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Life’s Challenges – Divorce, Death And Rebirth with Lisbeth Tanz

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SE 21 | Life’s Challenges

 

How we are able to handle life’s challenges measure the strength of our character. Life has not been easy for Lisbeth Tanz, a nonfiction book ghostwriter, editor, and author coach, but she has managed to push through the many curveballs thrown in her way. Lisbeth shares how she lost sense of direction when she was molested by her brother, and how she finally moved on from it and found freedom in what life has yet to offer. For Lisbeth, life continues to go on. She got married and divorced three times and experienced the death of family members, including her dog. Now, Lisbeth focuses on writing and publishing – working with people to bring their stories to life and, at the same time, helping them to understand themselves and look for valuable things that lead them to experience the freedom that they want to have.

Listen to the podcast here:

Life’s Challenges – Divorce, Death And Rebirth with Lisbeth Tanz

This Is How We Do It

On this episode, I have somebody very special. We have a lot of connection even though we don’t know each other and have never met. Her name is Lisbeth Tanz and she is a ghostwriter. What she does is she helps and assists authors in their writing skills and ability. Delving into their material and bringing it together to be a cohesive book. It’s a very special talent. I know having written a book that if I didn’t have editors who have guided me, it would have been a whole other story. She’s from St. Louis and she has a passion for animals like I do. Without further ado, I’d like you to introduce you to Lisbeth Tanz. How are you?

I am great.

I am honored to have you. I feel connected to you somehow after reading and doing some research on you. Go ahead and start telling us your story. Go back as far as you can, where you grew up, how you grew up, what kind of family you had, what your ideas were and what you wanted to be. All those good things that make life so interesting.

I was born and raised in St. Louis. I haven’t gotten far geographically. St. Louis is not a bad place to live. It’s definitely got a low cost of living. It is flyover country. We’re known for the Gateway Arch. I lived on a hay farm when I was growing up, which was outside of St. Louis City limits. I have an older brother and an older sister, eight years and six years older, respectively. My mom was a stay-at-home mom. She also was diagnosed with MS right after I was born. She was dealing with that back in the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s. My dad worked at a factory. He was a World War II veteran. When he came back from the war, he got a job at a local factory and that’s where he stayed until about 1980 when they closed the factory for good. That was hard times then.

I grew up in a rural town myself and I grew up on a potato farm, hay farm, cow farm, dairy farm or whatever you want to call them. It was an all-encompassing farm. We did a lot of different things. Living in small towns is a whole different experience than living in a big town.

Life intervened, causing me to change directions Click To Tweet

The town I grew up in Oakville, was its own little entity. There was a general store with a hitching post out front. One of our neighbors down the street rode her horse up into town and the town was not that far away. It looks nothing like what it did back then. The hay farm was sold. It wasn’t our farm. It was our neighbor’s farm. My mom and dad rented a farmhouse for over 50 years from the farmer. When he passed away, he willed it to my parents, which was such a nice gift. A couple of years before my mom passed, she was a homeowner which was what she had always wanted it to be. It’s a happy ending there.

What was your childhood like growing up on a farm? I know that there’s challenges to it and going to a small school can have a lot of challenges, but there are a lot of gifts in it too. Can you talk about what your ideas around that are?

I should preface it by saying that while I lived on a farm, there was a subdivision down the street. Suburbia was creeping in. We did have neighbors that were very close to us. My school wasn’t as much a farm school as it was a small elementary school. Growing up in that area, you had to either have a car or a bicycle to get around. I rode my bike everywhere. I was born with some health challenges. I have asthma. Back then before rescue inhalers and ways of treating it, there were things I couldn’t do. A lot of times I spent my early childhood hanging out in my room, reading and devouring books. I love to be outside. I would also go outside and help my mom in the flower beds and my dad in the vegetable garden. I still do those two things now. I want to say the coolest thing about living where I grew up was at night when there was no moon, I could go outside, lay in the grass and bring my little dog, Ginger, a little black poodle with me. We would lay in the grass, look up at the sky and we could see the Milky Way. I missed that. We don’t have that anymore. St. Louis started building up and the ambient light is so intense. Now, I live in a close-in suburbs. It’s rare to see even big stars.

