Author Archives: staff

Judgement Bucket

I wish I could say that I don’t judge, but I do. I have learned to stay aware of my mind and the stinking thinking that comes out of left field at times. I work every day at having love and compassion for others and myself instead of judgement and ridicule. But still….

Did you know that judgement comes from an unhappy heart, an unlovingofself and has roots of jealousy, envy and pride? That’s tough to swallow!! Judging others often times, bring the judger a sense of satisfaction….a sense of knowing more. Judgement is full of comparison & unacceptance. Its pompous and its demeaning to the person being judged because they are not being accepted exactly as they are. Ouch, right?

Imagine showing up at a gathering, you’ve had an awful week; emotionally, mentally and physically & you really don’t want to go, but you promised. So you do your best to get yourself ready & out the door you go. Would you rather be greeted with “Thank you so much for coming, I’m so happy you’re here, what can I get for you?” or with “Wow, you look like shit, what happened to you?” Wait wait wait!!! You KNOW you FEEL awful, ..remember,,,you didn’t want to come…. AND you certainly don’t need anyone telling you.

So the next time you’re about to open your mouth and be all judgey, stop and think about the effect it will have, your motivation behind your thoughts and bring compassion instead.

The one thing I’m not sure people realize…. at the root of judgement of others….we judge ourselves. We have not accepted everything ugly, or upsetting, or unfortunate, or whatever THAT is about us…….so we judge others.

Start to NOT judge, by looking in the mirror and accepting all of YOU.

….and may today be the day, that you empty the bucket of judgment with your name on it.

Your God Girl

Tracy

Don’t Waste Time Waiting For Others

Don’t waste time. It took 3 years after my divorce to be ok and enjoy doing things by myself. I have always been a planner in my life, even when I was married I would always be busy with either my kids or friends. After my divorce, I would never be alone. I would either have my kids or make plans with my friends. For the first couple years, I was ok with not being alone and I had enough friends to make plans with all the time.

It was such a hard thing for me to overcome because my life would go from having 3 crazy loud busy kids to nothing…deathly quiet. No yelling, no fighting, no constant questions, and no one that needed anything from me. I was alone and it sucked. Your married friends will think it sounds heavenly, but the feeling really sucks. The feeling is so hard to explain when your life goes from complete chaos to a complete halt in a matter of hours. You wonder now what do I do… do I walk around Target for hours to avoid being at home alone?

I finally realized I could not wait for my friends to do things.. If I wanted to do something I should just do it. Then last summer I decided to buy a paddle board… It is a scary feeling to have enough confidence to do something on your own. I had many thoughts going through my head… will people wonder why I am alone, will I not know what I am doing, will I fall off and drown. No one will even know where I am… since I am alone. All of those thoughts went through my head. The truth is that people could care less what I was doing and why I was there alone. However, if you are someone like me—always with people—it is a hard step to take. I pushed myself to do it and I loved it. That’s the truth.

Now, I will actually say no to plans with friends, so I can have some time for just doing things by myself. Either trying out a new place to hike or going paddle boarding. I will actual plan for that time in my week and make sure that I do it. Life gets crazy and if I actually schedule the time, then I will do it. A year or two ago I would not have been able to do that.

If there is a hobby or activity that you are really wanting to try, you just need to do it. Do not wait for others to join, but try it on your own. Honestly, now I love the times that I have to myself.

Thank you for reading,

Snarkydivorcedgal

See A Bridge For What It Is

Webster’s defines bridge for my purposes here as “a thing that provides connection, contact or transition”.  Sometimes Life provides us a bridge that we mistake as ‘the solution’…there are times when we need help, yet we are not truly ready for what’s next and in those times Life provides a bridge that transitions us from who we are to who we must become.  Often in this process we mistake the ‘bridge’ as the solution.

There are times in our lives when moving to the next, higher stage of being is required and often we are so caught up in the circumstances of the moment that we can’t see our way clear to make the changes on our own.  It is at these times that Life sends us a bridge to help us transition from who we are to who we must become…it can look like a new situation, a new friend, a mentor, a boss, a relationship interest, a new job opportunity, a move from one place to another, a new work project…whatever way we need to have it in order for it to be effective, that is the way Life will send it.

When the desired transition is complete the bridge is no longer needed and often the loss of the bridge is mistaken as a hurtful experience, when in fact it is a blessing because it means we have transitioned and are ready for the next level which is a better place for us.

There is a teaching that says “the blessing comes before the challenge”—meaning that we create a gift for ourselves and then we must create a challenge to overcome so that we can readily receive it…in that same way we create a bridge to help us become who and what we need to be.

