Category Archives: Inspiration

I Got A Janky Heart

This is a blog I wasn’t sure I was going to write or even how to be honest.

It’s a big share about my life. I wasn’t even going to share it,but over the course of the last few weeks I have had some pretty serious discussions with people I love in my life about what we share and what we don’t.

I’m just gonna do this and maybe it will all make sense. Or maybe it won’t.

I have a congenital heart defect.

I also was two months premature. I weighed in at 3 pounds 4 ounces.

I was born with a hole in my heart. By the time I was four I had two open heart surgeries.

I don’t remember much about it.

What do remember: comparing zippers, the smell of the stitches, falling off my bed, I can remember be wheeled into an operating room.

That’s it.

I have a gnarly bikini scar with accompanying friends all over my body.

A few years ago after ignoring its existence I got a chubby heart tattoo at the base of my scar.

Growing up I had a list of things I could and couldn’t do. I’m pretty sure my Mom told me certain things just to keep me from doing those said things.

The reality of my disease never and still doesn’t fully resonate with me until I’m around doctors or other survivors.

There have been some scary things around having children and at one point I was actually given a life expectancy.

By the way my daughter is eleven and I’m 47.

But as light as I’m making it there have been some things.

I’m always winded. My circulation is horrible. I can’t tell you how often I hear cold hands warm heart. Lol

I get colds so easily.

Living in the Midwest that’s a joy.

Also, lol.

There’s more but I’m sharing this because it doesn’t define me and it certainly hasn’t held me back.

I am the person if you tell me no I do it twice and take pictures.

So now you know this about me. Will it make you read what I write any differently?

It shouldn’t. Oh my gosh it better not.

We all bring private, public, personal battles to the table but they shouldn’t hold us back and they certainly shouldn’t define us. Other people should not let those things define how they treat you either.

This year I participated in the Heart Walk as a survivor. It was the first year I admitted it. And shame on me for not admitting it sooner. Because now I own it and I have found an amazing community.

My favorite member is a heart doctor who we will call Dr. W who teases me that my after care regime should not include Mt. Dew and Reese’s.

Sorry not sorry Dr. W, a girl has to have her vices.

Don’t be afraid of what you bring to the table no matter how big. I know it’s easy for me to say this, but take a deep breath look at how far you’ve come. You are more than the extras that are in your life.

You are sparkly and amazing and strong.

And as always I got you Momma.

❤️

Caprise

Be Better In The Middle Of Your Grief

What on earth? How many tears can one body produce? How many boxes of tissues must you go through? And what’s up with the mad… sad… content… tears… misery… anger… denial… tears… happy….. anxiety… pissed off… acceptance and back to sad again? Welcome to the “Stages of GRIEF”.

Can you hear yourself.… “Really? Can’t I just go back to sleep and then it will all go away? What about a therapist, won’t that cure the crabbiness? I know, I know…. chocolate. That always makes me feel better? Waaaaaah.

You have good days and bad days. And the triggers come out of nowhere and at the most obscure times let alone when you’re not expecting it. And the rollercoaster ride of Grrrrrief seems to be going and going and going. When will it stop?

And not for nothing but…..

You want your life back the way it was. You want the to-do’s back in order and the schedule back on track. You really want a do-over. Why is going through the Stages of Grief so hard? Well it JUST IS. Seriously. Nobody wants to be the one left behind, nobody plans to lose a loved one, and nobody knows what its like until they experience it. Nobody can judge the length of time it takes you, nobody can heal your heart and nobody can wipe the tears to stop. Just you. If you trust God, like I do, turn to Him in your sadness and ask for healing. Do what you have to do and press on with joy in the sadness.

Maybe just maybe, when you’re on the other side of this, you can be a smile in someone else’s grief, share a hug, speak a kind word, offer a nice gesture. Do something to ease their pain because you remember how hard it was for you. But for now…..be a better you in the middle of your grief.

