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Dating Equals Frustration

Dating Equals Frustration – as published in Carolina Compass

February 11, 2017 | Debbie Martinez

None of us here thought we would be where we are in our lives at age 40s, 50s or 60s but yet, here we stand, divorced, kids, angry ex-spouse and dating again. This whole scenario has disappointment and frustration written all over it but here is a little dose of reality:  Disappointment is inevitable and with the wrong perspective, frustration is sure to follow.

Webster defines frustration as “the feeling of being upset or annoyed, especially because of the inability to change or achieve something.” We have our plan, it’s not going the way we want it to so what do we do? We try and force it. You are interested in someone but that person is not interested in you so you try to force a relationship that clearly is not in the plan. And then the inevitable creeps in … frustration.

At that point, we are forgetting that our plan might not jive with God’s plan. We are living our lives and making choices based on our will and not His. Wrong move! Here is a point I would like for you to remember, when you are frustrated, it is because you are not walking in faith. Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

If we are constantly walking in faith, then we have the mindset of trusting that God has our back and if something doesn’t work out, than it is in our best interest. Hebrews 11:1 (New Living translation) reads:  “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”

Dating can be difficult for a variety of reasons but don’t get jaded. If you have been divorced and are back in the dating world and relationships haven’t worked out, take on a different perspective. One that says, “God has a plan,” “God is bringing me closer to the kind of relationship I really need,” “I am opening myself up to what He has planned for me,” and “Good things take time and I’m walking in faith.”

Don’t get frustrated in God’s timing. I read a quotation once that said, “Faith in God includes faith in His timing.” They go hand in hand so stop knocking on a door that has been closed or better yet, has been slammed and bolted from the other side. Don’t waste another minute on someone who you think is ‘perfect’ for you but God knows otherwise, move on in faith. Habakkuk 2:3 says “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end — it will not lie. If it seems slow wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.”

Sometimes, to gain a new perspective, we have to step away from our daily routines, take a deep breath and regroup. For me, being in nature is the key to getting my mind clear so I can hear God’s words of wisdom and encouragement. I know what God has planned for me can only be seen with my eyes of faith.

Debbie Martinez is a certified Mindful Life Coach specializing in divorce, a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, Florida Supreme Court Qualified Arbitrator, Parent Coordinator and trained in Collaborative Divorce both in Florida and South Carolina; she also writes for The Florida Villager and is a contributor to The Huffington Post. She may be reached via and her website is


An Inspirational Divorce

An Inspirational Divorce – as published in The Huffington Post

June 20, 2016 | Debbie Martinez

If you have ever gotten divorced, you will always remember that moment in time when you realized your life was changing forever. I do. I remember where I was standing when that fateful text came through on his phone and I saw it. I remember the ground opening up in slow motion and me falling like Alice through the rabbit hole only to look up from below to see a very tiny prick of light so very far above and wondering how I was ever going to reach it again. But you do, and as you climb your way up, you learn and you grow and you emerge into the sunlight a different person.

Friends always asked, “How did you do it?” and as Peter Pan said, “Faith, trust and a little bit of pixie dust.” Well, actually, my pixie dust came in the form of 3×5 index cards that lined my bathroom mirror. It worked so well for me I have passed this exercise of empowerment onto my clients.

Below you will find motivational/empowerment quotes I used. Write them on 3×5 cards and keep them on your bathroom counter. Every morning flip through them till one jumps out at you and tape it on your mirror. Sometimes I had up to five cards up there at one time because I felt they were so inspiring. Now here is an added bonus — my kids saw them as well. One day I walked into my son’s room and he had two of his own on his mirror. By doing this, you are constantly empowering yourself and in the process teaching your children how to find the light in the darkness.

– How do you view your life? Are you a victim or an explorer on a quest for a new and exciting life?

– I am developing a new image of myself. I am a warrior. I have strength and peace. I am in control. I am not a victim.

-It’s not so much what is happening in that moment or in our lives. It’s our thoughts about what is happening that causes us great stress. Control your thoughts and you control the situation.

– Always listen to your heart. Do not let it harden.

– The fear of something is always greater than the thing you fear.

– The point was to free yourself from something that costs your heart even more. — Paolo Coelho

– Everything that begins also ends. Make peace with that and all will be well. — Buddha

– In the midst of winter, I discovered within me an invincible summer. — Albert Carnus

– Slide your Katherine Hepburn glasses on and face the day.

– A person can justify anything. Don’t let their justification become your reality.

– Surround yourself with positive people and activities.

– Divorce is a sad, traumatic “time” in one’s life. Don’t make it a “lifetime” event.

– When you fall into that abyss, take a deep breath, put it all into perspective, and climb out. No relationship is worth residence there.

– Divorce is not the worst thing that can happen; losing yourself is the worst thing.

– Do not let fear cloud your decisions.

– Whoever angers you, controls you.

– Divorce is about one’s life changing, but not one’s life being taken away.

– You’ve come too far to give up now. You are closer than you think.