Understand that a bridge is a gift, just because something is utilized to get you from point A to point B doesn’t make it any less meaningful or worthy—it is just means that a bridge isn’t forever, it is a situation that is meant to last only for a certain period of time whether it is one week or 5 years.  A bridge isn’t meant to build a life on; it is meant to cross you from one place to the other.

Think of all of the things that haven’t worked out the way we thought they would or should have…reframe them as bridges, every, single one of them.

To see something as a bridge allows you to forgive yourself or someone else for what you previously may have labeled “failure”.  To see a completed situation as a ‘bridge’ allows you to reconstruct the past in your mind and out of that you have the ability to create a different future.  Imagine if you had an attitude of gratitude about your ‘bridges’ instead of a story of how horrible they all were…imagine turning a string of previously labeled ‘failures’ into a path of bridges that are taking you just where you need to go…there is a lot of freedom in that and a lot of power.

 

~Noelle XOXO

**From Noelle’s book, “Practical Change…Inspiration for Kicking Ass & Slaying Dragons”

Sometimes You Need A Moment

This past weekend my Mom’s family had a get together. My uncle who has lived in England for decades was visiting. Emails were sent out and somehow my Mom’s siblings of which there are seven, (there were nine but my aunt and uncle passed away several years ago) and children and grandchildren all converged on my favorite uncle’s property for food and a visit.

It was pretty fantastic. My daughter who is an only child had my cousins kids who are close to her age and ironically have similar interests to hang around with, throw in one of my considerably younger cousins who took it upon herself to dote on them all and a lesson in driving a tractor… my kid was in heaven.

For me it was about being with my family. July which is thankfully over, was full of one thing after another. All out of my control and increasingly worse than the other. Normally I pray for July to last all summer, I prayed for August to get here instead.

Needless to say July wore me out.

That suitcase I told you all to push back under the bed a few weeks ago in another blog. I started to get it out. Thought about opening it.

Then the family get together happened. The suitcase was peeking out under the bed.

Then a moment happened. There were several actually, but this one has stuck.

My uncle the one visiting from across the pond who the last time I saw him I was married, came and sat down next down to me.

He started it off with “I was surprised to hear about your divorce”.

I instantly tensed up.

He continued… “but emotional abuse is hard. It gets in your head. Being slagged on day in and day out. You start to believe it,even when it’s not true. Words hurt. I don’t care what anyone says. They stick with you. No one deserves that.

You seem happy and life is treating you well and that is what you deserve”.

Even now as I write this I don’t think I can explain how much that meant. How much that conversation, that moment meant.

Because, sadly my reality over the years is most people just have not understood.

When your marriage fails it’s hard enough, but I never want to be the person who bad mouths my ex husband. Regardless of what happened during our marriage because he is still my daughter’s Dad.

But there were hurts.

There are still hurts.

I hope some day they will be less.

I hope some day I look in the mirror and I don’t second guess what I see. I don’t second guess what I say. I don’t doubt who I am. I continue to get back to being the badass I like to trick

everyone into believing I am.

I also want you to remember who you are Mommas. Grab those magic moments.

Look in the mirror and roar.

Love the sound of your voice.

Believe in who you are.

You are someone’s Momma and that means you are a magical badass.

<3Caprise

Dig Deep Within Yourself

I love Marianne Williamson’s paragraph from her book “Return to Love” “……

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear

is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our

darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be

brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to

be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t

feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We

were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not

just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

What is your perception of yourself? Stop. Sit quietly. Contemplate. Really? What do you really perceive about yourself? If it’s anything other than; Great, Beautiful, Magnificent, Wonderful, Fun, Happy, Loving, etc…. (because as Marianne says: Who are you NOT to BE?)

Then it’s time to dig. Dig Deep. Find what’s lurking behind the words you choose….and work on that. That issue right there. Yes, that one. The ugly one. The scary one. The tale that tells you, you’re not good enough. The story in your head that you repeat when asked how you’re doing. The conversation you keep having about YOU. The mantra that you play over & over & over again to yourself. That one. The one that keeps you stuck in negative patterns, negative attitudes, negative self-talk. It’s time to fix all that.

It’s time for an intervention with yourself. Get some soulful medication and heal the parts of you that don’t know just how AMAZING you are as of yet anyway.

It’s a new day. And it’s up to you to rewrite, redo, rethink, reinvent, and rejoice!

Have fun….Your God Girl

Tracy

The Sides Of Social Media

Social media is something that has taken the world by storm. I’d say that most high school students have at least one form of social media. Whether it’s Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook, it seems to be the one thing that is constantly on our minds.

