How Great Thou Part

I miss Oprah.

The Golden Globes reminded us exactly why daily television just isn’t the same without her.

Oprah is what I refer to as a ‘Missionary of Life.’

She is devoted to helping others, lifting them up and carrying forward profound messages.


Few possess the raw, authentic and purposeful sincerity to achieve such great things yet continue to relate to all mankind in the same fashion.

3 Reasons We Miss Oprah


Oprah offers us hope.

She embraces the human condition.

The world and all of us who inhabit it are far from perfect but those exquisite imperfections are exactly what gives us meaning. We will stumble, we will fall, we will fear and we will ultimately triumph and find beauty in what once was ugly.


Oprah offers us inspiration.

She tells the stories people are afraid to talk about. Consequently, they are absent from the superficial and heavy on the substance and spirituality. They are complex, intriguing, and thought provoking.

They unite us in tears, laughter, awe or outrage.



Oprah is our sister.

She shares with us, roots for us, connects us, fights for us, and is loyal to us. Because of this, we feel less alone and more understood. We feel a part of something bigger like someone not only has our back but is okay with us all being different but still family.


This is Oprah.

The ‘how’ and ‘why’ no one else can replicate her.

There are a lot of celebrities, journalists, and leaders who are in the business of telling stories.

But few who pass the popcorn and scoot over to make room for us.

Oprah genuinely wants to watch this thing called life together.

In the hopes, we too will become inspirational and spiritual converts by lifting ourselves and others up.

I miss Oprah.

At least we still have Super Soul Sunday.


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It’s no secret I am incredibly proud to hail from a family of first responders. 

Here’s the thing.

When you belong to a family of selfless heroes you don’t hear all of their stories.

This is simply what they do. And though you could not be prouder you tend to forget the extent of their bravery. That is until you notice the occasional burn, their fatigue seems extraordinary or they seem unusually preoccupied. You can actually forget they spend each and every day serving and protecting mankind.

There are no days off for first responders. 

pexels-photo-263356The type of individual who chooses law enforcement, firefighting or the military is alert every day.

Did I say chooses? 

These are vocations and therefore, they were chosen for it.

The average person does not possess the rare combination of deep empathy and incredible toughness. The ability to be so caring you would rescue a complete stranger but strong enough to accept all the ones you can’t. To witness horrible tragedy yet bounce back each and every time with the hope you will save one more.

If you are like me, you fought back the tears watching the Verizon Super Bowl Commercial. 

All I could think was those are my people.

This is what they spend every day of their lives doing.

I just don’t get to witness the true extent of their incredible capacity to love. 

That commercial showed the immense beauty of mankind and connection. 

It’s why we are all here.

And it’s something first responders demonstrate every day.

The following are Three Lessons First Responders Teach Us About Love:


1. I Love Every Human Being Enough to Risk My Own Life for Them:

These words bear repeating.

First Responders love every human being enough to risk their own lives for them. They don’t look the other way when someone is struggling. They do not say they would rather not get involved or it’s none of their business.

They miraculously see all people as a valuable part of their world.

2. I Answer the Call as Soon as You Need Me:

They hear what you are saying.

There are no excuses from first responders. If you are scared, struggling or suffering they will answer the call immediately. You don’t have to ask them twice or beg or plead. You don’t have to explain yourself or justify your need.

They simply have to know you need them.

3. I Will Be the One Who Shows Up at The Worst Time of Your Life:

When the rest of the world walks out they will be there.

The deepest, darkest and dangerous moments in your life may send others running yet first responders will sprint toward you. They will make you feel safe and secure. They will quiet your fears and harness your emotion.

They care for you in your neediest hours.


It goes without saying we recognize the bravery and selflessness of first responders.

But do we comprehend the true extent of their incredible capacity to love?

And most importantly, how they love us all without expecting love back?

A few minutes of a Super Bowl commercial reminded us maybe they need to answer our call in a different way.

To pick up the phone and hear a thank you, tears or even laughter.

And that they not only serve us…

They serve as a reminder of the immense beauty of mankind and connection.



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I will admit it. I give my boys a hard time for being Eagles fans. In their defense, they truly do believe they are from Philly like their father.

