Tag Archives: grace

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

Warrior Training

Warrior Training

When did my skin get so damn OLD looking??? These are the things that I am thinking as I look at last night’s video…51 that is how old I will be in about a month, 51 years on the planet with an 18 year old son.

18 years…where the hell did that GO??? 18 years of being a working single mom, 18 years of being solely responsible for every freaking thing—- how the hell did I even DO that???? Yet, here I sit…out the other side and in fact, I did do it and I did a pretty good job. The kid turned out pretty exceptional even in the face of my many shortcomings…

So what have I learned and what wisdom can I impart to help you through whatever stage of this adventure you are in?

Here we go…

*STOP worrying so much, it isn’t helping anything. All it does is make you crazy and honest to God shit DOES work out. We hardly ever can see how, yet it does and you simply HAVE TO TRUST THAT IT WILL.

*Be honest with your kids, let them see you be REAL…acting like you are OK when you are NOT OK just screws them up because they can FEEL that you aren’t right and you are usually all they have—-so let them see the warrior that you are, let them see that you can be afraid and do it anyway…let them see that you can not feel well and do it anyway…let them see what it is like to overcome things—it is only going to make them stronger, better adults.

*Kids KNOW, whatever it is that you think you are hiding from them, they already know—-so just be honest. Life is hard and we prevail, show them that—don’t make them think that there won’t be challenges—-show them what it is like to be real.

*Take care of yourself, if you go down there is no one to cover for you—-your health and your well-being are a PRIORITY. PERIOD.

*KNOW YOUR WORTH —- I can’t say this one enough…I made so many mis-steps over the years because I didn’t understand my worth…don’t do that. Don’t settle, don’t ‘put up with shit’— know your worth.

*The kids are gonna be OK, they are going to make it. As long as you are doing your best and you are being authentic then they are going to be just fine…stop worrying.

*We are not perfect, we are not meant to be perfect—- we screw shit up, it’s human nature—- just keep doing the best you can.

*Don’t let fear stop you, have the fear and do it anyway—that’s all there is—just keep going, doing the next thing in front of you.

*Help as MANY people as possible, always.

*Give back everywhere you can, be generous of Spirit—everyone is fighting their own battles that we know nothing about—be kind.

*Take the high road, it isn’t crowded up there and don’t sweat it, karma never loses an address—let the Universe handle the people that were less than kind to you, you have better things to do.

*Always keep learning, reading, pushing yourself—-as I said before don’t settle—-keep pushing yourself, it’s how you grow.

*Talk to your kids, listen to them—-don’t be so busy trying to survive that you forget to LIVE.

*Have GRACE for yourself and others—not everything has to be perfect all the time—cut yourself some slack…I am telling you it all works out at the end of the story…

*Acknowledge the small miracles and have gratitude for how far you have come, we often are so busy just trying to get through the day that we forget to give thanks for the progress—there is always something to be grateful for.

It’s funny to be sitting in this place 18 plus years later, looking back on raising this boy on my own. At the beginning it seemed insurmountable, in the middle it was the hardest thing I have ever done, at the end it was the BEST training that I have ever had. I can produce results that nobody else can, I don’t let anything stop me, I don’t make excuses and my mantra has become “whatever it takes”—- I don’t accept ‘impossible’ as a descriptor and I KNOW from walking through FIRE and HELL that you can and you WILL get through whatever you are facing.

You know me, I am always straight with you guys and this was the hardest thing that I have ever done, raising this child with no child support and being the sole source of everything that he required for 18 years plus:). However, it taught me skills and strengths that I would never have learned any other way and it built me into a warrior that now helps other people——that part is my greatest blessing. Let my testimony become your inspiration—- if I could get out the other side successfully so will you…

Here’s to my approaching 51st birthday…let’s see what God has planned, it’s bound to be an adventure and you guys will be along for the ride.

Much Love,

Noelle

When Is It Appropriate To Stand Down In Life

There are times in life when it is appropriate to ‘Stand Down’.  The Military defines ‘Stand Down’ as the movement of soldiers in combat to a safe place for rest and recovery.  It is also a method used by the Military to correct an issue that has been identified as a problem throughout its ranks. 

American Heritage Dictionary defines ‘Stand Down’ as: to withdraw, to end a state of readiness.

Have you ever fought for something so hard only to have it keep whacking you in the face over and over again with its stubborn refusal to yield to your intention?

There comes a time in a wise person’s life when the pain and suffering that they have endured to stand by something has exhausted them to the point of heartbreak…a time when they are disillusioned, disappointed, disheartened and discouraged beyond belief…perhaps a time when this something has caused them to feel that people are inherently flawed…

This would signify the time to ‘Stand Down’.  ‘Stand Down’ does not mean to give up, instead it means to detach and quell the emotional reactivity of a situation.

Sometimes things have to become worse before they can improve and actually the seeming appearance of ‘worse’ is really good at work… in disguise.

When you are sure that you have done all you can in regards to a particular situation it may be the time to ‘Stand Down’—you will know in your heart of hearts when you have prayed enough, been angry enough, been disappointed enough, been lied to enough, been played enough, been betrayed enough, cried enough, talked enough, yelled enough and worked hard enough.

One day, suddenly perhaps, you will wake up and feel that it is time to ‘Stand Down’, time to move away from the attachment of that situation…time to let the other characters see the cost of their behavior…time for you to re-group and remember that there is occasionally more power in ‘Standing Down’ than there is in continuing to ‘Stand Up and Fight’.

Some of the best warriors and most brilliant minds have seen the wisdom in a ‘Stand Down’.  Even those of us that are strong-willed, control freaks can see the value of an occasional ‘Stand Down’.  There are times when it is better to withdraw than to compete with things that are beneath you or which threaten to drag you down into the muck and mire.

‘Stand Down’ does not mean that you are weak or that you lack the courage to keep fighting, it means that you are able to see the point in a situation when it is time for you to pull in and observe.  When it is time to stop pushing so hard and just let nature take its course.  When you have done all your work in a particular situation you can trust that the overall outcome will be for the good, even if the present circumstances resemble a giant garbage dump.

Refreshed, rested, armed with perspective gained from standing down and stepping back, you can re-enter the battle with new commitment and energy.

Life has a way of teaching people what they need to know…and you can count on people’s actions returning to them in kind…

If someone loves, they will be loved.  If someone harms, they will be harmed.  There is no avoiding the cause and effect laws of the universe, no matter who you think you are.

So take heed and if you are faced with a situation that requires it, ‘Stand Down’ with style and Grace…then get back into action when the timing is right.