The question asked by many parents is whether this is something positive for their children or not. Unfortunately, there is no definite answer. What I do know, is that there are many pros, and certainly some cons. I’ll start off by stating that I know that I use social media as a way of contacting my friends. We have the ability to share pictures and have typed conversations over these social media apps. Without it, we feel like there’s no other way to share important moments with those close to us. You know, it’s not like we are surrounded by telephones where we can speak to them directly…;).

Truthfully, though, social media also makes us feel like active participants of others’ lives. I often use these platforms to contact family members that live outside the country. I can text them, like their posts, and watch their daily stories. Not only can social media allow us to share the happy moments in our lives, but it also lets us share events going on in real time, like tragedies, natural disasters, etc. Although those were all positive sides to social media, I want to state the very obvious fact; that we are obsessed with it!!!

Social media is usually the first thing we check when we wake up, and the last thing we look at before going to bed. We always have this constant urge to check what those around us are up to. This definitely takes up time that we could be using for more important things like family time, and academics. I’d say that a huge issue with social media, is the unrealistic lifestyles being publicized by pretty much everyone that uses it. You rarely ever see posts about the difficulties in life, but rather posts about how people are “living the life”. This makes us long for things that would only exist in a perfect world. It could be in terms of wealth, looks, and even happiness. I often ask myself why these celebrity “influencers” are trying to “influence” us. In the end, we live in a world that is surrounded by social platforms and for us teens, it is something we are used to. The truth is, it all depends on how you choose to use it. Like everything else in life, moderation is likely the key.

-Dani 

Let Those Grudges Go

Grudges. The old me…circa 2016 and back…100% held grudges. It’s all I knew. Or maybe it was what I was forced to know. What it did was cost me my first marriage, and countless mistakes after that. Then one day my wife (new marriage) told me it, along with my bitterness for life, it was one of the things she hated most about me. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Along with the wondering why she married me to begin with, so many questions flooded my existence. Circumstances had made me that way. The many years of continuous hurt and betrayal from so many people I had given my heart to had turned me into stone. What a reality check and more importantly an awakening.

And so I committed to myself, and those I loved, to change. And I did. I absolutely changed. I let all the negative that had been drowning me go. And slowly I fought my way back. I learned to forgive. And I did it. But along the way of forgiveness, somehow I ended up with a broken heart all over again. Was this how it was supposed to be? Really? I had fought an internal battle to change my hardened heart, all for it to happen all over again?

Over the past two years I have fought through some of the darkest days of my life. Places I never thought I would be, I have been. I don’t think I will ever understand the reason, the why’s or the how’s, nor will I ever run out of tears when my mind wanders back in remembrance. They flow uncontrollably. What I do know is that I have to stop questioning it, and somehow find the strength to leave all of it behind once and for all, let go of the grudges. My life has to have some kind of purpose, and while I may not know what that is right now, I have to believe that one day I will find it. I will not revert back to being bitter. And when it comes to two people; as far as forgiveness goes, it will never work if one person forgives and the other does not. I know what side I was once on, and more importantly I know what side I was on in the end. All that’s left for me is to close the door and never walk through it again.

Keep on keeping on!

Virtual Hugs,

BLag

Liberation In A Hair Cut

For the past four years I have been growing my hair out. The last time I had long hair was when my 7 year old was 2 and I ended up frying it off with a do it yourself at home perm. I loved the idea of  it being long, and I even look pretty decent with it. This time growing it out started as something I wanted to do and turned into something I was doing to prove something to someone else even though I left that said person almost three years ago.

I have a complicated relationship with my hair, always have. The only thing that stays constant is its always changing.  New love interest? Chopped color or textured it. Experienced a big loss or defeat? Changed it. Experienced a Major win? Changed it. Bored? Changed it. Going through any change? Changed it. I use my style kind of like a canvas to express myself, it changes as I change. You can thank my quirky artistic side for all that.

The problem arose a year after I started growing it out. I allowed someone to put doubt in my mind and made me feel lesser for not having long hair. The comments made me feel less feminine, and insecure with my hair, so for the last four years I refused to cut it. At first I loved the long hair, messy buns and long ponytails. That did grow old after the first year, where will my short hair i could do more with it and I didnt feel like I was suffocating with it down, I found it much more difficult for me to do anything functional with my long thick hair.

After a hectic week of quitting my job, finding another, doing more inside work on myself, I decided it was time for a change. I went to great clips and liberated myself of 12 inches of hair, what I was taken by surprise by was, how much other weight seemed to be lifted when walked out of there. It may seem odd but I feel like, I emptied some baggage, closed some doors and finalized a personal lesson or two during something as simple as a haircut.