– Do not be a slave to others’ opinions. Discard them as you would rotten food. For nothing good will come out of holding on to others’ opinions. Your heart knows the truth.

People always say this is a new chapter, but I say, “Hell, this is a new book and I am the writer, the director and the heroine.” You be the same and I’ll see you on the New York Times bestseller list!

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Keeping Christian In A Divorce

Keeping Christian in a divorce – as published in the Carolina Compass
June 14, 2016 | Debbie Martinez

We all struggle with something in our lives and just because we are Christians doesn’t give us a hall pass. However, it is because we are Christians that we should be able to handle our circumstances differently and that is because we have God in our corner. We have someone greater than our friends, family or in the case of divorce, our attorney. Going through a divorce can break your spirit, but it should only increase your faith, for it is God who will help you navigate the challenges it brings and bring you out of that darkness into new light.

Fear and hate can make people act in ways that make me shudder as a divorce coach. I see couples that treat each other like enemies, forget their responsibilities as parents, use children as pawns in their twisted post-divorce game with their ex, lose respect for themselves by allowing drink, excessive shopping and even random sex to take control of their common sense and sadly, lose hope. I see them embrace the feelings of hate, bitterness, resentment and a hardened heart. But how would this picture look if these couples could have approached their uncoupling in a different way, a Christian way? Well, put very simply, “What would Jesus do?”

Even in your darkest times, you can be a shining light to others. Divorce is no different. Show others how Christians get through divorce by doing it God’s way. How would He do that? Well, without a doubt, I know He would do it with compassion, love and forgiveness, with kindness and uprightness.

Let these things be your guiding light if you are facing a dark time in your life. Here are ten things that will help you divorce like a Christian:

  • Ask God to give you wisdom and discernment.

  • Don’t be afraid or worried; give it to God.

  • Know that He has a plan for you.

  • Grow deeper in your faith by prayer.

  • Be a servant to others.

  • Pray for His perspective on this situation and His help.

  • Count your blessings every day.

  • We all make mistakes but when you do, correct them; this is true repentance.

  • Continue to be the mother/father God intended you to be.

  • Leave any retribution to God.

In James 1:22-25, this is what he says:

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it — not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it — they will be blessed in what they do.

It still stands true in a divorce. Going through a divorce does not entitle you to throw God’s word to the curb. Continue to live by His word and find strength and, consequently, freedom in it. All things new is His promise and he will take what others have meant for your harm and turn it into good. You are no longer a slave to the fear that divorce brings, for you are a child of God. There are valleys in all our lives but when you can change your perspective and see this through God’s eyes, you will find a sense of peace that will carry you through.

The devil will try to infiltrate during this time because it is the perfect venue for him to try to do his work but if you keep your eyes and heart on God, He will use this circumstance to strengthen and grow you, not propel you backward or tear you down.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 says,

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

He has a plan for you and perhaps showing others how to divorce like a Christian is part of it.


De-Stress Your Kids and Yourself During Back to School

De-Stress Your Kids and Yourself During Back to School – as published in The Huffington Post

June 8, 2016 | Debbie Martinez

It’s hard to believe the lazy days of summer are close at hand and with that comes the ushering in of the back to school blues. Here is how it typically goes… a couple of weeks before the beginning of school, the kids start moaning and groaning about school starting soon and the week before, the parents are scurrying around with an air of panic and short tempered because of all that has to get done; and the night before school the child is told to go to bed early because school starts the next day. And then we wonder why the kids start school tired, with a bad attitude, and stressed out. It’s the abrupt switch in routine and mindset that is jarring to the kids. No doubt with the onset of the school year, the pace of life shifts, but if you start early and ease into it, I guarantee your kids and your quality of life will be much improved. The key here is to put strategies into place that are easy to keep.

Parents, get yourselves organized well in advance; no rushing at the last minute to get supplies, books, uniforms or filling out paperwork as that only adds to the child’s anxiety.

Develop a Command Center. This is set up in a location where the kids will pass by it every day. Have a white board where the kids write down what they need 3 days in advance of needing it, an in and ‘out’ box with their names on it. As the kids unpack their book bags, they put any papers you need to read or sign in the ‘in’ box and in the morning, they go to the ‘out’ box and take whatever is in there. Also, have a calendar so they see what their activities are and any special things they need for that day. This system accomplishes several things: children thrive on structure, they have the security of knowing where to look for information, and it teaches them responsibility.

Create a safe, stress free area at home where your child knows he/she can go to have quiet time or unwind. It can be a corner of their room that you set up with big pillows, a blanket, coloring books, crayons, and music. This is an unplug zone – no computers or phones.

Model stress free living as best you can as your point of view regarding stress and how they see you handle it will invariably become theirs. Your mood sets their mood.

Talk positively about the upcoming school year; inquire as to what after school activities they would like to do, but do not over schedule them. Acknowledge them being nervous about the new year and brainstorm ways to ease that nervousness. Keep the focus on the positive and not about how the previous year went. Keep communication open by making yourself available to listen, not necessarily to talk. If they start to get anxious, redirect their thoughts to the fun they had over the summer instead of letting them linger on the uncertainties of the school year.

