainer to increase speed and agility. He focused more on his schoolwork and his grades got a lot better. He was accepted to Payne Junior High School in Chandler District. He will be in the CATS Gifted Program. He is also a pre-teen PITA. Good news is that Marcus’s epilepsy remains under control. He has a new doctor at Phoenix Children’s Hospital that is helping us with that. Jaxon played baseball and did a great job as a teammate and player. He continues to excel in school and got straight As. He always struggled in handwriting but finally got it down. He is full of love and energy. He literally wears me out! Great news is that the boys graduated from therapy. Their counselor loves the progress they have made and sees them as smoothly into their two-parent world. That is most important to me that my kiddos seem well adjusted, productive and pretty happy with their little lives.
8
Have a fun, memorable summer. Include kids in my work schedule and travel as much as possible.  Ensure that they get lots of time with their friends and relatives. Prepare Jaxon for 2nd grade and Marcus for his movement to 7th grade (Junior High). Make sure boys remain active and lots of discussions about healthy lifestyles. Observe general happiness and be flexible with their needs.
Wisdom
I completed my 9th class in the PhD program. I just started my 10th one. It is Multivariate Statistics, and it might kill me. I feel so burdened by this program. It’s like a migraine that I have to deal with everyday without a break. I’m trying to leverage my persistence, but honestly it is a long, frustrating process.
Good news is that I did treat myself to my first MacBook Pro. I can’t say Apple Computer as I think my family had one in the 80sJ By the way, I am totally MacPro ignorant. Also, who knew that Apple is more compatible with my university studies than PC. Wish someone could have told me 3 years agoL
I have downloaded a ton of books. One of my favorite things about my clients is that they are always recommending books and articles for reading. Since we talk about their wisdom areas, I get a benefit from it. In addition, I’ve purchased a ton of magazines during the spring that are typical and out of the ordinary to get my creative juices flowing.
8
I need to finish class #10. This is the 1st big milestone…50% done with the PhD program!!! Then start class #11.
Basically, DON’T QUIT!
Career
4SoC continues to flourish. My clients are so diverse, it makes this fun, but even more important, challenging. I have learned even more about running my own business and what it takes to make it good for my family, my consultants and my clients.
8
I really want to focus on providing my clients an even better product and level of service. This requires more time researching needs and solutions. Now that many are settled into working with me, it’s time to kick it up a bit. This is actually the stuff I really like.
Spirituality
There has been a lot of travel over the spring. Marcus had a basketball tournament in LA, and Kennedy had a dance competition there as well. Different weekends of course. In addition, I traveled to Houston a few times, California and Tucson for work. Much of the travel was one the weekends, so church attendance has suffered. I continue to build my relationship with God through prayer, solo and with my kids, as well as my focus on gratitude. Also, my herb garden is another way for me to connect. I got my gardener to add a watering system. It’s now flourishing, although my cacti are drowning.
7
The travel plan is very nice for Summer Time. I am currently writing this blog on a flight to Hawaii. My parents surprised all of us with a trip for Christmas. So on the plane is Grandpa Bob, Grandma Deone, Sister Jaime, Cousin Kennedy, Baby Daddy Reggie, and Crazy 1 and 2, Marcus and Jaxon. Whoo Hoo!
I also have a handful of client trips to California, Del Mar and Newport Beach. I don’t want it to be too fun so apparently I may go to a place called Lancaster (in CA, who knew?). Also, I’m hoping to find myself up north in the mountains or something. I HATE AZ HEAT!!!
Although traditional worship through church will likely suffer, I’m happy to have new places and faces to find peace. Also, the client really likes a church in Costa Mesa, so hopefully I will be able to check it out.

Is it crazy to be so happy so much? If anyone would have told me that this is what my world could be like I would have never believed it. The day that Arthur Andersen shut it’s doors on my 8 month pregnant booty is the day I went from being totally quiet and conservative to a more bold risk taker. I now see what risk and hardwork versus just hardwork can bring me. I cherish that so much. If I can get my clients to feel even a portion of that, it is a job well done.

Are you wondering what types of work I really do? Are you in a rut? Are you looking for a change? Do you need growth that your current job just isn’t giving you? Are you simply a hot mess? Well, the three buckets of services that I can provide you include:

1.     Executive Coaching – Work one-on-one on your 9 Life Areas to get you on your most desired path.
2.     Business Coaching – Help you buy, sell, start or expand your business. Focus on revenue growth and strategic planning. Enable your people to rise to the level that you need to achieve goals.
3.     Leadership Development – Leverage The BLooM Project that 4SoC offers by Bringing the Leader out of Me! Or You! Or Everyone on your team!

Reach out anytime. Learn more at www.4seasonsofchange.com.

In closing, I would like to provide you with a lovely quote:

"Ho'onalu"

(This is the Hawaiian words for meditation. It means literally - 'to make like or be like a wave' more clearly it means 'to go with the flow'.)

Mahalo, 


Carli Ann McClure, CPA