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The Character Flaw that will Eat you Alive

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I attended a funeral last week. The preacher made a comment that there are three characteristics that will destroy us. One is pride and another is anger. I don’t remember the third one because I was so stuck on pride and wrestling with my own shortcomings. The preacher’s comments made me check myself.

What is pride?

The Oxford Dictionary defines it as a feeling of deep satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired. This is the obvious definition. This is pride with a capital P.

I liken this to the pride one feels when they receive a work promotion, a good grade on an exam, or when their favorite sports team wins a championship. This is also the type of pride that accompanies acceptance to a first-choice school, paying off your house, or finally purchasing the car that you saved and sacrificed so long for.

However, a secondary definition for pride is the consciousness of one’s own dignity and an inflated sense of self. This is the not-always-so-obvious definition.

Synonyms for this definition include ego and self-esteem. This version of pride is sneaky and inconspicuous. This is pride with a lowercase p.

What is this type of pride?

It’s keeping up with the Joneses.

It’s staying in an unhappy relationship solely because you’re afraid of what people will think if you leave.

This type of pride is feeling snubbed when you weren’t invited to the party.

It’s social climbing.

It’s being rude to waitstaff and insubordinates.

It’s not taking responsibility for your actions and, instead, shifting blame to someone else.

It’s a preoccupation with being right.

This pride is self-righteousness.

It’s buying the expensive item that is actually quite ugly, but you fork over the money anyway because it is a status symbol and you want to fit in.

It’s not admitting when you’re wrong and then apologizing.

This type of pride doesn’t ask for help. It envies other peoples’ wins. It uses gossip as a form of connection. It holds onto grudges for dear life.

This is the pride that will eat you alive.

This is also the pride that is hard to avoid. Shoot- I like having nice things. I like being right. I like the feeling of punishment that holding a grudge can offer. I like career status.

My humanity leaves so much room for this sin.

There’s a reason pride is one of the seven deadly sins. I’d even argue that pride is the worst because if you think about it, the rest of the sins- envy, greed, lust, anger, covetousness, and sloth- are all rooted in pride and ego.

How can we work on this? Through the opposite of pride, which is humility. It’s putting our faith in God and Him alone. Pride is a liar- it wants us to believe that everything depends on us. It wants to convince us that our goal is to experience human success, riches, and popularity. But these things will never fulfill us the way they think they will. The path to trusting God is with humility. Humility might cost us something, but it’s worth the price. ❤️

    Cheers to the Dorm Friends


    Parents of soon-to-be college students: make them live in the dorms for at least the first year.

    I met some of my lifetime best friends in the dorms freshman year of college at the University of Florida. Three of us in the photo above all met while living in Trusler Hall and the other two- also strangers to each other- lived together in some Thomas Hall (across from what was formerly The Purple Porpoise) didn’t even have air conditioning.

    At first, I begged my parents not to make me live in the dorms. When I got the dorm assignment, my heart sank because it was so far from everything else on campus and I didn’t have a car or a desire to figure out the bus schedule. The one perk of my dorm was a Blimpie sub shop downstairs where the girls and I would go in the middle of the night to buy essentials like chips, ice cream, and gum.

    Despite my initial lack of enthusiasm about the living situation, God was like “move over and let me show you what’s up!”

    I made a lot of friends in college who I still keep in touch with today, but nobody quite understands you like the dorm friends.

    They were there when you broke up with your high school boyfriend. They were there when you aced or failed your first exam. They were there to help you pick an outfit for a fraternity or sorority social. They saw how you reacted when your roommate hogged the phone, which was a landline because that’s all we had back then. They were there to tell you if your clothes were wrinkled. They were there to encourage you to study for an exam instead of hitting up a big party (or the opposite). They were there at 2 a.m. to share your order of cheesy bread and ranch dipping sauce (e.g. Pokey Sticks).