About two weeks before the first day of school go over what they need with them and make sure all is in place. Let them know in advance that the last week of summer vacation, you will start getting into school mode, which means going to bed at the set school time. During that week, talk with them about your school year expectations, go over the Command Center and make a cheat sheet with their schedule, locker combo, teachers’ names and room numbers if they are too young to have a phone in which to put it in.

Once school starts, have a nighttime routine of packing lunches, putting clothes out, alarm setting, and placing backpacks by the door. In the morning, parents, please don’t just open the bedroom door, throw on the light switch, and yell, “Time to get up.” No wonder kids wake up in a foul mood! Give them a few minutes of cuddle time and then turn on the light. That connect time in the morning will make all the difference in the world for both of you. Making them a healthy breakfast is key and make sure to send them out the door with a bottle of water. Staying hydrated creates less fatigue, better mood and memory. After school, give them play and quiet time and a structured time and environment in which to complete their homework.

And last but certainly not least, it is never too early to teach your children to think positively, to change their perspective on things, and of course, to laugh as often as you can. Except of course in class.


There’s Always a Next, Never an Only

There’s Always a Next, Never an Only – as published in The Huffington Post

May 20, 2016 | Debbie Martinez

In life there are changes, so instead of wallowing in them, choose to embrace those changes. With change comes amazing opportunities; opportunities to grow emotionally, spiritually, physically and to acquire a new perspective. The problem is not the problem but our reaction to our perceived problem. See, lots of times we think we have a problem because of our choice to perceive it as a problem. It’s all about our mindset.

One way to get back into the flow of life is to have the mindset of, “There’s always a next, never an only.” How many times have we said, “this is my one and only car, house, job, boyfriend…” only to find down the road another car comes along that we like better, has nicer features and suits us better at that time in our lives? So, my point is that just because this relationship/marriage didn’t work out, it doesn’t mean that it’s your only – there is a next.

Have a “no exception rule.” That means, no matter what happens in your life, your mindset about yourself and your life won’t change. With an ‘only’ mindset, you view life as if the best has already happened. With a ‘next’ mentality, you view life with hope and expectation that the best is yet to come. You have the ability to write a new chapter in your book of life. How exciting! What do you wish for? Strive towards that wish. Keep yourself focused and ask yourself everyday, “Is what I am doing laying the foundation for that wish or tearing it down? Am I thinking big or thinking small?”

Moving into your next chapter also allows you to unearth your passions. Ask yourself these questions to help you start thinking in that direction, but keep in mind the important element here is to answer them not intellectually but from the heart.

  • What do I love?
  • What things inspire me?
  • What must I have in my life for it to be meaningful?
  • What are my core passions, values and beliefs?
  • When I remember the best/worst time in my life, what precious passion, value or belief was present or missing?

Change is work

by Debbie Martinez

When people are empowered to see obstacles or setbacks as opportunities to move forward and grow, there is always change involved. The very word “change” can make some people uncomfortable. Change is work. Changes take people from the routine to the unknown and unfamiliar. Making changes requires courage, a sesnse of humor, and the ability to clearly envision the desired results of the change. Being discontented with the status quo does not imply unhappiness. A person can be dissatisfied with her work situation, relationships, income, or lack of certain skills and still be a basically happy person. Personal joy can exist in even negative circumstances. But, perhaps, there is amissing element that needs changing.

Some people have found that turning to a “life coach,” a professional motivator/mentor, is a practical way to make changes and adjust to life’s circumstances. One of the first things a life coach will do is ask a client to write a detailed list of what they want or need for thier life to fell more fulfilled and keep the lsit in a place where it will be seen each day.

The life coach helps the client find the inner strenght to change course, to pursue desired goals, and to face obstacles with conviction and courage. Like a sports coach, life coaches encourage clients to stretch beyond the comfort zone, push forward, and readh for the prize.

Some people must reprogram their thinking. Moving to a higher place, achieving a higher goal or purpose always brings risks and taking risks inevitably involves making mistakes. The life coach can help the client see mistakes as part of the process, knowing what not to do sometimes being as important as knowing what to do. Having a sense of humor about mistakes, as well as successes, can make the process fun.

Sometimes there are bumps in the road. A life coach helps clients keep going and not shrug and say, “Oh, well.” If someone desiring change encounters obstacles and starts to rresis trying any more, it is challenging to get around the resistance and re-focus on what needs to be done. Soemone once said, “thre is the life you had planned and then there is what comes next.” When the “what comes next” pops up instead of the planned next step, it helps if the person accept where they are at this point, learn what this stage teaches, then take a deep breath and move on towards the dream, or dream a new dream, if that makes more sense.

The most important element to a successful change is a person’s belief in himself, that what is needed or desired is around the corner and that he is ready. It is the thinkin and believing all along the way that will create a successful outcome —the envisioning, the preparation, the courage and conviction. Thrung the corner is just another step forward.

Published by Natural Awakenings Magazine, June 2009

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