I used to go up on top of a hill and lay on my back and have a conversation with God. One of the other things that I would do in the evenings is go up and lay because we were very North so we were in upstate New York. Almost on the Canadian border line. I would lay up there and watch the Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis is what we called it. If you’ve never experienced that, put it on your bucket list because it is so awesome. For me it was affirmation of God’s power. I laid there and thought, “How can people question God when you look at the Aurora Borealis and see these lights shooting through the air. How can you challenge it?” I was young and nine years old. What were your expectations? What would you think your life was going to be like?

I had big dreams. Every kid has big dreams aside from wanting a horse. I was allergic to hay. Like the Green Acres character that would say, “I’m allergic to smelling hay.” That was me. I didn’t go in the barn because I would immediately start having trouble breathing. As a kid, my big dream was to go to New York. I romanticized living in New York City. I used to draw as a kid. I would draw out my studio apartment because I was smart. I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford a big apartment. I wanted to go to either NYU or Fordham University. I wanted to be a writer. I always wanted it to be a writer. I wrote little girl loves stories and then I would come out and write something horrifically tragic, which would always scare my teachers, “Why are you writing this?” I had a lot of support from my mom and especially from her mom who instilled in both my sister and me that we could be anything we want it to be.

I didn’t have that and I often wonder what I could have been had I had that.

The dreams that I had were in part based on I didn’t want to live where I was living. I never felt like St. Louis was supposed to be home. I was always the kid that felt a little out of place in her own family. I think the reason that was the case was and I’m not sure if you anticipated this would go to this route, but my brother molested me when I was very young. It lasted for years and I didn’t remember any of it until I was a teenager and started messing around with my first boyfriend. All of a sudden, I went to bed one night as me and I woke up the next day with memories of things that I couldn’t account for. I became a different person. Those dreams, hopes, and desires that I had were flushed away because I didn’t know who I was anymore. I didn’t understand what had happened and why this brother that I idolized could do these things to me. I questioned myself, is this real or am I making this up?

I’m trying to put my head into your head. Do you think you knew as a child you were being molested and repressed it until you were a teenager when you started to become a woman and sexually active and all that?

Yes, because in our household, that was one of the things you didn’t talk about. You didn’t talk about sex. My mom was a product of parents that had their own issues and she was raised a lot by the farmers that were part of our family that lived in the middle of Missouri. She spent all of her summers there. That did have an impact on how she framed her life, how she framed her role in life, how open and communicative she would be. She was a great mom. I don’t want anybody to think she wasn’t, but there were certain things that you couldn’t talk about and sex was one of them.

I love my mother dearly and my father both, but their parenting skills lacked in so many areas. They never encouraged their children. My dad was a functioning alcoholic and my mom had to deal with that and it was just a whole bunch of things. What I found interesting about us is that when you were young you were an avid reader. What did you read? What kind of books?

When you are working with your expectations, you have to learn how to expect the unexpected. Click To Tweet

I loved biographies. We didn’t have a library that close but the book so the bookmobile would come. I remember what the bookmobile smelled like. I have these vivid memories of going in and pulling out. I remember an Abe Lincoln book, Frederick Douglass and Betsy Ross. All of those books that you would want to read as a kid of all those people that I at least looked up with. I come out with a stack of books. I’d read them all in a week, then go back and do it again.

I actually read all the classics, The Iliad and The Odyssey. When I was young, I was in a parochial school, Catholic school and I was taught by nuns and priests which was brutal. They were brutal. I got my hands whooped so many times by the priest with a cat o’ nine tails that I would go home with my hands so blistered that I couldn’t move my fingers. My mom and dad asked me what happened to my hands and I said that was looking out the window when I was supposed to be studying. The priest came up with cat o’ nine tail and walloped. I read Shakespeare and in third grade, I started reading the classics. When we moved from the city to the country and I had no neighbors, that was the other part. You had suburbia around you.

My nearest neighbor was two, three miles away and they were elderly. My parents did have a large library in this old rundown house that we moved to. I used to read in there and I ran across the book one time and it was called The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. It set my world on fire because it started me dreaming because up to that point, I was very depressed. When we had moved from suburbia, I had lost what was so dear to me was baseball. We had no baseball teams, Little League or anything I could play out. All I had was the farm. For me, that was my escape into a world of fantasy was reading Walter Mitty. It became something ingrained in me and I learned to dream through it. Did you have anything you read that struck and it stuck with you all this time?

