Coffee Chat

Well hello again! I do have to admit that finding a friend to share a cup of coffee with is quite simply – nice. With that being said, I had a great conversation yesterday with my very dear friend, Collette. She and I spoke a bit of my writing here, and she made me feel nostalgic. We miss the past mornings when she and I would sit over a cup of coffee and dish about all of the toads we have kissed – personally and professionally. I realized talking with her that I truly need this part of my life, but I’ve exchanged this part for other successes.

So, friends, you and I have talked about how I see the Art of the Toad Kisser, and we’ve discussed how I feel I came into the art. But now, let me share a morning cup of coffee with you to explain a little more on how important people are in my life. These people helped me evolve through many years of toad kissing – I certainly didn’t become a Master of my art on my own. I had the support and love from many core friendships – both male and female. I hope that as I share these friendships with you, you can start to also see how the  critical friendships can help you recognize the toads and move on to better horizons.

For many years, Collette and I worked as colleagues in the same office. We grew together to share one of the strongest friendships I have ever known. We can complete each other’s sentences without even hearing the first half – pure synergy. When we worked on projects together – well, the results were simply things of beauty. Men in our lives often joked about whether we were truly lesbians stuck with the sex drive of heterosexual woman. (Don’t get me wrong, I love Collette dearly but my preference is the masculine gender ) Together – world domination!

This friendship contuinues to strengthen and evolve over time, but then so do our careers. While professionally our paths recently separated, this seemed to make us closer personally. We added new depth and dimension to our conversations as we began to explore each other’s new worlds. However, my career took me out of the office and away from our morning coffee chats. While I am incredibly proud of my professional accomplishments, I miss my friend.

Yesterday Collette and I managed a video chat together – the topic of conversation was this Blog. Collette told me that what she was reading in my letters to each of you was what she had been missing about our friendship – our morning coffee chats. While we still get together for lunches, shopping and random cocktails, we need our morning girl talk.

With Collette’s blessing, I’d love to invite each of you into these coffee chats now. We really do talk about world domination, but unfortunately we run into wart infested ponds along the way. From the men in our lives to the bosses to the soccer mom’s in our worlds, we discuss the toads as well as the prince charmings. I’d love to share these thoughts with each of you in honor of my dear friend, Collette. I hope that if you don’t already have a Collette in your life that you are soon pleasantly surprised to recognize her someplace that you may have overlooked before.

So if you have a Collette in your life – why not post a Thank You to her right here? Who do you treasure, and why?

Have a wonderful day, and do something nice for yourself.

Kind Regards,
Heidi

But What is Toad Kissing?

Good morning to all! And Happy Tuesday.

I went to dinner last night with some family members, and we were talking about The Art of Toad Kissing. I noticed a bit of curiosity but more
skepticsm as they realized that I would be sharing with all of you my very personal journey through Online Dating. During the conversation, I mentioned that I saw the Art of Toad Kissing as relevant across personal dating, professional growth, and other core relationships that we all experience as we move through our lives. I’ve kissed toads at work and at play, and heck – even at home. I’ve grown from each giant smooch.

This brings us to my thoughts for today. I’ve spent my first couple of conversations with you discussing my philosophy, but I haven’t really dug into any of the pearls of wisdom that I hope to share. My first pearl:

Understand who you are and love yourself first.

Over my 41 year life, I’ve had many successes but probably double the failures. This made my first lesson tricky to learn. I spent the majority of my adult life with the wrong men for happily-ever-after, but they were the Right men at the time to help me learn myself.

Huh? I know – I ask myself that same thing. I’ll explain.

My ex-husband – while he may likely turn out to be somebody else’s Prince Charming, was clearly a giant, wart-infested toad in my life. What I learned from this man, though, was how to shed the warts and keep only the good stuff that remained – my son.

I was married for the better part of my 20s, and I pretty much all but crushed my own identity. I spent those years raising children and being a
stay at home wife and mother. I lost most – if not all – of my female friendships, and I became quite introverted.