Of course, I too was rooting for the Eagles. 

If my guys want them to win then so do I. 


I didn’t realize until this morning how much faith has become the center of this football team.

Some moments transcend. 

This incredible video below emphasizes the true meaning of a Super Bowl win. 

You will view Romans 5:8 inscribed on some of the player’s cleats.

It reminds me of the lacrosse team my two oldest boys played on in high school. Each game the players would insert a tiny piece of white paper inside their cleats. It contained a Bible passage from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and they too were a team led by prayer.

In my opinion, not a coincidence they ended up being a four-year champion state lacrosse team.

What does Romans 5:8 mean?

They are words which Carson Wentz lives and leads his life by – ‘Audience of One.’

Wentz remains grounded in his faith with the reminder God comes before all else.

This gives new meaning to the term ‘Wentzylvania’ for this now converted Eagles fan.

It gives one hope talented NFL players would set such a great example and truly be united in God and one another.

And reinforce, they are in fact, from the City of Brotherly Love


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A few days ago I wrote the column…

When God Cleans Your House

It made me realize though divorce is definitely about significant losses, I now see it as just life re-arranged.


And guess what? I love my life now! I know! Can you believe it?! I will attest to feeling emotionally chewed up and spit out many times over. A fact you all certainly know as you read my musings. You can’t experience divorce without this. Well, I guess a few charmed individuals may but the majority do not.

The shedding of so many emotions and a few people has left my world quiet.

It’s a beautiful quiet.

There is no longer significant angst. No more trying to please people. No more begging to be heard.

And there is also a peace.

The kind of peace that accompanies true spirituality.

When I wrote When God Cleans Your House, I understood my resistance had shifted into acceptance.

My worldview altered from trying to control the cascading losses to understanding they were necessary. I remember one day sitting in my marriage counselor’s office and telling him I both loved my now smaller world but internally felt somewhat conflicted since I had always kept a much larger world.

In essence, I was trying to convey that I felt both ‘comfortable’ and ‘uncomfortable’ with a new reality.

He essentially said it was healthier to have taken a minimalistic approach as in the past my larger world was actually the less healthy version. I was trying to please too many people, spreading myself emotionally thin and that is both consuming and exhausting.

It’s a wondrous thing this feeling of surrender I know have.

I feel blessed. Scratch that. I feel incredibly blessed to have this new direction in my life. Hard to believe when I once felt divorce akin to erasing an entire life built.

When we are going through hardship we remind ourselves to Trust in God and we pray. Yet, it takes a spiritual giant to let go immediately. We are human. We pray and somehow at times, still attempt to control the outcome anyway.

aka, resistance.

This is what I love about my life now.

It’s beautifully quiet.

Because my resistance has shifted into acceptance.


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Yesterday I experienced an emotional hiccup.

I shed a few tears.

I know! surprised me too.


After all, I am me again. I have regained my original strength and confidence.

I am finally restored.

But here’s the thing. I saw someone from my old world. The one I used to belong to. The one you have heard me speak of where I existed as a couple and not simply Colleen.

Instantly, I was thrust back to a time when I hemorrhaged love.

The excruciating emotional process of letting go of those whose loss I vehemently resisted.

I kicked. I screamed. I yelled. I fought it all. But it happened anyway.

Real people in my day to day life gradually turned into shadows of my past. 

In truth, it doesn’t necessarily take a divorce to command this human transformation. It can be any type of significant loss or trauma. The type where you suddenly need people, be it actual grief, a divorce, the loss of a job, a reputation, sudden illness or any other life-altering affliction.

The happy times are when you hang with people. The painful times are when you hang onto people.

So you reinforce your emotional grip. You grab hold hoping they will secure you because you are frightened. At first, because you are not sure you can endure what’s before you, then because you need them so badly, and finally because you feel a few slipping away.

No matter.

These are not the actual losses you initially believe them to be.

These are the times ‘When God Cleans Your House.’

My house was messy. No, it was ridiculously messy.

And I hate emotional cleaning. It’s far more exhausting than the physical counterpart. 

I had collected quite a few sentimental humans along my path.