 

Your God Girl,

Tracy xoxo

Growing Through Hard Times

Everyone it seems is going through some sort of hard times right now, the government shut down, or just the universe being out of wack, it seems everyone is going through something. A lot of people are showing their worst side in reaction to their personal struggle. I was drawn in to is as well. I had to take a step back from everything going on around me. Hard times are meant to make you grow. Especially if you’ve been stagnant in an area of your life for a while. If we get negative, woe is me or lash out we lose our lesson.

Difficult times and situations are a way god or the universe puts a proverbial boot up your tuchus.

Its your wake up call and most of us need a few before we snap to attention. We cant change other people or what happens around us, so the thing we need to change is in us.

It helps me during these times to organize everything I’m doing to appointments to work to even structured time with the kiddos. I also do a gratitude list, and manifestation list to put things in perspective and to attract the things I need. This opens up my focus and attention to see what I really need to look at and work on. Then step by step I get to where I need to be.

Always be unapologetically true to yourself,

Ali

One Year Later

What’s the most important thing you’ve done this year? For me…it’s that I survived. One year ago today I sat in the garage, put the keys in my ignition, turned it on, and sat there screaming in sheer pain. Calling out for her, but she never came. I sat and pounded the steering wheel, grasping at my chest because it hurt so bad. The physical pain…it was just too much for me to take, and I wanted it to go away. This was my only answer. But as I sat there, uncontrollably crying, something made me turn off the ignition and open the garage door. It wasn’t that I wanted to live, but whatever it was, it was stronger than me or the pain.

For me that night…I was desperately trying to end the pain and conquer my problems. I could not bare to live my life without her. It was simply unadulterated desperation.

Depression. It’s living in a body that fights to survive, with a mind that wants to die. The suicide attempt(s) have become a trauma that I have had to learn to deal with. Some days it’s a battle, some days it’s ok. I suppose there should be no shame in fighting the war, because at least I’m here to fight it. I won’t say there haven’t been days when I haven’t revisited the thought again, but then I remember I promised myself never to allow someone to have that much power over me again. And at the end of the day I need to remember to celebrate the courageous person that stares back at me in the mirror and all that she has overcome. Because in the end…long story short…she survived!

Keep surviving!

Virtual Hugs,

BLag

The Grip Of Addiction

My thoughts and feelings on addiction have always been about my Dad, this time it’s someone else, someone I haven’t seen in many, many years, but have much love, care,  and concern for I am worried, for her, her family, her friends. I know what the grips of addiction on a loved one feels like but no two people’s addiction is the same.

Young

Beautiful

Energetic

Intelligent

Worthy

Happy

Ambitious

Those are all words I would use to describe her, her potential and who she is and should be…

Aged beyond her years.

Hardened

Desperate

Manipulative

Denial

Scared

Angry

Sad

Death

I imagine those are words that some would use to describe her now…

Addiction is a strange thing…deep in the moments with my Dad’s addiction I would know he was all these negative things to people on the “outside”.. he was those things to me. Yet, I would get so defensive of anyone whispering about him, making fun of him, judging him.

Addiction plays games with EVERY ONE. I have been told it’s a disease, a much larger issue for the addict, then those who are affected by and are around the addict. For those of us on the outside looking in on our family member, friend, our loved one. ..we see and hold on to who this person was BEFORE. The potential this person has if they would just quit, if they could see it for themselves.

There is a lot of debate, discussion and studies on whether addiction is a disease or whether it is not.  There are days I will agree that it is a disease….some days  I get frustrated with the why’s and how it can even be compared to a lethal illness that someone didn’t choose to get. Addiction is a lethal disease that started with a choice?….a choice. That’s hard for me to get past.

I have made the personal decision after knowing that I have done all that I can, to discontinue a relationship with my Dad. Doesn’t mean it makes every day any easier-I still wonder, worry, am saddened, angry, defeated, disappointed, exhausted, confused. So many emotions.

My Dad’s best friend for many, many years, starting with their childhood, passed away a few weeks back. My brother and I talked back and forth as to who was going to tell Dad-not something we want to tell him under normal circumstances and certainly not something either of us want to tell him under these circumstances.

My brother told him.