My mom was an avid reader as well and she loved Agatha Christie. I read all of the Agatha Christie books and I love Agatha Christie. In terms of other books, I have some of the childhood books that I read. One of them is called Ribsy. It was about a bedraggled dog that was called Ribsy because he was so thin, the story of him getting lost and his family searching for him. I related to that because I felt even as a kid before I knew anything about what my brother was doing, I felt lost. I didn’t fit in. I’m sure part of that was because there were things I couldn’t do as a kid. I spent a lot of gym classes sitting on the stage, watching all of my friends do stuff that I couldn’t do because I couldn’t breathe. My dream was to be free. I wanted to be free. I didn’t want people telling me what to do. I was a good kid, but I would chase at authority, but I would do it in a way that nobody would know. That was what drove me to start my own business after being in the corporate world. Being in sales and having a pretty free life doing what I was doing but still having a boss, I didn’t want that anymore.

SE 21 | Life’s Challenges

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

A lot of that has to do with your ability to process your expectations. Believe it or not, it does because when we look at our expectations through a lens of faith and faith isn’t always necessarily about a religious faith. I’m talking about faith in the future, yourself. There this core expectation we have that comes from dreaming, reading and all of those things. We start to develop these expectations for ourselves and that’s what I call core expectations. When you have that faith, it changes your perspective of everything. You can challenge and do it politely, nicely and attain that freedom that you’re talking about. If you’re living through the lens of fearful expectations, everything stops. It stops you along the way at every point. In talking to you that you unwittingly, unknowingly developed an expectation for going to New York, adventure and living the life that you were meant to live versus people who live to the expectations of others. When you live through the expectations of the others, it creates a great deal of unhappiness and you have to live to your own expectations to find true happiness.

I grew up and I got married right out of college. I did exactly what you were talking about. I was living the expectations of other people. I had a psychology degree. There’s not much you can do with a psych degree except to go on and get your Master’s degree and maybe a Doctorate. When I got my bachelor’s degree, I didn’t know what to do. I was very good at playing the victim. It’s like, “Nobody’s helping me. I don’t know what to do. I guess I’ll get married.” I don’t understand how that logic worked in my brain, but I did get my son from that relationship. That was definitely a blessing because he’s my only child. My point is I was living the expectation life. I should be doing this. I should be doing that. I should have a career. I had to be married, I had to have a man. I don’t exactly know where that came from, but I know that it was probably a message that I received as a kid.

It’s probably societal because I got married at eighteen and had a son. When I came home from Vietnam out of the Marine Corps, I got married right away. I thought it was about love. When I look back on it, it was for me feeling like that was making my life complete. I’m blessed that I have a wonderful son who’s a therapist and he does wonderful things. He’s great. I have two other children from my late wife. We get the societal expectations that can guide our life into something that is not meant to be.

I see Millennials and I applaud them because they don’t seem to be driven. Maybe Gen Xers were the same way. They don’t seem to be driven by those societal expectations. My fiancé, Mike has two kids. They’re both in college and neither one dates. They’re very focused on their studies. They’re very focused on what they’re going to do once they get out of college. His son has his life mapped out. I admire that because I wasn’t raised that way. I didn’t do that. Maybe if I had, I could be dead. That’s usually what I say, if I could go take that other road I might be dead. I am alive in this life.

I have feelings about this both ways because I work with Millennials and some are good at mapping out life. What happens to them when life doesn’t work out the way that they were supposed to, how they handle it can become a challenge for them. They had it so mapped out, when an obstacle comes before them that is insurmountable and it has to change the course of their life. Let’s say going to college, expecting that you’re going to get a job out of college after getting a degree in computer engineering and all these sought-after things, sometimes they lose sight and give up. That’s where they need the help. When you’re working with your expectations, you have to learn how to expect the unexpected. I talk about it a lot.