Who would’ve thought? I hope you all enjoyed, let me know if ya’ll have experienced something similar.

 

Loving, Growing, Liberated

Ali

Fire Seasons

There are times in your life that quite literally bring you to your knees and erase all sense of having something to stand on or back you up—at those times you MUST rely solely on FAITH. FAITH that GOD is good all the time, no matter what it looks like, Faith that you will get through whatever it is, Faith that you are stronger than you think. I call these FIRE seasons…periods of time when you must rely on Faith and strength and Grace to get you through…I find that once we are out the other side of these times the lessons and the skills gained are invaluable.

The first one of these times for me was in 2001 when my Grandfather passed…I don’t think that I have ever shared the details of that time with you guys and so I wanted to do that now…as I continue the approach to my 51st birthday, I continue my evaluation of lessons learned and FIRE seasons that I have emerged from and how they have created who sits here now….

Often the things that we are sure will break us turn out to be our testimonies that go forward to help others walk successfully through their FIRE seasons…may the sharing of this time help you in that way now….

In March of 2001 my grandfather died and everyone in my large family came unglued and went kind of crazy and we all scattered…I moved to the South, so unusual for a Boston girl. I realized this past Christmas as I was driving to Cape Cod why I moved away from there …as I was driving past my grandparents exit where I grew up, I was overcome with sadness knowing that our family home was sold and gone and that I could no longer go back to the place and the people that raised me…

A year after he died my Nana sold the house and I remember sitting on the front steps with my mother crying and crying over the loss of the house and every, single thing it stood for—I see now that I moved away only months after that…I’m not sure that we always recognize what grounds us until it is gone for awhile.

My father and I were estranged for 25 years so my grandfather was in all practical ways my father…he was the strongest person I have ever met and his level of loyalty went beyond anything I have ever seen. He was my base, my childhood was soooo crazy and I always knew that he would never let anything really bad happen to me, he was always, always watching and silently stepping in to make things right when needed. He wasn’t overly affectionate and he was nothing like Andy Griffith or Ward Cleaver and when you screwed up he was by no means gentle—he was hard on us and hard on himself…if he couldn’t bounce a quarter on your bed, you re-made it—if any of the dishes you were drying were damp the whole cabinet came down and got re-washed, if you lied you paid the consequences…

When I was really little I was afraid of him, when I was about 16 I finally GOT him and we were thick as thieves after that, I was his first grandchild and his favorite girl…and he took it so badly whenever I did stupid stuff and boy, did I do a lot of stupid stuff in my early 20’s and until about 30…

I was always the one that took him to the doctor and I was the one that got the call in the middle of the night that he had taken another stroke—I am not even sure what force drove me to the hospital that night, his training I suppose…he trained us to operate in the face of ANY difficulty and GET THE JOB DONE, no crying, no whining, no excuses—just get it done. This is a way of being that too many people neglect to practice these days…

During the recovery of that stroke they found cancer in his liver and in his stomach, his response to suggestions for treatment was for everyone to F— Off…he was going home and that is where he would stay, they gave him three months, he lived a year…

That year was the year that changed all of our lives, it made us better and stronger and it made me more compassionate and understanding. I was in the middle of finishing a degree and I left school to move into their house and help take care of him even though my then husband and I were expecting my son…everyone told me that it was too much to be pregnant and try to care for a dying man…I told them to F—Off (see a likeness here?)There were some tough days and I spent a lot of time crying, but there were some really good days that I wouldn’t have missed for anything in the world…the rest of my family couldn’t really handle the deal, except my Uncle Mike another rock, he was there with me every step of the way—a really good man.

We went past Christmas and the New Year and I thought he was going to hang on until the baby came…I had four weeks to go…And then all of a sudden he took a turn and went into a coma…Hospice was helping us and they came with morphine, they taught us how to administer it every hour…it was my mom and I that last night taking turns in 3 hour shifts, I was sooo pregnant and sooo uncomfortable on all levels. Nobody else could stay in the room for more then 20 minutes…it was too sad for them…I just sat in his recliner by the bed and I held his hand and I said the Rosary over and over and over…I must have said 300 Rosaries that night…

The next day, March 31st he waited until the house was full of people, we are Italian so there were LOTS of people and the Priest came and went, it was about 10:30am and I decided to make ravioli…as my mom and I sat down to eat they started screaming for us from upstairs…took those stairs pretty fast for a pregnant chick…

So now there you are in the room watching what you know is the last run…all of a sudden I freaked, I ran into the other room and I thought, “I can’t, I can’t possibly handle this, can’t deal with this…” and then I thought I don’t want to miss him leaving, so I went back in like a big girl and watched him pass with the rest of my family…it was the most profound moment of my life thus far…he taught us how to live life out loud and he taught us how to die with grace on his terms, on his schedule…

So many people live with regrets; I can honestly say that I live with none. I had to file bankruptcy from cutting my work schedule down for that year while he was dying and I caused trouble in my then marriage, however I have never regretted one, single second. I did what was right for me to do. I did what he would have done for me.