    Dorm life isn’t supposed to be the Ritz. Things like shower shoes, sharing a room with a stranger, walking far to get to class, being under the thumb of an R.A., shoving as much food as you can into a tiny rectangular fridge are all part of the experience. It’s what makes college fun!

    My friends from the dorms and I live in five different cities. Once a year, we trek to a different location for a reunion. It takes effort- something that’s hard with careers and families- but the effort is worth it.

    Cheers to the dorm friends.

      Advice About Therapy


      IMPORTANT ADVICE ABOUT THERAPY.

      I’m not a therapist and have no background or training as a mental health professional.

      However, I’ve received my own therapy and have encountered literally hundreds of psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists, and counselors in the decade of my practice as a lawyer. Hear me out.

      1. It is okay to break up with your therapist. If you are seeing a professional for personal therapy, child therapy, or marriage counseling and you find them to be ineffective, stop wasting your time or money. Find someone else. It doesn’t mean the therapist isn’t good- it just means they aren’t good for you. This rings true if you’ve seen the therapist for two sessions or two years.

      2. Do your research before seeing a therapist. Do not hire the first person you find in the yellow pages. They are not all created equally. If you are dealing with substance abuse issues, you need to see someone who specializes in substance abuse. If you are dealing with infidelity, you need to see someone who specializes in infidelity. If you are dealing with chronic depression, then you need to see someone who is able to prescribe medications. If you need marriage counseling, you might need to consider a man versus a woman and whether they have a passive style (e.g. sits back and asks how something made you feel) or an active style (e.g. isn’t afraid to voice his or her opinion and calls things as they see them.)

      3. You get what you pay for. This is hard for me to write because I know it will frustrate those who lack financial resources. I also know that there are some excellent low-cost therapists- but the lines to see them can be frustratingly long. (I’m not implying that only good therapists cost a lot of money and if they charge little money, then they are automatically bad.) From a global perspective and what I’ve seen in 10 years, the better therapists are expensive. There is a reason they are able to charge high rates for their services. If you can afford to go to a therapist that you need to see and you are financially able, this is an area that I wouldn’t skimp- even if it means you’ll have to cut corners in other areas of your life.

      4. Be careful who you share your secrets with. It’s great to be open to our friends and colleagues about our journeys, but use care in who you share things with. A person who gossips to you will gossip about you. There are a lot more wonderful people in the world than bad, but there are also people who will be careless with your secrets or could use them against you later. xo

      Cheers to happiness!

        Don’t Blink


        When you’re in high school, can’t wait to get out of the house and away from your parents’ rules.

        When you’re in college, you want to graduate, make money, move to a cool new city, and be out in the real world.

        When you’re newly employed and in your early twenties, you can’t wait for the promotion, get married, and start the rest of your life.

        When you’re engaged, you’re planning a wedding. You get caught up in the minutiae of choosing your bridesmaids, the flowers, the band, THE DRESS, and the guest list. And then you blink and the day is over.

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          We are Each Other’s Keepers


          A couple months ago, I deposed a plaintiff who had a traumatic brain injury from a catastrophic car accident. If the case wasn’t ongoing, I’d share the property damage photographs, but this man is lucky to be alive.

          This man is highly educated and worked as an architect at a large, worldwide firm. He claims his cognitive dysfunction has left him unable to hold down gainful employment.

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            Dear Kids: You Are Worth It


            Photo credit: Synthia Therese Photography 

            Dear Kids,

            You are worth it.

            You are worth the sleepless nights.

            You are worth the sacrifices to my career. 

            You were worth it when most of my hair fell out after you were born. I’m sure you’ll still be worth it when my hair falls out when you’re a teenager.

            You are worth my snail-paced metabolism.

            You are worth me not being able to fit into my skinny jeans. 

            You are worth substituting The Real Housewives for Peppa Pig.

            You are worth switching old school rap for KidzBop.

            You are worth hearing banging on the piano during your music lessons.