How do you learn to master the unexpected? That way is, you have to prepare for it like everything else. You have to become mindful that life isn’t always going to work out. Life isn’t always going to be on path of your choosing, through death. I was on a life that is soaring great. I was going to retire and have lots of money to retire with until my wife was diagnosed by ovarian cancer in 2003. I never expected it. I thought she was going to live with me forever. It doesn’t happen that way. I know you’ve been through it with your mom and dad. We don’t always know what’s going to happen. We have to have a mindset of awareness. When something that we’re not expecting, how do we get through that? We have to look at it through the lens that is meant to teach us something.

Being a caregiver is a challenging task especially to somebody that you love and care about. Click To Tweet

It’s meant to change our course and teach us something that have to look it through the lens of faith and saying, “I’ll be able to get through this and figure it out and get through it.” I know it sounds so simplistic, but how else do you expect the unexpected? There is no other way to do it except being mindful of it and knowing, that no matter whatever happens to you, it is meant to teach you a lesson. I look at everything as a learning lesson in life and it has gotten me to where I am. For that I am thankful. I’ve had challenges. You’ve had challenges, everybody has challenges. What makes all the difference is how we get through them and we don’t let it defeat us.

You’re absolutely right. Whether it’s faith in your abilities, faith in God and faith in the goodness of other people, that’s part of what drives me forward. I’ve been married three times, the last one was a very long relationship. I was clearly looking for something. My last marriage was good, but we were friends and I stayed in the relationship way longer than I should have. When I finally decided it was time for me to leave because I am waiting for my son to get to a certain age, he looked at my last husband as dad. He had been around since he was four. I read the book, Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and I thought after I finished it, there’s a lot of life out there that I am not living. I know if I stay here, neither I nor my then husband will live the life we could be living but separately. That was what started me down the path of, “Now, it’s time.” It is time. I do believe for me were always signs of like if I was in a job and it’s like, “It’s time to leave now.” It’s like, “How do you know that?”

It’s like, “I’m finished. I am complete with this role in my life. I need to move to the next thing.” That was something my mom never understood about me. She called me a quitter. When what it was, is I wanted the experience of doing different things. It didn’t mean that I wanted to become a downhill skier. That was actually never anything that I did as a kid, but I didn’t want to be whatever that was. I wanted to see if it was a fit. “Is this a fit?” “That’s not a fit. I’m going to go do this. That’s not a fit either.” In her mind, because she was somebody who would do something and stick with it, even as she hated it, I was a quitter. It took a long time before I understood that about myself, that I love change and variety. I love experience and I love freedom. That is my core value is freedom.

That’s a beautiful thing because I call you a doer. You do things and if they fit, you stick with it. If it doesn’t then you put it aside and do something else. When I talked to high school and middle school kids, I tell them go out and become a doer, try things, do it and you’ll find your passion. You’ll find the thing that makes you complete, that fulfills you and makes you happy. That’s so important. That’s what I think Millennials do, better than any other group in our culture. I have a friend who traveled. I don’t know how many countries. It’s literally like fifteen, twenty countries she’s been too and she’s done it all by herself. She goes and does it. She’s figured out a way to earn enough money that she could get from place to place. She has no fear about traveling and all that, but it has made her so worldly, knowledgeable about different cultures, life and everything that there’s a real beauty in it. She’s moved to Austin and she’s starting to settle down into her groove. Honestly, I don’t know her age. I would assume she’s somewhere between 30 and 35.

Are you talking about Phoebe?

SE 21 | Life’s Challenges

Life’s Challenges: Do not stick with something too long when you realize that it is not working.

 

Yes, I am. I didn’t know you knew Phoebe.

I have listened to her podcast. We’ve sparred back and forth on Twitter.

Phoebe is special. I love Phoebe to death. I love her ability to do things. She tries things and she’s not afraid. I don’t call people fearless anymore. I stopped that because everybody has a fear. There’s some fear that everybody has. Mine is if you put a tight rope across the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls and asked me to walk it. I stopped calling people fearless because we’re fearless about some things and we have fear about other things. It depends on what your fear is about.

I admire everything that she’s done. Part of me is like, “I could have been like that.” It’s like, “I can be like that now.”

You can and everybody can. They have to make the choice to do it and not be fearful.