And the clutter was overwhelming. Some said this and some said that. Some still called me beautiful despite my ugly. But others focused on the ugly induced by this life-changing experience. My house was filled with inconsistent messages.

God was insistent I lighten my load, lessen my cleaning.

He cleared out my house and I cried.

And then I cried some more. I begged to hold onto a few cherished beings. But He knew it was too much work.

I didn’t trust in God. 

My home felt bare and cold. 

I wanted all my sentimental humans back.

So I stomped my feet and cried a little more.

God tried to tell me the ones who walked away from me at my worst never had the ability to love me at my best but I still wouldn’t accept it. I loved my crowded house.

One day after what seemed like so many empty nights, I spied something.

My eyes had not been fully open until the clutter was swept away.

I no longer lived where some said this and some said that. 

I only lived with the ones who still called me beautiful…

You are a good person you deserve better.

You have been through so much.

You are strong.

You inspire me.

You will get through this.

My house is filled with consistent messages.

Yesterday, I spotted a shadow of my past. 


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I just read a post on a Facebook page I love and follow – Godwinks.

If you haven’t checked out the series of ten Godwinks books penned by New York Times Bestselling author SQuire Rushnell you should.

You will find Rushnell’s stories spiritually intoxicating. 


In fact, upon reading When God Winks at You: How God Speaks Directly to You Through the Power of Coincidence I found myself captivated enough to immediately purchase multiple copies. On the way home from the bookstore that day, I tucked a few in the mailboxes of friends experiencing difficulties. I then stashed away other copies for the moment I knew someone I love would need them.

Today’s Facebook post begged the question (and I paraphrase) “Have you received something other than what you prayed for and was it better than you expected?”

I was moved to comment.

For many reasons, this spoke to me. After all, I have written about the years I spent ‘fighting God.’ Telling him I did not wish for this devastating outcome called divorce. I begged and pleaded and even as devoutly faithful as I am temporarily lost my spirituality while I felt deeply sorry for myself.

And when I say sorry for myself I mean in the most pitying of ways. As the saying goes, ‘I was like chocolate, a hot gooey (insert the word ‘spiritual’) mess.’

And as much as I fought God – God pushed back.

And as I often say I dragged the proverbial horse through the mud and beat it and turned it over and beat it again.

Of course, I knew God was speaking to me. I knew exactly what He was telling me. I knew what He wished. I knew what He wanted. 

But it wasn’t what I prayed for.

I frequently joke my dream was not only to be a writer but to be a columnist. However, if someone had told me years ago, “Good news! Your dreams are going to come true! You will write a column about divorce.”

I would have said, “Thank you very much. I do not want to write that badly.”

I shared this sentiment in the comment thread of the Godwinks post today. Only I left something out. Not intentionally. I just didn’t remember it until I closed out of Facebook. Why? Because as a lifelong lover of signs I usually think of the Godwinks in my life as strictly the positive ones I am searching and asking for.

But this little thing called ‘denial’ or should I say ‘spiritual denial.’ made me ignore several things God sent my way.

To illustrate how strong my resistance was I can only remember one of the successive Godwinks I received during that time. It was, however, the most glaring.

In between, exhausting God with my persistent pleas, I was rear-ended while sitting at a traffic light. It was the summer and hot outside so I had taken off my thick gold wedding band and placed it in the ashtray filled with coins. The sudden impact sent the change flying up into the air.

In the days that followed I searched and searched for my wedding band. 

I had a diamond ring as well but this was the one we exchanged in church and therefore, far more valuable to me.

You should have heard the conversations I had with God.

They went something like this, “C’mon, really?? My wedding band?? Are you trying to knock me over the head and say it’s over? Accept it??”

Of course, I knew He was.

I never did find my wedding band. 

Something which to this day is inconceivable to me. There had been no place for it to go. I had just taken it off. It had to be somewhere in that car.

And even after accepting God’s new path for my life, I still prayed I would find that sentimental band. What would be the harm? I was no longer fighting my inevitable truth. Why couldn’t I just have that one little piece that represented the promise I certainly meant to keep that long ago day?