The good news was that living within my own, lonely mind for so long allowed me to realize that I wanted so much more than the life I was
living. I wanted a career, an education and a family. The man I was married to simply didn’t share these goals, and he was quite content to live below our true abilities.

Therefore – I got out. We divorced, and I have been raising our son on my own for well over 12 years now. What a great kid!

So this was truly my first Toad Kissing experience, and I am grateful for that time in my life. Those years were my lead in to understanding
who I really wanted to be – a necessity to being able to successfully share myself and my life with another person.

Throughout my 30s, I grew both personally and professionally – and I literally swam in toad-infested ponds at work and in my romantic world. I’m sure over time I’ll share more of these experiences with you, but I learned to push myself harder in spite of people in front of me who wanted to hold me back.

So now we come to my 40s. Spending the past 20 years finally becoming an adult, I know who I am. I like who I am, and I am proud of many
accomplishments. So now, I’m ready to share. I want to talk with you all about life’s insecurities as well as celebrate all of our accomplishments. I feel that only when we can openly accept all that we are, can someone else really appreciate us – warts and all.

With this being said – I’d love to hear what you might be proud of in your life. Tell us here, or whisper it to me quietly in an email. Either way, it just feels good to have someone notice.

So what am I most proud of about me – personally – children, men and friends aside?

I’m proud of my personal drive and my commitment to always grow. I accomplish my goals, and this feels great!

How about you? What about you makes you proud?

Warm Regards,

Heidi

Finding Your Voice

Good Morning to you all, Dear Friends. And Happy Game Day to my fellow football fans! Go Packers!

 As I open my heart this morning to each of you, I have to stop and ask myself who each of you may be. After all, my goal is to share experiences, so I suppose I must understand who might be open to hearing my voice. I suppose I should also let you each into how I hear my own voice.

 A voice is a lens into the world, and these lenses may be rose-colored or they may be distorted. Regardless, our voices are our lens and therefore our life-perspective.

 So, my friends, what I hope that you hear in my perspective is a positive but honest voice of experience. I’ve kissed more than my fair share of toads, and I’ve shamelessly been both the giver and the receiver of toad warts – thus my self-proclaimed expertise. I suppose that means that I, myself, have been somebody else’s Toad.

 As I see the Art of Toad Kissing, we have all likely kissed or will kiss a hundred frogs or more to find our Princes or Princesses. We are all Masters or on our way to becoming well-versed in the Art, but each of us with our own creativity.

 So perhaps you ask, “Where do I fit?” Am I a beautiful princess or a wart-infested toad? Seriously, if we all have kissed a toad, but none of us really owns up to being a toad, who is it that we are kissing?

 My opinion? I see the Mastery of the Art as 5 distinct voices for the toad kisser.

 1.     Voice of the Novice: This toad kisser is new to the wonderful world of love and romance, doe-eyed and trusting and searching for a canvas to paint a masterpiece. He or she has not yet discovered the true heartbreaks of love and life, and this fresh perspective can often be overlooked and underappreciated. I think we should all stop and listen to this untainted voice sometimes – the purity is quite refreshing.

 The novice may hastily commit, however, to oil painting – finding himself or herself covered in the greasy residue left over from creating art using a nasty, radioactive toad as the subject.

 2.     Voice of the Apprentice: Having sampled several mediums, this toad kisser has earned his or her brush strokes. This person can be trusted with someone’s heart, but may not be ready to commit to water color over oil. He or she may even still want to experiment with sculpture or music and can find beauty in many forms.

 The apprentice will still kiss many toads, but he or she is a more discerning artist than the novice. This person begins to understand the method and the process that compliments the art forms, and at times allows the mechanics of the art to replace the true voice.

 Still, we can learn much from our apprentice – just as Mickey taught the Wizard in the Disney classic – Fantasia. This person is well on his or her way to self-discovery and to taking pride in talent, strength and beauty.