Take control and retain control of your life. Click To Tweet

I think your point also about not sticking with something too long when you realize that this isn’t working for me. I did that when I first went out on my own, when I started The Hired Pen, which was my first business. I wrote, “If somebody had money, I would work for them.” It didn’t suit me because I was bringing in clients that I didn’t want to work with. Some of them I did, if any of them see this, I’m not going to tell you which ones I didn’t want to work with. Some of you I loved and some of you I didn’t.

Believe me, they will know the difference. People are intuitive and they will know the difference. It’s what it is and I think you need to be honest about that. We all work with people that we don’t want to work with and having the choice to and not is freedom.

That was where I came to in 2016, when I was burned out. It’s like, “I’m not enjoying what I’m doing. I’m not marketing myself particularly well, I’m going to go find a job.” It was during that whole job hunt that my dog died, Katie. I stopped doing everything and had to sit, “What is it that I really want to do?” I didn’t want to go get a job and I’m pretty sure I’m not employable because I haven’t worked in a company since 2002. The only thing appealing about it is getting a regular paycheck. If I could figure it out how to get a regular paycheck, stay-at-home and do what I want to do, then maybe that’s the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes going on here. Once I sat down and grieved Katie’s loss because she’d been with me for thirteen and a half years, I got very clear on where I needed to go. It was like this download of, “This is what you love to do. Why aren’t you doing it? Why aren’t you focusing exclusively in books, publishing and working with people to bring their stories to life? That is really what I like to do,” and that’s where Fuzzy Dog came from.

I had a dog named Chloe who was given to me. Chloe was given to us when Vicki got cancer in 2003. Chloe and I became close. She was a giant Schnauzer that was 155 pounds. She was massively strong, not fat. In 2008 or 2009, she passed away. I was three years after. It had to be longer than that. Vicki passed away in 2006. 2003 we got her and in 2013 is when Chloe died because I had her ten years and it devastated me. I wrote a blog called My Ten Year Love Affair. One of the things that we have in common in speaking about a loving and caring is that we’ve both lost someone very dear. You lost both your mom and dad, but I know you took care of your dad for a period of time until he died. I took care of my wife for three years, while she was dying of ovarian cancer. Being a caregiver is a challenging task especially to somebody that you love and care about. What did you learn out of the experience of caring for your father?

I learned I was the favorite. That was a very challenging time because my mom had died unexpectedly. My father wasn’t in the best of health. My sister was dealing with her husband who had a brain tumor. He had a glioblastoma, so he was going to die. My marriage was not particularly good and I was struggling to make money. I had been the breadwinner in my household and when I left the corporate world, my then husband was not very happy about that. He worked but those grand trips and the stuff that we used to do, the nice cars, we couldn’t do that anymore because I wasn’t making a ton of money. When I started taking care of my dad, it was a blessing and a curse. I loved that I could give back to him for raising me, for being my dad because I loved my dad. I love my mom, but my dad was it. It was very hard for me to watch him decline because he had Type 2 diabetes that went undiagnosed for several years because of a bad physician.

SE 21 | Life’s Challenges

Life’s Challenges: The day that your parents are gone is the day you realize you’re the next in line. You have now stepped up to the front and the family is now all behind you.

 

It had affected his brain. Some of the dad that I knew wasn’t there anymore and that made it more challenging. Then we would have these very sweet moments, where he knew what was going on in my life and he would counsel me. He was able to be my dad in a way that he wasn’t when I was younger because he was always working. I used to say, “My dad’s a bedroom door.” He’s always sleeping because he always worked swing shift at the factory to make more money. I cherish those memories of my dad and there are some funny ones. I wrote a story about the day he called because he wanted me to get them a prescription for Viagra because he had a girlfriend. My sister thought it was hilarious. My dad’s doctor thought it was hilarious and he’s like, “This is not funny.” We didn’t talk about sex growing up. It was like, “Here’s my dad.”

By the way, the doctor said no because my dad had a heart problem and he was like, “But I’d go happy.” I wanted to say something. You had mentioned that I’m a ghostwriter and you say I don’t write about ghosts. One of my clients right now is a medium. I am working with her to get her book finished and she talks to ghosts. I had a strange experience where I was in my office and was doing some research and found something and said aloud, “Oh, wow.” Immediately after I said that I heard, “Wow huh?” I looked around and Mike wasn’t home yet. I didn’t make that up. I felt like I truly heard it with my ears and there’s nobody here. I talked with my client, she was like, “That was your dad.” I was like, “That’s pretty cool.” I wish he would have not scared the crap out of me. I’m glad he’s around and maybe even help me with the gardening.