I finally had to get rid of my old car. It was clear after detailers and mechanics could not locate my ring, it was not meant to be.

The funny thing?

I have written so much about my journey and yet, forgot to include this – one of the most profound moments.

The day God made it abundantly clear this particular prayer would not be answered.

So yes, I have received something other than what I prayed for and yes, it was better than expected.

I write a column about life, love, and divorce.

‘I fell down farther than most so I could help others get up.’

I let go of a man who didn’t cherish me enough to fight for me. 

I get a second chance to find someone who does.

I can’t believe I ever cried.

I can’t believe I fought with God.

Some days though I still wish my ring would miraculously surface. The only difference? It would no longer represent the union between one man and one woman.

It would be a reminder that when we fight with God – God is going to push back.

And bring us better than we expected.


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The truth? 

We all have baggage.

It’s inevitable.

pexels-photo-374592 (1)

That’s part of the beauty of relationships. We find refuge in another imperfect person and our joint baggage just works well together. The emotional yin to our yang.

But some baggage should never be claimed.

The stakes of relationship success are already high enough.

They do not need any additional factors to way them down.

How do you know if you picked the wrong guy?

There are actually many ways to determine you deserve another significant other; however, these are the most blinding:

1. Your family and friends don’t like him:

Seems crazy that a person would disregard the general consensus of those they love but it happens.

They convince themselves if only everyone knew them like they did, surely they would love them. Or they make excuses that their guy is going through a bad time and hence, the lack of appeal.

If you do not know how you deserve to be treated trust that a majority vote of family and friends mean they do.

2. You keep secrets about how he actually treats you:

He continually disappoints you, makes you cry, doesn’t make you a priority or other unpleasant and hurtful behavior.

It’s easy to believe keeping their dirty little secrets are being loyal. After all, you don’t want everyone in your world to hate them because you love them.

Make no mistake, if you are keeping repeatedly bad behavior from your family and friends you are not being loyal.

You are harboring a relationship fugitive – turn him in.

3. You ignored early signs:

You let love force you to look beyond the obvious.

In the early days of dating, he had a wandering eye for every girl who walked in the bar, repeatedly drank too much, lied or more.

But you think you are special or you can change him.

An initial bad diagnosis means this relationship could be terminal.

4. He doesn’t truly meet your needs:

He just doesn’t fill all your emotional boxes.

You know he loves you and is attracted to you but you don’t seem to share much except for a few cocktails and laughs.

Emotional intimacy is crucial. He should care about what is going on in your world and your family and your job. He should have the time to take a phone call when something worries, upsets you or makes you happy. And likewise, he should share all of his deepest, darkest and delightful secrets of his world with you.

Steer clear of the party boy because relationships are a perpetual emotional all-nighter.

5. Something is off:

Something is off but you just can’t put your finger on it.

They say women who have been mugged or attacked often know moments before that something did not seem right but they ignored their instincts and kept walking through a dark parking garage instead of turning back.

The same is true in relationships.

We have gut instincts and therefore, don’t necessarily need overt signs or acts to realize this is not the right guy.

Don’t ignore your own internal superhero attempting to rescue you.


The beginning of a relationship is the optimum time to make a clean break.

If it is not a good one that is.

If not, the need for emotional triage just intensifies.

And the wounds have time to dig deeper.

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When you are willing to share the messy side of life – your own worries, fears, mistakes, and heartache…

Other people feel safe confiding in you.

Just yesterday, I was chatting with someone experiencing divorce and the topic of stress and anxiety surfaced.


Here’s the thing.

Worry and anxiety are extremely misunderstood and therefore people tend to conceal their anxiety. 

They mistakenly view it as a sign of weakness.

That if the people in their world knew how they were truly feeling they would somehow view them differently.

Because I am a writer I am the opposite of most. While others feel safe in withholding I feel safe in purging. However, even I once viewed worrying as a weakness. Something I did not want to speak of. I used to admire my husband. He seemed so strong. He didn’t worry about anything or anyone.

How my worldview has changed.

I was not weak because I worried about everyone and everything. I was strong because I took on the worry of others. An emotional caregiver keeping an infinite amount of balls up in the air. 