I received a voice mail from Dad that night, he thought he was leaving a message for his drug dealer, careless on his part-seems like a “rookie” mistake-which also tells me he is in deep again. I wonder how bad one has to be to confuse his daughter’s phone number with his dealer’s phone number.  That hurts..A LOT!  I still have the message. I have held on to it these past few weeks feeling like I need to, for a “in my defense” when someone wants to judge me for not speaking to him. Ridiculous, huh? Having to explain why I don’t want to be around a junkie, who lies, steals, takes advantage, is erratic and so on.

I know that this is not a choice everyone will make or even want to make. Addiction is not a cookie cutter situation from person to person and family to family.  The one thing that is constant and that I am for sure of is that addiction is evil. And hard, ever so hard. There are so many casualties of addiction. No one wins besides the addiction.

Much Love,

Kim

Mean Girls 101

Mean girls sadly are nothing new and I feel like they are digging their claws in at younger and younger ages.

The other morning I am getting ready for work and I look at my bathroom mirror and notice a message:

“You are awesome

You are strong

Be you

Don’t let them get to you, be strong”

I winced and finished getting ready for work. I share a bathroom with my 11 year old daughter. I certainly didn’t write that on the bathroom mirror. Truth be told I can barely reach that high.

I made a mental note to talk to her about it.

G has been dealing with them for a few years now, but now that she is in middle school it seems much more hurtful. There’s intent to harm. I wish I didn’t understand but I have been dealing with mean girls since forever.

I could give you the examples but then I’m just continuing to give them power. At the end of the day that’s what this is ALWAYS about when someone hurts you.

Power.

On our weekly drive back from her Dad’s I asked my daughter what was going on.

There is a girl in her class who just simply doesn’t like her. She’s pretty sure all paths lead to a boy she likes. Geez, doesn’t it ALWAYS?! Not really, but man…

She said this girl always makes sassy comments towards her and in front of others and essentially bosses her around.

I asked her what she does in turn. Nothing she tells me. I just keep quiet or do it.

What I tell you all next may cause some of you to scold me.

I said “don’t do that.”

“What”

“Don’t do that G. What do you want to do?”

“I want to scream at her and call her names. Can I swear?”

“No and definitely don’t do any of that. She wins. She wants to be in charge.”

“Then what do I Mom?”

“This stuff she’s telling you not to do, are the teachers ok with what you’re doing?”

“Yes”

“Well, f#*# her then.”

“Mom!”

“The next time she says anything. Calmly look at her and say the teacher is fine with what I’m doing why aren’t you? Can you do that?”

“Yes.”

 

Flash forward to this morning and I notice on G’s wrist a heart with the words: live, laugh, love, be you.

“Baby, is that girl still being mean to you?”

“No.”

“G?”

“She gave me a hard time in class yesterday…”

“And?”

“And I asked her “didn’t she have a project to work on instead of bothering me.”

“How’d that feel?”

“Good.”

“So why the ink?”

“So when she’s picking on me I can remember…”

I know it’s hard for G to share. She hates worrying anyone. I made sure to remind her she doesn’t have to talk to me but it’s incredibly important she talk to someone. I told her I understand. I am dealing with mean girls even now. It feels not great and as easy as it is to get angry that is their fuel.

I didn’t tell her what I’m about to share with you. When I was younger I just let it hurt me. I took it. I lamented. I became small. I assumed it had to be me. Something about me triggered this response.

I had a fantastic mentor share with me when I was dealing with a particularly vicious workplace mean girl that they are that way to EVERYONE.

I’m not special. However, in that moment it feels so awful you don’t think that way.

So I took a step back. I watched said mean girl in meetings. Paid attention to how she wrote her emails.

Yup. It was her. I was not SPECIAL. Lol.

And to be honest that to this day makes me feel an incredible sense of pity for her. What in your world is so bad to make you lash out like that?

As I replay all my mean girl run ins that is the tape I try use as background music.

I’m not saying I’m over it.

I’m saying it doesn’t stil sting a bit.

What I am saying is I’ve taken the power back. Or at least I try to.

I still want to bubble wrap G and it pisses me off that she’s dealing with this.