As I have said before, after he died I felt like I lost my base and it took me awhile to learn how to become my OWN base…how to strengthen my FAITH enough to get me through ANY FIRE season…

My grandfather was my base for a long time, he was the rock and I still feel him with me every day …the life that I have built has his influence written all over it. I am of the opinion that when people leave here after a life well-lived they are still out there somewhere watching over us and checking up on us…and I think from time to time, when we are ready to receive them they send us some really great miracles with the help of God’s Grace…

Today may your miracle be the GRACE and STRENGTH to get through your next FIRE season.

-XO, Noelle

Balance?!? No Such Thing..

A few years ago I was featured in an interview about work-life balance for Moms and what that meant. I said then and I will say it again now, there is NO SUCH THING for those of us that are really living this life of raising kiddos. So PLEASE do yourself a favor and stop feeling bad trying to achieve something that does not exist. All these “experts” out there have all this advice about how to make you a balanced human and since in my opinion this is impossible to achieve all this stuff does is make you feel bad that you are so off point.

After almost 19 years of raising a human single-handedly, owning and working for companies and being solely responsible for the running of a home I can assure you that life is meant to be ‘perfectly imperfect’. At no time during the last 19 years did I ever feel ‘balanced’ nor do I now:)

At the best of times it’s a flow that moves along pretty smoothly and at the worst of times it feels incredibly overwhelming and like you are drowning in too many things to do. There is nothing wrong with you if you are feeling this way, this is honestly natural and a by-product of the lives that we are living. Just keep doing the next task in front of you whether that is a work task or a home task or a kid-based task—-whatever it is just complete it and move on to the next one. Don’t beat yourself up because you had a work thing that made you miss a kid’s game or you left dirty dishes in the sink etc. You are truly doing the BEST that you can and you are doing GREAT…and never mind what anyone else thinks about it. Honesty, unless you have lived this life of single parenthood you have no idea…none. Also even if you are a parent with help juggling lots of things, there is no amazing balance to be achieved for you either. It makes me so angry when I read all these articles about how Mom’s can achieve work-life balance…such horseshit.

So in the midst of the juggling act that is our lives what IS really important is that you figure out how to say NO to things that don’t work for you and

establish a system for taking care of yourself. Taking care of myself is still kind of a foreign concept…evidenced by the 25 hour bug from hell that I just had likely because I have been running myself in a million directions since the end of June.

Let’s cover the saying NO part first—-you have got to learn to start saying NO to things that don’t serve you or support you. The needy friends that steal your energy, the family members that stress you out, the work stuff that people are trying to overload you with and you are so nice you just keep saying yes…all that stuff is wearing you down whether you realize it or not. Saying NO is ok and even healthy, remember that if you go down from exhaustion or illness everything goes down so protect your time and your energy. It is important, your well-being is very important!

The taking care of yourself part you sort of have to figure out as you go, maybe its yoga, or a walk on the beach, a good novel, a movie night with friends, sitting quiet somewhere, a spa day, a regular workout, a weekly binge watching session on Netflix. Whatever gives you peace and some moments to yourself—maybe it’s getting up an hour early to have an hour of power for yourself. Whatever it is you need to figure it out and commit to doing it. Your health, your peace and your peace of mind are vital in this mix…in order to keep moving and to keep doing the next thing you must be in good shape, so you have to commit to self-care. By the way I always made fun of that statement in my mind…self-care…until I realized that I had to actually be the one concerned for my OWN well-being because it was nobody else’s job. I have two speeds…go like a bat out of hell or crash and get sick for 2 days…pretty much that is all I know, at 51 I am learning a new way, learning that I can say NO, that I can go a little slower, that I can do what works for me….I am hoping that I can get you guys to avoid the errors that I made along the way.

Take the time to stop, breathe and appreciate the moments…they really do pass quicker than you think and inevitably you will look back and wish that you did something different. Let’s try and make sure that you don’t have too many regrets…appreciate how far you have come and take care of YOU.

XO,

Noelle