            When I fantasize how rich I’d be if I didn’t have kids, I still think you’re worth it.

            Photo Credit: Synthia Therese Photography 

            You are worth the deflated boobs.

            You are worth the diminished thigh gap.

            You are worth all the time I no longer have to myself. The chipped nail polish. The old clothes. All the books sitting on my nightstand waiting to be read.

            When I think all the friends I don’t get to see as often as I’d like, I remember it’s because you are my priority and that’s worth it.

            You are worth me having to re-learn math so I can help you with your homework. 

            You are worth it when I wake up in the middle of the night to wash your sheets when you are potty training. 

            You are worth me never having privacy in the bathroom. 

            You are worth it when I go broke buying your school pictures because all of them are too cute to pass up. 

            You are worth it when I have to make heartbreaking choices that I know will be better for you in the long run. 

            Photo Credit: Synthia Therese Photography 

            You are worth it.

            Love, Mom.

              I Asked God


              I asked God at Mt. Vernon | The Champagne Supernova

              I asked God if He would love me if I was skinny, fat, or had a thigh gap.

              He said yes.

              I asked God if He would love me if I spoke perfectly or a cuss word occasionally snuck out.

              He said yes.

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                Cheers to the Do Nothing Weekend


                Here's to wonderful weekends of not doing anything | The Champagne Supernova

                Long live the “Do Nothing Weekend.”

                This was the first weekend in a long time where there was nowhere we HAD to be and nothing we HAD to do. No scheduled birthday parties, volunteer events, kids’ sports games, or social obligations.

                The entire weekend was my oyster.

                While this type of weekend is some peoples’ Nirvanas, as someone with “ants in the pants” who thrives from being busy, the idea of it initially freaked me out.

                I don’t know how to sit still and hate not planning things.

                However, it ended up being one of the best weekends of all.

                On Friday, we got popsicles with my daughters’ buddies after school and went to the local pool with friends for an impromptu swim and dinner night. On Saturday, I slept in (until 7 am- cut me some slack), went to a circuit class, my mom came over and made lunch, and then we hit up Home Depot for plants to spruce up the front porch. That evening, we made a pretend campground in the living room and watched a cartoon from Red Box. On Sunday, we went to breakfast, ran errands, took the kids bowling, and I put together a jigsaw puzzle with my dad. (I also went to the tire store to get a screw removed from my brand new tire, but we will omit that part from my weekend utopia.) Tonight before bed, my kids and I laughed and laughed making iPhone videos of ourselves doing Pee-Wee Herman impressions. (If you know me, text me and I’ll send them to you.)

                Yes, that sounds like a lot, but everything I did was on my OWN terms. I was only at places I wanted to be, when I wanted to be there. I got to enjoy the weekend with the people I love and be in the moment. It was pretty great.

                Being parents automatically means we are going to be busy. But we also live in a world that perpetuates business where everything is go-go-go.

                “Go here.”
                “Buy these tickets.”
                “Do That.”

                It’s nearly at the point where you feel guilty for sitting around and being still.

                But here’s a secret. It’s better when you do less and slow the heck down.

                Cheers to the “Do Nothing Weekend.”

                  To My Low Maintenance Friends

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                  Why it's best to have easy friendships without drama | The Champagne Supernova

                  This week I’m having dinner with one of my best friends from college.

                  She lives in Westchase and I live in South Tampa and when you’re married with a husband and a stressful career and young children and one of you is still breastfeeding, the distance between Westchase and South Tampa, while only fifteen miles or so, may as well be different continents.

                  It’s okay. We understand each other is busy and going literally months without speaking isn’t personal and, to be honest, isn’t noticed. We are so excited to catch up. 

                  Time goes so fast at this stage. Our free time is consumed with dance class and soccer practice and school activities and birthday parties and when we have true time to ourselves, sometimes we just want to sit in our beds and read a book without having to talk to anyone or go anywhere.  (more…)

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