 3.     Voice of the Master: The master is ready to be both the teacher and the student, and hopefully this artist has finely found his or her true voice. This person knows the medium that best compliments the strengths, and yet can share vulnerabilities to learn new talents.

 The key to achieving this level is to recognize that art cannot be perfect, but it can be beautiful regardless. When this person focuses inward, he or she can develop the internal soul of the artist. Outward expression may allow for others to share in the journey – regardless, this person realizes that with or without a toad, art is still possible. This is how we truly find our subject for which to create our masterpiece.

 4.     Voice of the Doctorate: To achieve a doctorate in the Art of Toad Kissing, this artist now dedicates his or her art to perfect the voice. Perspective is clear, and a masterpiece is well underway. Students at all levels strive to achieve this confidence in self-awareness and contentment.

 The masterpiece of this artist may well be a collaborative work of art – a relationship with another artist. It may simply be an unwavering self-belief and inner beauty that we all strive to emulate. Regardless, this person is truly rare.

 The challenge with becoming this skilled in an art, I imagine, would be taking that art for granted – failing to appreciate the beauty still held within and forgetting to share with others.

 5.     Voice of the Legacy: We’ve spoken of the art of toad kissing, the legacy is clearly recognizable above all else. Let me try to paint this picture as I see it through my lens.

 I saw an elderly couple last week holding hands and eating icecream. They laughed together and she still glowed when he leaned in and kissed her cheek. This to me, was the artwork of a legacy. I saw in them, nostalgia and love – years of mastering the skill of making themselves better people. Together they could share a piece of the same canvas and know that whatever they created could be between only them but that others would always remember their form of art.

 This voice – often heard more clearly by art-lovers – is gentle and quiet. No longer a struggling artist, these voices are revered in the art world as having left the gift of their art as a legacy for the rest of us to cherish.

 For me, I consider myself a Master in my Art. My chosen canvas – architecture. I’ve kissed many toads, and I’ve learned the art of being me in the process. I’ve also learned how to share myself with others while still preserving an intimate creativity and design reserved for someone special.

I found that my art lies in design and remodeling. I don’t have a brush stroke to paint my walls or the skill of the carpenter – instead, I am an architect. I designed me, and I am happy. I can tell you how I did it, and I can share my own mistakes and masterpieces throughout my discovery.

 So, after reading this, do you want to share my voice? Do you recognize a voice of your own that you can share? If so, tell me who you are.

On the other hand, are you wondering why you don’t hear your voice as you read this note? If this is the case – perhaps you are realizing that just maybe you are somebody else’s toad and messing up their masterpiece. That’s ok too – we’ve all been there. I’d love to hear from you, and I promise to respect your warts.

 Warm Regards

 Heidi

Hello world!

Hello to my new friends.

May I introduce myself? My name is Heidi, and I like to think that I have successfully perfected the Art of Toad Kissing to find my happily ever after. While I was not a 40-something divorced mother by choice, I finally found myself comfortable enough with the woman I have become to remain single until I met a man who would complement my strengths and respect my vulerabilities.

As I reflect on my journey, I’ll try to give you advice based on my experiences. I share life lessons, online dating rules, and personal theories I have developed in the spirit of fun, but also in light of safe journeys for all.

All that I ask – please read a little. I’d like to relate with you. If my adventures can provide even one woman with direction, warning or inspiration, then my $99 dollar, 6 month membership to the Internet dating arena was a great value.

On my way to Happily-Ever-After, I met Tom, Dick and Harry. What a roller coaster ride I had, but I am a better person for knowing each person in my past. My hope for you is that you can also know the self-value in thanking your own past Toms, Dicks and Harrys for whatever hell they may have put you through.

Those experiences made you who you are today, and I hope you like who you see in the mirror. I certainly do.

With my warmest regards,

Heidi