Through taking care of him, what would you say your greatest learning experience was with that?

Patience really is a virtue because there were times when I was not patient with him. That makes me sad because I was busy and because I’m human where I could have done more for him. My sister is the middle child and she has a different personality than I do. I was more of the type A, “I’ve got to get stuff done,” whereas she was always been more caring and in a way of caregiving. That’s the role that she played with my dad once her husband passed. I was more the doer. I was the one that got stuff done, got the appointments made and got his prescriptions from the VA. I was able to do all of those things. One day I realized that I was doing all of these things, but I really wasn’t feeling them. I wasn’t being there for him.

When I made that shift, sadly very late in his life, it started with a conversation about taking out the feeding tube that he had because he would aspirate his food and he would develop pneumonia. The doctor had a feeding tube put in. Dad said, “That’s the last thing that I had to enjoy was eating. Your mother’s gone. I can’t drink, I can’t smoke. Eating and being with other people at the meal time is all I have and now I don’t even have that.” He was depressed. The conversation wound around to, “Dad, if you want the feeding tube taken out, we can do that but you have to understand that it will kill you. If we take it out in January, chances are you’re going to be gone by June.” He’s like, “I’m okay with that.” What I saw from him doing that was reclaiming ownership of his life and standing up for what he wanted and what he knew his soul needed before he passed.

Just because you're older doesn't mean you shouldn't have a say in what happens to you. Click To Tweet

We took the feeding tube out, he got pneumonia. They sent him to the hospital in March. They got him better. He came back and the nursing home where he was at that point said, “You have to sign a paper. If this happens again, he’s not going back to the hospital because it’s just going to be this recurring cycle.” I sat down with dad and we cried a little bit. To see my dad get very teary was unusual. He was not a crier, but he understood. In June of 2006, he got pneumonia and was struggling to breathe. My sister happened to be there. She said that he’s afraid. I said, “I know. This is what he wanted.” I was there the next morning, but they already induced him a medically induced coma so that he would not suffer as his body began to shut down.

I spent that last 24 hours at his side. I spent the night at the nursing home waiting and talking to him. I think he heard me. When he finally passed, he opened his eyes, which was shocking. It was like, “His eyes are opening.” He was talking to someone. I relayed this story to a friend, I said, “He was not smiling. There was joy on his face. There was a bit of surprise but there was joy and then he was gone.” What did I learn by taking care of my dad? One, every day is precious. Two, take control of your life. Retain control of your life. Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a say in what happens to you. Dad felt that very clearly that he wanted some aspect of control because he’d been on his own since he was a teen. He wanted his dignity.

When Vicki was dying, she got a C. diff infection, the way it takes over your body because of the chemo. The chemo had weakened her immune system and her brain. Her last few months of life they had given her thalidomide. Remember the drug that caused all the birth defects in England? They use it for cancer now as part of a cancer treatment. They had given her that. As soon as they gave it within 24 hours, I saw a drastic difference. It was just a few months after that, my daughter was getting married during the process of her dying. She knew it was happening, but she couldn’t react to it. It was difficult. I took her to the hospital because she had gotten so sick and the doctor came out and told me that the end is near. I said, “Okay.” I had taken care of her at home all the time and the doctor had talked me into putting her in a hospice for the last few days. She did not want to go into hospice. She had a twin sister and a younger sister. I know they got mad at me because I let the doctor talk me into it. We went to hospice, we were there one hour and I said, “Call the doctor and say we can’t do this,” because we had what I called the Gestapo nurse. The C. diff infection is very infectious. They quarantined her.

Her elementary school friend from California had come to Austin to spend the last days with her. Her sisters were there and our children were there. The nurse was so insensitive to the surroundings. I called Dr. Smith and said, “Ellen, this is what’s happening.” She said, “Art, pick Vicki up by her bed and sign her out of there and take her home and let her die with dignity.” I did it. I took her home. The hospice now didn’t want to be out of the picture. They wanted to come to the house, which we lived very rural in a ranch. The nurse would come out and she’d say to me, “Tonight, she can’t make it through the day.” That went on for a week.