I strive to be what I refer to as a “Missionary of Life.”

I want to tend to the emotional and spiritual wounds we suffer on this great journey. 

That is what the worrier is. They are Missionaries of Life. They live far outside of their world. They are the ones who check on you when no one else does, watch your dog even though they have allergies, or lend you money when they are down to their last twenty. They make you soup when you are sick. Send a card when you are down.

The worriers think of everything others do not. 

My marriage counselor once told me, “Your greatest strength can also become your greatest weakness.”

He was referring to my overly caring nature which made me lack boundaries and remain in a bad relationship for too long. Yes, that means I am an enabler and I have lessons to learn with that knowledge. However, it shifted my thinking in more ways than one.

It is the better part of an individual – their overly caring nature which makes them more apt to be a worrier.

This thing called ‘worry and anxiety’ is not born of some personal defect but rather an immense capacity to care and love and give. 

Ironic one of a person’s best qualities can manifest itself into something they also do not like about themselves.

It’s important for someone struggling with excess worry, stress, and anxiety to grasp this because a worrier tends to be hard on themselves by nature and this can just extend the length of the anxiety. On the contrary, when a worrier begins to realize it is actually one of their greatest strengths which can leave them feeling overwhelmed and hard on themselves, it’s easier to let it go.

Much like the example of being an enabler, a worrier who is suffering anxiety needs to address it. We can’t worry about and save the world. We can only do what we can do within limits.

The problem? The worrier has long been worrying about everyone but themselves. 

What can they do to rescue or fix the situation?

They need to give themselves a break and realize the anxiety is coming from the inability to fix everything for once. Or the fatigue in worrying about everything and everyone for so long. 

And it’s okay to let go. 

But worriers don’t know how to stop worrying. It’s ingrained in them. Instead, they need to accept we only control ourselves. We can’t always rescue people. Even the ones we love most.

Because the worrier isn’t preoccupied necessarily with making their own lives perfect. 

They are driven to make the lives of those they love perfect.

They tend to be overly responsible for others.

And often it is ‘others’ who need to become self-responsible in some aspect of their own lives.

Once my marriage counselor asked me to describe the qualities I share with my mother. When I was finished he said, “You forgot ‘strong.’ “

“Strong??!!” I said. “You think I am strong? This big hot mess sitting before you all this time?”

It takes a significant amount of energy to worry about the world. In fact, once it catches up with you it’s quite exhausting. And these are roles we somehow took on in childhood so we have been pleasing, rescuing and fixing for a very long time.

I no longer see worrying as a defect. I see it as I now view enabling. How my greatest strength became my greatest weakness when I lacked the boundaries to at times worry more about myself than another I wanted to rescue. Of course, as aforementioned, this is the wise counsel of my marriage counselor. Who God Bless him had to tell me these things for a very long time. He is an extremely patient man.

After all, it’s hard to reverse a skill you learned early in life and perfected quite well.

I am now proud I care.

Rather than embarrassed, I am a worrier. 

And I have finally surrendered my emotional caregiver role.

Okay, we know that’s impossible but I do have fewer balls up in the air these days.

I am still dedicated to being a Missionary of Life – as a writer – after all, every worrier does need an outlet.

And proud I was raised by a woman who taught me to be so empathetic I could truly feel the pain of others.

Yes, she was also an enabler but she was strong.

And so am I.

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Relationships are incredibly complex. 

There are so very many things which can make or break them. 

And this pertains to all shapes and sizes of relationships – romantic, friendship, work, etc.


However, there are things which can improve their chances.

One significant element in fact.

As a former business columnist, a publisher once asked me to submit a manuscript.

“If I do you won’t like the title,” I said. “I will be called ‘It’s Just Not That Complicated.’

Business is hard and messy, it is consuming and exhausting but the truth is at the core it is simplistic. Much like parenting the days can be long and chaotic but if you keep some core foundational principles in place you can stay on track and thrive.

Love is the same.

Be it the love of a significant other or a friend.

There will be the same day to day operational issues as business and parenting. 

Days of poor communication, time-constraints to reach out and nurture the relationship, adjustments to personalities and habits and so on.

But one secret will improve the chances of having the absolute best relationship success.