But… here’s the thing, I love her to pieces and am going to remind her every minute how fantastic she is. I hope she can use that as her force field or at least as a mini reminder when claws come out.

 

Before I forget- you’re all pretty freakin fantastic  Mommas

<3 Caprise

NOTW-Not Of This World

“Not of this world”…I’ve known these four words for a long time.  Thought it.  Read it.  Lived it.  Every day, still, I work on reminding myself that I am Not Of this World.  Being the God-girl that I am, you’d think I wouldn’t have to remind myself… but I do.  I am IN the world but not OF it.  This World we live in….it’s a powerful place.  God’s power is ever present and much, much more powerful… BUT if my eyes are not on Him and my eyes are here, looking around me, comparing, challenging, competing.  I’m sucked in.  I’m doomed.  There is power and money and fame and popularity and attention and affection EVERYWYERE.  I can have those things, but at what cost?

In my younger years when I thought the World was the place to find all of these things, I charged forward, I had it all figured out, all lined up.  I was successful.  I climbed the corporate ladder-stepping on who was in my way, I dated the handsomest of men-spitting them out if they didn’t please me, I hung out with beautiful girlfriends-controlling where we went and what we did.  I judged, I ruled, I competed, I was soooo popular.  BUT I was sad and lonely and alone.  I created my life to satisfy me and yet….oh and I was satisfied – or so I thought….but the satisfaction never lasted so there I was again…going at it.  The cost?  My soul.  I did whatever I had to do to be liked and accepted and important. And I was empty.

Now my life is of substance.  I have friendships and money and things.  BUT it’s all from God and for God.  Money, blessings, miracles, love…all of it.  HIS.  I am here to be a steward.  I am a beacon of His love and light.  I am here to shout it from the rooftops that I am Not Of This World.  I am of His World.  You’ll know it by my words, my actions, my compassion AND by my tattoo.

Your God Girl,

Tracy xoxo

Stop Waiting And Do

Stop waiting…..

Sometimes in our life we can want something so bad that we put things on pause to try to make sure it happens. A lot of the time though that is how you lose not only what you want but also lose your peace. More recently for me there was someone who came into my life. I developed feelings for that person, and I waited. I waited for this person to open up to me the way I did them; I waited for them to tell me how they felt like I did them; I waited for a direction, all while my businesses, my self improvement and my goals all fell to the wayside.

This person isn’t a bad person but I had to stop waiting. My peace of mind and forward movement was at stake. I still care about this person deeply but how things are right now are painful for me. Instead of waiting I am holding a place, a place they may or may not fill, but I know if that person is meant to be in my life they will fill that place when the time is right. In the meantime I am working as hard as ever. I’m growing past a certain set back I’ve had, and I am crushing business and personal goals.

I’m living my life and not holding still. Knowing whats meant for me will always find a way to me.

Always be unapologetically true to yourself,

Ali

My Frenemy Social Media

Bill Murray recently tweeted: social media is training us to compare our lives, instead of appreciating everything we are. No wonder why everyone is depressed.

As a recovering insomniac I have a bad habit of reaching for an electronic device when my brain decides I need to overthink something at 2 AM. Which is a bad idea. I know this.

Bill’s not too far off. It’s hard not to do. I’m guilty of it. Who isn’t? You see your peeps post pictures of beautiful vacations meanwhile I’m excited about going to Target by myself on my lunch.

Your girlfriends who are madly in love, posting flowers and cards, and outings. You are spending your fifth Valentines alone sporting the noodle necklace made by your kiddo.

You co-worker running a marathon while you’re lucky if you make it to the third floor of your office building without being lightheaded and winded.

You cousin eating a gourmet meal out, you are tucking in with Taco Bell.

Or how about when you are in a relationship and suddenly things that before social media maybe you didn’t see or even care about. Now you see. Like that girl who likes every DAMN thing he posts. Or how he comments on that one girl’s stuff but never yours.

Are you taking this in? It’s kinda silly right? It is. But as humans, at our core I think we all want to be sparkly and loved. We don’t want to show our flaws. That’s weakness. It’s hard to show those bad days, to enjoy that Taco Bell, to realize that girl liking every DAMN post may just be a friend, and even if she’s not, trust your person.