When Friday night on September 16, 2006 came, I went into the bedroom and I laid down with her and her breathing was like it’s forever. Chloe, our dog, jumped up on the bed, which she never ever did. She was 155 pounds and laid down next to Vicki, put her paws across her and I whispered in Vicki’s ear. I told her, “It’s okay to go.” That night she went, just like that. The thing that I think I learned about all this was that communication is so critical to our human existence. To authentically and gratefully communicate with the people you love and care about is the greatest gift that we’re given. We should just do it. That’s going back to just do it and just live. Don’t let things get in your way. Don’t let the obstacles put you in a place. Just go do it and live life and everything always works out the way that it’s intended to work.

Please don’t apologize because we don’t see enough of that today in my opinion. The thing with my mom and dad, I know they’re both free from the things that hurt them here on Earth and that gives me peace. The thing that I love is that Mike’s parents are still here and his dad is short like my dad. I love his dad to pieces. His mom is great and we get along really well. I’ve never had a mother-in-law that really liked me. I’m like, “She likes me.” We have a lot of fun together. It’s nice to be able to be here for them and to be a bit of a counterweight for Mike who is more the way I was with my parents. “You have a relationship. I’m coming in and saying, there are other ways that we can do things with your mom and dad. I would like to see them more because they’re not going to be here forever. The day that they’re gone is the day when you realize you’re the next line. You’ve stepped up to the front of the line and your family is now all behind you. Let’s do stuff with them now that brings them joy and brings us joy too because your parents are fun to be with.” He’s like, “Okay, I guess.”

What it really boils down to I think is that you’ve had this experience and experience is the best teacher. Now you’ve learned and you want to pass it on to Mike and his family. You want them to know and have what you have. You’ve learned so much. It’s amazing. I’m remarried now and married to the most wonderful woman. My kids love her to death. I love her to death. We have so much fun together. I learned so much stuff from my first two marriages because I was married for a short time first and then 35 years to Vicki before she passed away and now Beverly. Beverly has been the biggest blessing in my life because she accepts me for who I am. She is ten years younger than I am. I’m going to be 72.

I’ve always not appreciated the term a person completes another person because I don’t believe that somebody completes you. They complement you and she complements me. She such an encourager. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her encouragement and support. I just got to tell her I love her and I’m so thankful that she is in my life because she has brought out the absolute best things in me. That is such a blessing. We have so much fun. We can say things to each other. I’ll tell you a story. I met Beverly on Match.com and I saw her eyes and I said, “There’s something in her eyes that strikes me.” When we met, she was 52, 53 years old and I was 62 or 63. She had never been married. She is a nurse anesthetist. She makes great money. He was able to take care of herself and she said she had boyfriends that were doctors and lawyers and could offer her so much more than me financially. It struck me when she said, “I’ve never met a man who I thought could love me like you do.”

Which is worth a lot more than money.

We’ve had such a great time. We’ve traveled and we’d done stuff. She encourages me always in my endeavors and I encourage her. That’s such an important part of marriage. It’s more than good sex, financial statements and all that. There’s that connection when you really complement each other. I always tell when I’m counseling people on marriage before they get married, you cannot marry somebody and think you can change them. That’s what a lot of people do is they see things that they don’t agree with and say, “I can change that.” You’ll never change them. They are who they are. Let them be who they are and go find who you want. Do not settle. Do not settle for anything less than what you want out of life and what they want out of life. Make sure those two can gel, just like strawberry jam, so sweet and so good that you could never stop eating it. It’s my ideas on marriage.

Sometimes God just wants cool people up in heaven. Click To Tweet

I would say that meeting Mike, we actually didn’t like each other when we first met. We were part of the singles group that I joined. My sister was already part of it. I had just gotten out of a really horrific relationship. You talk about attracting someone in to teach you a lesson. The lesson I learned was I deserve much better than this. If I continue not facing the emotional things that I need to face with a therapist, I’m going to end up with somebody much worse. The guy was emotionally abusive and getting to the point where it could have verged into physical abuse as well. I got out of that, I got the help that I needed and joined this singles group and then met Mike.