Attract yourself to confident people and you will minimize other relationship issues.

Here’s the problem. Many individuals appear to be confident. Additionally, many will describe themselves as confident when they aren’t fully and authentically confident.

Some years ago I was sitting with a group of women. As we got up to leave I turned to one of my best friends and said, “I love these women but I fear there could be problems down the road. Several are not truly confident.” Ultimately, they proved to be telling words.

Confidence is the secret to a great one on one relationships but it is imperative to group relationships because the dynamics can be even more caddy, complicated and chaotic without it.

Confidence does not present itself in the form of leadership, extroversion or success. There are plenty of individuals who extol these outward attributes but do not match them internally. Or have what I refer to as ‘confidence’ just not ‘graduated confidence.’

A fully graduated confidence can be easily spotted if you know what you are looking for.

A truly confident individual is respectful, has no need to be in perpetual control, is not difficult, is not threatened, does not make it a habit of talking about other people, is not possessive, is not manipulative, is mature and therefore ego-less, does not need others to think and behave exactly like them, and does not need to be right.

In short, they have the wondrous ability to feel another person’s pain and celebrate their joy. 

They are easy on relationships.

Just as their ego-filled counterparts are incredibly difficult on relationships.


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There is divorce and there is extreme divorce.

Extreme divorce is lengthy, involves emotional and financial abuse, punishment, using or confusing children, and overall bullying behavior. 

Extreme divorce should be illegal but instead, it is seen as the acceptable behavior of men behaving badly.


Essentially, it can involve as much if not more control as the fractured marriage once did.

There is something else which sets extreme divorce apart from the average divorce.

One spouse is determined to ‘destroy’ rather than ‘divorce’ the other.

There was an episode of Iyanla: Fix My Life where an emotionally exhausted and terrified woman feared her husband’s threats to take their children. Iyanla implored the woman to see what was truly happening and said, “He doesn’t want your children. He wants to take YOU down.”

This is a game.

You dare leave or wrong me and I will make sure I come out on top.

These are individuals who behave badly and bully to win. 

Winning being the operative word.

They have zero ability to do the right thing because they do not possess the vision to see the ‘right’ thing. They strictly view the world from their own vantage point. And are the type of individual who when feels wronged will seek retribution and inflict their personal brand of punishment on another.

Extreme divorce sadly lacks the proper support systems. One person is far more powerful either financially or emotionally using income and children to accomplish their objective. Society doesn’t understand it because the powerful person is ‘pretty’ in some manner, successful or charming.

There are 5 Commonalities of Women Enduring Extreme Divorce:

1. Extreme Duress:

The type of pain and pressure of continued emotional and financial bullying is intense. It morphs into living a life of elevated fear and anxiety. A world which is completely unpredictable and out of control as another human being puppets it. It makes the bullied spouse seek help.

2. Begging:

The inquires evolve into begging. Desperate pleas to aid in helping free one’s self from an individual who is terrorizing them and/or physically, emotionally or financially endangering the children.

And so begins a desperate search to find anything or anyone who can help quell the abuse.

3. Rejection:

The cries for help will be rejected. Any person who lives in a world which tolerates this type of outrageous behavior has surrounded themselves with people who will tolerate it and look the other way.

4. Anger:

Once it becomes evident there are little to no available societal resources the debilitating fear turns to anger. Especially when those closest to the inflicting spouse do not care enough wake-up and realize this is NOT divorce. It is abuse. The anger is often not directed at the bullying spouse though it may appear to be. It is in actuality a profound fear for the children impacted and the inability to function at a normal level under continued emotional upheaval.

5. Disillusionment:

The anger ultimately becomes disillusionment. A complete exhaustion and hopelessness that society and those that know them seem to view spousal bullies as acceptable.

That all is fair in love and war.

Well, it isn’t.

There’s a reason we don’t send kids to battle.

They deserve to be protected.

But people continue to just look the other way and say things like ‘I don’t want to get involved’ or ‘I don’t want to take sides’ or ‘this is what men do.’

What if it was their children they were fighting for?

Would they send troops into the war-torn divorce country then?

One can only hope.

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