On the flip side there are some really fantastic things social media has brought.

Like I can keep in touch with the funniest person I know, my 72 year old great aunt.

Memes!!!! I love memes. It’s bad. I have a problem. Luckily, so do my girlfriends.

Reconnecting me with people I lost track of. I’m looking at you my Chewbaccas.

Helping me find cool events to do with my family and friends.

New music.

Recipes.

This page (The Working Single Mom) <3

Tips and tricks for almost ANYTHING.

Some absolutely truly heartwarming stories.

I guess where I am going with this. With anything… remember who you are. You are sparkly and beautiful even when maybe you feel like you aren’t.

There is no such thing is perfect.

And really who wants that anyway?

By the way I love me some Taco Bell and my noodle necklace is my most prized possession.

BUT just in case the next time you’re mindlessly scrolling remember this:

“Be yourself today. You look beautiful like that.”

 

And as always I got you Mommas

XO

Caprise

Unconditional Love

In order to begin this conversation with you; I must first define the word – Unconditional.

Webster’s defines unconditional as without conditions or reservations; absolute.

My question to you —is there such a thing as giving too much or loving too much?  My answer to this is, NO—if the giving and the loving are unconditional.  Unconditional loving and giving are I’m afraid, rarer than you may imagine.  There are people that love so that they will get something in return…love, money, happiness, sex, material things etc…there are unspoken conditions on their loving and when the other person fails to deliver, the love is taken away in punishment.  The same is true for some folks in the giving department…they give and then they expect something in return and when they don’t get it, problems arise.

There is also the case of the person suspect of being unconditionally loved or given to—this indicates an inability to receive on their end…you see in order to be a balanced giver you must be able to receive as graciously as you give…there are those that only want to give and become very uptight when on the receiving end of gifts or love.  They wonder what the other person is “up to” giving all these gifts and expressing all this love, they become certain that things cannot be as simple as they seem—there must be some ‘ulterior motive’ to all this generosity…

Funny thing is if you gain a deep understanding of how life really works you would love and give yourself SILLY…for those of us that get it there is nothing else to do but give and give and give and love people unconditionally…really and truly that is what we are here for…to share…to share ourselves and our ‘stuff’…

So many people walk around so tightly wound up about what is ‘theirs’ and what hoops have to be jumped through in order for someone to gain their love…there are times when we see what people are really made of and sadly those times mostly come when tragedy strikes…do you remember how loving and generous people were with each other after 9-11-2001?  Strangers helping each other however they could, sharing, offering love, strength, help, money, clothes, food…anything — we all gave anything we had and we were glad to do so…we allowed ourselves to feel love for people just because and it made us all stronger at a time when we needed it most…well what happened folks???

Did our need for generous hearts subside???  No, in fact it seems to me that we could use generous hearts more than ever right now—-we could use a lot less complaining and criticism and a lot more unconditional giving and loving.  Look around you—the world needs a lot of help from people that understand…there are so many things that we could say are wrong, however when do we begin to say what’s right with everything?  That kind of looking starts with you…there is good in everything, you just need to have faith that it is there and then you have to be willing to SEE it…sometimes it takes awhile…

We have to wake up, we have to be responsible to make things better for ourselves and everyone around us—there is nobody else folks, this is our job.

It is IMPOSSIBLE to:

love too much, give too many presents, celebrate too many things, be too forgiving, be too generous, be too happy, see too much good, help too many people, give too much money, volunteer too much, serve too much…

Nobody ever died from giving too much of themselves, actually it enlivens and empowers you…maybe you should give it a whirl, may make you live longer…when you get busy contributing to other people your own small grievances hardly show up anymore…

I leave you with a quote from St. John of the Cross:

“A generous heart will never care

to go part way; it won’t be cowed

if there is passage anywhere,

but set out on the hardest road;

nothing can cause it misery,

and with faith soaring like a cloud

it feeds on something I don’t know

that one may come on randomly.”

 

~Noelle