We could talk. I’m a good listener. I’m an introverted ghostwriter. I would sit and listen to him. He’s an attorney and a musician. He can talk and I’ll sit and nod. He really thought I could not talk. We tried to go out on a date and it didn’t work. We were still seeing each other. If we had not still saw each other at events, we never would have gotten together ever. Because we did, we became friends. We had a lot of fun hanging out and we would crack each other up with jokes and we liked the same things. We both like to walk and hike and be outside. Those were the things that began. We both like music. We would go to concerts together.

Those things bind us together. When we finally started to date, we had a foundation already of friendship and knowledge. It wasn’t based on good sex or hot sex. It wasn’t based on that. It was based on those other things that I think are equally important. He was the first guy that I’d ever gone that route with. In fact, I didn’t want to date him. When he finally said to me, “Do you see this going anywhere?” It’s like, “What do you mean? We’re friends. I like having guy friends.” He looked disappointed. It’s like, “You mean this could go somewhere else? I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking that way.” It’s funny, we laugh about it now. We’ve been together seven years and it’s been good.

That’s the way it’s supposed to be. You never know what’s in front of us. You never know what’s going to happen. The only thing you can do is be open to the possibilities. I’m always open to the possibility of everything. I talk about it a lot, the possibility of everything. When you think anything and everything is possible, it gives you the power of choice to pick and choose what you want to pursue and what you don’t want to pursue. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s very freeing, very opening. It’s a great feeling to have and I’ve always enjoyed it.

I think that is something you and I have in common. I’ve had people say, “Why do you want to get married again? You’ve been married three times and divorced three times.” I said, “I do believe in love. I’m a Libra. That’s part of our makeup. I believe that foundation of marriage, for me, it’s important. There is a security aspect of it. There’s that familial aspect of it too. I want to be part of something bigger than just me.

The part of marriage is that it’s a way to bind people together. Not that you wouldn’t be bound together without it. It’s part of our religious and social upbringing because some people do great and not be married. I am like you. I’ve never looked at marriage as something that would confine me, especially when I can be who I am. There’s a beauty in that and that’s really important.

It is that connection. It is a personal viewpoint. Someone who may be reading to this is saying, “Marriage, everybody’s free to do what they want.” For me, it was something that was important. Mike’s the guy I will stay with, unless he decides I’m not the right person but I don’t think so.

It’s the power of choice. There’s a lot in sending that in the power of choice. Lisbeth, can you tell my audience where they can get ahold of you? How they can get ahold of you? What’s coming up in your life, work-wise that you want to do? I understand you’ve got a podcast that you want to put out and all that. Can you tell us all about your personal business information?

If anyone’s interested, they can check out my website at FuzzyDogLLC.com. You can find me on pretty much any social media. I’m either @FuzzyDogLLC or Lisbeth Tanz. My podcast is going to be called The Author Confidential. It is geared toward people that want to write books or that are in the book writing industry. It’s like a play of 1940s radio show. I want to dispel the myths and the misconceptions about book writing, book editing, book publishing and marketing because there are a lot of them out there. That’s going to be fun and we’ll still be talking to industry experts as well as authors like Art and hearing what their story is and what their book writing process is. Everybody’s different and everyone has a different process and I find that fascinating.

That sounds really great. I’m going to be anxious to not only listen to it but become involved in it with you because I have a unique story about how my book came about and all that. It’s been a pleasure having you on. I’m going to invite you back because I think that we have a lot of great things to talk about, a great connection. I thank you.

Thank you. This has been such a pleasure. It’s so great to connect with like-minded people. When I heard an interview you did on a different podcast, it was like, “I had to talk to this guy. He’s so cool.” I’m very glad we’ve connected and thanks for having me on.

It’s been my pleasure and to our audience, I’m going to check out. Thank you for tuning in. Have a great day and become a doer. Go make doo-doo all over the Earth.

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About Lisbeth Tanz

SE 21 | Life’s ChallengesLiz is a nonfiction book ghostwriter, editor, and author coach. Her forte is assisting authors in writing their authentic truths and creating compelling stories, so they can make a positive difference in the world. When she’s not toiling at her desk, she can be found in her vegetable and flower gardens, walking in her neighborhood with her favorite guy, and playing with her three cats.

 

 

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